Happy Canberra Day! Time just went so fast that I literally remembered this time last year of me being in the office of my previous workplace. Same goes with the restaurants, it has been a good 14 months since Tina and I first visited Table by Canberra Gourmet, one of Canberra’s exclusive fine dining experiences.
Chef Thomas Heinrich has created such an unique setting in the Canberra dining scene to give diners the opportunity for a chef’s table, where the chef cooks right in the eye sight of the diners. Since my previous article on the restaurant, the Table has since won a one-chef-hat by Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG).
Read my previous articles
- Table by Canberra Gourmet, Wanniassa
- Grill by Canberra Gourmet – Your Premium Takeaway during Canberra lockdown
Not only gaining the one chef-hat title, to better ensure diners health and safety during COVID-19 with sufficient seating capacity, the Table has moved from its Wanniassa venue to another Canberra iconic location, the Truffle Farm.
Being in the farm shed, the Table now operates on electricity and is planning on off grid in future to be environmentally sustainable. Serving 18 courses throughout the 3-hour-experience for dinner only, the Table by Canberra Gourmet’s degustation is priced at $180 for all inclusive including water and sparkling water. There is also no corkage for wines and diners can BYO to the venue.
The venue can accommodate more than 20 guests with its long table. The Table still has its fancy-lot-of cutlery set and tweezers but to further the experience, guests are provided with a small spray bottle of lemon oil (I guess but it is not oily) as palate cleanser. It was truly a surprise as the cleanser took away all the food residual taste from the previous course while leaving an ultra refreshing finishing in the mouth.
The first three courses were bite size snacks featuring delicacy ingredients such as Fie Gras, Truffle-cured Tuna and Tobiko (flying fish roe).
Fie Gras, Calamansi and Mountain Berry Pepper Salt (Left) – This melting delicacy has always been my highlight at the Table. The soft and smooth fie gras exploded immediately after getting into the mouth and surrounded all angles of the palate with the fragrant and creamy after taste. What a start!
Truffle Cured Tuna, Black Garlic, Spring Peas and Goat Cheese (Top Right) – The only thing with this dish was that it was too quick for consumption as one bite in, nothing left. This is so good and ultimately seducing to me. The finely chopped cured tuna pieces sublimed in the mouth while release truffle flavours while the goat cheese softens the tuna flesh and balaced the palate. Just by thinking of these while I am writing, my mouth is watering.
Green Curry Prawn, Avocado Puree and Green Tobiko (Bottom Right) – Does this even taste prawn? No but it was such a good dish and every component of the seafoods worked together once in the mouth. It was a good appetiser to start the night after enjoying the fie gras and the tuna while adding the right level of saltiness to prepare for the upcoming courses.
Next on the course list? Bird. That’s another reason I love the Table at Canberra Gourmet’s menu – diners can effectively experience all sorts of poultry, meat, seafood and everything else in between.
Seared quail breast in bush tomato and pickle glaze, crushed corn and fried curry leaves – Thomas is truly a master when comes to seafood and game bird. The quail breast was seared to perfection. On the first bite without curry leaves, the meat was very tender with the right level of sauces. However, immediately after adding curry leaves to the dish, it was taken to a completely new level. The crunchiness of the fried curry leaves added the complexity to the palate while the hints of curry flavour really made my day. It was so delicious!
Chocolate hazelnut tart with quandong meringue – Surprisingly enough (and I was not expecting), a dessert arrived as the fifth course. The tart was filled with the hazelnut and dark chocolate while the quandong sweetness merged right into the bitterness of chocolate, making this dish a good separator between the meat courses. I was also surprised with the use of quandong by Thomas as I have not seen much use of this fruit in the Canberra region. For those who are not familiar with Australian food, quandong is a native plant producing important fruit that Australian aboriginal people has used for generations. Read my post regarding quandong and Australian cuisine.
Lime cured, lime gel and chilli hazelnut crumb – This was the palate cleanser #1. And yes almost everything was lime, but these limes were so refreshing to remove the flavours of all previous dishes. It was sour but the chilli crumb made it with balanced sourness, leaving a plesant feeling on the palate. What a good creation!
Hiramasa kingfish, river mint leaves, river mint dressing, coral tuile – As I said previously for multiple times, Chef Thomas Heinrich is a true master of seafood. Every seafood dish I tried in his hand has always been top notch. This Hiramasa king fish was severed raw with beautifully sourced river mint, another native Australian plant. The result was fascinating that the omega-3 oil from the fish was fully promoted by the river mint flavour, releasing aromatic fragrance on the palate. The coral tuile added the crunchiness to the whole experience and a slight saltiness. Highly recommended dish!
Now be prepared as the next dish is simply astonishing!
Calamari, Yuzu Kosho, bloody shiraz gin infused Yarra Valley caviar – This is heaven or you may call it seafood paradise. This is another dish which showcases the talents of the Chef. When taking as one bite, the shiraz gin infused carviar bursted in the mouth with the temperature and released the rich flavoured juices which complemented the tender and flavourful calamari so well. A must try!
