Restaurant News

George Francisco, Circa 1876

The restaurant has gone through some major changes of late, George. What’s the story?

By Maggie Scardifield
George Francisco

The restaurant has gone through some major changes of late, George. What's the story?
I used to come here as a Californian tourist to see kangaroos, taste wine and eat at Roberts long before Circa 1876, back when Robert Molines was still here. By the time I got the job three-and-a-half years ago, Robert had been gone 11 years, but it was still called Roberts. I wanted to change things up to make it my own.

What's new?
My goal was to set up a sustainable restaurant. We ripped out some grapevines to put in an organic permaculture garden right next to the restaurant. The agricultural part of the property is about 1.5 hectares now. A lot of that is still grapes, and we have an orchard, beehives, chickens, and mulberry and apple trees.

You're from the US originally; does your Southern background play a big part in what you cook at Circa 1876?
For the first 10 years when I was in Australia, I was trying hard not to be American. Now I've got a Kentucky-fried quail with a honey-pecan glaze on the menu. It's essentially my mum's recipe for fried chicken, double-fried and soaked in our house-made buttermilk.

Any plans for Mother's Day?
I'll probably do a pavlova for dessert, but one big one for each table - and the sloppy-looking mum-style one rather than the fancy pastry-chef kind.

Circa 1876, 64 Halls Rd, Pokolbin, NSW, (02) 4998 4998