In week 1 of GourMay we crossed some of Canberra’s favourite venues off our hit list. We kicked off with Sage Dining Rooms who presented us with fresh Aussie produce pulled off with an Asian twist. We sat front row at Raku and watched the chefs precision slicing to create his signature nigiri. Things got extremely firey at Capitol Bar & Grill where they showed us why their steaks are a cut above the rest. Kokomo’s turned on their tropical feeling for us with a delicate raw dish, matched with their elderflower, lychee breeze cocktail which screamed fresh. Akiba not only blew us away with their fish in butter miso, but also created OutInCanberra a bespoke drink just for GourMay using fresh yuzu. Lilotang’s sashimi plate was none other than a masterpiece of flavour. While we finished week 1 at Chatham House where their peking duck L’Orange showed us the importance of food provenance.
Rare seared wasabi sesame Mooloolaba QLD Tuna
Sage Dining Rooms
A daily delivery of tuna arrives from QLD, the fillet is dusted in wasabi sesame seeds and lightly seared. The neatly presented main attraction rests on a bed of tuna tartare with wasabi and sesame oil. Tempura nori balances on top and gives each mouthful a crunch. The sparkling Apple Capriosca made up of Vodka, green apple liqueur, sparkling apple juice and a fanned green apple is a nice refreshing start to the meal and goes well with the saltiness of the tuna.
Signature 6-piece nigiri
Food becomes an art form at Raku Dining where you watch how much finesse goes into making these bite-size balls of heaven. Among the three flavours the Tenaga Ebi Foi Gras with truffle oil and soy jelly; New Zealand scampi nigiri. Secondly, the Aburi Ototo, a charcoal seared, Japanese blue fin tuna belly, the most precious and mouth-watering parts of the fish. And lastly, the Wagyu Nigiri; a 9 + marble grade torched so the high fat content melts throughout the thin slice of wagyu and garnished with fried leek. The chef recommends a wine pairing with the Seville Estate Chardonnay; a wine equally robust and versatile with pleasing acidity and refined smoky finish.
T-bone Bistecca Fiorentina
Capitol Bar & Grill
The T-bone Bistecca Fiorentina is a 1kg Black Angus pastured, cape grim from Tasmania. A simple Salsa Erbe and wedge of lemon are served with the dish to cut through the richness of the steak without taking away from marbly fat that gives that melt in your mouth effect. The Bistecca Fiorentina is served cut off the bones and sliced maintaining its classic T-shape. Pair this with the Four Winds Sangiovese consisting mild, dry spices that pair well with the Salsa Erbe.
Seasoned with Wasabi flavoured sesame seeds and pickled ginger, Kokomo’s raw Salmon is gleaming with a ginger and sesame glaze. A final dramatic drizzle of smoking hot sesame oil ever so slightly cooks the raw fish. The bitterness of the Elderflower and Lychee Breeze cocktail cuts through the tartness of the salmon dressing, making it the perfect accompaniment.
Cone Bay Barramundi
The idea for this incredible dish came from a classic French lemon sole only in true Akiba form this item has been amped up with Asian ingredients for a modern twist. The Cone Bay Barramundi uses dill pickled with enoki mushrooms and green chilli, while fried capers and eschalot top the dish and add some texture. The miso lemon butter provides a strong punch, but the most special thing about this dish is it introduces diners to a flavour they probably haven’t experienced before. The Yuzu Fizz has the luxury of fresh Japanese fruit intertwined in every sip. Created using a dry sparkling wine, it pairs perfectly with the Barramundi and the Yuzu balances the miso and lemon from the fish.
The Sashimi plate is a masterpiece of flavour and precision. The Kingfish is fermented overnight in salted rice koji with fennel. The cured Snapper encapsulates umami flavour combining acidity and sweetness. The Calamari is plated with karashi su miso – a Japanese mustard, white miso, apple vinegar. Tuna beautifully marinated with wasabi soy and the Yellowtail is served with ginger miso soy. Finally, a unique addition to a sashimi plate is the Scallop marinated in yuzu soy served with a buckwheat tea infused cream and fermented watermelon with lime juice. The explosive flavours are complemented nicely with the lightness of the Saketini cocktail as the sharp and fruity flavours act as a palate cleanser without triumphing the flavour of the fish.
200g Maremma free range Aylesbury Peking Duck L’Orange
A celebration of local and seasonal produce, the Maremma free range duck is sourced from Taralga NSW and is the only true free–range duck in the capital. The rare breed of the Aylesbury Peking Duck is cooked in a circulator with native pepper berries and coriander seeds, then seared as the fats are rendered down. It is served on a bed of café de Paris mashed Dutch cream potatoes, buttered pod vegetable and blistered heirloom tomatoes with a chicken stock–based jus and fresh garden herbs. From the Adelaide region, the dish is pleasantly complemented with a glass of Pike and Joyce Pinot Noir 2016. The rich dark cherry notes accentuate the strong citrus flavours in the duck, as the acidity cuts through the fattiness offering a pleasant contrast.