Somehow, until a few weekends ago, I had never been to The Forage. But now that I have been, I am keen to go back – I will have to wait, though, as The Forage is only held around once every three months.
The Forage has been at various venues in Canberra, including New Acton and an aircraft hanger at Canberra Airport. But it has now found a home, which I hope is permanent, in the carpark of Little National Hotel. We arrived in the middle of a tribal-like dance and drum performance. On a colourful autumn day with bunting overhead and music in the air I felt like I had landed in the middle of a fiesta.
It was hard to choose what to eat and drink, and getting ideas from friends we bumped into didn’t help as the choices all seemed to be of high standard. We started with a pale ale from Bentspoke, and used it to wash down marjoram and lemon seasoned Nuremburg sausage in a roll from The Brathaus, with sauerkraut and German mustard ($9). We were almost full yet hungered for more.
We pondered a plate of paella from The Pod, bright green and purple Filipino desserts from Lola and Lola, French Crepes from Le Petite Breton, a Peruvian style pork belly roll from Mr. Papa, or pistachio rocky road chocolate from Jasper & Myrtle. We breathed in the aroma of freshly roasted coffee from Six8 coffee roasters, and considered a tasting at Quarry Hill winery. We chose Vietnamese-style chicken satays from the ever-reliable Miss Van’s ($10 for two). It made for messy eating, as the skewers had been dunked into satay sauce after cooking. But we didn’t mind sticky fingers; it was delectable. Meanwhile, one of my friends enjoyed the beef pressed sandwich filled with tender slow cooked meat ($13.50) from The One.
The Forage was not large but yet there was plenty to appreciate; just the right size to be interesting yet not overwhelming. We came away not just with food in our bellies, beeswax candles made from a local bee keeper and anticipation of what to order next time.
The Forage is focused on local businesses and produce. The vibe is relaxed, it is frugal and good value for the quality, and I enjoyed supporting local businesses. The Little National venue provided enough space to make it a fun and easy venue to bring along children, with benches nearby to sit on and a ledge next to the hotel to prop on while eating. The Forage was previously held conjunction with the Hustle & Scout fashion market. Friends reminisce about Hustle & Scout, but I certainly felt there was enough just with The Forage to hold my attention.
What: The Forage
Where: Little National, National Circuit, Barton
Opening hours: 2pm – 7pm; last event was 9 April, held every three months or so