Proudly standing on the corner of a leafy square in the historic suburb of Manuka, Urban Pantry is a bustling café and restaurant delivering a fresh take on provincial charm.
With white wooden-panelled walls and plenty of natural light pouring in through the white-framed windows, this café epitomises classic sophistication. There is a seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor dining areas, which oozes a relaxed and casual atmosphere with a hint of garden party. Hanging plants and planter boxes adorn this lush oasis and provide the perfect atmosphere for the enjoyment and appreciation of coffee and food.
With a menu covering breakfast and lunch, and an extensive drinks menu of interesting beers, wines and cocktails, Urban Pantry is really a go-to destination for any situation. The diverse menu is a modern twist on classic European bistro-style, dishes with a heavy emphasis on all things fresh and light.
Cooked in a mouth-wateringly aromatic bisque, the Spring Bay Mussels pay homage to the flavours typically found along the Mediterranean. Even before you taste it, the floral scent of the saffron-infused tomato bisque meets your nose and tantalises your taste buds. A slurp of the bisque delivers the flavours of fresh herbs and spices that infuse the seafood with a deep complexity. Luckily the dish is served with a side of crunchy toasted sourdough, so that every last drop of the broth can be mopped up.
Order the Kingfish Ceviche for a refreshing and satisfying lunch option that’s delightfully cool on a hot summer day. Beautifully presented as a colourful stack of fresh ingredients of chunky avocado, diced tomato and pieces of translucent pink kingfish with a sprinkling of fluorescent orange caviar, this dish shows wholesome and quality produce at its best. The kingfish itself is firm, and matches the smooth quality of the avocado perfectly, while its citrusy tang enhances the seafood flavour. A sprinkling of black sesame seeds adds a beautiful colour contrast to the dish and a subtle nutty flavour that pairs well with the meatiness of the kingfish. Tall triangles of toasted crisp-bread balance to the side and are crunchy vehicles for the ceviche, while bringing a different texture to the combination.
Full of crunch, fresh ingredients and punchy flavour, the Lamb Pita is the perfect fresh light lunch that is satisfying enough to not leave you hungry. Served as an open wrap, this dish doesn’t hide any of the colourful and flavoursome fillings. A soft and fluffy Lebanese bread wrap is smeared with smooth hummus, crunchy sprouts, and fresh tomato and quinoa tabouli. Super tender on the inside with a caramelised exterior from the grill, the marinated lamb skewer is delicately placed on top. A generous drizzle of herby yoghurt sauce delivers a cool tang that couples well with the deep flavours of the marinated lamb.
The Wagyu Burger remains faithful to what a burger stands for – layers of fresh ingredients that combine to create the ultimate taste sensation. A fluffy brioche bun can hardly contain the rainbow sandwiched between. Juicy beetroot, cooling tomato, tangy pickles and fresh lettuce are perfect flavour accompaniments to the rich beef patty covered in cheese that’s melting down the sides. Be prepared to get your hands dirty as the delicious aioli and ketchup dribbles down your hands in the process of burger devouring. In case the burger experience wasn’t enough, the herby French fries are delightfully moreish.
True to its name, Urban Pantry buzzes with a lively urban vibe, alive with chatty regulars, the sounds of a hardworking coffee machine and is always busy with fresh takes on classic dishes flying out the kitchen.