I’ve found a hidden gem in Canberra – that is Rodney’s Garden Cafe in Pialligo (near the airport). The cafe is located within a plant nursery, Rodney’s Plants Plus, so this isn’t exactly on everyone’s radar.
The doors into the cafe are a bit run down, but I love the cute mosaic sign on top.
The inside looks a little cafeteria-like. The glass display cabinet holds a few yummy looking cakes for dessert. It’s table service so one of the friendly wait staff will take you to a table.
Being a garden cafe, I wanted to sit outside and was impressed with the lovely set up in the garden. A terracotta tiled courtyard square with smooth pillars holding up wooden frames that are covered with shade sails, with a fountain in the middle of it all. There are also plenty of outdoor umbrellas to protect diners from the sun. I arrived around 1.30pm so most people had finished lunch and were leaving. I loved sitting outside, listening to the trickling of water from the fountain and hearing the birds chirping.
Now onto the food. The pulled pork burger ($23) sounded the most appetising to me. It came out served on a long wooden chopping board with a side of beer battered chips. There was so much heaped onto the burger! The menu states the pork has been slow cooked for 18 hours. A whole pile of pulled pork sat on another pile of apple slaw, sandwiched in a brioche bun. There was also some crackling to top it off. The pork was soft and tasty. I love how the apple slaw had grated beetroot in it to give it some extra sweetness and vibrant colour to the meal. The beer battered chips were delicious – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I was blown away by the whole thing. A bit expensive for a burger, but worth it.
I also ordered the fresh juice of the day ($6.50) consisting of watermelon, pineapple, rockmelon and orange juice. This was served in a large milkshake glass and went down very quickly.
As people were leaving the cafe, I overheard their comments as the wait staff asked how their meal was. 100% of the other diners (I stopped counting after 5) were all happy and loved their meals. Now that’s saying something. I found the wait staff were very attentive and friendly, and always wore a smile. I was provided with cold tap water and a glass as soon as I sat down. The wait staff also checked on me to see how I was liking the meal and if I needed anything else.
After lunch, I took a stroll through the nursery – it’s huge! There is playground behind the dining area for the kiddies too.
They also sell skincare products, clothes, jewellery, shelves and outdoor furniture.
I must admit I wasn’t expecting this kind of awesome food located in a nursery. The combination of the gorgeous weather and blue sky, sitting there with great food and such a wonderful atmosphere, I felt sheer bliss and contentment. Though a little out of the way, I think this is a great place to meet up with friends for lunch and then pop over to find some gardening goods.
I’d love to try out brunch here. I think Rodney’s is a hidden gem and plan on going back soon.