Garden Pavilions, Pialligo Estate

January 19, 2016

I may have said this in my previous post but I’ll say it again; for me, the Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate is the most exciting restaurant opening of the summer. It’s a place like no other in Canberra, both in terms of the food on offer as well as the location.

By now we are all familiar with Pialligo Estate farm with it’s olive grove, vineyard, orchard, market garden, smokehouse responsible for ‘that’ bacon and the hatted Farmhouse Restaurant. The Garden Pavilions are the latest addition to Pialligo Estate; four private climate controlled dining pavilions set in landscaped gardens, with magnificent views of Canberra’s landmarks.

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The Garden Pavilions share the same paddock to plate ethos as the Farmhouse Restaurant and offers smart casual a la carte dining that is a true feast for your senses. The pavilions are open for Sunday brunch, Friday-Sunday for lunch and Thursday-Friday for dinner. On the first weekend they opened after the holiday break I visited for a long and relaxing Sunday brunch.

The four pavilions are found just to the right of the main path as you enter the Farmhouse property and they are serviced by a separate kitchen and bar.

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Even though this is the casual dining option of the estate, there is much elegance and charm everywhere you look from the beautiful table settings to the soft music playing in the background.

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And then there’s the view! With panoramic views out to the Brindabellas and to the Parliament House and Telstra Tower, this is a very special location and one that’s sure to impress both visitors and locals.

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For Sunday brunch, Garden Pavilions offers a $32 set menu of two courses. The first course has a choice of three items and being a group of three, we decided to share one of each for research purposes.

The daily bakery selection with butter and house made jams was a real sight for three carb-loving pairs of eyes.

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The croissants were buttery, flakey and beautifully warm and as tempting as it was to plow our way through everything on the table we exercised some restraint in anticipation of the multiple courses.

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Seasonal fruit salad with whipped goat’s curd, lime, mint, caramel popcorn and meringue was bursting with freshness and the addition of caramel popcorn and meringue elevated the humble fruit salad to an indulgent starter.

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Bircher muesli of quinoa, chia, almond milk, berries, mascarpone and poached pears was declared by all three of us to be the best Bircher we had ever had! Not too sweet or tart and not too milky or dry, this was again an explosion of freshness and a dish that will make you feel smug for eating healthy while not sacrificing on taste in any way.

And then it was time for the second course and there were five items to choose from (current menu is available online).

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Two of us couldn’t go past the pancakes with Pialligo Smokehouse bacon and sausage with maple syrup. There was never any doubt that the bacon and sausage would make our hearts sing, and they did. The pancake/hotcake however let this dish down as it was rather dense and heavy.

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The Pialligo Smokehouse salmon gravlax with poached eggs, orange and avocado corn salsa on open-fired sourdough was however light, colourful and declared wonderful.

This is the kind of Sunday brunch one could linger over for hours over many cups of coffee or pots of tea. But you will have to excuse your dining companions if they keep glancing around and not concentrating on your conversation because the views from Garden Pavilions are distracting in the best possible way.

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What: Pialligo Estate Garden Pavilion

Where: 18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo

Opening hours: Lunch Friday-Sunday from 12pm, Dinner Thursday-Friday from 6pm, Brunch Sunday from 8am

Bookings: Yes, they take bookings! Call 6247 6060

Want more: Check website for sample menu

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