Burnley Gardens Canteen
Home cooking from a three-hatted great
Oh, Melbourne. All you care about is ‘macarons this’ and ‘pulled pork that’. You seem to only have eyes for the glamorous, too busy sipping your siphoned espresso martini to appreciate simple, honest cooking. AgendaCity is here to bring you back to your roots.
Tucked away in Melbourne University’s Burnley Campus is the Burnley Gardens Canteen. Fine dining legend Tansy Good and her partner John Evens run the café. He was formerly head sommelier at Pearl. She opened up Carlton fine dining institution Tansy’s. Too young to remember it? Put it this way, Tansy taught Phillipa Sibley and Karen Martini the ropes in her kitchen.
While students and nearby workers keep Burnley Gardens to themselves, the canteen is open to the public. The space doesn’t try to be flash. It’s low-key and utterly humble. Kitsch decorations are thrown about the room: a carpet hung haphazardly on a wall, a bookshelf of cookbooks and National Geographic magazines, red flower fairy lights, vintage tins, a cardboard grasshopper mobile.
People don’t visit the Canteen for the décor; they visit for the home cooking. The chicken and mayo sandwich is their signature dish and made it to The Age’s Top 10 Sandwiches last year. Other options on the small, blackboard menu include homemade sausage rolls, the daily Burnley Gardens salad, soup of the day with bread, and ‘Chef’s Whim’, which is whatever Tansy feels like cooking that day. When we visited, it was a curry of sorts — Tansy doesn’t like to be categorized. “It’s half way between a green and a red curry,” she explained.
Burnley Gardens Canteen use organic, fair trade Gravity Coffee, perfect with one of Tansy’s homemade pastries or cakes. Try the brownie, made from 85 per cent cocoa Lindt chocolate, a carrot cake muffin made from purple carrots or a fluffy raspberry friand.
So Melbourne, while you’re busy checking out that trendy new coffee spot, we will be at this hidden gem keeping our cool. Join us if you dare to enjoy the simple life.
Location: 500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond
Open: Weekdays, 9am – 4.30pm
Phone: (03) 9035 6828