Today we ventured out to Sweet Grass Bonsai Nursery and Cafe in Footscray. It’s been raining all week and we have been cooped up inside with a nasty cold. This cafe proved the perfect antidote to a dreary day. We sat back on the verandah, watched rain droplets peal off leaves and savoured our drinks. Run and owned by Hao Ho, the establishment is testament to one man’s generosity, artistry and craft. There is a huge variety of bonsai and the courtyard is astonishing.
Sweet Grass is a peaceful green haven on an otherwise busy street. The trees, rocks and figurines form romantic vistas that recall ancient landscapes. Although small in scale, the plantings are epic, branches cascade over rocks, figures drink tea in tiny caves formed in the roots, minute cattle roam and trees tumble into serene ponds.
If your children have imaginations that run wild with possibilities, this is the place to take them. They will revel in the minute detail, the sense of humour innate in some of the installations and the teensy figures that can be seen enjoying the mini landscapes.
Come to Sweet Grass for afternoon tea or a mid-morning break. The cafe serves drinks but not food. Sit back, order a mocktail, vietnamese iced coffee or tea and soak in the calm under the leafy canopy. We came for only one drink and ended up staying for a few. I ordered a Dutch Treat made with cocoa, honey and cinnamon. It was perfect. As was the chai latte.
The venue does not have changing facilities or highchairs, so keep this in mind if you are bringing your little one. It is, however, a unique experience for young children, and, while the garden is small, you can easily spend a couple of hours as there is just so much to look at.
Sweet Grass Cafe is an elegant example of why I choose to live in west Melbourne and to raise my children in this spectacular diversity of cultures. This is a place where you can feel refreshed and fulfilled.
357 Barkly Street, Footscray
Open daily from 10am to 5 pm