Despite what some might have you believe, there is a lot to love about Canberra. Nestled in between mountains, coastline, Sydney and Melbourne, this modest capital is quietly confident. Host to magnificent locally sourced, organic produce and some of Australia’s best art galleries and cultural institutes Canberra has a lot on offer. It has an especially booming, passionate foodie culture. Over the ANZAC weekend I was able to sample some of the best, though I’m told we only scraped the surface.
You simply have to eat here. Hidden behind an old style pub Grazing is perhaps one of the finest dining experiences on the border of NSW and ACT in Gundaroo. Order the Ox Cheek ($33) braised in Pedro Ximenez Sherry with glazed heirloom carrots, fresh horseradish and parsnip puree for a sensational winter warmer. The generous and gelatinous serving of Ox Cheek is rich and superb and pairs well with a glass of local Pinot Noir. For dessert there is one absolute winner. The Orange Flourless Cake ($16) is a bright a moorish combination of fennel seeds, coffee dukkah, orange butter and marmalade ice cream.
Situated right on the water of Kingston Foreshore, it’s one of the best places to see the sunrise whilst enjoying your cold press juice or coffee fix. Beautiful, industrial décor and art from local artists sets the scene for incredible and healthy food. It’s no wonder this place has a waiting line from 7:00am. The stand out dish for us was the Green Pea Pancake ($24) with poached eggs, corn salsa, macerated avo and chilli jam. It comes with your choice of either salmon or ham – the flavour rich salmon is hard to beat!
This trendy share style restaurant is perfect for long breakfasts and lasting lunches. This is not because service is slow, quite the opposite actually, it’s fantastic. It is because at 86 they encourage you to order as you go – take it slow – savour the flavour journey and see where it takes you next. There are too many good things on the menu to mention them all – but we had a few favourites. The chicken parfait ($24) with rhubarb jam is divine. The Black Chicken with Slaw ($40) is sweet and sticky, generously lathered in a special marinade, made up of a complex and flavourful ingredients. Make sure you leave room for the Frozen Margarita ($16) – hidden by shards of thin, sugar dusted meringue you will find light, tangy passionfruit and lime sorbet, with vanilla cream. Yum !
The super chilled Penny University is a playful redbrick café with a killer menu. The walls are decked out with paste-ups of funky local art and the scene is happening day in, day out. On the specials menu was Black Rice Porridge ($20) with grilled pomegranate, almond milk pannacotta, passionfruit, crumble and a green juice shot. The Croissant French Toast ($18) is a decadent choice that comes with mascarpone, strawberries, maple syrup, meringue and if you please, a side of Pialligo Bacon. You’ll find this bacon across most menu’s in Canberra due to its recent award winning status of Australia’s Best Bacon. It’s good, it’s real good and its farmed and smoked only a stone’s throw away.
80 / 20
Their menu reflects the philosophy that you should treat your body like a temple 80% of the time and treat yourself 20% of the time. The stand out on the menu is the green nourish bowl ($16.50). Packed with leafy goodness, a perfectly poached egg, asparagus, kales, broad beans and roasted pepitas, served with capsicum pesto and chilli salt, this bowl makes you want to be healthy 100% of time. The Quinoa Trout breakfast salad ($18) sounds amazing on the menu however lacked flavour on arrival. There is a great selection of smoothies and acai bowls, for a fresh wake up try the Glow Pro –a berry and coconut Smoothie.
Check out these new and fresh culinary scene in Canberra and let us know what you think!