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Canberra Today 5°/6° | Friday, July 1, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

A taste of European class opens in Civic

Brunello has added a true touch of class to the city – interior design, mind-blowing wine list and creative cuisine, writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

ON the former St George bank site, City Walk, Brunello is destined for great things. 

Wendy Johnson.

This European-style bistro draws you in on so many levels. Fresh local and seasonal produce carefully sourced. An impressive walk-in cheese and charcuterie room. More than 400 wines from around the world (Brunello’s has an Enomatic Wine Dispenser so diners can indulge in mighty fine international and national wines).

The shared plates are tantalising and we explored this section of the menu on our lunch visit, starting with the stunning-looking and subtle but interesting beetroot salmon ($26). Carefully placed on top of the mouth-watering salmon, sliced ever so carefully, was a dollop of creamy smoked goat’s cheese. Surrounding the salmon was a delightful and vibrant dill oil. What an introduction. 

We then moved to bolder dishes, including the tender lamb meatballs served in an intense tomato sauce with herb whipped feta on top ($22). Trust me … there was no choice but to order a side of bread to soak up that delicious sauce.

Sizzling garlic king prawns were next, cooked in a terracotta dish with chardonnay and Birds’ Eye Chilli ($28). Worth every bite and the quality of the prawns testament to head chef and Michelin-star Nacho Castells Rusiñol’s devotion to quality in every element of every dish. 

Quality shone through also with the chorizo shared plate ($24). The smoky and slightly sweet chorizo was barbecue slow cooked and accompanied by a confit of Rome Beauty apple with fresh watercress decorating the dish. More bread to soak up more sauce. 

Those looking for larger meals can check out dishes like the Tuscan pappardelle with wild boar ragu ($34), what I suspect would be an amazing paella (minimum two, $68) or the charcoal oven and grill section. This includes a lamb shank ($48), Wagyu flank (marble nine plus, $65) and catch of the day (market price).

The Mediterranean theme is evident throughout Brunello, including the beautiful décor and, finally, the desserts. 

Our Spanish sugar-coated donuts, with a sexy warm chocolate dipping sauce, were a perfect ending. They were super soft and, although they looked it, not overly sweet.

Cheese lovers won’t be disappointed (three for $24 and five for $45, served with Marcona almonds, quince and lavash.

Brunello offers casual outdoor seating facing the Canberra Centre and the large windows along the front open wide up, bringing the outdoors in. A curved bar forms a centrepiece and do take time to observe the finishes – beautiful attention to detail.

As with most new dining establishments, service needs a bit of polishing, but I’ve no doubt Brunello is on top of that. 


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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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