There’s something truly magical about seeing a check-trousered chef wander out from his kitchen and come back clutching a few delicate fronds. It’s even better when those same fronds appear only minutes later on the plate that has just been delivered to your table.
Such was my happy fate upon visiting Wild Canary, the brand new café in the grounds of the Brookfield Garden Centre.
The fronds in question were Lemon Verbena, and they made a graceful garnish for the Strawberry Surprise muffin I’d ordered. (I am ever-skeptical of muffins. They can be tricky, don’t you think? A bad one is like a deadweight of unhappy clagginess. So common is this variety though, that the rare appearance of a good ‘un warms the soul and restores faith in the possibility of successful small baked goods).
The delicate pale purple flowers and fine foliage released a zingy lemon aroma when crushed. Mother-of-Landscapology, visiting from out of town, was so impressed she hot-footed into the nursery and bought up the last plant to take home.
The plants the chef had attacked were not in the nursery, but rather in a fantastic kitchen garden, newly established midway between the garden centre and Wild Canary.
Five raised beds have been installed, and planted out with a variety of citrus and fruiting trees, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers, including olive, lemon, fennel, sage, basil, thyme, mint, rosemary, and of course, lemon verbena.
Wild Canary is open for breakfast and lunch, and I suspect that, having enjoyed your meal and wandered back past the kitchen garden, you too will find it difficult to leave without picking something up at the nursery.
Now it’s over to you.
Have you ever eaten something at a cafe or restaurant and then been inspired to grow it at home? Let us know what it was, and how you went in the comments below.
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Note: Wild Canary is at the Brookfield Garden Centre, 2371 Moggill Road, Brookfield. Bookings on 3378 2805 (recommended). The are several dining areas available, including a raised internal room and a covered outdoor deck.