Since opening its doors in 2015, Muse has developed a serious name for itself. On the surface, it is an all-day eatery come bookshop, however, its reputation goes far beyond what you find on the surface and is, instead, deeply rooted in a concept that can only be described as quintessentially Canberra.
Muse is headed by Paul Eldon and husband, Daniel Sanderson. Snuggled inside the East Hotel, Paul and Daniel have crafted Muse to be a hub of indulgence, creativity and ideas; in their words, it is ‘space where good food, great wine and the magic of the written word come together’. Alongside the restaurant and bookshop, Muse boasts a busy events’ calendar, hosting many of Australia’s top writers, thinkers, politicians, artists and winemakers to share their stories and memories amongst good food, interesting wines and many friends.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between are catered for on the Muse menu. Breakfast is an affair of both classic and creative dishes. House Baked Granola, Eggs on Sourdough and lavish Buckwheat Waffles grace plates alongside Poached Eggs with asparagus, leek, pancetta, toasted sourdough and truffle hollandaise. You will even find a Baked Soufflé combining Ashgrove cloth-wrapped aged cheddar and double smoked ham.
The lunch and dinner menus are clearly designed to suit those who are in for the long haul. Both menus are divided into neat sections titled Prologue, Chapter One, Chapter Two and Side Notes, though courses can be mixed and matched to suit. The petit prologue and chapter one dishes whet appetites with plates of Kingfish Sashimi, Grilled Cypriot Halloumi, and Pan-Fried Scallops served with Puy lentils, pancetta and a lemon crème fraîche. Chapter two dishes combine similar classic, fresh flavours in dishes such as White Miso and Honey Roasted Black Angus Sirloin served with mixed mushrooms and a teriyaki jus, and the fish of the day topped with coconut cream, roast peanut, mint and coriander.
Paul has also created quite a special, but also eclectic, wine list. Celebrating independent Australian producers, the list boasts an entirely Aussie fare, with a significant nod to the Canberra region. There are Australian classics, the Nagambie Lakes’ Tahbilk Marsanne and the Coal River Valley’s famous Pooley Pinot Noir, though there are also varietals and winemakers with names few will know, including McLaren Vale’s Lino Ramble Nero D’avola and the Canberra District’s Lark Hill Grüner Veltliner. Eager to educate as well as to please, Muse has created a monthly ‘wine flight’, where for $25, you can try three different wines that all share the same region or style.