Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
IF you happen to be shopping in or near Woden Plaza and are craving a bit of tasty food but don’t want to eat in the centre, pop across the road to the yellow picket fence, which is home to Cibo Kitchen.
Cibo Kitchen dishes up modern Mediterranean cuisine, with influences from Italy, Greece and the Balkans. Gathering around the table with family and friends, eating food, exchanging conversation, laughing and loving, is so much part of the Mediterranean lifestyle. So it’s no surprise that dishes are designed to share.
I was on my little ol’ lonesome at lunch, and so sharing wasn’t an option. But it wasn’t a problem either, with the small plates a perfect portion for one.
The meze menu includes scallop and pancetta skewers on a grana padano rocket and pear salad ($19), semi-smoked pork sausage grilled with roasted peppers ($13) and barbecue prawns marinated with oregano, garlic, local olive oil and served with quinoa, red peppers, cucumber, whole olives and barrel aged feta ($19). Yum.
I was torn between the prawns and the salt and pepper squid. The squid won. It was some of the tastiest, most tender squid I’ve had in a long time and was served on top of a fresh tossed salad of onion, tomatoes, lettuce and other goodies. My only suggestion was that the dressing should be served in a side dish so diners have a choice on quantity. I found it a bit much and by the time I got to the bottom of the bowl my salad was drowning.
More substantial plates include a linguine with exotic mushrooms, black garlic, local olive oil and grana padano ($25). It’s a vegetarian dish – the restaurant excels at vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes. The red stuffed pepper sounded fun ($23) as did the wood-smoked pork eye fillet ($30).
You can also order from the “designed to share” section, including what Cibo Kitchen calls the “Wog Board”, featuring Backa Gourmet cured meats from the Gold Coast, dips, burek, cheese, olives, pickled vegetables and bread (minimum of two people, $22 each).
I rarely have dessert when out, especially at lunch, but was promised that the “Nonna’s Tiramisu” was light so I gave it a go ($11). It was light and nothing short of excellent. Also on the dessert line-up is a crepe with salted-caramel sauce, toasted walnuts and cream ($11) and a light, soft European donut.
Cibo Kitchen has a lovely outdoor area – enclosed with that darling yellow picket fence – that gets great sun during the day. The restaurant wouldn’t be a “destination” for me, but it would draw me back next time I’m in the area and a bit peckish.
Cibo Kitchen, Woden Town Centre, 98 Corinna Street, Phillip. Call 6162 0122.