Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
THE Drawing Room is a comfy local in the heart of Crace. We headed that way on a Saturday for lunch, not knowing quite what to expect, but keen on a new experience.
We were delighted that breakfast is served weekends until 2.30pm, with some interesting dishes on offer. We also agreed that the lunch menu is simple, compact and fairly typical of your average café – three burgers, a pasta, a risotto and six mains, including fish and chips and a chicken schnitzel (dishes from $14.50 to $18).
The 64° green eggs caught the eye of one of our party ($16). The two eggs came with smashed avo, kale, asparagus, parmesan and truffle oil, all served on healthy soy and linseed bread. Overall, the dish was satisfying but the eggs were cold and the kale could have been more crispy.
Two of us ordered the barramundi special ($25). The fish was piping hot, delicate and moist. Mine came with a generous fresh salad and hot, thin chips. My only complaint was that the skin on the barramundi wasn’t crispy, so I just set it aside.
The fourth member of our party ordered the second special – sirloin ($32). He ordered it rare, but it was more on the blue side. While he was okay with that, some diners might not be. The meat – super tender and high on taste – came with an attractive medley of roasted root vegetables. As with all our dishes, the food looked delightful on the plate.
The Drawing Room’s décor is light, bright and airy and the chairs are comfy. The indoor area is divided into two – bar and dining. The outdoor patio area is no doubt popular on weather-perfect days. The playroom, equipped with two PlayStations, a TV, games and more, is a great spot for kids to hang out.
The wine list is intriguing, with a good number of options available by the glass (from a reasonable $7), and bottles ranging from $24 to $67.
The service was mixed, with some staff switched on and others not. The staff member who initially served us didn’t know how the specials were cooked or what accompanied the fish or meat. It took several trips to the kitchen to discuss the details. Surely, it’s not hard to brief before a shift formally starts?
We couldn’t quite connect the interior design with the idea of a traditional “drawing room”, except perhaps for the lamps used on the walls and the detailing on the ceiling, although that didn’t detract from the taste of our food.
We agreed that if in the area on the first Wednesday of the month, we’d head to The Drawing Room for paella night ($25 per person with bookings essential).
The Drawing Room, on the corner of Abena Avenue and Galore Street, Crace, is fully licensed and open Tuesday to Sunday (breakfast, lunch, dinner, various hours). Call 6174 4695.