Welcome to GourMay 2019 – celebrating the finest of Canberra food and wine.
The OutinCanberra team have been traversing the city to uncover the most lust-worthy foods and notable beverages on offer. GourMay will showcase some of Canberra’s most impressive restaurants and give locals a list of places to visit in Canberra’s rich culinary scene.
Every day we reveal something new - 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
OutInCanberra is proud and excited to partner with some of the capital’s best venues to offer an even bigger and better GourMay.
Rare seared, wasabi sesame, Mooloolaba QLD Tuna. At Sage Dining Rooms their take on modern Australian is a melting pot of cultures across the entire menu. In this instance, fresh Aussie produce is executed with an Asian twist. 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 bonito dressing provides the perfect amount of tang and garnish flowers make the dish an ideal contender for GourMay
The sparkling apple capricosa is a nice refreshing start to a meal much like it’s matched tuna dish. It’s not too booze-y or heavy and goes well with the saltiness of the tuna. Vodka, green apple liqueur, sparkling apple juice and a fanned green apple make up the drink. Most importantly though, the apple doubles as a palate cleanser so your taste buds are ready to appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the rare seared, wasabi sesame, Mooloolaba QLD Tuna.
The nigiri is prepared on the bar where you can watch just how much finesse goes into making these bite-size balls of heaven. The preparation is nothing short of masterful sashimi slicing, blow torches and open flames. From the way the topping is sliced, the temperature the rice is cooked at and even how many rice grains are included in each mould is taken into consideration. Among the three flavours the Tenaga EbiFoi Gras with truffle oil and soy jelly; New Zealand scampi nigiri. Secondly, the Aburi Ototo, a charcoal seared, Japanese bluefin 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 nigiri is designed to be eaten in the order they appear in this text as the flavour profiles become stronger along the way. Hot tip, they don’t need soy sauce! The nigiri is complex in the creation and doesn’t need anything extra.
For such a diverse array of flavours, the chef recommends a wine pairing with the Seville Estate Chardonnay. This wine is equally robust and versatile with pleasing acidity and refined smoky finish. A stunning drop which pairs easily with each separate nigiri.
There aren’t too many places around town you can go for a share-style steak, which is just one of the reasons Capitol Bar & Grill’s signature steak is so special. The T-bone BisteccaFiorentinais a 1kg BlackAngus pastured, cape grim fromTasmania. The BisteccaFiorentina originated in Italy where the Tuscans use the three-finger rule for measuring the thickness of hearty hunk of steak. Capitol Bar & Grill are known for their Italian themed concept brought to life with top-notch Australian ingredients like the grass-fed, clean air, no added hormones Tasmanian cape grim. These are the foundations of the prime cuts of steak the restaurant is known for. If you see flames igniting in the open-plan kitchen, chances are the team are preparing the T-bone on the ironbark wood fire. 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 marble fat that gives that melt in your mouth effect. The BisteccaFiorentina is served cut off the bones and sliced maintaining its classic T-shape.
While the steak has been a long time classic, Capitol Bar & Grill has chosen to pair the signature steak with quite a young Canberra District wine. It is not uncommon for a large heavy steak to match a heavy wine though in the case of such a quality cut of steak the BisteccaFiorentina works well with this light but equally bold beverage. The Sangiovese has mild, dry spices that pair well with the Salsa Erbe. Together the steak and wine shine without stepping on anyone’s toes.
When the month of May rolls around we know we are going to be in for many kinds of raw fish presented in an artful way. Kokomo’s Raw Salmon has a gleaming ginger and sesame glaze, these flavours are amplified when a smoking hot sesame oil is poured over the cold fish ever so slightly cooking the fish. Seasoned with wasabi flavoured sesame seeds, and pickled ginger, another reason this dish is special is because the dressing is made from the pickle juice! The Raw Fish is delivered quite literally in a pool of flavour, we enjoyed this fresh approach to anubiquitous menu item. Kokokmo’s version is fresh, sweet and has a zing to it.
An extremely light and floral cocktail with a hint of bitter, this cocktail is the epitome of refreshing. The bitterness from the kefir lime balances out the tartness of the salmon dressing. Just like the Raw Salmon, this is a great way to start an evening. The salmon and the cocktail breeze go hand in hand, you’ll get to experience the joys of a lychee, ginger and kefir lime pairing. Aside from that magic flavour combination, vodka, elderflower syrup, apple juice, and lemon juice make up the exciting cocktail.
