On Sunday, my parents and i drove down 259km to Gundaroo, a small town just outside Canberra, to eat lunch. NBD. It was a belated birthday present of sorts, so not entirely on a whim, but it was quite a unique dining experience. I first heard of it while perusing Grab Your Fork’s wonderful food blog, and half-jokingly insisted that we should go there. My mum jumped on the idea, bless her heart.
I recommend you make a booking, especially if you live 250+km away, just so you don’t miss out on a table! It wasn’t that busy when we arrived for our 12pm booking, but the tables started filling up not long after.
Grazing prides itself on using locally imported produce, and have a small vegie patch and chicken coop out back that you can have a wander in. The exterior of Grazing was rustic and charming little farmhouse-esque, with ivy creeping round the sides of the building, and chopped up blocks of wood lazily dropped around the property. The interior was cozy and inviting, with multiple rooms available for dining in, fireplaces and locally sourced art hanging on the walls.
The pricing is easily laid out. There is however a 5% surcharge on each item on Sundays (which I didn’t know about until I got there, DANG.)
Entrées – $17 ($17.85 on Sundays)
Mains – $33 ($34.65 on Sundays)
Desserts – $16 ($16.80 on Sundays)
There’s also some sides, vegetarian options and kids meals and dessert which vary on price – but can be checked out here: http://www.grazing.com.au/dining-menu.html
For starters, my parents decided to splurge and grab some homemade bread rolls, priced at $2.50 each. Bit of a rip but they were warm and tasty and came with an olive oil/vinegar dip and some butter, so they went down pretty well.
Homemade Bread Rolls – $2.50/bun
We then decided to get the BRAINS (lamb style), which came with shaved fennel, citrus segments and a parmesan custard which really didn’t taste that parmesan-y. Since I was a newcomer to this whole “brain eating business”, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but since they seemed to have been fried in a caper and lemon crust batter, the first taste was quite nice, though the texture of the brains did remind me of thick custard. Despite being interesting, I soon lost my appetite by being reminded that I was indeed eating the mushed up brains of baby sheep. But if that’s your thing, BY ALL MEANS try this dish.
Brains – Caper and lemon crusted lamb brains with shaved fennel, citrus segments and parmesan custard ($17/$17.85 Sundays)
We next got the Kangaroo Tail which was DELICIOUS and probably the best dish of the entire meal, which came with a garden beetroot relish (drools), goats cheese and wattle seed burnt butter. The tortellini was delish and fresh, and the kangaroo tail was tender and flavoursome, and had the texture of corned beef, purely because of the length of cooking time required. Definitely a must order.
Kangaroo – Kangaroo tail and beetroot tortellini with garden beetroot relish, goat’s cheese and wattle seed burnt butter ($17/$17.85 Sundays)
Now on to the mains. I ordered the Rabbit, cause I figured WHY NOT, and my dad ordered Spatchcock while my mum ordered the Lamb.
Rabbit – White Jindabyne rabbit, deboned and wrapped in garden cos on cumin and olive oil poached carrot, hazelnuts, lentil wafer and wild roquette ($33/$34.65 Sundays)
The Rabbit was amazingly tender! So soft that it was pretty much falling off my fork, and I understood then why it had to wrapped in garden cos lettuce. The presentation of the dish was impressive, and I have to admit, I felt pretty smug in my choice of dish. The lentil wafer was amazing, primarily cause I had seen nothing like it ever before, and it was light, salty, crispy and extremely lentilly. The rabbit had a sweet meaty taste, and although I enjoyed the first few mouthfuls, it soon got a bit overwhelming. The roquette in the accompanying salad was SUPER peppery, almost to the point of being spicy, and although the hazelnuts in the dish complemented the sweetness of the rabbit with its nuttiness, it too got old fast.
It was an interesting dish, and I can now cross rabbit off my to-eat list.
Spatchcock – Roast young chicken with red grape and radicchio, steamed potato, bacon and preserved lemon butter ($33/$34.65 Sundays)
Wikipedia tells me that Spatchcock is “poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone and sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking”. The spitchcock was well cooked, and the grape was a nice touch to an otherwise, quite regular meal.
Lamb – Slow cooked and spice rubbed lamb rump with toasted barley, goat’s feta, roast garlic, stinging nettle and green pea puree ($33/$34.65 Sundays)
The Lamb dish ordered by mum had a distinctly indian taste to it, probably due to the spices that it had been rubbed with. The stinging nettle and green pea puree set off the lamb nicely, but hers was probably the most ordinary dish of the bunch. As always, the meat was well cooked and reasonably portioned, but we still managed to have room for TWO DESSERTS.
Chocolate – Baked espresso and prune cake with chocolate parfait, cocoa crumbs and fresh raspberries ($16/$16.80 Sundays)
We ordered the Chocolate and Crème Brulee, mainly cause an expresso and prune combo sounded quite interesting, albeit mildly laxative, and it was interesting, but the expresso/chocolate cake was rather “black coffee-ish” which meant that it wasn’t very sweet. It did come with a serving of some sort of chocolate ice-cream, which made up for the lack of sweetness in the cake.
Crème Brulee – Classic vanilla crème brulee with rose water and champagne strawberries, chocolate truffle and petit cinnamon doughnut ($16/$16.80 Sundays)
The Crème Brulee came topped with a mini doughnut which had been filled with a sort of custard with “champagne soaked strawberries” within, which was a nice surprise, and the Brulee-ing had been done to perfection. I managed to crack the top with the back of my spoon, and although tasty, the “Crème” component was a little too watery for my liking, despite having a surprise bottom layer, which although tasting like caramel, should be “chocolate truffle” if the online menu was to be believed.
Overall it was definitely an interesting dining experience, though probably not one I’d travel over 500km for EVER AGAIN. The food was fresh, well prepared and flavoursome, the variety was impressive, the service was exceptional and the ambiance nice and cosy.