November 2, 2017

They say - behind every great dish is a great chef. It will come as no surprise then that Pollen’s Head Chef, Simon, has a talent for not only for cooking up a storm, but also for making people smile with his friendly and encouraging nature... and occasional wicked sense of humour. We sat down with Simon to get an insight into the person behind Pollen’s great dishes.

Where did you learn to cook?

In Sydney at TAFE for three years. Before that I was in Canberra so I came back to work here after TAFE.

What were you doing before you decided to become a chef?

I was studying Interior Design at university. After I finished the degree I decided I didn’t want to work in that field so I pursued something I really wanted to do, and that was cooking.

What is your favourite dish, either to cook or eat?

An Asian steamed chicken dish with ginger and shallots. Simple. It’s nice, tender and best served with rice.

Tell us about the first time you set foot in a professional kitchen.

The first time... that w...

October 29, 2017

The doors swing open and before you the intricate beauty of Pollen unfolds as your eyes dart from colour to detail and then back again.

As your coffee is being prepared, you notice the textured linen of the menu. It’s a blue so deep you’re drawn in and the flash of metallic copper is all that stops you from daydreaming.

Tracy Keeley relishes in the opportunity to transform cafes and curate a feeling within that space. Here she shares her story of the elements involved in creating Pollen.

Over the years I have learned that my style is about incorporating function, versatility and beauty. For me, conveying a vision to an audience is about developing a concept. It lays the foundation for the total sensory experience.

When I look at a commercial space, I appreciate how much planning is required to translate the brand into a physical location. All the elements need to form a constellation that feels harmonious and makes sense to the consumer. Will the food and the plates match the vibe of décor...

October 26, 2017

"Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and grass grows by itself." - Bashō Matsuo

Wandering through a shady garden, you stumble across a cottage. It welcomes you in, promising a warm cup of tea overlooking the verdant grounds. A place to rest.

If you’ve come to visit the Botanic Gardens recently, you’ve probably noticed that the tired old kiosk is gone and a vibrant splash of style has emerged in its place: Pollen Café.

It has become an oasis, just minutes out of the bustling city. A place where tranquillity abounds and you’ll want to stay for a long lunch.

Owner, Tracy Keeley, talks lovingly about the transformation explaining that her travels have been an inspiration.

“I love visiting unfamiliar cafes and restaurants, seeing how they combine all of your senses into the experience.”

She says that her interest lies in creating an environment that has a positive effect on well-being. In this case, it’s nurturing a feeling of calm.

It feels like the sort of place you’d like to sit and r...

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Pollen is located at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, Australia

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