Darling Clementine doesn’t disappoint

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Apple-glazed, free-range pork neck… the accompanying smoked potato puree was fabulous. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“Clementine is Yass Valley’s first hatted restaurant, offering local wines and modern dining with predominantly French and Italian influences,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

IT was a Friday overnighter in historic Yass (a tidy town, of course) for something fun and different. 

Wendy Johnson.

First up, g&t’s at the historic Club House Hotel, where the “fab five stars” from makeover show “Queer Eye” made over the bistro dining room. 

Next we wandered down the main street for a quick visit to the Yazzbar, a cosy country bar featuring cool-climate wines from the Canberra region and top drops from other reputable Australian wineries. More on this in a tick. 

Then an amazing dinner at Clementine Restaurant, Yass Valley’s first hatted restaurant (seats 50), offering local wines and modern dining with predominantly French and Italian influences. 

Life is transformed when you walk into Clementine – chef Adam Bantock (London, Hong Kong, Sydney and, in Canberra, at Temporada, Dieci e Mezzo, A. Baker fame) has made over his family’s 1950s weatherboard cottage. The outdoor dining deck overlooks a manicured lawn, complete with artwork, and the Lovett Chapel.

Adam’s menu is high on interest and taste, but low on pretension. Dishes to start are $10, entrees $21 and mains $33. 

The vitello tonnato entrée was the sign of great things to come. It was a generous serve and the veal rump (slow cooked) was s-o-o-o-o tender. The tuna mayo was perfectly balanced and the capers danced on the plate.

The zucchini flowers (entrée) looked stunning. The delicate flowers were lovingly filled with creamy ricotta and smoked mozzarella. The dish was presented with a tasty salsa verde and bright green peas.

Four mains were available on our visit and we were a party of four so indulged in all dishes. 

The fish stew was amazing – snapper, clams, white beans, a perfect hit of chilli, cherry tomatoes and braised fennel. The pasta, ordered by a friend who has lived in Italy, was given five stars. The twisted tubes absorbed all the delish flavors. 

The local mushrooms were perfectly sautéed and the balance of tarragon, truffle butter and parmesan was decadent. Both the roasted lamb rump and the apple-glazed, free-range pork neck dishes were melt-in-the-mouth tender. The smoked potato puree accompanying the pork was fabulous.

The wine list is a joy to study. We indulged in the Hastwell and Lightfoot Fiano (McLaren Vale, $48).

After dinner, having discovered that Canberra’s “Mama Blooz” singer, Gaye Reid, was playing with friends at Yazzbar, we popped in (once more). Yazzbar regularly has live music – jazz, soul, folk. It was a great top off to a great night. Next time we’re in town we’ll dine at Yazzbar, with its tapas style menu. 

Next morning it was great coffee and breakfast at Thyme to Taste, also on the main drag. It’s a combo deli and café – eclectic décor and yum food.

Clementine,104 Meehan Street, Yass. Lunch, Friday-Sunday, 11am-2.30pm; dinner, Thursday-Saturday, from 4.45pm. 


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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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