Here in Melbourne we love our food and we worship our coffee – so the cafes and restaurants we get them from are very important to us. The food, the décor, and of course the coffee, all score a rating in the overall experience. But for us here at Daniel Tyrrell Landscapes we have one more criteria. The greenery.
We love a café or restaurant that not only has quality food and coffee but a good green vibe. Some cafes we love have their own extensive kitchen gardens, others have potted or hanging herb gardens, and in others the greenery is just for ambiance.
Just like your gardens at home it can be simple or detailed, but we think there’s a few key things to making a good green vibe work in a food venue. Putting thought and planning into the design from the outset is crucial. Like your backyard, you can always tell if a café or restaurant has done the ground work or not. Some places have good functional design but you can tell that any plants or greenery have been added as an after-thought. You can’t just add some plants in pots and think it will work. (and you also shouldn’t be doing this for your yard at home either btw!!) Of course we are a bit bias but design is king. Not only for the aethestics but also to make sure plants are out of the way of patrons and staff, are not in locations that are particularly hard to access for watering.
Take Howler in Brunswick for example, dining in their courtyard is almost like dining in someone’s beautifully designed and landscaped yard. It doesn’t feel like a café/bar at all until the food arrives of course!
Another important part of having good greenery in a café or restaurant is remembering that even if they are an integral part of the décor they will not remain the same. Plants change with seasons, with age and sometimes with their mood. So being prepared to maintain the plants, replant them so they always look good and constantly updating them can be a challenge. A favourite of café ours is Uncommon in Windsor who have achieved this with hanging baskets and fresh product in vases every where. Uncommon not only have fabulous food and coffee, but have been smart about using the clever team at Loose Leaf to design and maintain their greenery. This entrance just wouldn’t be the same without the plants – the atmosphere is as light and fresh as the food.
Of course if you can’t find a café with a garden in it, you can always find a café IN a garden like Jardin Tan at our beloved Botanical Gardens or Cafe Vue out in the wilds of Heide Museum of Modern Art. Cafe Vue’s kitchen is supported by the most incredible kitchen garden – we were out there last week and there was veges aplenty.
And what about cafés in nurseries? Good ones are rare but when we find them they are the ultimate for us. Shopping for garden supplies and plants can be hard work and is not to be rushed so taking your time and boosting your energy with some good food or coffee can be very helpful to the process! Check out the gorgeous environs in Adelaide at the Topiary
And while we think we have some great cafes here in Australia here’s a bit of gorgeousness and inspiration from overseas. This is the newest creation of Copenhagen-based restaurateur Torben Klitbo, Väkst, which immerses diners in “a lush greenhouse experience in the middle of the city.” You can find out more on this café via one of our favourite sites Gardenista Photography courtesy of Cofoco.
So, this is just a few venue that have great food, even better coffee AND a good green vibe. We’d love to hear your favourites!?