Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
SOMETIMES ideas just pop into the head. Like the idea that popped into Kimberley Ohayon’s head while living in Italy.
“I loved the intimate, interesting and cosy Italian wine bars. I wanted to create something similar when I returned home,” says Kimberley. “After a great deal of thinking, it dawned on me that I could create a totally self-contained bar and pop-up around Canberra.”
The Pop Inn was 18 months in the making and self-contained it is. The trailer, 6.5-metres long and a whopping 3.2 tonnes, has been spotted around the capital at special spots such as Lennox Gardens, Telopea Park and Kingston Foreshore.
“Enlivening places that have lovely views or are just nice places to be is our aim,” says Kimberley, director of The Pop Inn.
“We try to stay for a couple of weeks at a time and enjoy meeting our ‘regulars’.”
Getting the design right had its challenges. Every millimetre is well thought through, beautifully designed and custom built, thanks to the support of many partners.
“I didn’t want to be a standard food truck serving guests from a tiny window. Instead, people can come in and feel like they’re inside a bar,” says Kimberley.
Indeed, when fully opened up, The Pop Inn looks exactly like a bar. Rows of wine glasses are displayed, several bar fridges are in full view and a small kitchen is set up for prepping cheese plates, serving wine and tidying. Bouquets of flowers add pops – yes, pops – of colour.
The Pop Inn has about 30 chairs and tables at each venue and offers picnic rugs so folks can spread out. If you think this unique operation is only going to work during warm weather, think again. The Pop Inn offers blankets to keep guests toasty warm, plans to serve mulled wines and ciders, and set up in protected locations.
Cheese platters are on the menu, with Kimberley sourcing mainly from Mart Deli, Fyshwick Markets. The cheeses rotate to keep interest up and have included a marvellous Manchego with a rosemary rind, a delicious triple-cream cow’s milk cheese, and “Shadows of Blue”, a creamy, light and milder cheese. The Pop Inn even offers gluten-free crackers.
Wine offerings also vary and have included a Spanish tempranillo, a French rose and other international drops. Local wines come from vineyards such as Mount Majura, Gallagher Wines and Three Lads Wine.
The Pop Inn’s times vary, depending on location and weather. It usually opens Fridays at 5pm and weekends starting around 2pm. All you need to do is keep your eye on the website (thepopinn.com) and then “pop in”. The Pop Inn is credit card only.
Photos by MADDIE McGUIGAN