There is a lovely little place in Queanbeyan called Benedict House. According to Mike Kelly, the Federal Member of Parliament for the area, it’s his favourite hang-out in town. I can see why. Once upon a time it was nunnery. But it’s been converted into a lovely little eatery, creative studio and shop. They sell all sorts of wonderful arty things in the shop: fabulous bead necklaces, funky tea towels, drink bottles, and great toys and clothes for very small children, as well as a bunch of other things. They regularly have new stock coming in. I have had lunch in the little cafe a couple of times and have always enjoyed the tasty homely meals.
Today we had our work Christmas party there. It was one of the best Christmas parties I can remember. The vibe was great and the food incredible. It was all plates to share (there was 30 of us).
To begin we had a delicious, and very pretty salad with pomegranate seeds, haloumi cheese, orange, and candied walnuts. The dressing was superb, and the whole dish had perfectly balanced flavours and textures, and the colours were great.
There were three main dishes: parmesan polenta with roast tomato and capsicum ragu, turkey breast with pomegranate and baby spinach, and chicken with a creamy sauce on a bed of what I think was rice and quinoa. The chicken dish was easily the standout. The menu explained it would be lemon and thyme chicken, but the flavours were far more complex than that and I wonder if there may have been some Dijon mustard and garlic in there somewhere. The rice and red quinoa lapped up the sauce graciously, and I certainly gobbled them up there after.
Last but certainly not least was a beautiful spread of individual brown sugar pavlovas with chocolate cream and raspberries. They looked sensational and tasted even better. I believe it was my first brown sugar pavlova, but I hope it will not be my last. These came served with pots of tea and coffee, all on Grandma’s best sets of fine china. It was a delight, and considering how early we are in the Christmas party season, I would suggest you all (especially those near Queanbeyan) consider Benedict House for yours.
If not, you should at least pop in for lunch with the girls, and/or a squiz around the shop. They are open Wednesday – Sunday from 10-5. I would recommend you book for lunch or high tea, as the kitchen and/or coffee services can finish earlier. Phone (02) 6284 2868.