Piggery Cafe by Shannon Bennett

7/07/2014 11:00:00 PM

Breads and cute piggy biscuits

Hello everybody! How were your weekends? Mine was good - we took a little weekend break to the Dandenongs, (Olinda, to be specific), staying at a B&B, huddled up in front of the fireplace and listening to the endless rain. So relaxing! I'll blog about the weekend soon enough (after the rest of the Malaysia posts, hehe), but I just couldn't wait to tell you about this new cafe we visited: Piggery Cafe.

Piggery Cafe
1 Sherbrooke Road
Sherbrooke, VIC 3789
Ph: (03) 9691-3888
Piggery Cafe on Urbanspoon

Before the weekend, I did a quick Google search to try and suss out our eating options, and didn't come up with much. There seem to be a lot of touristy venues in the Dandenongs, with long queues, high prices and average food. (See my previous trips to the Dandenongs in 2007 and 2010, where we did Miss Marples, Pie in the Sky and Sky High Bistro - all fun, but not that great from a food perspective. I have been to, but never blogged, the Cuckoo Restaurant, because the food was truly terrible.) I was actually considering driving out to the Yarra Valley for lunch at, say, Yering Station...

However, when we got to our B&B, I flipped through the visitor guide they provided, and realised that Shannon Bennett of Vue De Monde had recently (i.e. a month ago) opened a cafe in nearby Sherbrooke! That was it, fog, rain and windy roads be damned, we were going!

Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery are part of a larger complex that Shannon Bennett and team are building: Burnham Beeches. Plans are underway for a brewery, steakhouse, providore (i.e. fancy grocery store), a dairy, and even accommodation. Apparently there's a vegetable garden, trufferie and emu enclosure on the grounds as well, and in better weather I would have loved to have taken a walk around. Oh well, next time!


We were very impressed as we walked inside - you can see the range of breads available at the top of this post! As an avid Ottolenghi fan, I loved the look of the salads on offer.


The pastries also elicited a bit of a squee from me! Don't they look great?


Luckily there wasn't much of a wait, and we were promptly seated around the back section. Despite the concrete walls, the communal tables (with communal cutlery, cute herb pots and a DIY toaster - another Ottolenghi touch?) gave the room quite a warm feel.

Piggery Cafe

Coat hooks


Table herbs!

Sparkling water was charged at $5 a jug with unlimited refills - it was only lightly sparkling (which I like!), and I believe that the water is "sparkled" in-house.

House filtered water - $5 a jug for unlimited water

Orangina - $5

European Sandra was thrilled to see Orangina (et sa pulpe!) on the menu. While we're here - who knows where to buy Orangina in Melbourne?

The menu seems to focus on rustic dishes, done in a luxurious way - think croque madame with Kurobuta ham hock and fried egg ($13.50), lobster roll ($19) or a Flinders Island lamb korma pie with split pea, cumin, mint and crushed cauliflower ($24). There's also a selection of dishes from the char grill BBQ, and a "Menu of the Week" option, where you can do two courses for $39 or three for $49. We went with a couple of dishes from the Char Gril BBQ...

Merguez sausage, brioche roll, crispy onions, house-made pickles - $11

The merguez sausage was very good - soft brioche, spicy sausage, good condiments (Sandra asked for it without pickles). I'd happily order this myself next time!

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the "¼ Charcoal chicken platter with stuffing, house nuggets with selection of 3 salads". It was more expensive than the other items on the Char Grill BBQ section of the menu, ($28 compared to approx. $12 for the other items), so I assumed it would be quite large, but I wasn't prepared for something so fancy! Wow!

1/4 Charcoal chicken platter with stuffing, house nuggets with selection of 3 salads - $28

From left to right we have a pot of aioli, some crunchy stuffing pieces, the chargrilled chicken breast and wing, three housemade nuggets, and two crispy little wingettes. It was all really, really good. I especially loved the wingettes and the crunchy crunchy nuggets. (Side note: I had to ask the waitress to explain what everything on the platter was - she'd just popped the it down and said, "And this is the chicken" before turning to walk away. It's not a huge deal, and I'm sure I would have figured everything out, but it would have been a shame not to explain what was on the platter, because obviously the chefs put a lot of work into preparing that dish!)

