Not so long ago, Andy and I celebrated our first year wedding anniversary. We’d agreed to treat ourselves to a long Sunday lunch, but finding a nice restaurant that was a) open on a Sunday and b) served vegetarian food was harder than I expected. Luckily, a friend came to the rescue and recommended I try Pod.
Pod is set in the grounds of one of Pialligo’s many nurseries. The restaurant is in an old cottage, but the best seats are outside on the wooden deck and courtyard.
Pod serves Modern Australian food but it has an usually good range of vegetarian options. The menu immediately resonated with us because it included an entree of honey-baked figs with goats curd, apple balsamic and mustard seed oil. This was very similar to a grilled fig entree we had at our wedding (and this entree was so good it was the reason we chose the venue). The pod version didn’t disappoint - the fig was juicy and sweet and contrasted perfectly with the soft, tart cheese.
I thought I was being altruistic by insisting Andy started with the fig entree, but my roasted beetroot and feta tart was so nice I was reluctant to swap. The feta was incredibly smooth, the pastry was crisp and buttery, while the beetroot and balsamic dressing added just the right amount of sharpness.
There is only one vegetarian main, but the restaurant can get around this by upgrading a vegetarian pasta entree to a mains dish. I don’t know why this isn’t listed as a main in the first place because it seemed more suited to this part of the menu (although to leave room for dessert we stuck to the entree size).
The sauceless penne pasta was served with liguarian olives, semi-dried tomato, pine nuts and parmesan. It had a lovely fresh, light taste, with just enough bite thanks to the olives.
The actual vegetarian main was pan seared, white truffle and lemon marinated field mushrooms topped with Persian feta mousse, roasted tomatoes, pine nuts, baby spinach and lemon salad. I’m sometimes wary of mushroom mains because they reek of carnivore panic at what to feed vegetarians. However, this dish was great and something I’d happily make at home (though probably not with such success!).
Sitting amongst such a beautiful nursery, it was hard to go past the simplicity of a summer stone fruit salad with vanilla gelati and berry coulis. It was as good as it looks - sweet with soft, melting fruit.
The creme brulee with biscotti and berries was also divine. The brulee crust was nicely carmelised and crunchy, while the filling was soft and smooth. As with all Pod dishes, it was beautifully presented.
Pod’s food was some of the nicest I’ve eaten in Canberra. It was the perfect venue for an anniversary lunch, but being set in a garden it was also popular with casual Sunday lunchers.
One of my criteria for a restaurant was that we could bring our own wine, as we had a special bottle we’d been given as a wedding present. Pod is BYO. Casual diners might baulk at the $8 corkage charge but scarily this is reasonable compared with other top notch restaurants.
The Pialligo location is not super convenient as it’s only reachable by car. But if you’re not coming for a special occasion it’s a good excuse to linger and explore the great nurseries in the area.
I couldn’t fault the service on the day we visited. We arrived late, and without the two guests we’d booked for, but the restaurant manager took it all in his stride despite the fact the restaurant was full.
Pod was the perfect venue for our anniversary lunch, and it’s already top of my list for visiting family and friends to convince them that the nation’s capital is no slouch when it comes to great food.
5 Comments posted on "Pod Food - Pialligo, Modern Australian, VVV"
Summer on April 27th, 2008 at 2:51 am #
i love your photos..so vivid and full of color! i bet the recipes are just as good as their photos. thanks for sharing.
jj on May 6th, 2008 at 3:14 am #
Looks wonderful and great job on the pictures!
Wheeler's on May 8th, 2008 at 3:59 am #
Everything look delicious! Especially that summer stone fruit salad. Yum!
maxmarla on May 13th, 2008 at 4:59 pm #
…and happy anniversary!
Padron on November 25th, 2009 at 9:58 am #
These pictures are absolutely stunning. They are making me so hungry! Must go cook dinner. Thanks for the ideas.
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