Friday, 30 September 2011

Review: More than a Pretty Place? The Oaks Brasserie, Yarralumla

What better thing is there to do in Canberra on a nice day than ride your bike around Lake Burley-Griffin? ... Combine it with a brunch stop, of course. 
Mr D. and I headed off one recent weekend morning on our bikes to do exactly that.  After chasing Mr D.’s cracking pace for kilometres, we finally arrived at one of the most scenic parts of the lake foreshores – Westbourne Woods. 
The bike path wound its way through a stand of big, old shady trees and scraggy bushes, then across a little wooden bridge over a pond with water lilies, and up a long, long grassy hill.  On top of the hill stood a beautiful garden, and nestled in the garden was a little white cottage. 

The little white cottage in the garden was The Oaks Brasserie.   The cottage has been on the site since Canberra’s very early days, providing a home to Canberra’s first official nurseryman, who nurtured trees to beautify the young city and grow new forests in the surrounding hills.  Nowadays, almost 100 years on, the cottage is right in the middle of beautiful parkland on the shores of the lake.

The Oaks Brasserie really does trade on its fabulous location - it is not known for its food.  On this day, the breakfast menu was weighted with heavy eggy dishes and a little uninspired, with the effect that Mr D. and I settled for a simple croissant and jam.   The croissants seemed to be from a frozen box instead of a bakery and the coffee was not great.  However, the service was attentive and friendly, if a little inexperienced.
I had to laugh when I saw the section of the menu especially for dogs – yes, the cafe will serve your pampered pooch a plate of tasty pasta, chicken or sausages as long as it is well behaved.
Speaking of animals, the birds also gave me a laugh that morning.  A pair of currawongs and some other birds greedily eyed off our breakfast the entire time.  Quick as a flash, one of the currawongs swooped down and grabbed the last quarter of Mr D.’s croissant while he was away from the table.  I wasn’t quick enough to shoo him away, the cheeky rascal.  Can you see him smiling to himself in the photo?
So, a pretty place The Oaks Brasserie certainly was that morning.   But like so many other pretty things, there seemed to be not much else behind it.

Tell me, do you choose a book by its cover?  Or is it all about what you might find behind?

The Oaks Brasserie
Cottage 1 Yarralumla Nursery
Weston Park Road
Yarralumla  ACT
Open daily from 10am – 5pm for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea
Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8.30am for breakfast


  1. Lovely images, it is such a shame that the food isn't amazing too :(

    Hopefully they will read this and improve the menu :)

  2. Haha yes you can see that the bird is quite pleased with himself! What a lovely setting for some sandwich stealing antics! :)

  3. What a relaxing place, gorgeous pics too!

    I usually choose a book by it's cover, but it definitely is what's behind it that counts :)

  4. I agree with the 'mentalist' its whats behind the cover that counts. Your rushed whistlestop review ignores the four galleries inside the cottage that is home to THE YARRALUMLA GALLERY & oaks brasserie, an icon amongst the arts community for 15years. Yes the gallery does coffee, but it is a pity you did not take the time to get the whole story.
    Nice blogspot with pretty holiday snaps... BUT like so many other pretty things the there seemed to be not much else behind it.

  5. Thanks for your comment. Sadly, the Yarralumla Gallery part of the site wasn't much to write home about when I visited. Another case of unrealised potential, perhaps?