Our last meal in Canberra turned out to not be in Canberra. My local resident friend recommended a gourmet smokehouse 25 minutes away from Canberra’s CBD called Poachers Pantry. Yummy fresh produce was promised, so we made a booking, set the GPS and away we went after checking out from the hotel.
We essentially took a scenic drive and veered off the main road onto a small country road, then took another turn into a tiny, gravel-filled path. If we didn’t pay attention we might have missed the sign. We were literally in woop woop, which was exciting because the food must be fantastic for people to make the trip out to this place.
The gravel road felt long, and for a while we wondered if we were heading the wrong way, especially when dozens of sheep suddenly appeared on the hills surrounding us.
Eventually, we arrived at our destination, the ‘Smokehouse Cafe’ of Poachers Pantry. It was a little wooden cottage where the front part is a cafe and the back part is a shop that sells jams, condiments and cold smoked meats and poultry. Everything looked incredibly fresh.
We weren’t particularly hungry since we had a light breakfast at the hotel, so we only ordered one meal each. I went with the traditional carbonara with prosciutto and cracked pepper pappardelle. My wife went with the chicken and corn pie, with the pastry on top and some crunchy crisps on the side. It was a cold day so the order was perfect!
Unfortunately, it would have been great to order some of Poachers’ famous smoked meat platters, but it was way too much so we decided to purchase some from the store to take home. We ended up buying a tub of garlic jam, some classic prosciutto, the Poachers’ little ham, and the Sicilian chicken breast. We also bought a little freezer bag to keep the food cold on our way back to Sydney. There were lots of other things we could have gotten though, including lamb, kangaroo, sirloins and sausages. I believe they had wine too.
I don’t know when we’ll be able to visit Poachers Pantry again but I’m glad we had the opportunity to visit such a delightful little place. The food was warm, hearty, and oozing with fresh country goodness. The flavours weren’t overly complex and they were not fussy about presentation, but it was perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast/lunch in the countryside. We were lucky we booked as many customers were turned away (imagine making the drive down only to be denied!).
8.5 out of 10!
431 Nanima Road, Hall, ACT 2618
Phone: (02) 6230 2487
Smokehouse Cafe opening hours:
Brunch – Saturday & Sunday: 10am-11:30am
Lunch – Friday to Sunday: 12pm-3pm
Dinner – Friday & Saturday: 6pm-10pm