27 October 2016
GOURMET SANDWICHES & LOCAL ART AT LIMESTONE CAFE, PORT FAIRYby SILKE
When we visit Limestone Café for lunch in Port Fairy, we are excited to get to know Meg Finnegan, the owner of this recently opened café and art gallery. You really need to meet the owner to understand a place like this café better. Everywhere you look there are personal touches, lovingly decorated on the inside, strikingly bold artwork strategically positioned on the outside. Located right on Princess Highway, a little bit outside of town in a spot that is known as Strawberry Farm by the locals, this place needs to be part of your itinerary when you visit Port Fairy.
Meg and her team welcome us with open arms. We are guests here but we feel like being part of an exclusive circle. Through the big glass windows we can see the immaculately kept gardens – something to explore after our quick lunch. The menu is a mix of breakfast items and gourmet sandwiches which we in Australia also love to call “sangas”. I order a bacon, spinach, tomato and avocado (you can never have enough avo!) sandwich an dark rye, while my husband selects a simple bacon and eggs on sourdough toast.
As we are waiting for our food our eyes wander along the walls of the dining room. Limestone has never been just a café, it is also a place where local artists will find room to exhibit their latest work. There’s paintings and prints, pottery and small scale installations. This makes Limestone Café one of the best places to explore the local art scene – and Port Fairy does have a lot more per capita art than you would expect. Not looking at Port Fairy’s art scene when visiting the region would mean missing one very vital part of the town.
Truth be told, art is so much part of this Café and its proposition that food almost comes second. Not to say that it isn’t nice. In fact, it is indeed very nice. The bread fresh and soft, the greens fresh, the bacon crispy. A perfect little lunch meal, in a perfect setting.
But the garden is calling me… I can hear it, it is beckoning me to explore its details and secrets. The garden is as much an integral part of Limestone Café as is the gallery. In summer, patrons can eat alfresco on the pretty deck and enjoy the lush views while the kids can give the lawns a good workout.
Meg joins me briefly as I walk down to the far end of the garden. She points out a big covered rotunda which she explains is utilised for wedding ceremonies. What a fantastic setting for a garden wedding, with so many beautiful photo opportunities, complete with catering by the café and plenty of outdoor and indoor seating – I am sure Limestone is one of the most sought after wedding locations in the area.
All around the garden, in flower beds and under trees I can find Meg’s amazing sculptures. They are, indeed, intriguing. Stone is one of the materials used, but there is also colourful glass and metal pieces, mostly copper.
There are humanlike sculptures with wire hair and shards of glass sticking out of their heads like a halo. Colours play an important role – a lot of elements are cheerful and add a happy feel to the artwork.
Meg also makes a point of recycling natural elements in her art. All around you there are cones and sticks, while the topic of nature is also reflected in the other material she uses. In the wedding rotunda there is a copper plate with a tree pattern which is positioned behind the married couple. Like a wide open door it invites interpretation and reflection about life, its beginning and its end, the forces of nature, and the changes through the seasons.
Limestone Café is a happy place. A place where you would want to take your family for a leisurely Saturday lunch, a place where you want to meet the locals, a place where you can kick back and relax in a stunning garden setting.
Limestone Café and Gallery. 506 Princess Highway, Port Fairy. http://www.limestonegallery.com.au/