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A Canberra Italian restaurant serving delicious vegan dishesfullsizeoutput_4ef

Isn’t it funny, I live in a small city and; having lived here for nearly fourteen years and have never been to Bicicletta Italian Restaurant (which my ‘foodie’ friend Jane had told me about several times)…but last month that all changed…

I arranged a pre-Christmas dinner with girl friends I have known for over thirty-five years.  We all joined the same employer way back in 1983.  Unfortunately two girls could not make it but the remaining three and myself allowed us to catch up on all the gossip of life.  Even though I have now retired we still keep in contact and only one of the girls is still with the same organisation…although she did leave for many years to run a hotel in the country.  fullsizeoutput_4eaBut back to our dinner…  Bicicletta Restaurant serves locally sourced food and its menu has several vegetarian and vegan options.  In this location, there are several restaurants and a few residential complexes who share a communal vegetable and herb garden. I loved this little area; so beautifully maintained also with an ‘interesting’ statue and small gardens and pathways for local residents to enjoy.fullsizeoutput_4eefullsizeoutput_4e5IMG_4278We sat outside in the courtyard with a view inside the restaurant through large windows.fullsizeoutput_4e7The courtyard is great for the warmer months with lush greenery and coloured chairs and umbrellas.  In late Autumn and Winter, blankets are supplied to keep your legs warm.fullsizeoutput_4f0I loved the look of two vegan items on the menu so decided to try both an entree and main course.  I chose the eggplant dish for entree which was deep fried with a balsamic glaze, polenta chips and a small amount of rocket.  This was an incredibly delicious meal…really too big for an entree but I was not complaining.  I loved it!fullsizeoutput_4ebMy friends shared the Pane, Olio E Balsamico which was a selection of breads; sourdough, baguette and brioche served with butter, aged balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil [forgot to take a photo].

For my main course I ordered the Gnocchi Da Giardino; house made pumpkin, potato and ground herbed gnocchi with roasted baby beets, broccoli florets and wild mushrooms in spinach and a vegan herb pesto sauce.  Another incredible dish – so [so] good.fullsizeoutput_4e6One of my friends also ordered the gnocchi but hers included a topping of crumbed goats cheese.

My friends then chose a range of dishes including the Capesante; pan seared scallops with romesco sauce, green apple tartare with lime and salmon caviar.fullsizeoutput_4ecAlso the Ravioli Di Maiale Arrosto; house made ravioli stuffed with roast pork, apple, potato and thyme in a creamy apple, rhubarb and white wine sauce finished with rocket, toasted walnuts and aged balsamic.  fullsizeoutput_4e8And finally the daily risotto dish with wild mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, rocket and freshly shaved parmesan.  fullsizeoutput_4e9I thought all the meals looked so appetising and were beautifully displayed.  But in relation to our friendship, no matter how different our lives are now, this group of friends is still very special to me and I always enjoy catching up with them over a meal.