THE DISH: Pollen
Awesome to see you again for our monthly exploration of Canberra’s thriving foodie scene and the incredible partners that we have the privilege of working with.
Last month we discovered a green oasis within a shopping mall and this month we are heading to Canberra’s OG green oasis, the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
Tucked at the base of Black Mountain and hidden behind lush and towering ferns is Pollen Cafe.
Owners Tracy, Matthew & Nicholas, a mother and sons trio, have long dreamt of opening Pollen, and in 2017 they made it happen in their dream location.
Not ones to shy away from a challenge, they decided to infuse the cafe with the personal aesthetic that they gained from travels in Europe and Asia. Owner Tracy describes the aesthetic as “cottage in a garden” which was inspired by the village life that they experienced on their travels.
Walking into the space you are immediately struck with the decor. Behind the main service counter is a 100 year old antique sideboard from Bali, blue and white ceramics from Southern China and French style marble topped tables and wicker cafe chairs.
These global influences are combined with the local talents of Larissa from Wiluna Flower Studio who has hand-crafted abundant displays of dramatic dried native florals and the crockery is handmade by Kim, a local potter in the Canberra area.
In a stroke of luck that couldn’t be planned if you tried, the village vibes at Pollen are enhanced by the presence of some special visitors. The water dragons who live in the ponds within the gardens stop by to say hello to the diners.
Not to be outshone by the decor, the food absolutely holds its own.
Spanning breakfast, brunch and lunch, the menu focuses on classic dishes and fusion flavours from around the world. This is taken to the next level with the best quality produce and a continual emphasis on flavour to ensure the ingredients shine in the best possible way.
Take the Croissant Benny made on the traditional Three Mills Bakery croissant. It may be an Australian cafe staple but you’ve never seen an eggs benedict like this before.
The buttery croissant is split and filled with your choice of triple smoked ham, wood smoked bacon, smoked salmon or grilled halloumi. Nestled on top are two perfectly runny and golden poached eggs that are smothered in creamy hollandaise and topped with fresh chives and black pepper. It’s gloriously decadent and is testament to Pollen’s ability to take a classic dish and spin it into something new.
It’s creativity like this that has helped make the cafe an iconic part of the Canberra food scene.
Owner Tracy feels the love and friendship offered by the Canberra community and is proud to make the cafe a space for everyone to gather and enjoy the uniquely warm atmosphere that they have created within the gardens.
The Croissant Benny is a regular feature on the new menu but with food innovators like this, be sure to get in and try it before they mix it up again.
Pollen Cafe is open 7 days a week from 9am to 4pm Tracy and the friendly water dragons are looking forward to seeing you!