Oliver’s Garden, The Strand, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9372 0438
The kiosk in Queen’s Park in Moonee Ponds is such a lovely setting that I wish it was closer to home – or, leastwise, that we had something similar.
The last time we visited was with our pal Kurt on the midway point of a longish Sunday bicycle ride.
If memory serves, our meal that day was BLT, nachos and a burger. Without reaching any great heights, they all did their job.
And also went some way to nullifying the truism that Melbourne does food in its parks about as well as it does bayside dining.
Truth is, I’m not even sure kiosk is the right term these days, as the eatery in question is operating under the name Oliver’s Garden.
For this week-day lunch, I’m in a burger mood, so am none too hopeful – the online menu, found on the establishment’s website, lists none.
But I’m in luck – though the news it’ll come in a Turkish loaf is unpromising.
Initial impressions don’t do much to bolster confidence, either, as the beef patty looks way too small for the bun. And the $14 fee is starting to look a little on the high side.
But the hands-on experience is a winning one.
The chips are crispy, well-cooked, hot and very fine.
The burger meat belies its size by being full of beefy flavour and pretty much in the right proportions to its sandwich colleagues.
The dressing of grated beetroot, dill pickle bits and dill mayo is nigh on perfect in a suitably burgerish way, as is the fresh Turkish bread.
Though my tiny bottle of that Coca Cola stuff for $3.50 is outlandish.
Oliver’s Garden does a range of breakfast dishes, focaccias, salads and a kids menu that ranges from $5 to $9.
On the day of my visit, the blackboard next to the takeaway servery hole lists a bubble and squeak for $13 that sounds real nice.
Whizzing to and fro on our various adventures, it’s easy to forget this place and its lovely surrounds – and that’s our loss.
Even on a crisp, overcast day there’s a leisurely ease around the place of mums and children and ladies lunching.