The new Gather.Park Pop Up wraps around the bottom of the Manhattan building in an ‘l’ shape. Ceiling to floor windows reach all the way around, offering views out to Glebe Park.
If you are doing a bit of a double-take because the name sounds familiar, yes, this pop up is Gather Cafe’s ‘playful’ sister.
Gather.Park is light-filled with lots of timber, rustic tables, and bright splashes of greenery and some deep red chairs. The neon stacks of orange cups and saucers and a large wooden box on the counter, overflowing with fresh fruit and vegetables, complement the pastel peach feature wall.
Our table has ordered breakfast dishes to share.
The mushroom & avo toast arrives, a hearty slab of toasted Three Mills bread topped with local Gooda Creek mushrooms, a zippy romesco sauce, a generous fan of sliced avocado and a poached egg. In a matter of minutes, my friend has consumed the egg portion of the dish and is calling the waiter over to tell her that it is the best poached egg she has had in years.
My veggie quesadilla stack stands tall, encircled by pretty dollops of pomegranate and herb coyo. The fillings- hommus, black beans, pumpkin, avocado, jalapeño salsa, cashew cheese, salsa fresca, lime and coriander – are flavoursome and filling. The tortillas stayed crunchy, so a big tick from me.
My son ordered the chicken tikka burger. The marinated chicken thigh is tender and juicy, marinated in authentic tikka spices. All the accompaniments, especially the tomato and eggplant relish enhance the Indian flavours. The burger comes with what looks like golden onion rings, but they are actually pakora bites; battered onion rings infused with mellow Indian spices. This is my favourite dish.
After tea and coffees, we share some of Gather.Park’s house-made drinks. They are vibrant, almost too pretty to drink, and glowing with healthiness.
Gather.Park serves house -made kombucha. They use premium organic teas, unrefined sugar and freshly cold-pressed fruits to create their kombucha. Their current flavours are apple cinnamon, orange ginger, raspberry lemon, and coffee.
This is my very first taste of kombucha. I expected it to taste more tea-ish, but the raspberry and lemon notes make it fresh and the fizz is a pleasant surprise.
We enjoy the fresh and fruity green juice, bursting with the tang of apple, kale, spinach, lemon and ginger.
I keep going back for another taste of the orange juice, usually the last option I would go for. A blend of orange, mandarin and carrot, the full ripe tang of mandarin lingers on the palette in the most more-ish way.
Owners, Will and Mars say that the Gather Cafe ethos of healthy and sustainable food runs in the Gather family. Gather.Park maintains the same nutritious, regional and relational approach to cafe dining created by their talented team of chefs. “Healthy and house-made are important for us,” they tell me.
Mars and Will bring a wealth of experience from the hospitality and food industry.
Mars is currently the General Manager at RAKU Dining. He has been working in the hospitality industry for 18 years in bars, 5-star hotels and restaurants across Sydney and Canberra.
Will, an experienced chef, previously worked as Head Chef at the Local Press in Kingston. He is the brewer for Gather.Park’s house made kombuchas.
“Currently we do breakfast and lunch, but coming into the warmer months we will open for dinner and also private events where you can hire the whole space and have our team create a menu with you. Gather.Park is quickly becoming popular and we are super excited for spring and the beautiful morning sun that we get and view overlooking the park,” says Mars.
The Gather.Park Pop Up is working to keep this space busy before they renovate next year.
What is coming? All Mars can say is that they will create a modern iconic diner for Canberrans and visitors to the City.
So gather your friends together while you can, and come see what this pop up is all about.
Gather.Park Pop Up is located at the base of Manhattan Building, 240 Bunda St- overlooking Glebe Park. Open seven days a week:
7 am – 3:45 pm on weekdays
8 am – 3:45 pm on Saturday
8:30 am – 3:45 pm on Sunday
Find out more on their Facebook page.