Cone Bay Barramundi with miso lemon butter, pickled enoki and green chilli; 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.For example, instead of using dill as a garnish like your true lemon sole, 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 like most things on their menu, but the most special thing about this dish is it introduces diners to a flavour they probably haven’t experienced before. The Barramundi is pan fried before it reaches high temps in the charcoal oven, the intensity of flavour created in the process leaps off your plate. Last but arguably most importantly, the Barramundi is delivered to your table on a bed of the miso butter which is melts into a delicious soup around the fish.
Akiba is no stranger to GourMay, though this year they went above and beyond for OutInCanberra creating a bespoke drink to really knock our socks off. The Yuzu Fizz was similar to a mimosa, only we had the luxury of the fresh Japanese fruit intertwined in every sip. The drink was created using a dry sparkling wine which is why it pairs perfectly with the Cone Bay Barramundi. The Yuzu base balanced the miso and lemon from the fish.
Nestled in the Realm precinct of Barton, Lilotang breathes the true philosophy of Japanese cuisine in a sophisticated urban setting. The Head Chef has exquisitely crafted the menu to derive the exact flavours and textures from Japan with an innovative twist. The Sashimi plate is a masterpiece of flavour and precision, to say the least. The Kingfish is fermented overnight in salted rice koji with fennel. Next, on the journey, the cured Snapper encapsulates umami flavour combining acidity and sweetness. The Calamari is plated the traditional way with karashisu miso – a Japanese mustard, white miso, apple vinegar and an addition of parsley. The Tuna is beautifully marinated with wasabi soy and served with Japanese Tororo. A technique from Kyushu where the chef is from, the Yellowtail is served with ginger miso soy including flavours of ginger, sake, miso and soy and chopped herbs. Finally, a unique addition to the sashimi plate is the Scallop. A delightful creation marinated in yuzu soy served with a buckwheat tea infused cream and fermented watermelon with lime juice.
The explosive flavours of the dish are complemented nicely with the lightness of the Saketini cocktail. Combining gin, sake, sugar and lemon, this beverage cleanses the palate with sharp and fruity flavours without triumphing the flavour of the fish. At the base, you’ll find a Japanese mountain peach or ‘Yamamomo’ which reflects its deep red colour around the glass like a lightbulb and adds sweetness.
New beverage revealed tomorrow.
200g Maremma free range Aylesbury Peking Duck L’Orange
Inspired by the chef’s commitment to local and seasonal produce, this dish is a celebration of fresh and timeless ingredients. The Maremma free range duck is sourced from Taralga NSW and is the only true free–range duck in the capital, where the farmer sees through the whole life span of his produce. Take it from the staff who visited the farm together and describe the animals as ‘the happiest they’ve seen.’ The rare breed of the Aylesbury Peking Duck is cooked in a circulator in a mix of 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.
An experience just as authentic as Nonna’s kitchen, you can taste the love in each dish prepared at Agostinis. We were served a traditional Lamb Parpardelle like no other. Passionate and dedicated to simple and wholesome Italian food, the ribbon pasta is handmade in house with Italian flour and free-range eggs, cooked to a flawless al dente. This is served with a 12-hour slow cooked Tasmanian lamb shoulder braised in white wine that melts in your mouth. The point of difference shone through the white wine sauce coating of the pasta. Inspired by the town of Tuscany, this sauce incorporates the fundamentals of olive oil, onion and garlic and is topped with a fresh hint of microbasil. Each element of the dish breathes simplicity and freshness and brings light to the simple flavours done well.
The easy-to-eat pasta is complemented by the easy-to-drink Tap Sangiovese. An authentic Italian red wine grape varietal, Agostinis is the only place in Canberra to carry these premium stainless–steel kegs from Italy. The earthy and fruity notes pleasantly complement the light flavours of the dish without overpowering it.
