QT Canberra’s Capitol Bar & Grill and Lucky’s Speakeasy will next month introduce new menus – the first since they opened their doors. Ryan Johnstone went for a first look.
I was invited to preview Lucky’s Speakeasy’s new cocktail list, followed by an evening sampling dishes from Capitol Bar & Grill’s current and new menus.
Beginning the night in the exclusive QT Lounge on the 15th floor, cocktail mastermind Jared Thibault shared the secrets of making cocktails to perfection. One crucial element involves making all syrups, juices and other mixers by hand, on site. I think I’ll leave that to the professionals.
First up was the pineapple and cinnamon caipirinha. A traditional caipirinha hails as the national drink of Brazil. This one features pineapple and cinnamon infused cachaça, fresh lime and sugar, and is garnished with pineapple, and a cinnamon quill. Perfect.
Next we tried a smoked apple sour, made with Dewar’s White Label scotch, pomme verte (French green apple syrup), fresh lemon, sugar, and egg white, finished with Peychaud bitters, and a Laphroaig spritz.
A Strawberry rhubarb cobbler was up next; a mix of Tio Pepe dry sherry, Lillet blanc (French aperitif wine), fresh lemon, rhubarb syrup, rhubarb bitters, served in an elegant silver tumbler, topped with strawberry and powdered sugar. A light, refreshing option to start off your evening.
Last up for pre drinks was the french toast cocktail: Banana-infused Bulleit rye, Dom Benedictine, demerara sugar, maple foam, and chocolate walnut bitters.
At dinner we were treated to a selection of three entrees, three mains, three sides, and dessert, some of which on the current menu, and some mouth-watering dishes to be added on the new menu.
You eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth, and my eyes did not go hungry, presented to perfection – definitely Instagram-worthy!
Entrèe one – The rooftop garden vegetables plate. Fresh and pickled seasonal vegetables grown on QT Canberra’s rooftop, beetroot and mustard leaves, goats cream, black sesame, and lemon.
Entrèe two – Bringing back the tuna belly carpaccio. Ice radishes, organic mint tea, smoked grape tomatoes, young coriander and lime. I’m not usually a fan of tuna but definitely made an exception for this, so nice.
Entrèe three – my favourite of the three. Crisp buttermilk chicken and waffles, pure maple syrup, green tomatoes and a watercress and lemon salad.
To compliment the entrèes along with our G.H. Mumm, was a smoked pale ale from the Capitol Bar. A spicy, savoury cocktail with chilli infused Illegal Mezcal Joven, pale ale, fresh lime, agave, hananero shrub, pancetta chilli salt, topped with dehydrated pancetta.
The much anticipated mains were to come up next, accompanied by local and international wines including a Felton Road Pinot Noir, and of course the renowned Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier. Just a few from their massive list of Australian and international wines.
The first main was easily my favourite of the night, and now definitely on my list of Canberra favourites: The classic duck leg confit, with lentils, carrot chunks, Chinese broccoli and a splash of organic soya sauce.
Main two – Italian Brooklyn connection peppers and pork chop. Roasted free range pork loin chop, agro dolce cumquats and yellow peppers, with currants, pine nuts, and crisp sage.
Capitol Bar and Grill has some fine steaks on offer (up to $48). We then tried the New York sirloin ($37). Pasture fed and dry aged in house, it is 350g of Tasmania’s Cape Grim’s best beef – served with lemon crumbed artichoke hearts.
To top off the perfect meal was of course the perfect dessert. A Kubrik Era Dessert – an indulgent dish with the theatrics to match. White chocolate dome filled with quince, double chocolate mousse, spearmint sorbet, bitter chocolate crumble, finished with a collapsing dark chocolate sauce to reveal its inner goodness.
After hours of eating, the perfect finalè was the digestif cocktail served in Lucky’s, a Truffle Negroni. As the name suggests, it involved truffle infused Bulldog gin, Carpano Antico Formula and campari served with orange twist, black truffle salt, and campari dusted chocolate truffles.
Located at 1 London Circuit, QT Canberra is an ideal location for a long night of being wined and dined.
* Ryan Johnstone dined as a guest of QT Canberra.