Grazing Restaurant resides in a refurbished 1865 country hotel. We’ve eaten here a few times and have had similar experiences each time and the most important thing to note for a restaurant, is that the food has always been excellent.
As we walked in, we were offered a choice of two tables and the benefits of each were quickly explained. I appreciated being given the choice. Shortly after we were seated our menus arrived. Our waiter was attentive, without being intrusive. He offered the perfect mix of advice and information about each dish, without dominating our time. It is always a welcome relief when the wait staff can talk about the produce that makes up the various meals and our waiter certainly knew the background of each dish and didn’t hesitate with his answer for any question we asked him.
Their wine selection is based heavily in the Canberra Region and this has been criticised by some other reviewers – but I see this as a good thing. The Yass Valley has such a great selection of award winning wines, why go any further? It’s lovely to see that the restaurant not only promotes local produce, but pairs it with local wines too. However, I would’ve liked to have seen a greater variety of wineries represented, especially for those ordered by the glass. In saying that, I had the Capital Wines The Foreign Minister Sangiovese (Capital Wines owns the building Grazing is in and it could be said that their wines tend to dominate the wine list) and it was so lovely, that I ordered another! The wine was smooth and medium bodied. Not only the perfect accompaniment to my main course, but also equally nice to drink on its own.
When we ordered our mains, we were informed that they would likely take quite a while and we were asked if we’d like to add an entree. I was dining with my sister-in-law and neither of us are big eaters. We really wanted to save room for dessert. To be honest, I don’t remember how long our mains took but I’d take that as an indication it wasn’t overly long, perhaps 15 minutes, definitely not as long as our waiter feared. The crackle of the fire, our lovely regional wine choices and our long overdue catch up, helped time pass quickly. For my main I had the ‘Glenlea Farm’ Crookwell NSW, grass fed beef with caramelised endive tarte tatin, smoked garlic and Shiraz onion jam. I can easily say this was the best beef I’ve eaten. Ever. It was cooked perfectly and the beef was of the quality that just melts in your mouth. The pastry on the caramelised endive tarte tarin was light, flaky and not the slightest bit soggy. The caramelisation of the endive was divine. I would’ve been quite happy eating that, by its own, as an entree. We also ordered the Steamed round beans, snow peas and kale with garden oregano pesto as a side, on our waiter’s suggestion. It was a good choice and complimented our mains nicely. The beans and snow peas were cooked just enough, maintaining their fresh taste and delightful crunch. My sister-in-law ordered the 18 hour slow cooked pork belly, white polenta, Brussel sprouts and sauerkraut crème and was just as pleased with her choice.
Dessert was even more delicious. I ordered the Frozen caramel and salted hazelnut custard with chocolate parfait, chocolate aero and pastry tidbits and my sister-in-law ordered the Twice baked chocolate and beetroot soufflé with ice cream and toasted milk crumb. I’m not really a fan of beetroot, yet I quite liked her dessert. The ice cream was rather attractively coated in a fine beetroot powder. But the stand out, I’d have to say (and my waiter agreed), was mine. I will be going back for the frozen caramel and salted hazelnut custard alone! Each element was just as delicious by itself, as they were combined. The flavours were distinct, yet subtle enough that neither one overpowered the other. I completely understand why, even though their menu is seasonal, they leave this dessert on their menu.
Grazing is located on the main street in Gundaroo. Gundaroo is an easy drive 30 minutes north of Canberra and about 1.5 hours from Bowral. If you have the opportunity for a romantic getaway, be sure to stay at The Nest, just down the road from Grazing. That way you can indulge yourself at dinner without the worry of driving home!