Known for their bold Nyonya flavours, Lanterne Rooms transports you a world away in the cosy and elegant restaurant. The Head Chef believes in finding inspiration from all people around him hence, a dish that was once an experimental staff meal creation evolved into a favourable addition to the menu. Inspired by the in-house Indian chefs and the traditional dish Beef Vindaloo, they derive the punchy Indian flavours and spices incorporating a delicate twist. The beef is a quality angus tenderloin cooked with a heavy cast iron where the fattiness seeps out to form a crust. This is a classic home-style technique that leaves behind a melt in your mouth cut of meat. The egg yolk is cured with smoked soy and pickled onion and lotus fruit forming a rich and creamy texture. Finally, it is topped with coriander to please the senses with a hint of freshness.
The spiciness from the Vindaloo is best complemented with a white or red wine. The Domenica Nebbiolo Rose was selected as a medium with characteristics of acidity and crispness to cut through the spices and richness of the dish. Gentle fruity flavours of cherry and raspberry shine through with a hint of savoury that lingers on the palette.
When you walk into Belluci’s you feel as part of the family as you observe the synergy between the open kitchen and guests. The Squid Ink Risotto is served as a delightful bed of oozy rice that is rich in shade and full of heart. A subtle taste of the sea transports through the risotto, which is made with a bisque of the excess seafood parts to extract the succinct flavours before they go to waste. The dish is topped with the most succulent of king prawns cooked on the smoky chargrill, tender local squid sourced from the South Coast and smoky ocean trout. The addition of baby herbs, garlic and fresh chilli adds freshness to the palette.
The Mada Wines Pinot Gris is a locally sourced wine from Murrumbateman grown by the Freeman Vineyards. The crispness and acidity of the wine complements the dish nicely as it withstands the strong flavour of the seafood. The texture and floral aromas cleanse the palette in each sip.
A tranquillity comes over you as you dine by the expansive views of Lake Burley Griffin. In true Foreshorean style, Walt & Burley prepared a seafood dish that complements the lake-side atmosphere. The dish takes on a Middle-Eastern spin as the chef aims to represent a multitude of cuisines on the menu. The salmon is pan-seared and finished in the oven to form a crispy skinand served on a bed of cumin marinated chickpeas and wild rice. The Sumac yoghurt is spread around the plate providing creamy texture to complement the Middle-Eastern spices. A hint of citrus lingers on the palate as the lemon jam ties all the flavours together.
The wait staff recommend pairing the dish with Quarry Hill Two Places Pinot Gris. The fresh and zesty flavour profile ties in nicely with the citrus in the dish. Subtle flavours of apple and pear are crisp and finish with a warm aftertaste.
Every May we wonder what does it mean to be gourmet? In the case of Gather it was clear that going above and beyond for customers to collect the best seasonal and local produce one can forage was the most important aspect of their humble café. Here we had the Jerk Chicken San Choy Bau using free range chicken thighs, cos lettuce, red grape, pomegranate, peanuts and secret spiced sauce. We say secret because up to 20 spices from around the globe go into creating this delicious sauce. The Jerk Chicken is packed full of flavour, boasts vibrant colours and low calories. The team use their in-house orange juice to give this dish a citrus kick, while the pomegranate and grapes give it a sweet and tart taste. The final touches include micro-greens from Ainslie Urban Farm and lime with charcoal salt from the Cyprus sea.
Gather is a special kind of café where they make every drink on their menu! From cold-pressed juices to coffee kombucha and drinks such as this Kefir which is an uncommonly find on a menu. We had the Peaches & Chai which takes a day of culturing full cream milk to turn this drink into a high probiotic yogurt drink which is nearing lactose free after the process. Milk kefir grains, infused fruits and spices all go into creating this healthy start to the day which resembles a fruity cold chai.
The Duxton is reinventing their menu and let us in on a preview of their incredible Duck and Pork Pie with mushy peas and Paris mash for GourMay. A traditional pithivier style enclosed pie with two disks of puff pastry and filling stuffed and baked in between. When you cut through the golden crust the contents and aromas reveal themself. Braised duck which melts in your mouth, pork farce gives the pie great texture and masala-soaked prune for extra flavour. Served with mushy peas as a play on your classic pie with a pea floater and an ultra-creamy Parish mash, this dish has the perfect flavour combinations for the cooling weather. The pièce de résistance – the boat of duck jus rendered from the braised duck and ready to pour over your butter puff pastry.
