I had been kindly invited by The National Gallery of Australia to attend the Media Event with iconic Australian Chef Stephanie Alexander and Director Gerard Vaughan. The Sculpture Garden was opening their Pop Up Summer Cafe in conjunction with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation with $1 being donated to the foundation from every meal (another reason to come here!).I thought I was running late but apparently I was right on time as Stephanie Alexander as well as the glitterati showed up and everyone started taking photos.I took the opportunity to take a proper photo as the sea of people parted (L-R Gerard Vaughan, Chyka Keebaugh, Stephanie Alexander and Bruce Keebaugh).The lunch menu complete with our favourite Frugii ice-cream for dessert. I don’t understand why the kids should get all the fun!They had gorgeous little canapes floating around.
I was trying to juggle my drink, my bag and my phone at the same time when these came around. I don’t remember much except that it was some sort of fish on top of a crouton and that it was tasty.Refreshing lemonade in cutesy jars topped off with a ridiculous cute straw and a wedge of lemon.The waiter happily obliged to hold a heavy tray of lemonade still while we all took photos. What do you expect from a foodie crowd?
The staff from the Big Group Catering company who does the catering for the National Gallery planted all the herb boxes in and around the cafe. We are encouraged to utilise the herbs to enhance our meal to our liking. I love mint during summer, don’t mind if I do!Everyone crowded around as speeches are being made. I stay at the back eating my canapes and drinking my lemonade in true foodie fashion.This looks wonderfully colourful. I take a glimpse of the platters going past as our buffet style lunch is being prepared.Lunch is served!Stalker shots of Stephanie Alexander chatting with the gorgeous Amanda Whitley from HerCanberra.Stephanie Alexander doing an interview with Natasha Rudra from The Canberra Times.The lunch is a combination of cold meats, fresh colourful vegetables and damper bread.A close up of my plate, I’m in love with all the colours and whatever they did with that eggplant is fantastic. Everything was fresh and crunchy but I wasn’t a fan of the damper which reminded me more of a scone. The damper I’m used to back at home is fluffy and light.I didn’t want to be the girl who ate the whole buffet during the Media Event so I was a little conservative, but everyone else went for seconds and by the time this slow eater had finished, most people (and food) had gone. Lucky for me, there were more substantial canapes going around and they were so good!
Semolina gnocchi. I was pleasantly surprised by this as vegetarian options aren’t my forte. I could easily eat a whole bowl of this.
Pulled pork. A beautiful pulled pork with all the juices flowing onto a bed of mashed potato. A comforting style of food that I didn’t expect at a summer pop up cafe but am happy they made it.
Passionfruit mousse with a spearmint consommé and a vanilla meringue. The vanilla meringue was awesome! I found the passionfruit mousse was sweet with sharp acidic notes that the consommé helped balance out but once I finished that, I picked some fresh mint leaves to help with the rest. It was ridiculously smooth.
Apple tart. I really liked this; the crunchy parts with the soft apple were spot on.
Venue: Pop Up Summer Cafe Sculpture Garden Restaurant
Address: National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden Parkes Place, Parkes Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: (02) 6240 6660
Breakfast Weekends 8 – 11am
Lunch Wed – Sun 12 – 3pm