Over the hill and far away lies a little old cottage with a mysterious way.
It was a beautiful day this Tuesday passed and I thought it would be a great day to attempt the 1000 steps situated at the base of the ever beautiful Mt Dandenong. I invited my friend Mel to take on the challenge with me. I pumped myself up too much that I was overwhelmed (and too unfit) to complete it. We got half way and run into a little difficulties with Mel’s health and my fitness, so we gave up and went back down. It’s hard to admit it, but we were happy with our decision. As we got back to my car we decided on heading up Mt Dandenong to explore it a little and find a place to get a bit to eat.
Mt Dandenong is such a beautiful drive, it is also a bit difficult driving up as it is steep and very windy, but nothing can ruin the smell of old bark and native trees. The road goes through beautiful small towns and have scattered all the way up beautiful cottages. Many times as I looked around I thought I was in the old villages in the UK, even though I haven’t been.
Seven kilometers up from where 1000 steps, the base of Mt Dandenong, is lies a sleepy town called Sassassfra. As you drive into this charming town you pass a small strip of shops that remind me of Daylesford. Shops of gifts and therapeutical goodies along with little cafes. Across the road from the nursery sit Miss Marples Tearooms, a dainty little English style cottage that invites you into the world of ‘tea and biscuits’.
Miss Marple’s Tearoom screams old ladies with sunbrellas sitting drinking tea and eating scones with cream and jam from the outside, and with a collection of chinaware, teapots and saucers and floral table clothes and napkins on the inside, it is a hot spot for tourists and passer-byer’s to pop in for a little afternoon tea.
To my surprise, as we sat down and I looked at my surroundings, the place was completely filled with tourists, not one stereotypical group of old ladies coming together to talk about Midsummer Murders, shame. Along the shelves that sit high on the walls lie a mass collection of teapots and saucers, it almost felt like to just arrived at Grandma’s house. The tearoom is inspired by an Agatha Christie character from one of her novels, Miss Marple. The themed cafe felt warm and welcoming, although I wouldn’t have rated the service we receive very high on that day, the beautiful food made up for it.
The menu is quite simple, offering sandwiches, soup and a great range of those tradition sweets such as bread and butter pudding and chocolate sundae. My personal preference is simple menus, as I think they are the the definition of the place, apart from the decor, are the character of the place. If a menu can keep it short and sweet to reach their customers then they are already winning at the game.
We decided on the soup and a serve of scones to share. The soup of the day was a homemade mushroom soup with a crusty bread roll. The soup was quite tasty, much more than I expected it to taste like. It was buttery, creamy and didn’t have an overpowering, intense mushroom flavour, that could ruin the dish. What I loved about the soup, and I guess it would be the same for any other menu item, is the China it was served in. It is very amusing.
Our next coarse was the serve of scones, which topped our whole experience at Miss Marple’s Tearooms. The waitress came out of the kitchen with a basket and two dishes. One filled with fresh whipped cream, the other with Miss Marple’s very own jam. Towering out of the basket were two, what we thought, slices of cake. As the waitress walked off Mel and I looked at each other with slight confusion trying to remember saying scones and cake. We dug in anyway and were happy to find out that they were in fact scones, very delicious scones. Miss Marple’s must bake a whole tray of scones then cut generous servings out of it. They must have been the best scones I have in my life, and the jam was spot on. My only regret was not buying a jar for myself.
Miss Marple’s is a perfect mid way stop as you venture up the gorgeous Mt Dandenong. Even with a crowd consisting mainly of tourists, the atmosphere is splendoured and relaxed. I will be looking forward to going back for a serve of those scones!
Located: 382 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, Victoria, Australia
Open: Everyday 11am – 4pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 4.30pm
Price: Lunch & Scones for 2 $35