If you want to outsource Christmas and save yourself the trouble of all the cooking and cleaning, the options are pretty limited, but there are some. None of it cheap, and for most of it, you’ll have to go on a wait list.
Flint in the Vines is offering Christmas Day lunch. Inside seating is booked out, but there’s space still on the terrace. The meal starts with ham-hock terrine, then a seafood platter with calamari, smoked salmon, oysters, smoked trout, prawns and scallops. For main course, a roast turkey breast with walnut stuffing, then Tarago triple brie with salted raisins, and Christmas pudding for dessert ($120, $90 vegetarian, $60 children).
Konoba, the restaurant in the Realm Hotel in Barton, offers a Christmas lunch that begins with seafood – oysters, prawns, salmon and tuna sashimi, plus jamon; then a beef tenderloin or blue-eye cod, and traditional Christmas pudding with honeycomb ice cream ($120, including house wine and other drinks).
The Boathouse on the Lake and Pod Food in Pialligo are both offering Christmas lunch. Both are fully booked, but there’s a wait list. On offer at the Boathouse is a seven-course degustation ($180, plus $50 for wines) that steers clear of the traditional fare, with a five-course menu for children ($80). At Podfood, which has the same owner, the seven-course menu includes beetroot and Tanqueray-cured Tasmanian salmon with rye; zucchini flower with feta; wagyu with smoked bone marrow and salt bush ($150, $195 with Canberra district wines).
The Benchmark Wine Bar in the city has a five-course lunch, with a glass of Pommery champagne. Gravlax, then seafood terrine, confit quail, roast turkey and lemon tart ($125).
The Hyatt Hotel expects to serve about 600 for lunch, and is booked out. If you want to try your luck with cancellations, it’s offering different options. In the Centenary Ballroom, the menu begins with prawns, tea-smoked scallops and vodka-infused salmon, then olive-oil poached hiramasa kingfish; toast turkey with chestnut pistachio stuffing; or beef fillet with salt crust lamb rack. And for dessert meringue or Christmas pudding ($198). A buffet is on offer in the Federation Ballroom, the Canberra Room, including a sushi station ($170, $85 for children aged seven to 12), and also in the Promenade Cafe ($194, $97 for seven to 12 year olds).
Rydges Capital Hill on Canberra Avenue holds its annual Christmas buffet lunch, with a buffet containing everything you might expect to see at Christmas - oysters, prawns, smoked salmon, chicken, honey-glazed ham and turkey. Plus a visit from Santa. ($145, children $85, seven years and under free).
If you’re down the coast, Briars, the restaurant at the Lincoln Downs Hotel in Batemans Bay, offers Christmas lunch. Briars has a new chef,
Richard Gomez, who was born and brought up in Chile. His menu includes options of roast duck, wild mushroom and feta tart, and a shellfish plate among the entrees; and turkey roulade, and rib-eye among the mains ($135, $75 for kids).