I’ve walked or cycled past the windows of Water’s Edge any number of times. It’s one of those Canberra institutions that I’ve always been aware of but had never actually visited. Until now!
And it wasn’t until I sat down at my table that I could fully appreciate the view: across the lake towards the lights of Anzac Parade and up to Mount Ainslie. It’s a pretty special location.
Several bulbous dining domes outside make the view available for diners looking for a more exclusive experience.
Owner and chef Avtar Singh took over the restaurant with his business partner Will in 2017, and while he has put his own stamp on the food, he has still kept much of the old-school charm that has maintained the restaurant’s reputation.
Inside, Water’s Edge is spacious and well sound-proofed. It’s the ideal place to take a friend or family member who has trouble hearing in noisy, overcrowded restaurants. We joined a few other tables of two sitting by the window, enjoying the view as the sun set and the lights came out across the water.
We opted for the $95 three-course set menu but were surprised by a few hors d’oeuvres before our entrees arrived. A delicate tart shell filled with spring peas and black garlic was a very tasty two-bite appetiser and was promptly followed by tiny pork rillettes and a shot glass of tomato gazpacho.
I started with the confit salmon, served with katsuobushi (bonito flake) cream, beetroot, pickled celery and a dollop of gochugaru (Korean chilli) emulsion. The dish was paired with a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
My friend had the Berkshire Pork Jowl with pickled fennel and pear, green almonds and nduja mayo. Pork jowl is a very fatty cut of meat, and this dish was quite rich, but the pickles cut through that richness and complemented the meat nicely. The menu aims to champion local food, although a few dishes were erroneously labelled as “seasonal” while featuring out-of-season produce.
We followed it up with a generously portioned main course of Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto with mushrooms, black garlic, rhubarb and hazelnuts. Risotto can be a challenging dish for restaurants as there is a risk that the dish can feel a bit ‘samey’ after a few bites, and it can be hard to keep every single mouthful exciting. By adding so many different elements to the risotto, a clear effort had been made to keep each spoonful interesting, but the flavours were a little unbalanced.
We also enjoyed the Hawkesbury Duck Breast served with cauliflower puree, apricot gel, dried strawberry and a maple and coffee jus. Our server suggested a Pinot Noir with notes of cherry to accompany this course. It was a nice wine but potentially a little too fruity for my palate when paired with the apricot and strawberry elements of the dish.
Once again, we were treated to an off-menu dish: a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet to prepare us for the next course.
Dessert was once again a dish with many different elements. I had the Orange Chocolate Mousse with chocolate sable, passionfruit sorbet, coconut crumb, mint meringue and apricot gel (which I recognised from the duck course!)
The Yuzu Panna Cotta was rich and complex with matcha foam, calamansi sorbet, coconut crumb and almond biscotti. We struggled to finish the generous portion but enjoyed the interesting mix of flavours.
Water’s Edge serves classic old-school charm with a menu that maintains tradition while adding a little modern flair.
Water’s Edge Restaurant is located at Commonwealth Place, 40 Parkes Place, Parkes. They are open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday. Reservations essential. Follow Water’s Edge on Facebook or Instagram, and visit their website to book.