The location for our 4 course breakfast was Pod Food, the little restaurant tucked away behind the nurseries at Pialligo. I've been there previously for one of their chef's favourites degustation dinners. That occasion was a balmy summer evening with a riotous table of 14 on their deck. This time a slightly more sedate group of 6 were seated inside in the heating which was a good idea on a cold, yet sunny Canberra morning, although I did walk through the deck to the toilet and noticed that it was quite warm out there with the plastic walls down and the sun shining in.
We were treated to 4 delicious courses for $40 plus drinks. As it was truffle season we could have upgraded to include truffle but we chose to stick to the regular menu this time.
First up was pearl barley porridge served with spiced date gel and poached pear and quince. Being a cold morning I was glad it was a warm starter and despite an appropriately degustation small size it was still quite filling. I personally don't love pearl barley, I find it a bit "grainy" but it did taste great matched with the date gel and poached fruit. The freeze dried orange that topped it also added some nice texture but surprisingly little flavour.
Our second course was for most people the pick of the meal. New to the menu, the pan fried gnocchi with pork belly, wilted cos lettuce, peas and a 65°c free range egg cracked to order, was divine. The salty, crispy pork belly perfectly complimented the gooey but not runny egg. I'd never thought of having gnocchi in a breakfast but it was ideal to soak up excess egg yolk and the peas and cos added a note of sweetness and freshness. I probably had the least photographic dish at the table, I should have stolen my brother in law's dish but it was also extremely visually appealing.
It was a hard dish to live up to and for me our third dish while still super tasty didn't quite make it. The third course was scrambled eggs with chorizo, pecorino and pearl onions on white sourdough. Again incredibly tasty, the eggs were just right which is hard with scrambled eggs that I often find are over done. The chorizo was tasty, the onion sweet and caramlised and it all worked well with the bread, it just didn't quite have the zing of dish two.
To round out our breakfast, the fourth course was a breakfast dessert of a ricotta hotcake topped with rhubarb, freeze dried mandarin and vanilla bean icecream. While definitely enjoyable, this was probably the weakest dish for me. When it first came out I thought the freeze dried mandarin was honeycomb and I wish it had been as the mandarin didn't have a strong flavour and I thought the dish could have used that extra element. However the hotcake was nicely spiced, the rhubarb delicious and the icecream was lovely.
We accompanied our breakfast with a range of teas, coffees and Belgium hot chocolates. A few people also tried the locally cold pressed apple juice which comes out almost clear like water but with a strong, crisp apple flavour.
The breakfast degustation is only available for bookings until 10am as it does take about 1.5 hours to enjoy but that leaves you finished in enough time to have a lovely wander through the nurseries or like me provides the opportunity to pop down the road to Bison Homewears to stock up on a few non-essential but utterly beautiful items.
Overall I loved the breakfast. I think that the price is great, the portion sizes were perfect, the food interesting and inventive and I would certainly be happy to return to see how the menu changes through the seasons.
12 Beltana Road