Selection of 3 salads

The salads were also very impressive. I'm afraid I'm not entirely sure what all the individual salads were, though - as I'd already stopped the waitress to explain the chicken dish I was too embarrassed to ask another question. (Not that there's anything wrong with asking, but she seemed to be in a bit of a hurry, and you know, I felt a bit pai seh). So, from memory and my brain: there was a green salad with a few slivers of ham, a really good grain salad (sorry, not sure what the grain was), with a lemony dressing and little crunchy seeds/legumes, a tender piece of roast pumpkin, some really fabulous roast bitter greens, and a generous amount of Jerusalem artichoke salad. Yum yum yum.

This was a huge dish - luckily Sandra helped me with some of the chicken! I think this would be a good meal for one very hungry person - but I'd suggest sharing one between two and leaving room for dessert! Obviously, we had no room for dessert, so I just finished up with a nice coffee, and we bought some pastries to take back to the B&B.

Cappuccino - $3.80

As we lined up to pay and order our pastries, Sandra exclaimed: "Oh my god, look behind you!" Wow! How pretty does this table look?

The Afternoon Tea Spread

I asked one of the waitstaff, and apparently this is the afternoon tea offering! For $25 a person, you get a plate of savoury creations, scones (fruit and plain) with jam and cream, tea or coffee and "a seriously good selection from the pastry table. Woah! It's a cake buffet! If I hadn't just smashed that chicken platter, I would have totally done the afternoon tea. (It looks like it would be perfect for someone like me, who is indecisive and wants to try a little bit of everything). Now I just have another excuse for a road trip!

So, much, much later that evening, we dug into the cakes!

Strawberry cheesecake - $9

The strawberry cheesecake was a set cheesecake (as opposed to a baked one) - the texture of the cheesecake layer itself was quite good, but combined with the (fresh) strawberry jelly layer on top it was a bit too gelatinous for my liking. I would have also preferred a crunchier base. Still, it was nice to try it and I enjoyed the flavours, even if the textures didn't hit the mark for me.

Lemon meringue slice - $9

The lemon meringue slice was one of the prettier offerings in the pastry cabinet. Interestingly, the meringue, which was pillowy soft, seemed to have been made with honey, rather than sugar - there was a very pronounced honey taste. The whole tart was very sweet overall, and I felt the lemon curd could have been quite a bit sharper, to counteract the sweet meringue. Definitely one for the sweet tooths out there! (Or is it sweet "teeth"?)

Spelt shortbread piggy biscuit - $2

My favourite of the sweets we bought was actually the simplest - the little spelt shortbread piggy biscuit! This was a total impulse buy. I saw these little guys on the counter and had to have one! It was crisp, lightly buttery and just perfect.

I really, really liked the Piggery Cafe, and I'm so glad we stumbled across it! I liked the cosy atmosphere, the dishes we had were great, and I like the whole vibe of the place. I definitely want to go back to try that afternoon tea offering. I'm also looking forward to seeing the remaining ventures on the property as they open up, and to visiting in better weather so we can explore the grounds!

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  1. Oh cool! When we were in Melbourne one time he showed us the premises and it's great to see how it has evolved. It was an empty building when we saw it!

  2. Wow, who woulda thought! This place looks amazing and definitely gives more options to the (now-getting-boring) places i frequent whenever I hit the Dandenongs. I think I'll have to drag The Angmoh up there for the afternoon tea!

  3. Yum! I think a Sunday drive is in order very soon!!

  4. I love that they give you table herbs! And a little in love with the name of the place too :)

  5. I love that they give you table herbs! And a little in love with the name of the place too :)

  6. What a cute concept - it's really the little things that add something special, like the table herbs.

  7. Anonymous10:15 PM

    Maybe you should have looked at Urban spoon to find some of the GOOD restaurants in the Dandenongs. Suggest you try Woods, Le Miraaj and a few others.
    As for The Piggery, been 3 times, and always a disappointment.

  8. Wow! This place looks amazing! It gives out this genuine vibe! The concept they have chosen is magnificent! Love it!



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