Inside Canberra’s politically-acclaimed National Press Club of Australia is a culinary gem, yet to be discovered by many local foodies. Although the club is renowned for its political turmoil, the Column Restaurant space is quaint and intimate. The flavours coming out of the kitchen are a delight to the senses – and on our recent visit, inspired by the gorgeous season ahead of us.
After recently winning the 2016 Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Award for Excellence, Column Restaurant is sure to deliver a delicious culinary experience to be savoured.
We started the meal with a martini glass filled with a bright green foam, topped with a crispy shard of Jamon Iberio from the Column Restaurant’s new spring four-course degustation menu.
The spring pea mousse was a welcome, seasonal twist on the traditional pea and ham soup. The light and fluffy consistency accompanied by a hint of mint, made for a fresh spring taste, complete with a shard of cured ham to add an element of salt and texture contrast to the dish.
Building upon the flavours of the spring pea mousse, next up was a beautifully presented dish of tempura zucchini flowers, stuffed with yabby and blue swimmer crab.
The delicate flavours of the tempura coated flower and crustaceans combined to create a light dish with a subtle crunch. To add contrast to the dish the flowers are paired with a house-made peach marmalade that was both sour and sweet – heightened by a luxurious touch of the shaved Mount Majura truffle, placed atop the dish.
Flicking back to main menu of the restaurant, we were served the unique espresso-infused Bangalow pork belly, encompassing textures of cauliflower, espresso jus and cocoa nib. The unlikely match of flavours simply works together on the plate to make for a restaurant favourite.
The impeccably cooked pork belly exhibits a subtle espresso flavour that makes the sweetness of the meat pop. Accompanied by textures of cauliflower, the charred florets are contrasted by a puree and citrus undertone that tantalises the palate and makes each element a stand-out on the plate.
Saving the best for last, we peruse the dessert menu to find the salted caramel mousse sphere with Valrhona Caraibe glaze and puffed rice disk. This gorgeous creation is layered with a honey-flavoured puffed rice disk at the base, a salted-caramel half sphere with a gooey caramel centre, glazed in Valhrona Caraibe chocolate and surrounded by blueberries and hazelnuts.
This is not one for sharing, after the first spoonful you will only want more! The indulgent dessert combines the flavours of honey, caramel and the oak and dried fruit undertones of the Valrhona Caraibe chocolate to make for the perfect end to any meal.
Open for lunch from Monday to Friday from 12 noon – 2pm and for dinner from Wednesday – Friday from 7pm – 9pm the Column Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a corporate lunch, a romantic dinner or an end of the working week celebration.