Rubicon

It had been years since I had been to Rubicon and after the fantastic meal I had the other week, I wondered why I stayed away for so long.There was a choice of four, five or six course degustation and we decided on six courses (surprise surprise) with a few extras. When we had the ‘Design your own degustation‘ explained to us that we could choose any six items on the menu it threw all reasoning out the window. It meant I could have 6 Wagyu steaks or Timmy could have all the desserts but the whole table had to decide on the same 6 courses, so we had to compromise.

Amuse bouche~ orange, rhubarb and walnut.Extras~

Toasted garlic, chive and parmesan ($1.50). This wasn’t as delicious and moreish as Sizzler parmesan bread (I swear they use some sort of addictive drug to make that), but it came out very fast and it was at a bargain price.Oysters with smoked bourbon sauce, bacon, shallot, pecorino ($4.00 per oyster). Not my favourite as I found the sauce overpowering the other ingredients. It had too much going on and I couldn’t even tell there was an oyster in there with all the other textures.Design your own degustation 5 courses($80.00 pp).

Yellowtail kingfish sashimi, green nam jim, lime, yuzu, coriander, coconut, cress. This dish had a perfect balance and pairing of flavours. This was definitely worth ordering.Scallops, confit chicken, bacon jam, apple, calvados. I LOVED this dish and I was surprised as a lover of scallops, for me the chicken stole the show on this one.Roasted pork belly, celeriac remoulade, crackling, apple. Classic pairings that work really well together; the pork was incredibly tender.Green beans and snow peas, tarragon and lemon dressing ($9.00). This was my attempt to eat more vegetables during the degustation but I really could have skipped it. The snow peas were just a touch over cooked and I wasn’t a huge fan of the dressing.Duck confit, ginger miso roasted mushrooms (swiss, king, oyster, enoki), braised cabbage, duck brik. I was a little disappointed with this dish as I wanted more saltiness to the duck, the mushrooms to be more flavoursome and the brik outer layer to be crisper. In hindsight, I probably would have skipped this course.Shoestring fries, smoked paprika ($9.00). I know this sounds simple, but it was delicious because it was served ridiculously hot with the right amount of seasoning. YUM! Also the perfect side to the rib eye.Chargrilled Wagyu rib eye, onion, boulangere, asparagus, horseradish, sauce bearnaise. YAY! This was really delicious and cooked perfectly. BOO! I was starting to get uncomfortably full and forced myself to finish it. I probably would have enjoyed this more, earlier on in the degustation.Cooked perfectly to my liking.Palette cleanser~ carrot and green apple sorbet. I wouldn’t have been able to tell this contained carrot except by the colour.Dessert~ they let you choose different desserts (phew!)

Caramelised apple tart, sablé, butterscotch, creme fraiche sorbet. This was definitely not what we expected as we thought the tart would be made from pastry, not sablé. The base was really hard in comparison to the apple and we found ourselves having to stab our spoons in the base just to break it. It had a beautiful butterscotch sauce but we felt it just wasn’t the same calibre as the savoury dishes we had chosen.Spiced rum and honey panna cotta, drunken fig, sauternes jelly, hazelnut, earl grey ice cream. I liked the sound of spiced rum and honey in a panna cotta but oh my! This would have been considered a fire hazard with how much rum was in it. It was so intense, we didn’t even finish half of it, albeit it was the biggest panna cotta I have seen.Even though we didn’t completely love our desserts, we had a fantastic time and I look back on my savoury courses fondly. The service was friendly and attentive and I definitely look forward to going back soon.

Venue: Rubicon

Address: 6A Barker St, Griffith ACT 2603

Phone(02) 6295 9919

Rubicon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Courgette

There is nothing more I can say about Courgette since I’ve blogged about it so many times; TimmyC and I always enjoy our visits here, even after all the restaurants that come and go in the Canberra dining scene.

Here is a collage of our last visit; even though it was in the middle of the week, it was a very busy night. We particularly enjoyed the Moreton bay bugs and surprisingly the venison.

Four course dinner ($88.00pp)~

– First course – 

In house smoked salmon, seared scallop, fennel sand, cauliflower puree, fermented black garlic

Sweetcorn croquette, heirloom tomato, bail pesto, green olive, toasted seeds

– Second course – 

Sauteed Moreton bay bugs, tomato, asparagus, cauliflower foam, chorizo crumb, petit herbs

Golden plains pork fillet and crispy jowl, miso mustard, celery fig salad, air dried black pudding

– Third course – 

Mandagery creek venison loin, truffled mash, baby spinach, red cabbage gel, port and thyme jus

Blue eyed cod and prawn sandwich, colcannon, bearnaise, salted baby capers, cornichons

– Four course – 

Baked hazelnut tart, coffee marscapone mousse, raspberry gel, dulce de leche, praline dust

Dropped cinnamon apple pie, vanilla bean custard, burnt apple ice cream, toasted oat crunch

Courgette also offer a 3 course lunch for $66.00pp, you should get there and see for yourselves why they keep winning awards.

