Sometimes we forget how lucky we are in Victoria. From spectacular coastlines on the Great Ocean Road to the rugged peaks of the Grampians, there are so many places to discover at our doorstep. I have done a lot of travelling throughout Victoria recently, but there is so much I am yet to discover and explore.
Malmsbury is one of those towns that if you blink you may miss it. I have passed through Malmsbury on a number of occasions but I have never taken the chance to stop and explore. Nestled in the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges, Malmsbury is a historic goldrush town. Gold was first discovered in 1858 and the town became a popular centre for diggers travelling to Bendigo and Castlemaine.
It may be a tiny town, but what it doesn’t have in size it certainly makes up for in character and charm. Wander along the Main Street, and you will be greeted with boutique shops housed within beautiful old heritage buildings, quirky galleries and of course the famous Malmsbury Bakery, where guests travel far and wide to get their hands on their pies. Venture a little further afield and discover the leafy Malmsbury Botanic Garden (the oldest in Victoria), perfect for picnics under the old oak trees and my favourite spot for coffee – Moto Bean Coffee Roasters.
After some wandering through the Botanic Gardens, we followed our noses to the Small Holdings Cafe. Housed within a historic weatherboard church, the part cafe/part wine bar has been brilliantly converted. Enter through the little red door at the front and you’ll find a charming cafe, full of antique furniture and rustic charm. There’s also an outdoor deck which is perfect for soaking up some sunshine in the summer months, with some shelter from the old oak trees.
Inspired by European cuisine and French bistro style dining, Small Holding’s focus is on casual country fare utilising regional and local produce. At lunchtime, the menu is limited to a few items which are scrawled elegantly on the wooden chalkboard. There’s also a great local wine list and many boutique beers on offer. They are particularly proud of their vintage four-oven AGA cooker, which takes centre stage in the open kitchen.
Being a chilly winter day, I couldn’t wait to warm up with a big bowl of comforting gnocchi. Handmade and fluffy, the gnocchi had a lovely texture complemented by a buttery cream and mushroom sauce which was so delicious I wanted to mop up every last bit.
Another hearty winter dish was the osso bucco, which warmed us up from the inside out. The slow braised veal was melt in your mouth tender, encased in a delicious sauce of tomatoes and carrots. A bed of creamy mash was perfect for soaking up all the delicious juices from the slow cooked veal.
Small Holdings Cafe is the perfect pit stop for a day out in the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges. They don’t have a commercial kitchen, so meals can be a little slow to come out. But if you’re in no rush, it makes the perfect stop.
They also have a Friday Night Guest Cooks night where locals and guest cooks take control of the kitchen for the evening. Sounds like fun! Will definitely be back to discover more from this country gem.
Small Holdings Cafe Malmsbury
A 90 Mollison St, Malmsbury VIC 3446
T (03) 5423 2391