Welcome to GourMay 2019 – celebrating the finest of Canberra food and wine.
Every day we reveal a new and innovative offering from one of the city’s finest restaurants. You’ll discover the passion and quality of local chefs and restaurateurs by clicking on each date as we showcase yet another stunning signature dish.
To fully immerse yourself in this month-long foodie degustation, be sure to join us at one of the featured GourMay events. OutInCanberra is proud and excited to partner with some of the capital’s best venues to offer an even bigger and better GourMay.
We are kicking off GourMay with a restaurant which has been welcomed by locals with open arms. RAKU encapsulates the gourmet food experience with their precision and artfulness of Japanese culinary history. Plated beautifully here is the Aburi Hotate; a Canadian scallop charcoal grilled over an open flame with pickled green apple, jalapeno dressing and garlic mayonnaise. The scallop is the most delectable mouth-size bite, exploding with flavour.
This seafood delight pairs well with a lighter, clearer sake. The chef recommended trying the Chikuma Nishiki; it suited the crispness of the grilled scallop and complemented its simplicity, while cutting through the perfectly paired dressings.
Temporada prepared us a dish which was so good looking and fitting to autumn tones that we felt guilty indulging it. The sashimi grade Wood-grilled Calamari is sourced from the south coast. It is wood-grilled to enhance the unalloyed flavours of the fresh calamari. The romesco sauce with marikina fermented salami is what sets the calamari into an autumn menu. Thick and full of textures from the soft salami which is cooked down with almonds and shallots. This work of art is sliced and reassembled on your plate both photo ready and easy to get around.
Equally, as autumn in its colour, the 2017 Nebbilo Rose is a light match to the calamari. Made right here in Canberra by Mada Wines whose niche is producing small-batch wines, the Rose pairs well to the sweetness of the romesco and the spice of the salami.
Ease into Autumn with this Prawn Malabar from Blu Ginger. Choose from mild or medium delicate spices and scoop out the delicious succulent prawns which have been simmered in coconut milk. To get the currying process going the chefs start off with a gravy base and add diced onion, capsicum and tomato. The second round of sautéing is nice and quick ensuring the prawns aren’t cooked for too long and this is where the fragrance comes in! Mustard and curry leave topped with coconut milk and ready to go.
Form a complete palate by accompanying the curry with the Squealing Pig Sauvignon Blanc. Its combination of gooseberry and fresh garden herbs will be an added layer to the spicy expressions from the main attraction.
One of the tastiest pastas to get around this season is the Spaghetti Ai Fruitti Di Mare from Bicicletta in New Acton. A classic gourmet Italian dish made up of a concoction of fresh king prawns, clams, scallops, loligo squid, baby octopus & cherry tomato sautéed with fragrant garlic and chilli Bisque. All of our favourite seafood with an after hit of spice.
From the Canberra district the Wily Trout Sauvignon Blanc 2017 is a full bodied white wine that won’t over power the freshness of the fish.
Monster’s pulled lamb shoulder is a signature dish which has stood the test of time on the shared plates menu. Sourced from Crookwell’s Lost River, the lamb is seasoned with a Mediterranean style rub of cumin, pomegranate molasses, and a generous amount of lemon ginger. After its coat, the shoulder is cooked for seven hours until tender and pulled off the bone. Cooked in a lamb sauce from the jus of the pomegranate molasses and then plated with brik pasty, vine leaves, pomegranate seeds, pistachio, and labneh.
If you’re enjoying this pulled lamb dish with a group of friends be sure to keep a fork in one hand and the Girl with the Blue Eyes cocktail occupied in the other. Its bold colour and consistency is a suitable pairing to the lamb, made eye-catching with the addition of blueberries which lay to rest on the rim of the glass. Massenez Crème de Cassis and the earl grey-infused gin are fitting to the homey feel of the fireplace flames burning in the background. Flavours of lemon, mint whites & yuzu are also present.
At Courtyard by Milk Crate the house made Gnocchi is on a rotating seasonal menu. You’ll find it every day but the ingredients will differ. The potatoes are roasted upon a bed of sea salt to draw the moisture before adding flours and yolks. The key is to not overwork it, just combine until smooth. For those who played with play-doh as a kid, this method should come naturally.
This week we were treated to the chicken pesto gnocchi which has a slightly saltier taste to it than a red sauce gnocchi. A richer sweet wine such as the ALAMOS Malbec will be a good match to offset the wine.
There has been a lot of focus on main meals this month, but let us not forget the gourmet indulgence of pastry and sugar syrup. This Chocolate Baklava from Turkish Pide HouseWoden is made to enjoy after a hearty banquet to ensure not one single food craving could possibly still be lingering. Layers upon layers of pistachio, sweet syrup, and pastry this classic Turkish dessert has a modern twist by adding a chocolate filling. Cleanse the palate afterward with a Turkish delight sorbet.
Don’t be fooled into pairing with a Turkish coffee, the trick is to pair with Turkish Tea so your sweet dessert is settled with something light. Chocolate Baklava with Turkish coffee will be way too heavy and really set you over the edge. Even those discerning of tea drinkers will get around a traditional glass of Turkish tea.
A restaurant devoted to sourcing seasonal produce from local markets ensures the Fritto Di Misto from Bicicletta is always fresh. A mix of lightly fried soft shell crab, squid, scallops and tiger prawns with charred lime and a side of garlic aioli, this is a starter that will set the standards high for the night.
From the Canberra district, the Wily Trout Sauvignon Blanc 2017 is a full bodied white wine that won’t overpower the freshness of the seafood.
Salotto by Santa Lucia located in Kingston is the place to be for great Italian fare and equally as fine wine. The Spaghetti Con Frutti Di Mare features Tasmanian black mussels, baby clams, squid and prawns with a sauce of your choice: ‘arrabiata’ tomato sauce or ‘aglio olio’ an olive oil, garlic andchillisauce matched with one of Italy’s finest Pinot Gris, Taglia Friuli Grave.
For the veggos out there or just anyone after a healthy and delicate cold roll, the Rice Paper Rolls from Au Lac are an absolute treat. Made with fresh produce sourced daily, the Vietnamese flavours from their authentic menu along with the house made exclusive sauces are a unique dining experience to Canberra.
On the theme of refreshing, pair with this housemade peached iced tea. Let the flavours of the fruit wash throughout the tea to make it sweet and enjoy the mint twist from the fresh sprigs.
Ending GourMay with one of Canberra’s favourite restaurants Akiba. Share a bowl of the Beef Short Rib with tamarind caramel and Asian herbs, a beef we promise will melt in your mouth. Aside from the obvious rice pairing, you’ll want to order a Panamania with this dish. An Akiba creation exclusive to Canberra; its contents includes 18 Ron Abuelo maple syrup Benedictine, chilli liqueur, bitters, dark chocolate for a decadent end to the culinary journey.