The General Food Store
377 Belgrave Gembrook Rd
If you are heading out for a brunch or coffee with a friend, I can highly recommend you take yourselves to Emerald. I know, it is a little bit further than some people might like to travel from Berwick, but the journey is worth it. The road sweeps you around the Cardinia foothills and past the Cardinia Resevoir which makes for quite beautiful viewing. If you take the Beaconsfield Emerald Rd you will get to drive past Elephant Rock. I am still not 100% sure that this is a good thing. Yes, it is a large rock formation on the side of the road in the shape of an elephant, but it is regularly “painted” with varying results. Generally “Happy Birthday Timmo” is the kind of thing you will find painted on it. Although for the recent PAVE festival they did have it painted quite nicely and in theme.
There are also goats on a hill, the quirky Upper Beaconsfield village with Sally’s Big Ass Burgers flaunting her humble self right at you, a golf course and a lot of beautiful gardens and Autumn trees. The goats are somewhat reminiscent of angry birds, standing as they are inclined to do on their three tiered timber platform. Someone loves those goats and they seem to have a dream goat life (assuming no one catapults anything at them to knock them off their stand).
My family and I always enjoy this drive. Once you arrive at your destination there is a steam train and a beautiful playground. If you have children this makes for a fantastic day out. Get to it!
So if you have bothered to make your way to Emerald then please visit The General Food Store once you are there. Open since 2011 this small cafe is getting fantastic reviews and was recently awarded three stars in the Age Good Food Guide Cheap Eats Guide. This is the cafe you go to if you want to eat fantastic food with your coffee. Be it a buttery pastry, cake, sour dough toast with local honey or a speciality baguette everything you eat here is excellent. The first time I ate here was thanks to one of those understated local tip offs. “There is a great coffee place near my house, I go there every morning for a cup before I start my day.” This did not give much away but seeing as we knew almost no one in our local area, we take the tips when they come in. When we arrived at The General Food Store we were very glad we listened because it was all nearly perfect.
The fit out of the cafe fits into the modern, comfy, understated groove. Once again, this is a very Melbourne kind of design. My favourite part of the fit out is the big community notice board they have on their wall. It lists some local “happenings” and any events they are running that month. It hints at how entrenched this cafe is in the local community of Emerald. The cafe itself is pretty small, well very small. If you have children or a pram you are probably not going to feel relaxed eating inside here. Although quite a few people try anyway. I guess the lure of the perfect cafe is too strong…..
The coffee is by Coffee Supreme in Abbottsford. They use Jonesy’s milk. It is consistently very (new wave) good. They also seem to try and source some of their other produce from local suppliers where possible.
I have had lunch here and brunch here and coffee and morning tea and afternoon tea. All of it very, very good. You can find out a little bit more about it here.
So go on, visit Emerald and go on, eat at The General Food Store. It really is worth making the gorgeous drive.
Just make sure you stop to say hello to the goats on their hill on the way there. And maybe the elephant rock (and maybe not).