Pie + pinot invariably works for any occasion. Duck and pinot inherently go hand in hand, and in this case the spice from the Mornington Peninsula wine heightens the masala prune while the acidity and sharpness of the Red Claw balances the fat content of duck. The pinotbeautifully complements the gamey flavour of the meat. A night of duck jus and Pinot is a night of good liquids.
The pork belly is quite the showcase when it is delivered to your table. It is thick with defined layers and that perfect cracking crunch. The secret to getting this pork perfect is that it is three times cooked. Braised first in water and vegetable stock, next in balsamic and honey before being oven roasted to ensure the crackle effect when you crunch into it. The final step to bringing out the pork belly in all its glory is the rhubarb compote. Sitting on a bed of sweet potato carpaccio with tomatoes and poached asparagus, this pork belly has all the ingredients to amount to a perfect meal.
This two-tone cocktail is a perfect balance of acidic and sweet used to cut through the fat of the pork belly. We don’t make cocktails, we just drink them, but for those keen shakers: start with an egg white, add a touch of whiskey, lemon syrup, fresh lime, and take it for a dry shake. Next, add some ice and shake it up again. Pour through a strainer and watch the liquid get creamy. Carefully spoon in some merlot and watch it float on top of the cup, creating a deep purple contrast to the yellow. The last step, take a photo because this tasty drink won’t last long.
What is more gourmet than simple Italian cooking. At Trecento we polished off a plate of pasta which was creamy and rich, without being too heavy. In this dish was butternut pumpkin pureed, crispy speck which released smoky notes , toasted hazelnuts and basil oil. At Trecento they like to pair back the bells and whistles and create dishes which have stood the test of time using minimal ingredients. It’s the Italian way. Butter is added to the puree from the pumpkin to create a rich sauce which gives the dish its vibrant colour. With every spiral of linguine pasta around our fork we were pleasantly surprised at how such a creamy dish could taste so fresh.
Opposites attract in the case of this Chardonnay, the Linguine Zucca tames the beverage which can be described as a little wild. The buttery oak flavours pair well with the creaminess of the pumpkin puree, and its acidity cuts through the oils and fat from the speck. Together, the subtle spice of the Chardonnay, next to the subtle smokiness of the speck, create a powerful combination.
At Turkish Pide House we took time to celebrate local families and purveyors who keep the old traditions alive. While most of us happily polish off what we believe to be Turkish bread served with mezze and a bunch of dips, the Antep Lavash uses traditional Turkish bread that is more common overseas. Not one but two meats are used to bring this dish to life. Harissa spiced kofta for a kick of heat and slow cooked lamb shoulder which breaks apart and is incredibly juicy. Served with grilled tomato, fresh tomatoes and topped with a family secret recipe of garlic yogurt sauce.
Strawberry, watermelon juice with mint designed to perfectly cut through the spice of the kofta. You can always rely on Turkish Pide House Woden to have great non-alcoholic drink option to accompany your traditional meal. Served in a generous glass, this juice is sweet, icy and the mint goes hand in hand with the yogurt sauce from the main course.
Seafood and pasta is a combination that screams gourmet. This creation from Fenway has three different types of fresh seafood soaking up the goodness of a house made Napoli sauce. While Fenway is a casual restaurant, they aim to make gourmet foods like this accessible to everyone. From the carefully selected South Coast seafood to the hand rolled pasta and the traditional red sauce this a dish you’ll never tire of. Packed with sautéed king prawns, fresh squid, and black muscles, all the flavours are brought together with the help of chilli, basil and garlic.
A South Australian blend of Nero d’Avola, Lagrein, Negroamaro, and Tempranillo. This blend is light on the pallet and full bodied in flavour. Just as the Spanish pair red with red sauce paella, this wine works the same, washing down this seafood pasta arguably better than a white could. For anyone sitting on the fence with red wine, the Ricca Terra is a perfect sip to start on.
