The Tarago Landcare mob, after a bushfood tour of the Botanic Gardens, descended en masse on Manuka to eat bushtucker. We hadn't booked, but they managed us fine, which was itself impressive.
I have to say, I'm _impressed_. The food is solid but I'm particularly impressed by the imagination shown in the use of the products; they're
really working to incorporate the native stuff into already-familiar concepts, rather than getting too scary with "rootail wrapped in paperbark with native plum sauce". So you get a selection of dips with wattleseed-enhanced bread - cream cheese and warrigal greens are a particularly good match, but the pumpkin and native pepper isn't far behind. And native pepperberry mayonnaise is astonishingly wonderful with prawn skewers (and it's pink).
If you book, they'll happily put together a nice degustation menu. And if one isn't feeling alcoholic, the munthari and ginger spritzer is _delicious_, although the quandong and apricot smoothie also looked very tempting indeed. In fact, the drinks are making me drool now. They naturally have wattleseed coffee.
They have a nice way with roo but their emu is _really_ good.
I will definitely be going back to try more; apparently the damper-with-meats are just fantastic for lunch. The cafe-casual feel, with classy outdoor table seating, doesn't harm either - they get a lot of the general Manuka passing trade just by looking like an ordinary cafe, and then people get sucked in by the funky-looking foods. Rooburger with chips, for eg, is tempting to anyone and if it's too scary, chicken burger with lemon myrtle mayo and chips won't even frighten the kiddies.
Naturally, I'm also eyeing them off as a likely recipient of my fresh produce once I finally get them going! Come to think of it, maybe I should contact them and ask what they'd like me to grow :)
The chef there also has the plants growing around for elegance, and we were able to provide advice on why the plants weren't as healthy as they could be (along the lines of "native pepper doesn't like being in the sun and needs bucketloads of water" and "lemon myrtle needs some wind protection" :) ).