Sage re-run Autumn menu

——-17/05/2012——-

When I saw that Sage dining rooms was doing a special of a surprise 8 course degustation for $95.00 per person on their FB page, my friend and I jumped at chance of going again. My friend doesn’t eat seafood so they kept that in mind and the courses varied between us.

With the millions of different elements and the waiters talking so fast, please excuse if I didn’t get the description 100% correct.

A quick snap shot of the whole night

Let the dinner begin!

Course #1~

Mushroom amuse bouche- It had a thick foam layer and the ‘soup’ was very salty with a distinct mushroom taste. Great for dipping the bread into I thought.

House made sour dough with dehydrated sage and tomato butter

Course #2~

Confit of mackerel with rhubarb gel and a dehydrated grape. Very interesting to say the least especially biting into the dehydrated grape.  The rhubarb taste was subtle with a weird gel toothpaste consistency. The mackerel was a nice salted fish which balanced out all the sweetness of the rhubarb and grape.

Beetroot variations with freeze dried mandarin and coriander. They had beetroot cooked in a variety of ways including poached and fresh finished with a smoked ricotta. Pretty on a plate but obviously not very filling.

Course #3~

Tuna and foie gras with sashimi, mojama, crackling, chervil and PX dressing. Really delicate and really tasty although the crackling was more about texture than taste.

Honey peppered heirloom carrots with malt powder, caramelised yolk, cumin sponge, finished with a carrot glass. With so many different elements and textures, it was hard to distinguish between the flavours.

Course #4~

Wagyu bresaola with foie gras foam. The foam had a very strong horseradish texture which I would usually be put off by but it went really well with the thinly sliced beef.

Course #5~

Seared scallops with a pumpkin fondant and amoretto biscuits. Another textured delight for the senses between the pumpkin, puree and seeds. Nicely put together.

All gone!

Pork ‘all’sorts’– slow cooked belly, braised cheek with pork chips and radish. The pork cooked to perfection and we really enjoyed this dish.

Course #6~

Roast duck with licorice gel, confit duck terrine rolled in pistachios, orange and carrot puree and pickled red cabbage. The duck had a nice layer of fat under the skin which really added to the flavour. I thought the pickled red cabbage gave the dish a nice sweet touch but my favourite part of this dish (despite my love for fatty duck) would have to be the orange and carrot puree. Wow it was soooo amazing and I made sure that my fork got every last bit of it. This would have to be the most memorable dish of the night.

Dessert~

We were counting the courses as we were going, so when we saw that they were serving desserts at course #7 we were excited at the thought of having two desserts.

Course #7~

Rhubarb and raspberry– quinoa crunch, raspberry sorbet, creme brulee foam, rose petals with a raspberry sponge. The creme brulee foam was so light, creamy and delicate. I was surprised to find the poached rhubarb cold and sweet and I thought it was a great contrast of raspberry with the sponge flavour being so subtle against the very vibrant sorbet.

Course #8~

Chocovado– chocolate cremeux, hazelnut cocoa crumble, lemon gel and avocado cream. The aftertaste of the avocado cream left my tongue like it had just eaten an unripe banana. The actual chocolate portion itself was like a thick rich chocolate mousse, it was very smooth which was contrast to the crunch of the rice grains that are decorated on top.

And a cappuccino to finish off the night (not included in degustation)

Staff were attentive and polite as always and I’m always impressed when they can describe each course at no hesitation and yet with so much detail. I must admit even after 8 courses I could have eaten another meal afterwards but I resisted temptation to not ruin my palette. I’m looking forward to next season’s menu.

From their website:

Sage Closed from 1st July -17th July for an inspirational trip to France and a new kitchen.”

The Artisan

——-30/03/2012——-

Ooooh I was just staring at photos of a beautiful dessert and it turns out I forgot to post about it!

My friends and I headed to Artisan after a ‘light refreshments’ event at the Botanic gardens. Despite my reminders of our up and coming dinner to a restaurant that I have been looking forward to, they still ate too much and therefore we had to skip entree.  I would have loved to have tried the pork belly, scallops or mushrooms. Instead I had to settle for a bread roll starter.

Mains~

Duck Blackberry glazed roast Grimaud duck breast with sugar snaps, baby carrots and chestnut puree ($33.00)– The duck was cooked medium but we had to send it back because my friend likes well done. It was nice that they were willing to cook it a bit more and they re decorated the plate when it was re-served. It didn’t have a strong duck taste and we found bits of the chestnut puree a little gritty.

