Last weekend we headed off to the nation's capital for the weekend. I always really enjoy visiting Canberra, particularly at this time of the year, when the Autumn leaves are out in all their colourful glory, and the air has that wonderful crisp chill to it. Usually, when we visit, we head off to the National Gallery, Parliament House (yes, I'm a bit of a politics nerd) and the local markets - but this time the visit ended up being extremely food-centric!
We usually break up the 3 hour drive with a rest break at a trucker's roadhouse (which usually involves consumption of some dodgy servo food eaten on the run) but this time we decided to take our time and check out a place that we always drive past - but I've always wanted to try. The rather twee named Grandma's Little Bakery is located in Collector and sits up on the hill, overlooking the olive groves of Fedra Olive Farm. The cafe is part of the farm complex, and serves generous, rustic and really flavoursome food using local ingredients. It was a gorgeous day when we visited, and eating lunch whilst looking out over the sun drenched olive groves was a lovely way to break up the trip.
The view as we ate lunch
at Grandma's Little Bakery, Collector.
Award winning local Fedra Olive Oil
which I bought to take home.
Canberra Autumn colour.
Our favourite accommodation option in Canberra is the historic Hyatt Hotel, located close to Parliament House. It was built in 1927 to house politicians when parliament was sitting, and is a gorgeous example of Art Deco architecture. I'm a huge fan of all things Deco, so it is always such a treat to stay at the Hyatt and revel in that pared down elegance.
The Foyer - Hyatt Hotel Canberra.
We have stayed in lots of hotels in our travels, but the things that make the Hyatt one of our favourite places to stay are those generous, elegant rooms - particularly the luxurious bathrooms, which all have beautiful deep baths and so much space that two people can happily get ready in the morning without getting under each other's feet.
Art Deco Bedroom - Hyatt Hotel Canberra
Nothing like a luxurious bathroom to make you feel spoiled.
For mains, Andrew chose the Bangalow pork cutlet with caramelised brussels sprouts, mustard and speck - and for me a beautiful crispy skinned trout with charred broccolini, almonds, capers and beurre noisette. Both dishes were delicious - served in a rustic, generous way. Perfect Autumn food. We shared a dessert - salted caramel donuts, served with house made banana ice cream and toasted marshmallow. Over the top - but delicious.
Dining Room - Temporada
Down the road to Poachers Pantry
So, to lunch. I kicked off with one of my favourite food combos ever. Scallops and black pudding. They were served with a lovely fresh fennel and herb salad, and a delicious sweet pumpkin puree. So simple, but wonderful. I enjoyed a glass of Wily Trout Sauvingon Blanc which was perfect with this dish.
Scallops with Poachers Pantry Black Pudding
For the main course, I went for the braised pork cheek with kimchi and lotus root. The dish was served with a rich, full flavoured master stock. The hot, spicy kimchi was the perfect contrast to the rich, buttery pork cheek. Andrew chose smoked lamb cutlets with fondant potato and parmesan crisp - he was generous enough to share some with me, so I can confirm that the lamb dish was rich and delicious.
Braised Pork Cheek with Kimchi & Lotus Root.
In the background - Andrew's smoked lamb cutlets.
Green Tea & White Chocolate Mousse
with Yuzu Curd and Gingerbread Crumb
As you can see, there are all kinds of delights to be had in Canberra and it's surrounds. These are just a few of them. We had a really fantastic weekend trying some new places and soaking up the gorgeousness that is Canberra in Autumn.
In other Gourmet Goddess news, we are heading back to our beloved Tasmania in late June. After deciding that we were going to be sensible and save money by not heading over this year (we are currently saving furiously to buy a house there that will be a holiday place first, then eventually our full time home) I ended up winning two return flights to Hobart in a competition. So guess what? We're going. I take this as a sign from the universe that we were meant to visit after all. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Needless to say I will be writing all about it as I always do. Each time we visit we find great new places to eat and gorgeous new destinations and produce to share with you. Can you blame me for wanting to live there?