#MushroomMania2014, Canberra*

20 Jul

Each July, the Australian Mushroom Growers runs a campaign encouraging people to cook mushrooms, and eat mushrooms when they’re out. This year, I was lucky enough to receive a $100 gift card to enjoy some mushroom meals around Canberra and post some photos on social media.

While I love mushrooms, a dish that features mushrooms isn’t my go-to dish when eating out, particularly at breakfast – I’m usually after hotcakes or something with eggs – but I’ll often order mushrooms as a side. This campaign means I’m seeking out dishes I might otherwise have missed.

Our first stop is Capitol Bar and Grill, which burst onto the scene within the rebranded QT Canberra earlier this year. This is my first trip to the restaurant, but there’s a dish with mushrooms that I’ve got my eye on. I’ll head back to Capitol Bar and Grill in the future and do a more in-depth review, but I establish a few broad impressions. First, it’s a very big restaurant, with a very large menu to match. The size means it loses some ambiance and feels rather like one of Canberra’s many clubs. Dishes lean towards the expensive side, with mains either starting in the high 20s (pasta) or mid-30s (most other dishes) (see the menu here).

Capitol Bar and Grill seating

The wine list is quite extensive, and – as usual – it’s good to see some Canberra wines listed there.

The dish I order is spaghettoni con funghi e uovo (thick spaghetti with mushroom ragu and 64 degree egg) ($28 – the cheapest pasta on the menu).

Spaghettoni with mushroom and egg

The spaghettoni is coated with the creaminess of the mushroom ragu and in the pretty nest of pasta there’s the wobbly 64 degree egg (basically, an egg cooked at that temperature – yes, it takes a long time but it’s meant to result in one of the best soft eggs). What ensues is yolk porn.

This is a humungous dish. There’s actually so much pasta and mushrooms and resulting creaminess that the beautiful yolk gets a little lost amongst it all – I’d almost love to have another buried in there. There’s a lot of savoury, umami taste and so much on the plate that it’s hard to finish.

Our next stop is Little Oink Cafe in Cook. I blogged about Little Oink a little while back. They post their specials to their Facebook page, and on Friday night they reveal there’re mushrooms on the menu the next day. I’m there!

For $15 I get a full plate of oven roasted mushrooms, Persian fetta and basil pesto on thick multigrain bread.

Yes please

Roast mushrooms, baby spinach, Persian fetta and basil pesto on multigrain bread

Of the three mushies dishes I try, this is my favourite. These are simple flavours but they work so well. Persian fetta and mushrooms has never strongly struck me as a combination, but after this meal I now know they should never be apart. The fetta draws the mushroom flavour out without overpowering it. The basil pesto works as an accompaniment, but there’s no denying that the mushrooms and fetta are the matched heroes of this dish.

Our last stop is Ricardo’s Cafe at Jamison. This is one of the – if not the most – popular cafes in Belconnen. We’re lucky to get a table when we arrive around midday. They’ve got two mushy dishes – a breakfast bruschetta with mushrooms, smashed peas, ricotta and mint ($16.90) or a mushroom sandwich with smashed peas, creme fraiche and goats cheese ($10.90).

I opt for the latter – aiming to eat it a bit like a bruschetta whether it arrives that way or not!

Mushroom sandwich

The sourdough is just lightly toasted, and the mushroom juice and creme fraiche seep through, making it really quite a good bread match.

And this is how I eat it!

The goat’s cheese is a little overwhelmed by the creme fraiche, but the mushrooms are juicy and the smattering of tangy-sweet smashed peas is the right flavour combination. This is a really tasty meal. I’m not sure I’ve got the coordination to properly eat it as a sandwich, but it’s a filling and very well-priced meal.

For more mushroom meals around Canberra, keep an eye out for #CBR and #MushroomMania2014 hashtags!

* As in the first paragraphs, these meals are courtesy of the Australian Mushroom Growers through their $100 gift card.

If you’re keen to get a $100 gift card to eat mushrooms while dining out, there are 30 up for grabs until the end of July for those who post pictures of the mushroom meals they’ve had at restaurants/cafes to social media. For full details, see here.

Dates: 12, 19 and 20 July, 2014

Where: Capitol Bar & Grill (QT Canberra, New Acton), Little Oink (Cook Place, Cook) and Ricardo’s Cafe & Patisserie (Jamison Plaza, Macquarie)

Cost: This was a sponsored campaign courtesy of Australian Mushroom Growers

Worthwhile factor: Overall worthwhile, with some meals highly worthwhile

Want more? Head to the Mushroom Growers page here.


3 Responses to “#MushroomMania2014, Canberra*”

  1. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things July 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Oh my goodness, what delicious mushroom dishes! Now I know where to get my Vitamin D fix! Thanks Tara… so yummy.

    • inthetaratory July 21, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

      I hope Little Oink makes their mushroom special a permanent dish on the menu!


  1. Little Oink night menu, Cook | In The Taratory - February 13, 2015

    […] Want more? Try their Facebook page. And this previous review. And this one. […]

What do you reckon?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: