Sweet Grass Bonsai Nursery & Cafe, 357 Barkly St, West Footscray. Phone: 0488 688 808
What was once a nursery is still so – but with a difference.
The commercial nursery that long resided at this address on this under-utilised stretch of Barkly St has become a beautiful bonsai garden and cafe.
It’s a calming oasis.
Even on a hot day, the temperature seems to decrease in the garden and adjacent seating area.
Having already visited the Sri Lankan grocer around the corner on the Geelong road, I’d dropped in to check the place out only to find there’s no food available.
An unsatisfactory lunch is had nearby before I return to truly luxuriate in and enjoy the setting.
Bonsai, of course, is a Japanese tradition, but the management here is Vietnamese and Buddhist, as some of the statutory reveals.
One of them tells me her partner is a landscaper whose passion is bonsai.
It’s his private collection – some of them seem surprisingly large to bonsai ignoramus me – that makes up the serenely designed garden that adjoins the cool, calm undercover seating area.
There are smaller, younger plants for sale in the rear section.
I ponder the mocktail list.
This is a document Bennie will no doubt study with intensity when the time comes.
Maybe a Dutch Treat – milk, cocoa, cinnamon and honey – will be his go.
Or maybe a Black Widow of vanilla ice cream, lime juice and cola.
The boy does love a sundae, after all.
They seem very reasonably priced at $5, but it’s a bit hard to tell without laying eyes on one and seeing how big they are.
I play creature of habit and order a cafe latte.
You won’t get a feed at Sweet Grass but it’s nourishment for the soul anyway.