Thursday, November 29, 2012

Human Brochure: Rubicon


Dinner on the Saturday night of our Human Brochure adventure was another multi-course meal with matching wines, this time at Rubicon.

Rubicon
6A Barker St
Griffith, ACT 2603
Ph: (02) 6295-9919

Rubicon is a much-lauded fine-dining restaurant, located on an unassuming suburban street in Griffith - it's actually just a few doors down from Aubergine! The menu is best described using that umbrella term: "modern Australian" - rooted in European (i.e. Italian/French) tradition, with some Asian influences thrown in. Let's have a look at the five-courses we enjoyed! (Six courses if you include the bread... well, it came with matching wine so I'm saying it counts!)

Bread
Sourdough with basil oil
2012 Nick O'Leary Riesling
The basil oil had a wonderfully fresh, punchy basil flavour, and the bread was crusty on the outside, with a chewy crumb. A good start.


First Course
Pink snapper, gruyere-stuffed diamond clams, pumpkin, kale, pancetta, sage beurre noisette
2011 Collector Lamplit Marsanne

I loved this dish! The fish was meltingly tender and incredibly fresh, perked up with the sweetness of the pumpkin and salty crunch of the pancetta. The highlight for me, though, was the gruyere-stuffed clam. Such cheesy, decadent goodness!

Second Course
Berkshire pork assiette - belly with chilli lime caramel; rolled shin and boudin noir with a crispy ear and herb salad
2011 Eden Road Tumbarumba Chardonnay
Quadruple pork! There was a great contrast between the sweet and tender belly, and the crisply crumbed shin and boudin noir fritter. My main complaint with this dish was the total lack of crackling on the belly. I really enjoyed the accompanying Chardonnay as well, and we were very lucky because our hotel actually gave us a bottle of it as a gift - woohoo! Can't wait to crack into it at home.

Second Course (non-pork option)
Zucchini flower, fetta macadamia stuffing, celeriac rémoulade, pinot noir glaze
We had a non-pork eater on our table, and she was given the crisp fried zucchini flower as an alternative course. I should mention here that the restaurant was very good about adapting the other meals and were very conscientious about pork-based products in the other dishes. (E.g. the fish dish above was done without pancetta; the bacon-studded cabbage in the next dish was replaced with an alternative vegetable - big points for that!)

Third Course
Free range duck breast, confit duck leg and shitake terrine, pommes boulangere, pomegranate molasses 
2010 Mount Majura Tempranillo
Double duck! Confit duck and seared duck breast are both favourites of mine, but the best part of this dish was the little oblong of potatoes. They were cooked perfectly: tender, but with a pleasing bite to them, and wonderfully flavoursome. I couldn't help but imagine the giant tray of potatoes this from which this must have been cut. Mmm... potatoes.

Fourth Course
Grass fed beef rib eye, sauce bearnaise, confit tomato, thyme-roasted kipflers 
2011 Hunting on Sundays Shiraz Cabernet
The beef was one of the most popular dishes of the night. It was cooked rare (to my liking!), with a great charred crust. The lemony bearnaise was also excellent, and despite being quite full by this stage, I made sure to finish the whole dish - lovely! Our waiter was very excited about the accompanying shiraz, but it was actually not to my taste at all - I found it aggressively herbal and thought it didn't work with the steak.

Palate Cleanser
Cranberry, Lime and Gin Sorbet
This palate cleanser was just delicious, so refreshing! I must try and figure out how to make something similar at home.

Fifth Course
Vanilla pannacotta, strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb sorbets, strawberries 
2006 Pizzini Vin Santo
The meal, unfortunately, ended on a slightly negative note. The dessert looked beautiful, and indeed, the three pink sorbets (strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb) were all fantastic - icily creamy and with pure flavours. However, the panna cotta itself had a faint but distinct taste of garlic. Seriously! I wonder if there had been garlic in the fridge while the panna cottas were setting, or if perhaps some of the kitchen utensils had been in contact with garlic earlier. Such a shame for what otherwise was a beautiful dessert! (If I hadn't been dining in such a large group, with people I'd just met that weekend, I would definitely have sent it back).


Overall I greatly enjoyed the meal, despite the hitch with dessert. I thought the service was very good, although chatting to some fellow humans after the meal I realised that not everyone had a similar experience. (You can read Miss Piggy's impressions of the night in her post about Canberra.)

Looking at Rubicon's website, a five-course degustation is $75 ($115 with matching wines), which I think is extremely reasonable. I know my friend An is keen to visit Rubicon - let's put it on the list for our next trip!

Sarah and Sandra visited Canberra as part of the Human Brochure campaign. This meal was included as part of the prize.

Rubicon on Urbanspoon

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