Canberra’s Best: Aubergine

September 14, 2011 in Canberra, Food, Reviews, Travel by pacejmiller

Sydney has plenty of fine dining restaurants that have delightful food, but the majority of them cost a leg, an arm, and two balls, especially if you are having wine.

Canberra, being the tiny town that it is, doesn’t have nearly as many, so we did our research before going.  And according to that research, the best fine dining restaurant around is Aubergine, which could be described as modern Australian with strong French and European overtones.  The Chef is Ben Willis, who had previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurants overseas.

The best part?  Two course meals are only $60.  Three course meals are $70.

We went for the three course set, chose six different dishes, and shared.  Here is what we had.

First up…well, we didn’t order this appetiser — almonds and olives — surprisingly good!

The first course, roast quail, scallops wrapped in bacon, braised lentils and soubise (like an onion puree sauce).  I’m not a big fan of lentils but this was deluxe.  That thing on top is a quail egg.

The alternate first course, the saute of sand whiting, chorizo, south coast squid and smoked rice.  When I first saw it I didn’t think much of it, but I think this turned out to be my favourite dish.  That black stuff mixed in with the lightly flavoured whiting and the salty chorizo was phenomenal.

Then the first main course: mustard crust pork loin, black pudding, pork croquette and braised fennel.  Ohh…I loved this one.  Big fan of mustard crust and the croquette, and the sauces mixed in together was simply sensational.  Even the black pudding was pretty good.

The alternate main course: white river veal fillet, veal sweetbreads, creamed potatoes, glazed shallots and salsa verde.

Dessert was very nice too.  The chocolate fondant with praline parfait.  Interesting array of textures with the soft fondant and the creamy parfait was a great combination.

Lastly, crepe suzette with mango ice cream.  A little disappointed with this one as the crepe got a bit soggy, but it was probably because they left this out while waiting for the fondant to bake.

In all, still an exquisite meal that would have cost twice as much back in Sydney.  Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

8.5 out of 10!

18 Barker Street, Griffith, ACT, 2603
Phone: +61 2 6260 8666
Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday from 12pm
Dinner: Monday-Saturday from 6pm
Note: Book online in advance!