Each time I have been here I have come away impressed by both the wine list and the food offered – it really is a top little bar up the stairs in the Melbourne Building. And on my recent trip to Canberra I knew I had to drop in, so on my way back to my room from a hard day’s interviewing I stopped in for a relaxing drink and snack.
The wine list includes a number of excellent but not all that well known wineries – and I began with one of my favourites from WA – La Violetta’s outstanding Riesling, Das Sakrileg – an aromatic nose, with a touch of Gewurztraminer adding crushed rose petal and spicy notes to the floral citrus bouquet. A rich and complex palate, with good acidity, lemon and mandarin flavours, and a long, satisfying finish. Smashable.
As always the food was interesting and innovative – a plate of fried haloumi with pickled watermelon and a liberal dash of Sichuan pepper proved a knockout – creamy nutty cheese topped with sweet/sour melon, and tickled up by the pepper – numbing and heating – great, loved it.
Followed this with octopus, in squid ink coloured crumbs and fried – beautifully tender and salty – accompanied by mojo verde, a thick green sauce of coriander, garlic, parsley, oil and peppers. The sauce added a little zip to an excellent dish.
My second wine was a drop from Ravensworth – Seven Months – according to the list a blend of Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Gris. A lot of skin contact and the blend have produced a golden hued wine with aromas of quince, blossom and spice, and an underlying earthiness. The plate is crunchy and savoury – very different, very drinkable.
Once again, I had a top stopover at this fabulous little bar – it is such a delight – and the waiters very well informed about their wines and food. In Arnie’s words, I will be back!