Burnham Beeches Born … Again

So was it last Sunday …? Hmmmm – I think yes? Maybe? T’was. Let’s go with that.

Picture this, Sunday morning. Cannot recall the events of Saturday Night but I think I probably attempted Marco Pierre White’s Pasta Carbonara, on a frivolous whim – no doubt messed up on account of using Gluten-Free Pasta (otherwise known as Rice Noodles).

In any case, I probably decided somewhere between cremating the pancetta and gazing unconcerned-ly in to the trusting eyes of Clangers (uncomplaining consumer of my cooking) – that on Sunday, I would be sleeping in.

I should have detected the suspicious shine behind Clangers eyes. I should have twigged that something was up, when Clangers surreptitiously attempted a casual inquiry, drops in to the bathroom conversation before lights out,

“So, what time do you think you’ll be up tomorrow?”

I yawned and attempted to respond at the same time, ended up communicating incoherently whilst simultaneously silently occupying myself with some extreme internal dialogue leveled at my inner critic – asking myself, ‘What would Marco do?’ …

“About 10,” I finally said to Clangers. Vaguely detecting some agreement may have been struck. So I followed with,


Clangers begins furtively averting his eyes to avoid discerning gaze from which no secrets can hide. Also if the wind is blowing in the right direction – people turn to STONE!

However, after a short soundless scuffle involving shifting of weight, arms being crossed and impending sighing – he says,

“I have a surprise!”

‘Oh God! That’s all I need’. Fast forward to the next morning. In my view – Sundays are for sleeping in – for attempting to play the Ukulele and now apparently also for surprises. I was still placidly dreaming at 10:30am when I detect a loud thumping sound and … a Mood.

Long story short, I got up, scuttled myself in to the bathroom, flew through the teeth cleaning hair combing routine and was rushed out the door before Clangers got the wind up, and there was any opportunity for further pouting of lips or too much huffing and puffing.

Clangers, it was revealed, wanted to go to the newly opened Piggery Cafe at Burnham Beeches – the most recent project and business of Shannon Bennett, the palate, Chef and Mind behind Vue De Monde. Shannon Bennett together with developer Adam Garrison, who, as new owners, have launched the first phase in a plan they hope will make Burnham Beeches one of the premier food and accommodation destinations in the country.

Burnham Beeches was originally built for the Nicholas Family, the founders of the Aspro brand, in 1933. The property has been a Private Residence complete with its own Cinema and Lift. It has also been a Children’s Hospital and a Science Research Facility. It has been a small Luxury Hotel known as the Burnham Beeches Country House but for the last 20 years, it has been languishing – shuttered. No more.

Enter … Chef-Restaurateur Shannon Bennett

Burnham Beeches is a big dream and the First Phase is well underway. There’s plans for an Emu Farm (for eggs), a Trufferie and extensive fruit and vegetable gardens now up and running on various parts of the 23-hectare property. Major building work is planned and has begun transforming the property in to a luxury boutique hotel complete with plunge pool, bar, ballroom, day spa, restaurant and rooftop croquet lawn, plus a cinema and two-lane bowling alley in the basement. There will be additional guest rooms elsewhere on the property, a small village of food businesses – bakery, brewery, steakhouse, teas, hops and cheese room – plus hiking trails and picnic areas to encourage day trippers. The bakery-café (in the old piggery – the stalls have been converted to booths) is now open, with the steakhouse and the brewery soon to be, and the hotel is expected to take its first guests at the end of 2015.

Click on Burnham Beeches’ First Phase Unveiled to read about the Shannon’s story so far and his dream for Burham Beeches going forward.

It is all very exciting. Surprises are – exciting – for that is what makes them – Surprises!

So Clangers and I went for breakfast, stayed for lunch and to hang out with new friends and neighbors. The designer, Louisa Roth, has created an atmosphere that makes you feel you are both inside enjoying all the warmth of fire and company, and at the same time – as though you are outside in the cool green and blue of Sherbrooke Forest. She’s created an environment where you are very likely to reach across that social divide, that invisible line that separates you from me and start chatting to the people you are seated next to – how about that?

We shot the breeze about … well all the things you are not supposed to talk about, the trifecta – ‘Running a Bed and Breakfast, Politics and Religion’ but we also picked up a hot tip for childhood eczema. Apparently this is a gold nugget if you are chasing … and I know lots of parents are.

This tip comes straight from the Royal Children’s Hospital Eczema Management page on their site … it is simple and unexpected.

Add 12mL of White King Bleach to 10L of warm water – run a bath, put child in. Sorted. Truth.

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