Singing praise for Wild Canary - new bistro at Brookfield

"Did you see the veggie patch?" I'm asked as I walk through the door to lunch at Wild Canary Botanical Bistro, Brookfield Garden Centre's new breakfast and lunch option.

I glance around, looking for something slightly feral with overgrown, half dead plants, the sort of veggie patch I have at home, and nothing looks familiar.

The veggie patch

Then Brookfield Garden Centre owner Robin McLay points to beautifully ordered, raised raised beds filled with luscious greenery bounded by rows of trees that soon will be a hedge.   I wish I could take it all home!

Everything at this centre benefits from a green thumb, a deft touch and a passion for good food.  For head chef Glenn Barratt (ex Restaurant II), it's a dream job.  Glenn loves the green aspect from the kitchen and the chance to use garden fresh and local produce, plus he only works daylight hours.  I caught him out snipping micro herbs for the next dish. Glenn also has sourced bananas from Brookfield and honey from Fig Tree Pocket for the menu.

Chef Glenn Barratt snips micro herbs for lunch dishes.

Robin and Scott McLay have given the old home located next to the garden centre a serious revamp to create the new bistro.  Rumour says it was owned by a prominent gardening identity from the 80s and it must have been quite a party destination judging by the mirror ball and carpeted walls that went during the reno.

Now the decor is slick and clean with a friendly feel. Despite the flash new commercial kitchen, modern decor, polished concrete floors and wait staff, it still seems homely. This is the sort of place where you immediately feel comfortable.

The deck with a spot for doggies on the right.

Inside the bistro

Pull up a seat and enjoy your afternoon tea here.

Robin McLay has a placed collection of old photos from the district on the bistro's wall.
Robin has even included a revamped, old-style Genoa lounge which came from a worker's cottage at Tambo 40 years ago.  It should prove popular with elderly residents from the nearby retirement home when friends and family bring them for a visit.

There's indoor dining areas and a large deck where you can take in the gardens.  Children have a close by grassed area to run around on and there's a post  where you can tie up the family dog while you enjoy your feast.

The menu has lots to interest starting with the toasted apple bread with butter and chai dust for breakfast.  Also expect free range eggs, heirloom tomatoes, hot smoked salmon, buttermilk pancakes and other great tasting tucker.

Chermoula Gold Coast Tiger Prawns

Lunch was a dilemma as there are so many dishes I'd like to try on the menu.  The twice-baked goat cheese soufflĂ© with walnut and pear salad; organic chicken terrine; chermoula Gold Coast tiger prawns or a Ruben sandwich? None of these for me, I went with the grilled figs with sweet potato, Nimbin Valley goats cheese, watercress and balsamic reduction (pictured top).  It lived up to the promise and tasted just as good as it sounded and looked.

Don't miss the chance to pick your dessert or morning tea from the cabinet.  It's all freshly made on premise.

You'll find something like this in the cabinet.

It makes sense to put an eatery in a garden centre where the environment is always beautifully green and flowers abundant. Now if I could only fit some of those huge pots into my car and take them home - just what I need for the backyard!

Wild Canary is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch from 8.30am to 4pm.Find it at 2371 Moggill Road, Brookfield at the Brookfield Garden Centre.

Best tip: Stock up the home herb garden when you visit.

Bottom line:  Breakfast prices range between $6.50 to $22 for the biggest breakfast.  Lunch prices are mainly between $17 to $24.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Wild Canary.