Lakeside dining’s new Edge

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THE delectable delicate dishes created by Chef Clement Chauvin are a feast for the eyes. You don’t want to disturb the food by actually eating it.

Chef Chauvin has mastered the art of plating – no surprise given his pedigree. In France, he worked in 2-Michelin star Pic and Nicolas La Bec and in London, Gordon Ramsay’s Claridges. In Canberra, he joined Sage, but is now settled in nicely at Water’s Edge on the lakefront working with European-trained chef James Mussillon.

At Water’s Edge it all comes together. Beautiful view. Beautiful food. Beautiful dining.

Chef Chauvin’s new three-course lunch menu is only $60 ($66 on Sundays) – choose from four entrees, five mains, three desserts or a cheese plate. The menu puts a new edge on dining.

My caramelised pork belly, boudin noir, crisp apple and radish was heaven on a plate. Pork belly is on many menus, but the execution of this dish is the best I’ve had in Canberra. The edible flowers accompanying the light, sweetcorn mousse with vegetable granola, sour caramel and tarragon snow were a pretty touch. The prawn cocktail was perked up with blood orange (a treat this time of the year) and spicy avocado cream  – excellent flavours. The black, olive-crusted kingfish, pickled fennel, jalapeno pepper and mango carpaccio was the least-favourite dish. The tastes grow on you as you move through the elements, but it takes a bit of effort.

The mains are exquisite and I couldn’t fault my white Pyrenees lamb, premium pasture-fed and raised on fertile land in Central West Victoria. At Water’s Edge the rump is served with smoked eggplant, capsicum terrine and quinoa. The Balmain bug ravioli perched on top of pan-seared John dory, was cooked to perfection, as was the confit of Atlantic salmon and duck a l’orange.

I had seen the menu in advance and knew the chocolate crème brulee with lime bubbles, lemon curd, mandarin sorbet and hazelnut cocoa crumb was mine. It was divine. We agreed to share, so (reluctantly) I did. We couldn’t fault the sweet endings. However, the cheese plate wasn’t terribly exciting and looked plain alongside our sensational-looking desserts.

The person serving us was knowledgeable and friendly – and efficient, given there was only one person managing the floor. I felt more support was needed to juggle the phones, handle customers wanting to pay, attend to the need for new wine glasses here, or dishes to be served there.

What is not so exciting about Water’s Edge is the décor. The restaurant is newly renovated, but still feels stark and distant. We agreed a splash of colour, a bit of art or even beautiful flower arrangements would make the place truly special. Thankfully, there is the view.

Water’s Edge, Commonwealth Place. Lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday.  Call 6273 5066.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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