Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
Photos by MADDIE McGUIGAN
PERCHED at the east end of Kingston Foreshore, this laidback eatery wants you to chill when visiting.
At Beef and Barley they encourage you to borrow one of the board or card games they have hanging about to entertain yourself while dining (including the popular “Cards Against Humanity”).
We began with crumbed calamari and quickly gave the dish a thumb’s up. The batter was light and the calamari tender. It was a delish dish.
Then it was time to get serious about the burger line-up. Two of us chose the “Atomic Boss” and one the “Turbo Bird”.
The “Atomic Boss” features a beef patty. We asked that it not be super well done (thinking dry and tough). After a quick visit to the kitchen, the staff member returned with the sad news that we had no choice. The burger had to be well done – ACT law demands it.
Was this mincing the truth we wondered?
Well it turns out it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I called ACT Health and discovered that, buried somewhere deep in the Food Act 2001, is the rule that mince cannot be served with any visible signs of pink.
The officer I spoke to said beef patties don’t have to be so cooked they taste like cardboard, but they must be cooked through to the centre to avoid food poisoning.
It’s a contentious issue with some in the food industry believing that there’s next to no risk of food poisoning if you use quality, freshly sourced, freshly ground meat, with properly sterilised equipment and in a clean kitchen. I wonder what the famous Neil Perry, of Rockpool and Sydney’s gourmet Burger Project, thinks about all this fuss?
Our next thought was beef tartare, which is raw. Well that’s different, says the ACT Health Officer. That’s steak and so it’s okay.
Now that we’re over all this well-done advice, how was our “Atomic Boss” burger? It was good and not dry. It came loaded with goodies such as chorizo, fried onion, Swiss cheese, slow-roasted peppers, sliced jalapenos (that’s what motivated me!), tomato relish and more ($20 for a 170-gram burger). If you’re keen on house fire sauce, just ask (it’s free).
The Turbo bird featured fried chicken with streaky bacon, tomato relish, fried onion, jalapenos and a creamy aioli ($18.50). It went down the hatch quite well.
Both burgers came with a massive order of beer-battered chips and a sweet slaw, which I thought was well done (as in delicious, not overcooked). BTW, burgers are each paired with a selected beer or wine at a reduced price.
Beef and Barley, Kingston Foreshore, 153/45 Eastlake Parade. Call 6199 3366. Open seven days.