I had a much needed and relaxed break in the last two weeks. It is a good time for self-reflection as well and reinvigorated my curiosity towards food.
Good food does not all have to be fine dining. They can be in the bars, on the street and anywhere that gives the memorable moments. Sometimes I even question whether it is really the food produce that made the dishes taste great or it is the person who you are with that gives the best memorable food. Eitherway, food is an important part of everyone’s daily life and enjoy good food should be everyone’s right.
Speaking of bars, we recently discovered a real hidden gem in the Canberra city, Bar Rochford. ‘Discovered’ probably is not the right word here because since I moved to Canberra, people around me has introduced this venue to me as one of the premium bars.
Located in the acclaimed heritage Melbourne Building, Bar Rochford is a small wine and cocktail bar serving fine food and fine wine/beer and has one AGFG Chef Hat. The venue is located on the first floor and took me a good while to find it. The centrepiece at the venue is a big busy bar and a large historical window overlooking London Circuit. With simple decors, the venue has a real great noisy bar atmosphere and a chaotic romance in a good way.
The venue is popular among Canberran locals and booking early, especially for a window seat, is highly recommended. We did not book a window seat but our waiter was nice enough to put us onto two of the four window long table seats – very appreciative for their service.
The venue’s menu is modern Australian focused and includes produce from different parts of the territory. Balanced between meat, seafood and vegetables, the dishes are designed for sharing. For diners who may want to try many dishes, they can opt in for the set menu which features a broad range of their dishes at $80 per person. As meat animals, instead of ordering set menu, Tina and I decided to go with ordering individual dishes.
Bodriggy ‘Speccy Juice’, $13
As I mentioned in the previous articles, I started to try different beers and this speccy juice was a such a good example. It has fruit nose and refreshing palate and complemented all dishes on the night, leaving the entire experience enjoyable. This beer also worked well with the bar atmosphere.
For the snacks, smoked beef tongue skewers w/ anchovy mayo ($5 each) were first on our table. Unfortunately I was way too excited to see this dish and finished without taking photos. The skewers were so delicate on the palate. They were so soft and tender and were very yum, especially combining with the anchovy mayo’s slight saltiness. A must try!
Galette, Steak Tartare, Tomato, Parmesan, $16
This is another steak tartare I enjoyed recently. Not in its traditional formate, this tartare focused on the mouthfeel. The meat was finely chopped into small pieces and literally melt-in-the-mouth after getting into the mouth. The bite sized individual pieces were great as a snack, especially with the crispy galette, while the addition of parmesan added extra cheesy flavour. Highly recommended.
Scallop, Ajo Blanco, Rock Melon, Jalapeno, $24
This is the most (not one of) delicious dish that both Tina and I prefered! It gave us the wow factor that we have not had for a while. The scallop was raw and was so fresh with creamy taste on the palate. The rock melon added slight sweetness and this worked so well with the slight hint of hot spicy from the jalapeno. The magic of sweet and spiciness complemented each other and lifted the experience of this dish. A must order!
Lobster & Celery Vol-Au-Vents, $16
I would probably recommend this one as a palate cleanser. This is a french influenced dish and looks beautiful in its presentation. The lobster and celery were both so refreshing and certainly took away any oil residuals. Being clean on the palate, the snacks exhibited fresh celery and a hint of nuttiness while the lobster was full of flavour, good seafood flavour.
Duck Breast, Red Wine & Cherry Jus, Honey, Thyme, $36
A decent duck breast dish. The meat was cooked to perfection with pink still inside and the crispy skins on the outside. The meat was tender and flourish. The red wine and cherry jus added a good level of sweetness and bitterness to enhance the taste of the duck. It went well with our beer.
Murray Cod, Kipfler, Smoked Roe, $36
Since moving to the ACT, I have seen so many murray cod in the market. As I am not a big fan of freshwater fish, I never had the gut to try them. I must admit the taste of the fish surprised me! This dish was influenced by Russian cuisine and the murray cod was pan-fried through well. The highlight of the dish was the load of smoked salmon roe – what a luxury taste! With minimal flavour addition (perhaps just salt), the vegetable and the fish combined so well and the sauces brought the dish to a completely new level. Highly recommended.
In summary, all of the dishes we tried were good quality and brilliant taste. There was no dish on the night that disappointed us. The service is good and top notch with friendly waiting staff and chit chats, except when I waited for my mains for over 1 hour and asked several bar staff nicely, one waitress said it was only 20 minutes. I understand it was a very busy night but perhaps just be geniuine. Netherless, this does not underrate the venue to be one of the premium bars in the ACT.
Would I recommend this place? Yes, and yes!
Until the next post, have a lovely time.
1st/65 London Cct
Canberra, ACT 2601
Ph: 02 6230 6222