Mint Garden Bar

5 Dec

Canberra has a thriving blogger community, but it’s not often we see each other face to face. Thanks to the organisation skills of one lovely lady, some of us self-proclaimed foodies descend on Mint Garden Bar at the Gorman House Markets to have a Christmas catch up (and for some of us, first meeting!).

Mint Garden Bar is married to the award-winning Sage Dining Rooms (which I’ve reviewed here, here and here – yes, I know, a bit excessive!). It makes use of the open space directly outside the restaurant, which would otherwise be empty. Of course, that also means on a busy day it can make Sage a bit difficult to access – but I think it just adds to the atmosphere.

Apricot, brie cheese, honeyed walnuts, tarragon pizza ($15)

Apricot, brie cheese, honeyed walnuts, tarragon pizza ($15)

What I like about Mint is that it tries, but not too hard. The venue has the basics, including plenty of seats, and an undercover area where installed plastic can be pulled down to protect punters from the elements. There’s a genuine garden feel; it’s got the same feel as those Melbourne bars in the alleys.

Salami, spanished onion, cucumber, mint pizza ($15)

Salami, spanished onion, cucumber, mint pizza ($15)

There’s also a dedicated little kitchen to pump out the bar food without distracting from the main event in the Sage kitchen. The menu options aren’t too many, but what’s on the menu is done well, with fresh and interesting combinations of ingredients. The guy behind the bar is overly chatty, but he’s personable and professional so I’ve got nothing to complain about.

Smoked salmon, marscapone, and capers pizza ($17)

Smoked salmon, marscapone, and capers pizza ($17)

Did I mention there’s $5 wine? Yep, all day Wednesday all the wines are just $5. (Why didn’t I know about this sooner?)

It gets the basics right.

Juicy oxheart tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil pizza ($13)

Juicy oxheart tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil pizza ($13)

As one foodie group, we approach the bar. I’d be mildly intimidated by us as a force. We order almost half the menu to share. We skip the nibbles (which includes 80s throwback bacon wrapped dates) but opt for two crostini ($16 for a serving of four) and all the pizzas ($13, $15 and $17 each).

Braised shortrib, chimmicurri, marrow crostini with blackberry cured salmon and raspberries in the background

Braised shortrib, chimmicurri, and marrow crostini with blackberry cured salmon and raspberries in the background

Honestly? It’s all good. The ingredients are high quality and tasty. I taste all of it and enjoy all of it. I’m still not convinced that salmon and raspberries is the best combo ever, but I love both ingredients on their own and the colours are great. I don’t like apricot generally, but if I could only choose one pizza, that’s the one I’d go for.

It’s a really lovely evening with great company enjoying great food and in a relaxed – but not complacent – environment.

Date: 4 December 2013

Where: Gorman House Markets

Cost: Four pizzas and two crostinis between us ends up about $16 per person with the six of us

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Mint Garden Bar is open Tuesday to Friday from 4pm, and Saturday from noon. The specials days are Tuesday ($5 pizzas – now that’s good value), Wednesday ($5 wine) and Thursday ($20 punchbowls).

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5 Responses to “Mint Garden Bar”

  1. whisperinggums December 6, 2013 at 12:49 am #

    I’ve often wondered about that bar, but have never been there at the right time. It looks inviting BUT my heart sank at your pics as it also looks like one of those places that doesn’t cater well for gluten-free people. Bar food I’ve found is heavily wheat based – good for soaking up the alcohol but a real turn-off if you can’t eat it. Did they have much in the way of gf options do you know? (We were in Melbourne a few days ago and went to a lovely gastropub. It was a perfect night for sitting in the beer garden but we ended up in the restaurant part because the beer garden menu, which was interesting, had almost nothing I could eat. Sad …. though luckily the restaurant food was yummo.)

  2. Kel December 6, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Sounds nice and I can even afford to eat there!
    Great job Tara :-)

  3. Heike Herrling December 8, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    I love this place. My only issue is that their jasmine seemed to always be in flower when it was warm enough to be there and I get the worst hay fever there. It’s so beautiful though. Even if I look like a snuffleupagus while everyone else looks glamorous!

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  1. Canberra Cake Club – March | In The Taratory - April 1, 2014

    […] a bit of a fan of Mint Garden Bar – I think it’s a lovely venue and really stands on its own when it could easily lean on […]

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