One of the greatest tragedies and injustices of life has been that Campbell has never had a pub. Is it too much to ask for a place where you can sit back with a beer and chill out as the sun goes down? Well, worry no more because we’ve some fantastic news for you Campbell!
Nestled on Constitution Avenue and featuring a huge outdoor terrace, The Pedlar is the beautiful creation of Simon Hammond, Anthony Martin and Ben Peppers. It’s a bit of everything to everyone: breakfast and brunch spot for foodies, coffee spot for the caffeine addicts, and bar for everyone else who wants to kick back after a long day at work.
We know it’s early days but we’re going to call this one a success. After all, Simon was involved with Shorty’s, SubUrban and Hippo, to name a few, so the man’s got experience. And, when you add the fact that it’s open to kids and dogs… well, need we say more?
We spoke with Simon to get the lowdown.
Hi Simon, thanks for taking the time to chat to us. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in the food industry?
I have been in the industry for over 16 years now; I started at the ripe age of 17 at a restaurant/cocktail bar – Iridium. Iridium closed and I moved on to Hippo, where my love for the industry really grew. Hippo had fantastic ownership and management that really inspired me to develop a career in the industry.
I was then approached to open a new cocktail bar attached to the ever popular Minque in Manuka. It was in this role that I realised that this was the industry I would spend the rest of my life in.
As I got older, I started to move away from the more ‘late-night’ venues and went on to manage Cream in the city, Sub-Urban in Dickson and Public in Manuka. My time working with this group (now known as Co-Cu group) further developed my management and operational skills – leading to my partnership in Shorty’s.
I am now thrilled to be stepping out on my own (with the support of some fantastic business partners) at The Pedlar!
You have some amazing dishes on the menu, like Coconut Crusted French Toast and and Confit Duck Salad with watercress, baby witlof, dried sour cherries, crispy shallots, and tarragon. Where do you find inspiration for your flavour combinations?
I work with some extremely talented and like-minded chefs. I come up with a vision and they put in the hard yards executing it. The Pedlar is a bit of a mixed-bag as we are a pub at heart, so the menu features many pub classics, and then we also have our ‘signature dishes’ which is where we try and step it up a notch. These dishes are inspired by core flavours and seasonal produce, combined with a twist on market trends.
You also have a great selection of craft beers, local wines and spirits on offer. What would you recommend for a fabulous food and drink pairing?
For a nice mid-afternoon combo, I would suggest our prawn betel leaves with galangal, coconut and green mango and the tuna tartare with avocado, yuzu jelly and cassava crackers, paired with a glass (or bottle if you like) of the Riesling Freak No.3.
For a cold Canberra nighttime, my pick would be the braised short rib with rice noodles and flavours of pho, paired with the White Rabbit Dark Ale on tap.
Mmm, count us in for both! What’s your favourite item on the menu and why?
I personally am a lover of share plates, so my two favourites would have to be the flatbread with grilled zucchini, goats curd, grilled shallots and dried chilli, alongside the tuna tartare. They are both full of flavor and great to share over a drink or two with friends.
We are actually about to change the menu with winter officially hitting, so keep your eyes peeled for some dishes that will help you survive Canberra’s cold weather. The new menu will have dishes such as a slow-braised beef cheek with Portobello mushrooms and roasted bone marrow – its delicious!
That sounds incredible! The Pedlar’s design is beautiful, with accents of blonde wood, planter boxes, aqua and bronze. Who designed the space and how did you come up with the concept?
We worked with Robbie Blazevski of RB Designs for the build of The Pedlar and he has done a really fantastic job. He has a great eye for detail and worked with me on every aspect of the design and build process.
The brief was to design a pub primarily – but one that would be inviting both in the early mornings through to the late evenings. The colour scheme was something we thought reflected that brief really well.
At present, I am loving raw materials such as rolled steel and concrete so I really wanted to incorporate these into the build. We have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic suppliers such as Mitchell Bink who has done an outstanding job with the concrete bar tops and water station, as well as boyandgirlco, who custom-built the planter boxes and indoor table tops. Stainless & Co were responsible for the fantastic rolled steel feature wall as well as the bar lights.
What advice do you have for anyone else looking to open a cafe?
The best advice I can give is that you need to be prepared to work your butt off, as this industry is a highly competitive and cutthroat. From my experiences, the businesses that succeed are the ones where the owners take a very hands-on approach and are at the backbone of everything the venue does.
The second piece of advice would be to never forget that your staff are your number one asset.
When you’re not enjoying all your own culinary creations, where do you like to go for a great meal?
My favourite restaurant in Canberra is easily Lanterne Rooms in Campbell; the food and service is faultless. They are tucked away at a local set of shops and it works – amazing!
There are loads of other great venues around Australia that I love, but the list is too long to even start!
I have been really fortunate to have some great mentors throughout my career so a big thank you to all of those that have helped me get to where I am today; Frankie, Sasha, Rob, Bennett, Soc, Simon, Steve, Phil, Anton, Omar, Nager.
Well, there you have it folks! The Pedlar is open 7 days a week from 6:30am – 12:00am and can be found at 5 Constitution Ave, Campbell. Head to their website, Facebook and Instagram for all the latest updates!