Every suburb in Canberra has that one meeting place that is an essential part of the community. You head there for a drink after work, a tasty meal when you don’t want to cook, a weekend brunch treat or a coffee on your way past during the day.
For Crace residents, The District has become a pillar of the community since day dot, and over the past three years, Gerry Sanfrancesco and his team have secured their place in the centre of the community with award-winning service and an even better menu.
“I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years and have always found that the best way to make a venue successful is to listen to the customer and that’s exactly what we have done at The District,” says Gerry.
“Our staff make it their mission to be approachable and get to know our regulars. Our hard work has really paid off; we have won the AHA Hospitality Award for Best Café Restaurant three years in a row, which is a good incentive to keep doing what we’re doing.”
We were lucky enough to dine at The District on a sunny morning, which really brought the open space alive. But, what really got the team talking was the aroma coming out of the kitchen.
“The District menu is a good mix between pub favourites and finer meals, as well as an eclectic wine list,” adds Gerry.
“I am Italian myself but we haven’t confined ourselves to one cuisine, there is something for everyone including vegetarian and gluten-free options.”
With a glass of red in hand, we started our meal with the Stuffed Mushrooms. This hearty starter is a great teaser for what’s to come. Button mushrooms are turned upside down on the plate and filled with a creamy mixture of basil pesto, sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
After this tasty bite, your head immediately swings around to the kitchen door awaiting the next dish. Gerry’s Italian heritage inspired the simple deliciousness of the Seafood Pasta. A swirl of linguine is combined with a generous topping of fish, prawns, calamari and scallops, white wine reduction, tomatoes, parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chilli to add a touch of heat. All the ingredients combine to allow the simple flavours of the dish to sing on your tastebuds.
Continuing with the seafood theme, the Barramundi was served with a striking lime statement on top of the dish. The fish is lightly coated to add a contrast in texture but does not distract from the natural sweetness of the barramundi. As we look toward the warmer months, this is sure to be the star dish of the menu, served with a side of roast potatoes, pumpkin, asparagus and a wasabi aioli to bring the whole dish together.
I love a great steak when I go out for dinner and believe me when I say, I would travel from Queanbeyan to dig my fork into the Eye Fillet at The District. The succulent piece of meat is so tender that your steak knife glides through the flesh as if it were butter. Mix this with a side of well-seasoned roast potatoes, pumpkin, broccolini and your choice of sauce – Dianne, mushroom, pepper or gravy.
To finish the meal, we were served a delicious palate cleanser of Ricotta Cheesecake with a side of green tea ice cream, berry coulis and passionfruit pulp.
Sitting back after a meal at The District with a wine in hand, you can’t help but be converted to the relaxed lifestyle of the Gungahlin suburbs. If you have yet to check out this suburban gem, why not drop in this week after work?