Sunday, May 13, 2012


Location: The Royal Hotel, corner of Cork and Harp Street, Gundaroo NSW 2620
Phone: (02) 6236 8777
Cuisine: Modern Australian

It's not often we venture out of the 'city', but when we do, we go in search of good food.

After visiting a few wineries and Robyn Rowe Chocolates, we arrived in Gundaroo for a late lunch at Grazing.

The restaurant operates from inside an old hotel and the owners have managed to keep much of the historical vibe through the set up and decor. There is even a live fireplace in most of the rooms.

The menu is extensive and very appealing. There are a number of entrées that seem relatively light, and the list of main comprises mostly of comfort food and game. Country cooking at its best.

smoked Tumut rainbow trout terrine with cucumber salad,
fresh horseradish and coriander seed pastry tuile
The smoked trout terrine is smooth, fresh and delicately flavoured. The tuile it sits atop is crisp and aromatic, which works well in contrast to the terrine. Unfortunately for me, the menu didn't warn me of the huge mound of rocket that the dish came with - I would have much preferred more cucumber. But it was an excellent dish to start off the meal.

kangaroo tail and beetroot tortellini with garden beetroot relish,
goat’s cheese and wattle seed burnt butter
I'm not the biggest fan of kangaroo, but my friends who tried this were very happy with the dish.

Braised shank and slow cooked breast of duck with sourdough
dumpling, white bean puree, cauliflower and braising jus
Duck. One of the most difficult meats to do well and Grazing did it beautifully. The duck was still pink inside, the duck fat was well rendered, and the meat was juicy and tender. The braising jus had a nice rich flavour which complemented the dish beautifully.

the ‘Grazing Pie’- Cod, scallop, mussel and riesling pie with
root vegetables, creamed leek and potato mash
Pie. Doesn't sound all that fancy, and certainly not the typical dish I'd expect on the menu for 'fine dining'. But just read the description and tell me you're not salivating. The pie was rustic-looking and sat on top of a rich creamy leek and potato mash. The golden brown puff pastry encased a steaming mixture of soft flaky pieces of fish and fresh scallops and mussels with a creamy white wine sauce. The only thing missing was some freshly cracked black pepper, which would have brought the dish up a whole new level. 

Aside from the mash being a little over seasoned, it was the perfect winter warmer.

The desserts definitely brought us back into the fancy fine dining world.

strawberry semi freddo cone with maple and hazelnut crunch,
Persian fairy floss and strawberry clouds
After a relatively heavy main, I opted for the semi freddo as a refreshing end to the meal. Strawberry yoghurt was frozen into a cone shape and coated in maple flavoured crushed hazelnuts. The cone was surrounded by fluffly fairy floss, cubes of strawberry flavoured aerated cream and crispy sugar crackers. It was the ultimate combination of textures and flavours.

garden grown quince crumble with candied fresh fig and cinnamon custard
Another winter warmer - quince and candied figs topped with a crunchy crumble, baked and served with a side of cinnamon flavoured custard.

fennel pollen scented free standing crème brulee with fresh
blackberries, carnation milk sorbet and puff pastry ‘biscuit’
Definitely an abstract take on a classic dessert. Rather than being served in a ramekin, the crème brulee was set into a square shape, and the custard was infused with fennel pollen. I personally found the flavours a little odd, and missed the dark toffee crunch of the traditional version.

The service was friendly and helpful, although the dishes took much longer to come out than expected. The dishes were good value for money (entrées $17, mains $33, desserts $16) and the ingredients were fresh and locally sourced. Totally worth the drive out.

Overall Impression: 9/10
Grazing on Urbanspoon

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