More to Rizla than just the (impressive) menu

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Snapper ceviche… silk texture with fennel and radish. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“Rizla’s food is amazing, or ‘ridiculously amazing’ as one of our party pronounced. And everything on the compact but impressive menu looked interesting.” WENDY JOHNSON is one very happy dining reviewer this week. 

EVERY so often a dining establishment/bar bursts on to the Canberra dining scene that truly stands out in the field. Such as Rizla. 

Wendy Johnson.

We landed on its third day of operation and walked away mightily impressed. 

Share plates are the name of the game. If you want Rizla to select a full dining experience for you, it’s $60 a person. Or you can meander through the menu, like we did.

Riesling is Rizla’s specialty – Canberra’s best, new vintage and cellared rieslings but also iconic Australian and international producers. 

The food is amazing, or “ridiculously amazing” as one of our party pronounced. And everything on the compact but impressive menu looked interesting.

The snapper ceviche was sensational (we would have loved slightly more chilli, but that’s total preference). The texture was silky, and fennel and radish made the dish super special ($16).

The skewered chicken thigh was moist and the plum and Japanese togarashi (spice mixture) an interesting combo ($6 each).

Fig lovers should not go past the pickled figs on toast with walnuts and gorgonzola ($8 each). This is a classic example of simple ingredients that work perfectly together.

Larger share plates range from $30 to $36. Our fave was the melt-in-the-mouth pepper pork loin with perky pickled apple and beets served alongside ($30). The half spatchcock came with polenta, which we debated; some like it creamy and smooth and some more textured ($30).

We indulged with the parmesan fries (thin cut) that are best eaten piping hot ($9) and worshipped the brussels sprouts ($12), made with crunchy pepitas and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce popular in Indonesia). 

We washed all the yummy food down with a bottle of Canberra district Yarrh 2018 Riesling.

Rizla has introduced something new to Canberra – “Cellar to City”, a partnership with local wineries. One winery is featured each Sunday and Rizla has free tastings to showcase its wines. Customers can complete an order form that Rizla sends off to the winery. Then, bingo, the wine is delivered to your door.

It’s a magical idea. Wineries get to showcase wines in the city. Rizla gets to offer free tastings. Customers get to try new drops and have the convenience of ordering on the spot. On our visit, Lark Hill Winery was the cellar of choice (and, yes, we ordered).

Rizla holds a prime position on Lonsdale and Eloura Streets. The inside is small but Rizla has creatively made maximum use of every square centimetre.

It was a clever move to create enclosed garden-like settings at the front and side. The music was fabulous – right style, volume and variety. And guess what? Rizla has been smart enough to install bag hooks on its outdoor tables.

Rizla. 22 Lonsdale Street, Braddon.


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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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