Classic Aussie Cuisine Served With Heart and Hearth at Grazing
“A traditional Australian menu, with a modern twist.” You hear it so often it’s become cliché, but that’s exactly what Grazing in Gundaroo, NSW offers. The evidence is all around you, from its setting in a centuries-old hotel decorated with modern art to its internationally-inspired takes on Australian classics such as pie and kangaroo.
Grazing is a well-known regional restaurant in Gundaroo, NSW about half an hour northeast of Canberra. It’s housed in the town’s historic Royal Hotel, which dates back to 1865 and is one of the oldest and few buildings in tiny Gundaroo. Inside, fireplaces blaze in each room and the stone walls and small rooms read like they have many stories to tell.
It’s all about hearth and heart at Grazing, and the meals match the environment. The owners are committed to local, seasonal food and even grow much of the produce in a kitchen garden out the back. Since we visited in winter, we enjoyed a menu that matched, with cosy options such as slow-braised lamb and chicken sausage.
I had the kangaroo. I hope I haven’t offended anyone, but before you get all jumpy remember to keep two things in mind: (1) Australia is the only country that eats its national emblems (kangaroo and emu) and (2) Australia is the only country that also takes pride in that fact.
I don’t want to debate the ethical or cultural implications, but I do want to talk about how good kangaroo tastes. I’m not a red meat girl, and I love it. At Grazing, it was beautifully and originally prepared – rare and tender. This can be said of most well-prepared kangaroo, but at Grazing, they do it with a twist. It’s marinated in garlic and herbs and complemented with lemon yogurt and chilli jam – a blend of hearty spices that warms you up from the inside-out. It’s also served on a beetroot tart, another Australian classic.
Brad had the pie, and while pie may seem as run-of-the-mill Aussie as a Sunday afternoon footy game, the pie at Grazing was spectacular. It’s prepared with local mushrooms and Waygo beef brisket cooked in local Zierholtz ale. The marbled brisket was so beautiful that, as Brad put it, “you didn’t have to chew.”
For dessert, we finished with their Creme Brulee, also served with a twist – literally – a lemon one. The strong citrus blended beautifully with the crème and was the ideal finishing touch to our meal.
And, what did we drink? A restaurant that labels itself “local” is nothing if it doesn’t also serve local brews, and the entire drink menu is. Brad tried the Gundaroo Pub Draught and I had the Gundaroo Cider; it was the perfect winter drink, not too tart but not too sweet as ciders sometimes tend to be.
If you’d like to continue the “local food” theme for the day (or the weekend) try some of the other attractions located throughout the Poacher’s Way region. I featured the touring route in last week’s entry and, since Gundaroo is at the heart of the region, a trip to Grazing can be combined with any of the area’s other features (wineries, art and craft galleries, produce ‘pantries,’ B&Bs) for a gourmet getaway.
Grazing is open weekdays for dinner and weekends for lunch and dinner. It’s also available to hire-out for functions in one of its many rooms. The restaurant is located on Cork Street in Gundaroo, NSW with more information available online.