Located inside the Mantra on Northbourne is a quaint restaurant boasting home-style cooking done well. Walking into the foyer, the large wooden door leading through to the venue sets the scene for rustic elegance and a relaxed dining experience.

The twinkle of candlelight on the table, and the draped sheer curtains matched with the easy-listening playlist completes the picture for an after-work dinner, a relaxed dining experience with family and friends or a corporate meeting spot.

After marvelling the textures of the room, we started the evening with the Grilled Balmain Bugs – a seafood dish rarely seen on a Canberra menu. The sweet flesh, although something you have to dig for, is encased in a chargrilled exterior that adds to the marinated garlic and capsicum interior.

To settle the palate we were presented with the Italian flavours of tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar. The fresh Italian cheese comprised of a subtle flavour and silky texture sets off the Fior Di Latte. The dish includes ripe roma and heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar – a tribute to simple flavours presented well.

Whether you’re in the mood for white or red meat, Stock Kitchen & Bar serves up a range of selections from the grill.

Our mains commenced with the Chicken Supreme, a pan-fried breast of chicken paired with warm sweet corn, char grilled capsicum, Persian feta and quinoa. The hero of the dish is the generous smear of roast garlic aioli – the roasted garlic adds a sweet smoky flavour to the condiment that really sets off the dish.

If you’re in the mood for red meat be sure to try the marinated rib eye cutlet. The simple flavours of red wine and smoky beef are matched well with sweet tomatoes, slightly charred broccolini, a red wine glaze and thinly-sliced potato Carpaccio. This is the perfect steak dinner to set off a night out.

With the cold Canberra weather outside the perfect winter warmer has got to be a spicy apple crumble. Stewed in a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg, the sweet apple screams winter in a bowl. The dish is topped with a crunchy oat crumble and accompanied with vanilla ice-cream and a slightly tart berry compote.

Stock Kitchen & Bar at Mantra on Northbourne is bringing simple, home-style food with a modern finish back to the hotel restaurant scene. With a Vittoria coffee cart out the front of the restaurant, grab a cup to go on your way back out into the Canberra cold.