The Steam & Cuisine Luncheon Train could be just the answer – enjoy a delicious lunch served onboard a three hour outing on Puffing Billy. And on Mother’s Day itself, your Mum will receive a complimentary flower when she boards the train!
Being English I look forward to autumn each year: those glorious colours of the turning leaves, and wood smoke curling up from people’s chimneys across the valley. But autumn is only fun if you can keep warm, so if you’re after a day out which doesn’t involve getting cold, then you’ll love lunching in the warmth of the first class heritage carriages on Puffing Billy.
When its dark by 5pm and the last throws of summer are a distant memory, I find it really helps to have something special to look forward to in the diary, like having lunch with a friend on Puffing Billy. It’s a great, convivial atmosphere in the carriage and it is a lovely way to catch up on someone’s news, without a care about cooking or driving. And Puffing Billy has devised a great system in that you order your lunch from the menu when you make your booking – choosing either to share a ‘Natter Platter’ or go the full monty and have a decadent three-course lunch.
On the outbound journey to Emerald Lake Park, if you’ve ordered the Natter Platter to share, you’ll be presented with a generous tiered stack of savoury antipasto goodies, such as cured ham, smoked salmon, olives, pate, roasted veggies and gorgeous creamy cheeses. Then, on the return journey, out come the scones with jam and cream and a warming cup of tea or coffee. So, if you have got off the train at Emerald Lake Park (where the train stops for about 50 minutes) and gone for a wander in the bracing fresh air around the lovely lake, that cuppa will be rather welcome once you’re back on board.
I ordered and thoroughly enjoyed a three-course lunch and I certainly didn’t need feeding again that day! We each opted for a different menu item and I can heartily recommend the free range chicken followed by lemon-curd cheesecake, which tasted of real lemons, just the way it should.
Not everyone will want to leave the
warmth of the carriage at Emerald Park Lake, especially if it’s a bit wintry out there, and passengers are welcome to stay onboard and continue enjoying their drinks as the locomotive takes water and prepares for its return journey back through the Dandenongs to Belgrave Station.
Your ticket price covers your train journey and meal and you just pay for soft drinks and alcohol on board. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of a great local Yarra Valley wine and kept commenting on what a super relaxing way it was to spend a day out together with friends – all the fun and no responsibility. So don’t delay, book today while it’s fresh in your mind. The train goes daily from Belgrave Station at 12:30 and returns at 3.30pm.
Helen Collier is a local writer in the Yarra Valley with her own business JustWords