Relax in an English conservatory setting with Devonshire tea in the verdant Dandenongs Mountain Ranges.
Scones were one of the first things that MoMo & Coco learnt to bake. Easy to mix, quick to bake, faster to eat, there’s not that many reasons to search for scones outside of the home. But, many of the most lovely things in life are the simplest things to enjoy, and a weekend drive to the Victorian countryside is somewhat incomplete without a platter of scones. Tucked away at the end of the main street that runs through the small leafy township of Sassafras, Fortnums is one of the prettiest restaurants/tea room/venues that we have ever had the pleasure of coming across.
Constructed as an English garden conservatory, it’s so very elegant outside. A manicured lavender hedge lines the frontage, and potted pansies, begonias and petunias sweep a prism of colour all the way up to its entrance. Sunlight cascades through the window frontage, a line of small chandeliers glint from the ceiling, daisies smile from little white vases on tables dressed twice-over in milky white and olive green linen.
Light lunches are served at Fortnums. They do not aspire to culinary breakthroughs or to technical cooking here. It’s simple, it’s very reasonably-priced, it’s stomach-filling, it’s tasty, and therefore perfect for unfussy day-trippers who drive through and visit. MoMo & Coco’s favourite are the open baguettes with a choice of fillings ($12.90 and $15.90) and the vast spread of the Ploughman’s Lunch ($24.90). There’s also meaty pot pies, salads, potatoes and bigger meat plates too.
Desserts are Fortnums are equally delicious, but really, it is the Devonshire Tea ($8.90) that is truly unforgettable. Served on a lacy paper doily, two beautiful scones are served as scones should be — just oven-baked warm, moderate in size, and soft and fluffy. They are not nuggety, not crumbly, not monster-sized, and most definitely not cold as at so many dismal places. Dusted over with icing sugar, they come accompanied with a dish of home-made jam (a little drippy but flavoursome rather than sugary) and double cream. MoMo & Coco dare you to say no.
Fortnums provides a antidote to all that detestful industrial, warehouse, minimalist decor, all that hipster-dominanted audience, all that unjustified raves of far too many dining veues in metropolitan Melbourne. Its setting evokes a sort of genteel timelessness. It is really quite perfect for not only lunching and tea time, but also for functions. Service is always welcoming, mostly efficient. The food is simple, well-priced, done well, easy to eat and easy to appreciate by all generations. But it’s that Devonshire Tea, an old-fashioned beauty made anew that’s truly remarkable. If the country towns of UK have the renowned scones of Huffkins Tea Rooms, in one country town of Victoria there is Fortnums.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Fortnums Restaurant and Tea Room, 395 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, Vic 3787.
- ☑ Budget: $ ($8.50 pp)
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Devonshire Tea
- ☑ Must-eat: Available daily.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Relax in an English conservatory setting with Devonshire tea in the verdant Dandenongs Mountain Ranges.