4 March 2024

Beltana Farm opens in Pialligo with a farmhouse-style menu of simple, seasonal dishes

| Lucy Ridge
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Different tasty looking dishes on table.

Seasonal small dishes and snacks at newly opened Beltana Farm. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Beltana Farm opened its much-anticipated restaurant last month. Run by the team behind popular Canberra venues The Boat House, Canteen and Margot, Beltana Farm is destination farmhouse dining in the ACT.

Parking behind massive hedges on Pialligo Road, there’s an immediate level of privacy from the hustle and bustle of Pialligo on a Saturday morning. The bespoke accommodation ‘yurts’ are very close to the car park (not quite so secluded as the beautiful pictures would have you believe), but the restaurant setting does not disappoint.

The impressive stone and wood building has high ceilings, eye-catching artwork and an abundance of large windows. A terrace looks out onto the 800 trees of the trufferie and it feels like you are out in the middle of the countryside, rather than a 10-minute drive from the centre of the city.

Restaurant table set next to feature stone wall.

Beltana Farm is a beautiful location. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The menu is best shared, with dishes ranging from individual snacks to large cuts of meat. There’s a set menu option for $110 per person, but we opt to pick and choose from the a la carte section.

We start with whipped brie and burnt onion served with breakfast radishes and the potato damper with macadamia dukkah. Our server convinces us to try the cauliflower and gruyere croquettes, which are bloody delicious and definitely a good call.

The burnt onion and brie dip are umami-rich and very satisfying to scoop up with the crisp, fresh radishes and the fluffy potato damper. A hearty drizzle of olive oil makes it easier to mop up the dukkah: all in all it’s a very nice way to start the meal.

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The heirloom tomato and peach salad comes at the same time, and we enjoy how the fresh produce has been served simply with black garlic and basil oil. The dining style is described as ‘farmhouse’, and a menu full of seasonal ingredients perfectly embodies this produce-driven ideal.

While a handful of ingredients are credited to their producer, most are left un-described. I would have liked to have seen a stronger emphasis on provenance at a venue like this, whether written on the menu or verbalised by the staff. I look forward to seeing the evolution of the menu throughout the year, including more relationships with local producers.

Plate of roast chicken with bowl of greens in background.

Rustic and hearty Roast Chicken Beltana Farm. Nice work on the stuffing, Fred! Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The drinks list is beautifully curated, with small-scale Australian wineries given the spotlight. There’s a very tidy list of gins featuring native Australian botanicals, and I enjoy a Lost Phoenix Australian Dry Gin with tonic.

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The large dish we choose is the half crown roasted chicken with saltbush and Fred’s stuffing. I don’t know who Fred is, but the sausage stuffing is delicious, and the chicken is very nice. Perfectly cooked with a rich, sticky jus, the meat falls off the bone and melts in the mouth. The mix of tender and bitter leaves with a sweet and sour verjuice vinaigrette in the farm leaves is a lovely accompaniment, and to tie it all together, I have a glass of flinty Tasmanian riesling.

Pretty dessert pastry with cream and figs.

Pistachio Puff, Beltana Farm. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The service is attentive if a touch haphazard. But the team is fresh, enthusiastic and obviously eager to please. With a few more weeks of service under their belt, they will be top-notch.

We share a pistachio puff with Earl Grey crémeux and fresh figs from Hundred Acres farm for dessert. It’s light, delicious and beautifully assembled.

As we leave, I am already making plans to return for a fireside lunch during truffle season. It’s early days, but Beltana Farm is shaping up to be a very special destination showcasing the beauty of Canberra’s seasonal eating.

Beltana Farm is located at 14 Beltana Road, Pialligo. They are open for lunch from 12 pm, Thursday to Sunday, and dinner from 6 pm, Thursday to Saturday. Follow Beltana Farm on Facebook or Instagram, and make a reservation on their website.

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