The Urban Pantry - Manuka, Canberra

Urban Pantry on Urbanspoon
Egg Benedict, perhaps the smallest serve I have experienced, with only several pieces of leg ham bits and a small slice of Sonoma sourdough. A Friday morning in February 2013.

It is a dinner, brunch, lunch and breakfast place that will do well in any trendy setting.  It carefully describes and offers its produce as organic and fresh.  It provides options as gluten free and free range.  The Urban Pantry has quick acting staff and customers were so relaxed on the morning I had walked over from the Rydges Capital.   There were several similar places open that early morning, but this one was the most busy.  I had a breakfast smoothie in a tall glass (AUD8) and the Eggs Benedict shown above.  I did consider the buttermilk pancakes, but I was bothered with the infused mascaporne so early in the day. The smoothie was made from oats, honey, bananas, almonds and berries, all blended with milk.

The proximity of the Urban Pantry to the Australian Parliament may underlie its understated importance of a place where networking, intrigue and dealing may take place. Up front, it was a lively gathering hole for a variety of demographics, ranging from women friends, couples, office types, retirees and families.
Urban Pantry's stated philosophy is to provide a warm space for customers and to serve with knowledge and finesse. They do take extra attention with the earthy decor and rustic accessories. However, the tables are unavoidably small to make more effective use of the nature of the venue.  Urban Pantry does come out with unique choices like a braised duck leg risotto, garnished by orange butter and sugar snap peas.  They are strong on the meat table with suggestions like veal medallions, fennel salted pork tenderloins, herb crusted lamb rump and the roast duck breast forming a bed below pearled barley and pecans with a pomegranate dressing.  There are different surcharges to a guest's bill between Sundays (open till 2pm only) and public holidays.

Situated at one strategic corner of the Lawns in Manuka,  it can be crowded inside but offers options of el fresco seating on the corridors outside.
Other breakfast items that caught my eye served at other tables were the sweet corn and zucchini fritters served on toast and graced by bocconcini, spinach, basil and cherry tomatoes.  Apart from modern Australian, there are hints of Mediterranean fare available - for example for lunchtime, there is a burger accompanied with green pea falafel, quinoa tabbouleh and tahini yogurt; and for both lunch and dinner, the pappardelle with king prawns, zucchini ribbons, chill, lemon and mint.   Dessert delights include traditional Dutch dumplings and the coconut rice pudding, enhanced with passion fruit syrup and mango sorbet.  The store also offers a wide variety of oils, antipasti, preserves, whilst also embracing its own coffee blends.


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