Have you noticed that if you don’t polish your silver it becomes tarnished and dull? Like a piece of silverware Coonara Springs had become a little tarnished, a little dull: The garden overgrown and the building tired and worn. It looked as though years of serving the locals had taken its toll and it was time to retire. Until… Adam and Sally came along. With love and care they spent three years renovating and restoring Coonara Springs to its former glory. As with polished silver, it now shines – a dazzling attraction for foodies one and all.
Pulling up to the front of the Victorian style cottage, I let out a squeal of excitement. Not only have the new owners cleaned up the garden and re-landscaped the front to include a paved wheelchair entrance, they have finished the freshly painted cladding off with a black door. It is well known in my family that a black door can stop me in my tracks (no matter where we are). My love for doors began in my twenties when I was Au Pairing in Germany and noticed the amazing accent that a coloured (let’s call black a colour) door adds to an otherwise neutral façade. Since then I have vowed that one day my little abode will be adorned with a black door.
I digress. Walking through the front door you may have heard me gasp. This entrance is everything I love about period interiors. Picture rails, high ceilings, arches, ceiling roses, chandeliers and polished floorboards. The delightful Amanda greeted us and showed us through to the restaurant which is still located in the enclosed veranda. Natural light floods this area, the farmhouse style open kitchen shows off the original oven beautifully and gives the already intimate space a homely feel. While the leather bench seats and modern dining chairs are the perfect addition to the blush pink interior, the hero of this room is its view!
On the day we were blessed to receive the hospitality of Coonara Springs, it was raining! Why venture out in the wet and the cold, one might ask. Well with five fire places roaring and a room full of windows, it was the perfect place to be. You see, even in the cooler months this is a destination you will want to brave the weather for. You can curl up in the reading room, sipping a pre-dinner drink or sit at the cosy bar while you wait for your table – both blessed with wood heating. If for some special reason you need a private function room, the offering at Coonara Springs is historic in nature and cosy with character. It has been known to host intimate weddings, anniversary and birthday celebrations as well as business functions – PERFECT.
The Head Chef Adrian is a master at his craft, with house smoking and Parma Ham hanging common place. To say flavour packed is stating the obvious!! This fine-dining menu is a must try. With dining packages offering $65 for two courses or three for $90, the options are endless. Every dish from cured scallops to a dessert of Rhubarb-liquorice mousse-liquorice jelly-gingerbread is perfectly plated. The wine list heavily supports the local wineries of the region with interstate and international options to ensure choice and variety.
If you are a lover of the ‘old’ Coonara Springs, I assure you that it is ultimately still the historic, warm and welcoming venue that you have grown attached to – it just shines a little brighter. With plans to offer dining beneath the amazing elm trees found within the beautifully landscaped gardens and whispers of opening a Farmer’s Gate where you can take home some of the amazing smoked salmon and other treats created in the Coonara Springs kitchen, the future is looking very shiny for a such a historic piece of the Dandenong Ranges.