Barton’s Hotel Realm precinct attracts Canberrans from all walks of life, whether that be for fine dining, corporate lunches, a relaxed coffee or casual atmosphere for a couple of drinks with a group of friends.
The local watering hole and precinct favourite, Ostani Lounge, Bar & Restaurant brings great food, share plates and after-work drinks together to form a place where Canberrans can come, enjoy and stay.
Ostani Restaurant and Beverage Manager, Thomas Craigie, believes that the venue is the perfect place for locals and hotel guests.
“We want people to think of Ostani as a place where you can go and have a drink with a group of friends in a relaxing environment, and with our newly renovated outdoor area we are able to cater for the fickle Canberra weather,” he explains.
“Whether it’s the humid summer or miserable winter, Ostani can accommodate for inside and outside dining. With all of the heaters, glass ceiling and comfortable seating options, we have created a place where diners can come rain, hail or shine!”
With long bench seating, couches and a share menu with a Mediterranean flair, we commenced our Ostani culinary journey with a range of share plates and pub favourites!
First up was a new addition to the bar menu, come Wednesday 8 February – bao buns. This make-your-own selection of Asian-style fare includes a rich, sticky braised pork in a hoisin sauce, crunchy cabbage slaw, bean shoots with a sprinkle of fresh chilli and peanuts, and of course four soft, fluffy bao buns to sandwich the platter of ingredients together. This dish is perfect treat to share with friends and brings an element of fresh Asian flavour to the menu.
Anyone who has ventured out to Ostani on a Tuesday night will be well acquainted with the restaurant’s range of tacos. All served with a base of cabbage, shallots and coriander, diners can choose from pulled beef, pulled pork and grilled chicken.
The beef encompasses the Asian flavours of hoisin sauce, chilli and coriander, while the pulled pork adds a Mexican zing to the menu with chipotle sauce and fresh pineapple.
However, for something simple the grilled chicken option is juicy, tender and is tied together with a smoky finish between the chilli mayo and soft corn tortilla.
Including a number of cuisines and pub pleasers is important, however Ostani does try to change things up a bit for its regular diners.
To keep the menu fresh and modern, the venue has turned to a mix of Mexican, Italian and indeed a lot of Mediterranean cuisines – ranging from fresh pizzas that are made in-house to an amazing selection of tacos, wings and tapas items.
“We always try to do something different with our menu to make sure our customers keep coming back. We tend to add three or four new items every week to keep it fresh, and it also gives the younger chefs the opportunity to experiment with new and different flavours,” Thomas says.
I always find that when it comes to the perfect pizza, a great dough and sauce makes the pie! To sample these all-important elements, we were served the Margherita and Prosciutto pizzas from the menu.
The base is thicker than most but is light, crisp and full of freshness and paired seamlessly with the tangy tomato sauce the glides across the base. The sauce is subtle with herbs allowing the topping to make the statement. With the Margherita, this star was the oozing layer of mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, and the Prosciutto addition added a cured meat element to the dish.
When it comes to burgers it’s all about the ratio – from meat to bun to salad, there must be a good balance of flavour.
The Frenchy Burger at Ostani is a European take on the classic cheese burger. Complete with a juicy beef patty, fresh green oak lettuce, tomato, crispy bacon, caramelised onion, mustard, mayonnaise and a gorgeously decadent slice of melted brie cheese oozing out the sides of the bun. This is a messy burger that you’re bound to enjoy! Hot tip – ask for extra serviettes!
Adding a spicy kick to the burger menu, the Chipotle Chicken burger certainly packs a punch! With all of your favourite chicken burger elements, this grilled bird is served up with a crunchy slaw, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and a chipotle mayo inside a soft brioche bun, with a side of fries and classic tomato sauce.
Finishing on a slightly lighter note we dove into the Crunchy Cashew and Quinoa Salad. Acting as a bit of a palate cleanser, this salad was the perfect way to finish our meal. The dish combined the subtle elements of wombok cabbage, slaw and cashews with the punchy elements of red onion, capsicum, ginger and a generous drizzle of rich peanut dressing that really brings the salad to life!
Open seven days a week, any time is the perfect time to catch up at Ostani, with an atmosphere perfect for everything from a big function to after work drinks.