A restaurant for the people

The official opening of Restaurant Associates’ newest venue, Hoi Polloi at Old Parliament House, was held on Wednesday, 11th November 2015. A number of Canberra’s top social influencers, foodies, media and local government organisations were invited to celebrate the opening of this historic destination in partnership with the Museum of Australian Democracy.

The evening commenced at 6pm with drinks from local and regional wine makers. The iconic Menzies martini was served from the same bar where the man himself was known to mix large jugs of martini.

A taste of the menu was served by roaming staff and included;

  • Scotch fillet, watercress puree
  • Petuna salmon, pickled cucumber, crème fraiche and soft herbs
  • Roast butternut pumpkin tarts, ricotta, lemon beurre noisette, pine kernels
  • Grilled Australian banana prawns, fennel, citrus slaw
  • Yellow beets, goats curd, mustard cress and candied walnuts
  • Mini Angus beef sliders

Two beautifully themed food stations were also positioned; one to showcase our whole slow-roasted lamb shoulder, along with a colourful D-I-Y Pavlova bar offering various fruits, chocolates, edible soils, sauces and creams. The Wayne and Ben duo provided the tunes.

While guests were mingling, our 11 special food bloggers were preparing to compete in a carefully orchestrated ‘Pollie Burger’ competition (politically inspired)

The bloggers would be given a randomly selected politician and were asked to create a politically inspired burger from a preset list of ingredients (think “Ready Steady Cook”).

The six politicians chosen were Malcolm Fraser, Gough Whitlam, Billie Hughes, Robert Menzies, Paul Keating, and Bob Hawke. During the competition, recognised political cartoonist David Blumentstein (known as “Nakedfella” ) created some magnificent caricatures of the featured Prime Ministers.

Over the next hour, the bloggers entered the kitchen to prepare their creations, which were then judged by Restaurant Associates’ National Executive Chef, Andrew Collins, and esteemed food writer and critic, Joanna Savill, on appearance, taste and creativity.

Finally, the three “Judges Choice” winners were announced and it was revealed they would feature on the Hoi Polloi menu for one month (16th November – 13th December). During this time, the burger with the highest votes (sales) would win a more permanent fixture.

The night was a huge success with social media exploding with comments, photos and tags and is still being written about, with a buzz around who will win the #pollieburger competition which will be announced on the 14th December 2015.


The judge’s choices;

  1. The Full Yard (inspired by Bob Hawke) – Beef, grilled pineapple, mayo, tomato, chilli relish, cheddar, beetroot, caramelised onion, iceberg served on a milk bun
  2. The Royal Touch (inspired by Paul Keating) – Grilled chicken, bacon, blue cheese, mayo, iceberg served on a wholemeal bap
  3. One in a ‘Billy On’ (inspired by Billy Hughes) – Grilled chicken, pineapple, chipotle ketchup, Swiss cheese, avocado, rocket served on a milk bun

Read more about the winning burger here.