Reading through the lists of Canberra's best restaurants lists (eg. AGFG, SMH, GT, other), two recurring names seem to be the vegetables, Aubergine and Courgette. I couldn't find anything online suggesting these places are linked (which is surprising given the similar names) and Aubergine seems to always come out on top as #1 in Canberra. Maybe it's just me, but despite this, the online menu at Courgette always appealed to me more, and hence was the fine dining place I most wanted to try here. Now that I've had the opportunity to eat at Courgette, it seems natural that I'll have to try Aubergine sometime for comparison.
It was a small group dinner at Courgette, which meant the lucky use of the Boardroom - a private dining area that I imagine is usually filled by business people trying to impress each other. The room is beautiful and stylish, with equally impressive extra-wide chairs to fit the largest of fatcats. It does create a slight excessive distance between each guest but not really much of an issue.
The food presentation is classy and it was unfortunate I couldn't capture the pictures.
- Ricotta and sweet red pepper filled courgette blossom, heirloom tomato, garlic creamed spinach;
- Roast quail breast and twice cooked golden plains pork belly, asian slaw, soy pearls, apple sauce - excellent flavoured quail, succulent pork belly, sadly let down by an Asian slaw that was too plain as it was without dressing;
- Seared scallops, smoked cauliflower purée, fennel crunch, fermented black garlic - perfectly cooked moderate cylinders of scallop, well supported by the other flavours and textures;
- Mandagery creek venison loin with dijon mustard, beetroot, asparagus, sheeps milk fetta, hummus - cooked rare (which is ideal) but didn't seem to make the same impact as the entree meats or the fish main;
- Hiramasa king fish, scampi, pea puree, fennel, pomegranate, avruga caviar sauce - very nice combination of salty, sweet, slightly tangy to complement the soft fish and mildly crunchy scampi;
- Windsor strawberries and cream meringue, custard, mint cloud, freeze dried mandarin - beautiful presentation, simple combination, but meringue isn't my thing;
- Caramelised nectarine, apple cinnamon pithivier, ginger and butterscotch ice cream - delicious winner, the name says everything.
The presentation is great, the food is tasty and the setting is lovely. I'd be hard pressed to say I found anything here especially unique or rare, but I'd certainly recommend it for an upmarket meal in the capital.