This magnificently restored 1882 homestead has been reimagined into a posh cafe, with dining rooms, a beautiful landscaped garden, courtyard, glorious vegie patch and chook house.
Sitting in the parlour of Stamford Park, you feel hours out of the city. But this magnificently restored and reimagined 1882 homestead is only 28 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, in the southeastern suburb of Rowville.
After sitting dormant for the last 30 years, the homestead has just reopened to the public as a restaurant and cafe. The pair behind it? Hospitality entrepreneur Jason M Jones — who is behind South Yarra’s Entrecôte, Armadale’s Bouzy and Second Home in Eltham — and his partner in business and in life, interior designer Brahman Perera.
Since winning the Knox City Council tender to restore and operate the homestead in 2016, Jones and Perera adopted a vision for Stamford Park that would “see the old girl once again be used as she was intended”. The three-year restoration was to give reverence to a valuable piece of local history and 19th century architecture. But its execution goes beyond this — Jones and Perera have crafted a more whimsical and memorable experience for diners looking to escape the city.
From each of the two north-facing rooms, three large Victorian windows look out to a beautiful autumnal garden and wicker chairs on the front porch. Jazz is playing and fireplaces are burning in adjacent rooms — it feels very much like a home, rather than a venue.
“It’s been lovely watching people come in, have a wander around the house while chatting to staff, then go to eat a lovely meal and finish with a visit to the chooks and meander through the garden (drink in hand even better),” says Perera. “We think that’s so much nicer than sitting, eating and leaving directly afterwards.”
The homestead’s eight rooms have been elegantly transformed and styled to offer different experiences. Of the eight, only two actually operate as formal dining rooms. Then there’s the kitchen and lobby, and the other four allow for diners to get a change of scenery, perhaps between courses or for pre- or post-meal cocktails. There’s also a veggie garden, chook house and ornamental lake that you can explore at your leisure.
Stamford Park opened earlier this month, and we’ve got a look-in. In partnership with Zantac we’re uncovering the best new restaurants and bars around Australia as they open. We’ve got the lowdown on the team, the design and — most importantly — the menu so that you can head in educated, excited and ready to take it all in — with a few dishes recommended by the chef, no less.