Well, here we are. Already in the festive season with Xmas, my birthday and a trip to Spain (hellO) not far away now! For your reading pleasure I have decided to pen slash write a few posts bringing the nation's capital to you. Known for its wiiide tree-lined avenues, the never ending round-a-bouts and algae-riddled Lake Burley Griffin, this. is. Canberra.
Before anyone jumps to conclusions about Canberra itself (oh wait, you already have), how it's a haven (or hole) for pubes, pollies, uni students etc etc. I'd like it to be able to stake its claim on the dining scene. So here's my test drive of a little suburban restaurant doing its thing at the Narrabundah shops. The Artisan first hit my radar when The Australian published its 50 Hottest Restaurants in Australia article back in July. This restaurant was the only to be listed from the ACT. Represent. Not long after, I was assigned a uni placement very close by and so almost everyday for a fortnight i would walk past the place and catch glimpses of the menu on display. Spanner crab and saffron tortellini? Hells YES.
|Their baby. Chef Sam McGeechan and David Black opened The Artisan 2 years ago and have become a local favourite. Photo credit: The Australian|
In usual Gourmand fashion, I have finally arrived at the intended destination a mere 5 months later. We were lucky to get a last minute booking just after a cancellation had been made - just our luck! The dining room is an elegant, though pared back affair. No table cloths, just simple dark timber tables with your beautiful Riedel glassware. My dining party and I were shown to a table (with window seat, hurrah) by co-owner David Black. Without hesitation, I promptly ordered a Gypsy Pear Cider (deciding to forgo the treacherous territory of the wine list). For more on my wine list failings click here.
Let's cut to the chase now and in quick succession, here were the night's culinary proceedings:
|What else but the Artisan crafted spanner crab and saffron tortellini, lobster and chive beurre blanc ($29). I had my eye on the prize as soon as we decided to come the restaurant, obviously. The tortellini look a treat but I must say the pasta was a little bit too thick! Especially in the parts where it is folded and doubled up - such a shame! The flavours were there though and the beurre blanc was happily mopped up. I would have liked the crab to be a little bit chunkier - after the Sixpenny precedent was set for crab (MY GOD).|
|Crème brulée: vanilla bean custard with burnt sugar, brioche toast and mango lassi ($14). This dessert was given the thumbs up in The Australian article and I won't rain on The Artisan's parade here. It is a decent crème brulée with lashings of vanilla beans through it (be sure to mix it up before you dig into the custard). The sugar crust was slightly thick and I may have caused some damage in crunching through that but hey, who gives. The lassi was a very pleasant surprise, the spices such as cardamom + pistachio were something different to cut through that sweeet toffee layer. The brioche was so rendered superfluous but eaten anyway (duh).|
All in all I was a moderately happy customer after dining at The Artisan. I was very pleased with the front of house staff, the waiters were friendly and attentive. None of this Sydney down-the-nose tomfoolery. There were a few little things there that made them fall just short of the mark for me to be dolling out the praise they deserve. They are, however certainly making their mark on the Canberra dining scene. Goodness knows we need more places like this over there!
Thanks for reading! xo
P.S. Stay tuned when I review my favourite cafe in Canberra! It is a terribly kept secret but, meh!