Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sustainable dining at Močan & Green Grout (Canberra)

Posted by Hendy

Combine bike making, coffee and honest, humble cooking and you've got something close to Močan & Green Grout in Canberra.

Part café, part Goodspeed Bicycle Co, Močan & Green Grout is well known in our nation's capital for its sustainable, innovative cooking using fresh local ingredients from the surrounding ACT area and southern NSW.

Močan & Green Grout, Marcus Clarke Street, Newacton South, Canberra
Outside the venue they also grow a selection of their own herbs and vegetables which through an evening's service you would hear the chef calling for, with wait staff heading out to collect herbs as fresh as can be.

The open café space is tucked behind a series of wooden shelves which double as a separator to the front shop area. 

Pieces of art on shelves
Inside, the clever interior evokes a warm, rustic and cosy feeling with seats by the open kitchen or along the exposed wooden wall and wooden shelves where small pieces of unique Australian artworks are displayed. 

In for dinner, the friendly wait staff explained the menu of shared dishes - with a mere 13 items on the menu, it was all about the ingredients. 

Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive dust
Our first shared dish was a modern riff on classic insalata caprese; a fresh kickstart to the meal. I have always loved colourful medleys of heirloom tomatoes; bright, plump and adding a level of depth to dishes.

The colourful orange, red and green tomato segments were striking among the basil leaves, while the creamy buffalo mozzarella was pleasant with the dehydrated and broken olive dust and baby capers adding plenty of saltiness.

Bone marrow, mushrooms, lemon verbena, black garlic
Seeing bone marrow on any menu is always exciting although this dish was more a celebration of fungi with shiitake mushrooms, Slippery Jacks and a porcini mushroom powder.

The Slippery Jack mushroom is local to Canberra and only grows in wet conditions. Interestingly, the Slipper Jacks were served with their skin peeled to reveal its insides, giving them an abalone-like texture without the coarse outer layer.

The mushrooms were served with an impossibly thin layer of bone marrow, held together the lemon verbena oil and slightly charred to give it a crusty texture with a hint of acidity. The delicate and reserved presentation of the bone marrow actually worked, reducing the often heavy, artery-clogging taste that comes with scraping cooked marrow from a bone.

Boxgum Grazing pork belly, green paw paw, prawn floss
Our third shared dish featured free range pork from Boxgum Grazing; a farm near Young in southern NSW.

Presented in quite a rustic fashion, there were all kinds of wonderful textures and surprises on the plate with the roasted pork belly, including miniature coriander springs plucked from the herb garden outside, black sesame seeds, pork floss and saffron threads.

Boxgum Grazing pork belly, green paw paw, prawn floss
The garnishes brought a strong Asian flavour to the dish while the saffron overpowered the dish ever so slightly. However, the lime worked well to break through the fattiness of the deliciously layered pork belly.

Osso bucco, jerusalem artichoke, potato foam
The wait staff-recommended chef's special of osso bucco was beautifully tender, having been slow cooked then flash fried. Roasted Jerusalem artichoke added crunch and saltiness to the somewhat gentle-flavoured osso bucco, while the potato foam was creamy with the added crunch of fried onion bits. 

These three elements were accompanied by mini carrots, celeriac, thyme, sage and caramelised orange; some of which were sourced from the outside herb and vegetable garden. This was a great winter's night's dish and was my favourite of the night.

Eden Snapper, zucchini, corn
Our final shared savoury dish was the Eden snapper atop a sweet mix of creamed corn and corn kernels. The thin fillet of golden-surfaced Eden snapper was moist while the skin retained a great crispness, served alongside zucchini flower petals and grilled zucchini slices.

Clafoutis, Blueberries, Mascarpone
There were two dessert options and we settled for the clafoutis - my first ever. A French baked soufflé, this rendition starred blueberries, light and fluffy mascarpone, and dried rose petals, served warm in a small cast iron pan.

Clafoutis, Blueberries, Mascarpone
The aroma of the berries, rose petals and custard filling combined was intoxicatingly lovely. The soft, pillowy custard filling was balanced against the slightly tangy mascarpone, while the rose petals were surprisingly quite chewy although added sweetness and much prettiness to the dessert.


Močan & Green Grout Kitchen
Močan & Green is without a doubt a sustainability champion in the heart of Canberra.  As well as working with regional sustainable growers, their compostable kitchen waste is utilised on the neighbourhood's community garden. On top of that, their rotating seasonal and innovative menu and support for local producers are attributes for all other venues to aspire to on the sustainable dining front.

Mocan & Green Grout on Urbanspoon


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Ooh did you say bone marrow?! And that clafoutis looks gorgeous too!

The Food Sage said...

I love the sound of this menu - and the buffalo mozzarella salad looks particularly good. Time for a trip to Canberra, i think. Thanks for sharing.

Mr C @ The Food Diary said...

Loving the look of the souffle... delicious!

Hendy said...

Definitely worth a trip to Canberra folks, perhaps a stopover on the way to the snows?! :p

The souffle was definitely awesome @GYF, @MrC


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