Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
AS we sat in the sun, sippin’ on wine and enjoying a mighty fine lunch, we decided it would be beautiful if every ‘burb in Canberra had a Duxton.
The Duxton has recently completed a major refurb. It’s modern, but comfy, with different zones downstairs and upstairs. The windows are massive and open wide, bringing the outdoors in. It still has the feel of a pub, but a mighty smart looking one.
The menu has also been “refurbed”, and we are delighted that it offers so much more than pizza and burgers. Intriguing is the woodfire grill section, featuring woodfired carrot salad ($20), barbecued wild caught king prawns with chilli and garlic ($24), steaks ($34 to $38) and half rotisserie chicken ($24).
My friend was stuck on the charcoal roast pork cutlet ($32) and she loved every bite. It was served with roast broccolini, caramelised apple, sage and anchovy – a wonderful combination. The cutlet was thick and juicy and the apple tangy and memorable.
“Why don’t all pubs dish up interesting dishes like this?” my friend wondered aloud. She’s right. Classic pub food has its place but can be sometimes tedious. The Duxton’s new menu showcases variety and great taste as well as classic fish and chips, chicken schnitzel and many other usual suspects.
I was in for something lighter and so opted for the slow-roast lamb salad (gluten free and $24). In my mind, decent, delicious salads are a must on any menu and this one deserved an A+. The salad was loaded with tender lamb, labneh, spiced kumera, black quinoa, pepitas, chard and herbs. It truly hit the spot.
If snacking is your thing, The Duxton offers dishes such as spiced bourbon glazed chicken wings ($14) and three cheese croquettes with jalapeno mayo ($12). You can share tantalising larger plates, such as whole rotisserie chicken with potato bake or slow-cooked lamb with cabbage slaw, mint yoghurt and milk buns ($36).
The kids will delight in their own section of the menu, which includes, as a sweet ending, vanilla ice cream with topping ($4). Indeed, The Duxton is a great family spot.
The Duxton is so much more than the main level. All up, there’s the Loft rooftop terrace, which will be uber popular in summer; the Oak Room, a gazebo area, the pub and sports bar and bistro. It sounds almost impossible to manage but The Duxton has it all covered. The kitchen is about four times the size and well designed for efficient prep and service. The charcoal rotisserie grill and pit is new and a great addition.
The Duxton, corner Macpherson and Sargood Streets, O’Connor. Open seven days, times vary. Call 6162 0799.