Beef tartare puff, bone marrow mouses and leek ash salt – This is my favourite dish of the night. When it came out, I thought it was an egg but I was soon proven to be wrong. It was beef tartare – how innovative! The finely chopped raw beef meat filled the puff so all bites combined the crispy puff and the meat altogether while the bone marrow mouses were rick in flavour to elevate the experience. A must try and one of the best steak tartares I’ve tried.
Seared duck breast, grape reduction, fig dukkah and sherry gel – Is this meat? I asked Tina. No this is jelly. Yes abosolutely – the duck was so well cooked that it tasted like a fruit jelly and when combining with sherry gel, the meat’s flavour has been fully brought out. The thing that was so special about this dish was the use of the dukkah. I would normally only expect dukkah goes with lamb but its creative use really added the spiciness to the duck breast and lifts the whole experience. Definitely worths the wait.
Strawberry ice cream, marcerated strawberry, coconut whipped cream, coconut flakes – What is this dish about? Strawberries and coconuts. That’s how I felt when it was introduced to us. How did it taste? Very good. The strawberry icecream was sweet and refreshing and the coconut improved the mouthfeel. It served as a good dessert to get the sweet flavour back into the mouth before moving to the next courses.
Strawberry gum and rum soaked rockmelon, mountain pepper and berry salt – This is another dish that gave me that wow factor. Wow! The rockmelon was soaked full of rum flavours. While having the bite, the moutain pepper spiciness did not show up but instead the sweetness of the melon got squezzed out into every corner of the mouth and on the palate. I think adding chilli powers or flakes probably can do similar things to promote the sweetness. A must try!
Scallop butter, Japanese filo crisp, mango and smoked caviar – Scallop? What scallop? When this dish came out, I thought it was scallop but instead it was the scallop butter which the texture and tastes were just like a real scallop! The smoked carviar complemented the scallop butter and added a good level of smokiness and saltiness to the dish. It was very pleasant to have this dish after two refreshing courses as it immediately brought us back onto the table. Highly recommended.
Cured and confit salmon in Japanese dressing, dessert lime labneh, puffed rice – This was Tina’s favourite of the night. Years ago, I had the pleasure of tasting Tatyusa’s confit salmon and can’t forget this way of cooking since then. The version at the Table was perfectly done and maintained the omega-3 oils in the flesh of the salmon. Literally every chew of the fish was an enjoyable experience on this dish. I forgot all the dressing and lime labneh – just the salmon, it was brilliant. I also love the idea of the puffed rice to improve crunchiness. A must try!
BBQ pork rib in crushed pretzel crumb – A juicy bbq pork rib was presented on a plate with foil still at the end for the ease of holding. The pork rib was bbq’d to crispy and the meat was very condensed on each bite giving loads of satisfaction. The crushed pretzel crumb did not only add the crunchiness but also the sweetness which combined with the meat well in the mouth as a sweet jus.
16-hour smoked and slow cooked beef skirt steak, truffle onion sauce, saltbush and poped sorghum– This was the last meat dish of the night. I really appreciated that Thomas actually used the skirt steak which we don’t normally use much in Australia. This is a good initiative to reduce food waste and showcase his skills. In fact, the dish was well received by Tina and me. The beef was cooked as if it was air dried and the meat tears apart smoothly. The flavours worked well with each other especially the addition of the saltbush introduced the saltiness into the dish. Two native ingredients were used – salt bush and sorghum. This is much needed to promote our native produces. Initially I thought this dish was from Filipino cuisine but later found out from Thomas that it came from skills in South American cuisine. Well done!
Banana parfait, burnt passionfruit and financier crumb – Second last course, time for dessert. A banana parfait is always an welcoming option to remove the food taste in the mouth on the night. And this dish was especially a good one, light, slightly sour and super refreshing. Great to finish the night.
Petite Fours including caramel macadamia nougat, caramel dark chocolate, raspberry white chocolate – Last course of the night. What a feast! These petite fours were made by the new apprentice in the restaurant. It is always so encouraging to see the next generation of young workers getting into the food industry to continue the great tradition of cooking good food here in Australia.
And that’s it foodies, these were all the 18 courses we had at Table by Canberra Gourmet at the Truffle Farm. I would highly recommend anyone who comes to Canberra or locals to try the food out as it is simply phenomenal and instrumental for these courses prepared right behind you in your eyesight. The 18 courses cost $180 including water and soda water and can be booked directly via the restaurant’s website, but be quick – as they normally sold out quite quickly.
Until the next post, have a great week!
Disclaimer: Foodies Cucina dined at the Table by Canberra Gourmet as the guests of the venue but all review comments are our own experience.
A/23 Mount Majura Road At The Truffle Farm
Canberra, ACT 2609