Tortellini Artisan crafted spanner crab and saffron tortellini with lobster and chive beurre blanc ($29.00) Awesome parcels of pasta in a delicious refreshing lemon sauce. A small serving though.

Beef Pure south eye fillet with potato souffle, slippery jack butter and port jus– Every restaurant has a ‘beef’ option which makes it all the more harder to perfect and stand out from everywhere else. This was absolutely delicious! Cooked to perfection with an awesome butter and a superb potato souffle. The souffle sounded really interesting and was the reason why I chose this dish, it was soooooo fluffy and delicate.

A closer look @ the duck, amazing potato souffle and tortellini.

Sides~

Asparagus spears with tangerine oil ($7.00)

Meringue Chewy meringue encased in a cellophane wafer with cream chabousse, seasonal berries and passionfruit liquer reduction ($14.00)– This was recommended by the waiter and he said the serving suggestion is to break apart the toffee and make sure to have a bit of everything in each mouthful. The sweetness of the toffee was balanced out by the meringues and creamy custard.

Creme brulee Vanilla bean custard with burnt sugar, pistachio and spiced pineapple ($14.00)– The custard was very smooth and the pineapple went so well with the pistachio and ginger.

Tart Peach puff tart with French vanilla ice-cream and orange toffee sauce ($14.00)– This had such a fluffy pastry and you could feel all the layers of the pastry in your mouth. Served warm with a delicious subtle vanilla bean ice-cream on top.

The staff were friendly and attentive during the whole service. They were nice enough to seat us inside when a table became available. Great food and a bustling dining room, I definitely want to come back and try more (and maybe get an entree too).

Venue: The Artisan

Address: 16 Iluka St, Narrabundah, ACT 2604

Phone: (02) 6232 6482

Opening hours:  Monday – Friday  12.00pm – 2.30pm and 6.00pm – 10.00pm

                               Saturday  4.00pm – 10.00pm

Websitehttp://www.theartisanrestaurant.com.au

The Artisan on Urbanspoon

People are nuts for Pistachio

——-08/12/2011——-

When the Canberra’s top 20 eateries article came out at the end of last year, it reminded me that I haven’t been to Pistachio yet. I had been to that location when it was previously Pinocchio’s, a cute pasta place spammed with Pinocchio memorabilia all over the walls and it was nice that when we walked into Pistachio, that they had kept one Pinocchio sitting on the wall.

How fitting to have pistachios at every table. 

We had a late booking which suited them as they were very busy and had several big tables. I’m sure it’s usually a quite romantic restaurant, but it was very noisy and busy that night.

Breadhouse made herb and garlic sourdough served with salted butter ($5 per serve). The butter had almost completely melted and the bread wasn’t that great.

Entree~

Kilpatrick oysters (dozen for $27.00) The oysters were fresh but were a bit dry as it had no ‘sauce’ but tasted absolutely wonderful with some lime squeezed on top. If I didn’t get this I probably would have chosen the trio of entree (that night was rabbit, scallop and vegetarian miniaturized).

Main~ ($28.00)

Duck confit and roasted duck leg with dried mushroom and baby spinach risotto and roasting juices. The duck was so nice and crispy and the risotto was absolutely delicious (might be a bit too salty for some), there was nothing left on my plate.

Prawnprawn dumplings with sweet corn veloute, king prawn, basil and baby corn. The baby corn was still a bit crunchy and it was bland but the dumplings were awesome and the prawns inside tasted very fresh. The BBQed prawns were succulent and very tasty and although Timmy wasn’t fond of the basil creamy sauce, I kept sipping at it- yum! The downside was that it was too small though. 

Dessert~ ($14.00)

We were warned that dessert would be a 40 minute wait, but like a stubborn little girl, I wanted to stay and try. I ordered a chai tea which came with petit fours to distract myself from the wait.

The chai was very delicious but I didn’t think much of the petit fours and the waiter in a rush almost threw the plate on the table. Although the staff appeared to be very attentive to begin with, I could sense their demeanor was slipping towards the end.

Panna cotta – white chocolate panna cotta with mango, mint and sago salsa, lime syrup and coconut and white chocolate cookie. I really enjoyed the salsa much more than the panna cotta, nothing much wrong with the panna cotta (although I didn’t really taste the white chocolate), it’s just that the salsa was really good. 

Cheesecake – Pedro Ximenez cheesecake with sherry anglaise and macadamia praline. A fantastic cheesecake, hard to describe the flavours but it was just YUM!

It wasn’t very romantic with so many large loud tables and being a small table of two trapped in between big table orders. I’m sure it was just a bad time to have a romantic dinner during the festive socializing season and I would come again because the food was good and hope that it wasn’t a rowdy night.

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