Dining / When the clock’s ticking on dinner

The grilled Argentinian sirloin… came with a chirpy chimichurri sauce. Photo: Holly Treadaway

WHEN heading to the National Convention Centre for a show or event, it’s great to dine in the city, somewhere within walking distance.

That’s what we did recently, landing at Redsalt Restaurant, Crowne Plaza.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

It was a bit of a confusing start because the online booking, which was confirmed by email, was nowhere to be found by Redsalt. Still, staff quickly sorted this out and, thankfully, found us a table, noting that we had a finite amount of time to dine.

We waited a fair while for the wine to arrive, so much so that we decided to skip entrees and head straight into mains.

The Asado section of the menu is intriguing. This traditional South American barbecue style of cooking is pretty yum, where the meat is cooked on an open fire or parrilla (grill). You can opt to dine in Peru, Argentina or Brazil. Between us, we had all countries covered.

The marinated lamb rump from Peru was Huacatay style – the special green sauce, featuring the Andean herb huacatay or Peruvian black mint, packed a punch. The grilled Argentinian sirloin came with a chirpy chimichurri sauce and the chicken was marinated with grilled lemon and garlic.

All meat was tender and tasty. All dishes arrived with a beautiful quinoa and sautéed kale salad arrangement ($35 each). We ordered some sides, which were expensive for the size of the portion (only $8 but tiny serves).

One of our party decided she wanted to dine Italian style and so ordered the goat-cheese gnocchi. It was divine and married so well with the tomato veloute, peas, olive and aged parmesan ($34). A delightful vegetarian dish.

Marinated chicken with grilled lemon and garlic.Photo: Holly Treadaway

If you’d prefer other options from the grill (with your choice of sauces), you can dine on free-range chicken, Riverina beef sirloin, beef tenderloin, Tasmanian salmon or Flinders Island lamb loin (prices range from $35 to $41). Hats off to the chef and his team for sourcing premium cuts and top-grade seafood, and for focusing on regional and other quality Australian produce.

We understood that Redsalt would be under the pump with a sold-out show at the National Convention Centre but we arrived early enough by our estimation. The service was hit and miss with the dishes coming out in a haphazard fashion, so it felt a bit chaotic. Still, we stayed calm and carried on, not wanting to be late.

There was no time for dessert ($16 for main desserts). Five options are on the menu, including a baked berry cheesecake, chocolate lava cake and apple and plum strudel. Cheese plates ($32 for large) and gelato are also available ($5 a scoop).

Redsalt, Crowne Plaza, 1 Binara Street, Civic. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Call 6247 5500.

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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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