Dust settles, ‘amazing’ Ostani emerges

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Dish of the day chimichurri beef cheeks… the aroma was wonderful, and the beef couldn’t have been more tender. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“Ostani’s amazing fit-out, by award-winning design studio, Capezio Copeland, is inspired by the Australian alpine landscape,” writes food reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

WE had been paying attention to the buzz. Seven weeks of extensive renovations. A major investment in design and fitout. A new menu.

Wendy Johnson.

When the dust settled, we rocked in to see the final results – Ostani revamped.

Do we start with the food or the fitout? Let’s go with the food.

Our party of five thought the menu was inviting (there’s a kids’ section too) and we loved that you can get free sparkling water (at the water station). What to choose? That was the challenge.

The dish of the day was the chimichurri beef cheeks. We agreed it was the least attractive on the plate, but the aroma was wonderful, and the beef couldn’t have been more tender ($29). 

The chimichurri was as colourful and tangy as you’d expect, the black beans not overcooked and the grilled corn polenta a great texture. It causes a bit of food envy.

Coconut and lime poached chicken salad… the coriander, mint and lime made the dish super fresh and the turmeric dressing was intriguing. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Another winner was my dish, which is going to be sensational throughout spring and in the warmer weather. Let me introduce the coconut and lime poached chicken salad ($22).

There was a mountain of edamame and broad beans (which I adore) and carrots on the plate. The coriander, mint and lime made the dish super fresh and the turmeric dressing was intriguing. The salad came with a generous serve of chicken, making the dish substantial in its own right.

The white miso glazed salmon was a nod to the Asian influences we love in Canberra. The green-tea noodle salad and Asian slaw each added different textures. The sesame and ginger dressing received a tick of approval ($23).

At first the grilled spatchcock seemed a bit ho-hum, but when all the ingredients were combined the flavours started to shine through ($28).

White miso glazed salmon… the green-tea noodle salad and Asian slaw each added different textures.Photo: Wendy Johnson

At Ostani you order at the kitchen (which we didn’t realise) or the bar (which is where we landed). You grab a buzzer and then enjoy a drink while meals are prepared.

The amazing fitout, by award-winning design studio Capezio Copeland, is inspired by the Australian alpine landscape. Loads of wooden elements, raw concrete, an amazing round fireplace in a central location and a warm ambience. The outdoor area remains, graced with several fireplaces (still essential in Canberra even though spring has arrived) and comfy seating.

We. Will. Be. Back!

Ostani, Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Barton. Open Monday to Friday, 6.30- late. Saturday and Sunday, 11am-late.

Grilled spatchcock… when all the ingredients were combined the flavours shone through.Photo: Wendy Johnson

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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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