“Head chef Daniel Li has pulled together an intriguing menu that celebrates so much that is famous about Mediterranean dining, making it challenging to decide what to order,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON
The Kitchen had only been open six days when the three of us arrived for Sunday lunch. It was glorious outside and we found a gorgeous spot in the outdoor courtyard, wondering what the menu would offer.
At the head of The Kitchen is David Lockwood who operates with sustainability in mind, supporting farmers and growers of organic produce. David sources organic/biodynamic meat, fish, vegetables and fruit.
Those wanting gluten-free dishes are well taken care of at The Kitchen.
One GF dish was the winning Sichuan pepper-spiced duck, with potatoes, soy infused onions and soy beans ($26.50). The duck was fully respected, the combination of flavours worked well together and let’s just say there wasn’t anything left on the plate at meal’s end.
My slow-cooked lamb was melt-in-the-mouth and the winter veggies a real treat. Heirloom turnips, cauliflower and brussels leaves danced on the plate. The dish was just slightly sweet but that’s personal preference. The menu suggested the lamb was going to be crispy but it wasn’t ($26.50).
The crispy barramundi (not so crispy on the outside) was to come with homemade chips (they were missing from the dish) and chorizo and capers ($26.50). The fish was cooked perfectly but the tiny pieces of chorizo and capers weren’t plentiful enough to add the zing we expected with the dish.
We shared a delightful main salad that looked as stunning as it tasted. It was topped with kipfler crisps for a bit of crunch ($16.50).
Desserts are displayed indoors. We adored the lemon tart, lovely and tangy and so pretty on the plate.
The Kitchen serves The Wood Roaster coffee – the only Canberra establishment to do so. This NSW operation uses 100 per cent hot air rather than direct heat from a gas flame to roast beans, which is said to more evenly roast, producing a cleaner, sweeter, full-bodied tasting coffee. Teas, also by The Wood Roaster, are served in beautiful pots, some Japanese influenced and some almost Victorian influenced. Coffee is only $3.50 for a cup. Teas are $4.50 and include a Green Sencha and a Chai.
The wine list is compact, starting at 7.5 a glass (white) and $10 (red). Local wineries are celebrated.
The service had a few hiccups with the barramundi order being missed but this was quickly rectified. And The Kitchen needs to review the descriptions on its menu to make sure it delivers on what is promised. Still, we’ll be back, and no doubt more than once.
The Kitchen, 81 Denison Street, Deakin. Call 6282 8416. Open Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm and weekends from 9am.