Friends on the Hill, Monbulk

Once in a while, you’ll stumble across a little gem that surprises you so much you just know you’re gonna become a regular!

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We’re currently scouring the Dandenong Ranges, a much overlooked foodie region, in search of our next home. I mean, just take a look at this photo to see our attraction to the region! Yes, those are big kangaroos next to the vineyard!

So, anyhow, we’re driving around in absolutely atrocious weather so we can see what it’s like on the mountain in the abysmal conditions as well as the perfect tourist sunshine. This kind of opportunity is rare for us ahead of a move as we’ve traditionally criss crossed the nation so rely on the internet for information. I must admit, I was becoming a wee bit cranky. I was tired & irritable because I was just simply hungry. We’d tried to have take out dinner the night before, only to get home to discover they’d given us the wrong order! There was nothing I could eat in there. Normally, we’d just brush it off as one of those things I simply have to put up with now as a Celiac, but we were miffed because we’d actually nagged the staff numerous times checking they were getting our order right & I even saw my Gluten Free option sitting on the bench as the girl was packing ours up & asked her isn’t that mine to which she said no! I had then made the mistake of leaving the house the next morning without breakfast! Oops, my bad! So it was little wonder then that by lunch time I was flailing, after all, it had been 24 hours since I’d really had anything to eat.

We found a park in the village of Monbulk, a gorgeous local’s village that is obviously the hub of the region. As we stalked the street in the rain, I made the somewhat ignorant statement that I surely wouldn’t find anything to eat here either. It’s just so difficult to eat out when you have a dietary issue. It has made me change from being such a big part of the vibrant food scene to becoming a virtual recluse eating at home.

The most inviting of cafe’s had a lovely fire going in the corner & I said to hubby, if nothing else I could at least have a cup of tea to warm up while he & Mini Me had some lunch.

Imagine my surprise when the waitress brought over the menu which was absolutely littered with fabuliciouz Gluten Free options!

Normally, if we manage to find anything at all for me to eat on a menu, it’s only 1 or possibly 2 choices, if I’m lucky, & it’s usually not what I want to eat as it’s always the same option everywhere. I can happily report that at Friends on the Hill, every single Gluten Free item was a total breath of fresh air! I want to munch my way through that entire menu! Everything, just bring me everything, was what I fought back saying when placing my order but I tempered my gluttony & chose the Tomato & Basil Soup. Oh good lord, I was not disappointed!

Upon chatting with the chef to express my extreme gratitude for the variety on the menu (I could even have a burger if I want!) I discovered that the Head Chef’s mother is Celiac so that is why he is so sympathetic to the cause!

Friends on the Hill at Monbulk truly are now my mates! I can’t wait to find a home up there & become a regular.

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