Celebrate French classics in iso-comfort

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Grilled broccoli bowl… grilled to perfection, with a nice hit of chilli and completed with garlic and lemon. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON finds that Deakin’s new French restaurant Ondine isn’t to be beaten by COVID-19, and has quickly revised its menu to suit transportable takeaway.

“I was delighted to see a long row of dockets meticulously lined up on the front counter, a sign that many have already latched on to Ondine’s “official opening”. Good stuff.”

IT takes blood, sweat and tears to establish a new restaurant – a great idea, great menu, great testing and execution. Only then can the front doors swing open for business.

Ondine European Brasserie came oh-so-close to that glorious moment, but COVID-19 won out. Or did it?

The new restaurant, tucked behind the Deakin shops on Duff Place, wasn’t held back. The team quickly revised its menu around takeaway options that would transport well, letting customers celebrate French classics in the comfort of their iso-homes.

When I went to pick up, I was delighted to see a long row of dockets meticulously lined up on the front counter, a sign that many have already latched on to Ondine’s “official opening”. Good stuff. 

Country pork terrine… lacked flavour, thankful for the onion jam. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

We began our Ondine journey with the country pork and dried plum terrine ($16). Created with a traditional approach we agreed the terrine itself lacked flavour and were thankful for the fully flavoured onion jam which we lovingly spooned on top.

Lyonnaise beetroot tart… colourful, vibrant and perky on the plate. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The Lyonnaise beetroot tart ($21) made up for the shaky start. It was colourful, vibrant and perky on the plate. Although designed as a main, we sliced and shared. The roasted heirloom beetroot packed a punch on flavour and married exceptionally well with the soft, golden, tasty caramelised onions carefully arranged on delightful puffy pastry and topped with creamy herbed goat’s cheese.

Polenta with mushrooms… amazing and the moreish mushrooms completed the experience. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Also soft and creamy was the polenta dish with roasted mixed mushrooms ($16). Polenta is so amazing and the moreish mushrooms completed the experience. 

The whole roasted chicken ($39) arrived carved and complete with tarragon and onion stuffing. It was moist and full of flavour, but we would have loved crispy skin. 

For our veggie hit it was grilled-to-perfection broccoli, with a nice hit of chilli and completed with garlic and lemon ($9).

Gratin Dauphinois… a to-die-for mix of sliced potato, cheese and cream. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Totally luxurious and decadent was the very French and classic Gratin Dauphinois ($11). It was a to-die-for mix of sliced potato, cheese and cream. Sensational and we’ll be back for more.

Order direct on 6282 0026 or through Ondine’s website (it’s quick and easy) or through new Canberra Eats, an online delivery system that has signed up establishments that are far from fast-food in their approach (including Abell’s Kopi Tiam, Rizla, Saffron, Blackfire, Locale and Agostinis).

When ordering, select a time slot for pick-up. I arrived at the beginning of my slot and had to wait about 15 minutes before the meal was ready to whisk home. It wasn’t a problem – I just whipped up to the top of nearby Red Hill for a glimpse of the sunset.

Ondine, 7 Duff Place, Deakin (next to the Canberra Deakin Soccer  Club). Open 5pm-9pm, Tuesday-Saturday, ondine.com.au or via canberraeats.com

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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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