We were excited to walk into Campbell café Teddy Pickers and be presented with a sweet option for GourMay; pressed French toast, poached apple, jelly, vanilla bean ice cream, custard, milk crumb. The French toast is indulgent and reliable as it’s been a staple item on the menu since Teddy Pickers launched – and with good reason. The dish gets revamped throughout the season to feature different fruits as toppings but is always guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. On our visit we experienced firsthand why the French toast is gourmet. If you tried this dish blind folded, you could be forgiven for passing it as pudding, French toast or even apple crumble because of the many sweet flavours it encapsulates. White bread is layered like bread and butter budding and soaked overnight in custard. Next it is baked and pressed out of the oven. When this amazing dish is ordered, the base is coloured and topped with diced green apple which has been poached in lemon, thyme and honey to release the juices. The liquid from this concoction gets used to make the jelly. Teddy’s French Toast is served with custard on the side and a Milk Bar Chef – Christina Tosi inspired biscuit crumb which gives it its apple crumble appeal.
We sipped the Vermont chai on a chilly Canberra morning, and with every sip the cold became bearable. The Vermont chai by local supplier Tea Garden Co is spicy and warming, based on a bold Indian Assam which is known to be bursting with sweetness of maple. It is basically like pancakes in the form of tea which is why this winter warmer is a no brainer with the French Toast.
Who said a pub can’t be fancy? At Bentspoke Brewing Co they know good beer needs be consumed with good people and great food. We made sure to visit after 12pm so it was socially acceptable to order a frothy beverage. OutInCannberra sat down for the pan roasted barramundi with toasted macadamias, homemade potato scallops, green beans and Bent salad. The salad consisted of shaved cucumber, pickled fennel and fresh hit of mint. The fish was succulent and there were a lot of welcomed juices on our plate. The scallops were golden, jam packed with potato and added a delightful crunch to the dish as did the macadamias!
For something to wash our barramundi down, we went with the award-winning Barley Griffin. This brew was one of the original six created by local legends at Bentspoke and still holds an important place on the menu. The Barley Griffin is one of their lighter beers which goes hand in hand with a white fish. This beer also just won a medal at the International Brewing and cider awards. Creating craft beer locals love is no easy feat, Bentspoke’s popularity and passion for what they do deserves a place on the GourMay calendar.
We were in awe of the Boxgum Grazing steak with pine mushrooms, charred onion and horseradish. The most impressive thing about this dish was the provenance of the pine mushrooms. Foraged by the Boffins chef himself and delivered straight to our plate for an amazing paddock to plate GourMay experience. The handpicked mushrooms are inherently a meatier mushroom, they are braised in dashi stock until they become ultra-soft. The mushrooms are then brushed with honey and scorched one by one becoming caramelised and evolving into a sweet burnt flavour. The onions are caramelised whole in skin and steamed with their own juices until they become soft. The liquid from the braised mushrooms are emulsified and added to butter to create the sauce which is poured on the steak. The Iron Steak is well marbled and the chef takes it upon himself to slice it across the grain to ensure the ultimate tenderness when it’s delivered to your table.
New dish revealed tomorrow.
Lark Hill, Dark Horse vineyard ‘Exaltation’ 2013 Biodynamic Wine
The Dark Horse vineyard ‘Exaltation’ is a blend of equal parts Shiraz and Sangiovese from Dark Horse vineyard and Merlot from Lark Hill. The intensity and richness of the wine is a perfect match for the earthy flavours of the iron-steak, and French oak influence will enhance the complexity and density of the palate.
In the warm and nostalgic interior of Chifley’s overlooking the hotel gardens, a dish was served that payed homage to its classic theme. The lamb shank is locally sourced from Cowra and made with a home-style technique, braised in local red wine and fragrant rosemary for at least two hours until the meat is ready to fall off the bone. The fork glides through the lamb which is served on a bed of creamy mashed potato and complemented with a side of sautéed seasonal vegetables; cherry tomatoes and Dutch carrots for winter. To complete the dish the flavourful braised liquids are poured over and soaked through the lamb creating a mouth-watering finish. The dish that replicates the feeling of snuggling up by a fireplace remains timeless as the ingredients are varied by season to withhold its place on the menu all year round.
The Nick O’Leary Shiraz is carried through the whole experience as it the same wine in which the lamb was cooked to flawlessly complement the dish. From the Canberra Region, the wine is fragrant with dark berry fruits and delivers a silky mouth feel to accompany the tenderness and rich flavours of the lamb.