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Baby oc­to­pus with As­sam Pedas broth ($15, din­ner)

Mus­cat and Ja­panese pep­per-cured ocean trout, po­tato and arugula salad ($16.50, din­ner)

Braised beef cheek with lo­tus root, Chi­nese red cheese ($27.50, din­ner)

Baked po­lenta cake with chilled pas­sion­fruit sauce ($11.50) I no­tice the ap­pre­cia­tively un­self­con­scious sound of cut­lery scrap­ing against china, as some­one savours the last drops of their dish.

Proper desserts on the menu sound in­ter­est­ingly fra­grant rather than deca­dent and, though I like the sound of the In­dian kulfi ice cream with pep­pered pineap­ple ($11.50), I de­cide on an in­ven­tive cheese-andafters fu­sion, a tomato sor­bet with goat’s cheese and co­rian­der syrup ($12). The dish is light and de­li­cious with fleet­ingly in­tense ac­cents and the per­fect full-stop to this stim­u­lat­ing lunch. All Ta­bles vis­its are unan­nounced and meals paid for.

Check­list

Lan­terne Rooms Shop 3, Blamey Place, Camp­bell, ACT. (02) 6249 6889; www.lanterne­rooms.com.au. Open: Lunch, Tues­day to Fri­day; din­ner, Mon­day to Satur­day. Cost: Three cour­ses for one without drinks, about $47 for lunch or $57 for din­ner. Drink: Small, se­lec­tive wine list strongly in­flu­enced by New Zealand and Mar­garet River; sprin­kle of other Aus­tralian re­gions, one Loire Val­ley sparkler and a good se­lec­tion of dessert wines. Rea­son to re­turn: For the duck and taro.

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