The idea for a road trip normally begins with the need for adventure, discovery, and escape (and maybe the excuse to christen a pair of green P plates). However, when a good friend, my boyfriend and I embarked on our little (ha – what an understatement) journey, it was to seek out a giant caffeine hit. Because according to my French-savvy friend, there was a gorgeous Parisian café hidden away somewhere on Mount Dandenong, that served huge coffees. Call us novelty seekers, but I was sold.
A bus trip, two train changes and a car ride later, we found ourselves in Sassafras, a little town snug in a quiet nook of the mountain. After parking the car and sloshing our way through puddles and pouring rain, the solace a big, hot coffee would bring was sounding pretty good.
So quaint you almost have stumble across it to find, the Café de Beaumarchais (or in English, the Café of Beautiful Walking – so poetic!) can be found tucked away at Shop 1, 372 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, VIC.
As soon as you step through the old wooden saloon doors, it’s as if you’ve stepped right into France, Woody Allen style (for those who have seen Midnight in Paris). The shelf of baguette baskets and ceiling of chandeliers was beckoning me to tap into the French I had learned years ago. Lucky I didn’t, because I was pas mal at it.
The menu boasts Parisian delights like croissants, savory flans, a long list of cakes and macarons in unusual, yet endearing flavors like licorice and mint, as well as a delicious wine list – that we unfortunately couldn’t experience in case we tipsily drove straight off the mountain on the way down – but I couldn’t go past the salmon, cream cheese, dill and cos lettuce baguette. Crisp and extremely fresh, I know I’ll be back there for it again.
Here’s a fun fact for you. Did you know that the original meaning of the word “cute” is “ugly and interesting”? At least, that’s what the barista told me with a twinkle in his eye when I expressed how adorable I thought the mini quiches were. It was nice to have a laugh with the staff at the Café de Beaumarchais, and it was refreshing how they were always up for a chat and made sure to look after you. Maybe I should have pulled out some of my old French and called those little quiches “mignonne” instead, because they really were adorable, and according to the boys who ordered one each, also trés délicieux.
Oh, and of course – the reason for the trip – those giant coffees. My Fabian cappuccino (even the name sounds like a handsome Frenchman) was lovely, very smooth and by no means bitter, and almost seemed to have the power to enchant the storm outside into a romantic patter of rain.
Find them at: Shop 1, 372 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, VIC.
Phone: 03 9755 1100