This beautiful little white wooden church turned cafe has to be one of my favourite finds of 2014. So far I've sat by the fire and floor to ceiling bookcase with a friend from Ballarat for lunch...enticed my Mum and sister along to explore on a second occasion...and very shortly I'm heading back for dinner with a friend...hopefully on the decking if the weather plays nicely. However you spend your time here; you'll walk away with lungs full of country air; a soul replenished by wide open spaces and cosy armchairs; and a belly full of good food.
(I wrote about Small Holdings for the current issue of the Bendigo Magazine, where I explored the concept of old church buildings re-purposed in new ways to create connections and community. Below is an excerpt of the article which also explores The Old Church on The Hill in Bendigo, which you can read about here.)
Just a short drive down the Calder you will find one of my new favourite places, Small Holdings. This tiny little church, sheltered under stately oak trees with an outlook towards rambling paddocks, sits just back from the main road of Malmsbury.
It’s the kind of place you could easily imagine a Sunday School picnic of days past…perhaps with Anne (of Green Gables) sitting on the front step tasting ice cream for the first time.
Inside, a few remaining pews blend with a mixture of antique chairs. Both the kind you’d expect to find gathered around the kitchen table of a country homestead; and big soft armchairs to sink into whilst you let your eyes wander around the white paneled walls.
With everything from the watchful eye of a white deer perched up in the rafters, a cabinet of carefully selected wines, hardwood floors and pendant lights…your gaze will undoubtedly come to rest on the chalkboard displaying the country fare of the day. Additions and edits to the menu are made as the chef casts an eye over the locally sourced ingredients they have gathered. We order a Daylesford breakfast tea, watch the comings and goings of patrons, and savour our decision making....
Small Holdings is at 90 Mollison Street, Malmsbury (visibly opposite the bakery, just on a street that runs parallel to the main road). You can find their website and links to social media here.