Chunky footwear packs a punch, adding a contrasting street edge to soft, pastel, or floral ensembles.
Ideally lying in the heart of the bustling and dining precinct on Bunda street Canberra, the prime location is not only in the highly sought-after restaurant location for enthusiastic diners who enjoy dining out (even on week nights), as a passer-by you will have noticed that they are always full over lunch, late lunch and dinner. When you have friends telling you that they can’t get a table ahead of time, that restaurant must be doing something right. Anticipation is killing you and paying a visit to RAKU will definitely arouse your curiosity and further explore or enhance your dining adventure especially when the Canberra dining scene has been booming with a more diverse gastronomy culture of late.
With winter approaching, the preferred entrance is now off to the side in the Canberra Centre mall for a more sensible reason, by preventing the cold temperature air hauling in especially when the main entrance glass door opens regularly. RAKU presents a stylish yet understated minimalistic interior aesthetic, following the restaurant footprint, the entire dining area may not be on the large size yet the interior is very simple and uncluttered. In keeping with the Zen atmosphere, there are small details of design elements with a lot of wooden based structures crossed over the clean and slick Japanese slash Scandic chic setting that are easily found throughout the entire restaurant furniture and table setting, which showcases the artistic manner paying homage to the Japanese tradition and spirit.
RAKU showcases classic modern Japanese food focused on seasonal local-garden-to-plate philosophy with the menu designed to be shared. If you haven’t been to RAKU and are eager to explore a little further, the Royal Tasting Menu (for a minimum of 2 people) would be the perfect vehicle to introduce you to the RAKU approach to Japanese gastronomy. This menu consists of nearly 12-courses, some of which are grouped together to assist with some premium wine pairing and encompasses a wide selection of seafood to red meats, seasonal vegetables as well as some delightful sweet ending, so a surfeit of riches to try and enjoy. Dim and soft spot lighting highlights every dish brought to the table yet the surrounds still embrace its warm Zen like ambience and contemporary chic. Food presentation is quite meticulously placed and laid on each stoneware plate, not only highlighting the organic approach of the food but also the “zensation” of color on each ingredient used to whet your appetite.
These gourmet delights of Merimbula rock oysters from NSW are known for their superior light silky meat texture and flavours that reflect the quality of the sparkling waters of Merimbula Lake well accompanied by the RAKU signature cucumber and Tosazu dressing – a light Japanese dressing of fermented vinegar, mirin, and bonito dashi stock. Fresh and delicious, the flavour of the sauce and embellishments was so piquant to kick start a delightful palate.
<South Australian Kingfish Sashimi with Truffle Yuzu Sauce>
If oysters are not your cup of “seafood”, ask the server and they can be substituted with an alternative that suits. The thinly sliced Kingfish is light, refreshing and delightful on the palate. With all the basic ingredients and distinctive natural aroma complimenting the truffle and extremely finely chopped shallots as well as the refreshing and citrusy flavour from the Yuzu that gives a distinctive combination of organic flavour.
<New Zealand Snapper Sashimi & Wagyu Bresaola>
A complex and flavorsome combination of truffled ponzu, tiny puffed potatoes and the seven ingredients Japanese spice mixture shichimi to accompany the main ingredients and add depth to the flavours. The snapper and air-dried wagyu slice individually are fantastic, when you combine them together with a mouthful of the other ingredients, the wagyu was a little overpowering but texturally the crunch of both wagyu and puffed potatoes and the smoothness of the snapper creates quite a complexity that may not please everyone. While the bresaola also gives a light hint of bitterness in flavour besides being just a garnish that in fact contributes an extra kick to the entire combination. A great creation nonetheless!
Given that most people only know to enjoy tuna deeply drenched or dive into the soy sauce (please do not make this attempt in front of your Japanese friends, their eyes will instantly pop out), RAKU tuna sashimi is accompanied by yuzu and ginger sorbet which is plated on top of wasabi oil. Now this may all sound a little over the top, but trust us, it is pitch perfect and an utter delight. Try the wasabi bit by bit to suit your palate. This is a revelation on the tongue and is a sensational dish from beginning to end. An absolute stunner!
All of the three starters were well paired with the dry yet fruity with a fine line of mineral Billecarte-Salmon champagne that can be perfectly paired with most seafood dishes.
The sashimi santen was composed of kingfish, Tasmanian salmon and tuna well presented on a large stoneware bowl and neatly lays on top of shaved ice and one of which was in blue. It was fresh, generous in portion and perfectly sliced for a satisfying mouthful. To enjoy a good sashimi – a reminder once again not to drench your perfect cut of good quality sashimi with too much soy sauce or wasabi and let the organic flavour speak by itself, especially the creamy and firm texture of the Kingfish which was a standout.
<RAKU Signature Nigiri>
Nigiri is not sushi, it is a more refined, delicate and meticulously handcrafted a-la-minute perfect mouthful enjoyment that shall be consumed right away after the admiration of its artful presentation. RAKU signature scampi nigiri grated foie gras is to die for, so rich in flavour and texture and so moreish. The toro was slightly torched for the smoky palate effect and the rice was round and firm, sticking well along with ginger on the side as a palate cleanser of the light fattiness from the toro derived from the best cut of the belly which is the best way to enjoy a good toro. This is an absolute winning dish and you will crave for more.
For the first warm cooked dish came the Canadian scallops, served with jalapeno, green apple and garlic mayonnaise and hit the spot. The scallop was firm but tender and juicy on the bite, elevated by the accompanying ingredients to create a rounded flavour that was very enjoyable.
The eel is served with fennel, mustard seeds and tomato salsa, which may have been a reason for the eel to taste a bit soggy, as the salsa was sat on top and drenched the eel. Taiwanese eel was used instead of the Japanese eel for a firmer and creamy sweet texture, the skin was also less crispy on the outside somehow and was the least favorite dish on the entire tasting menu not worthy of all that had preceded this dish. Both Tofu and eel was delightfully paired with 2020 Chateau de Pibarnon for its silky and round palate with a perfumed wild berry and floral aroma, provençal herbs and pulpy texture, with a fresh and savory drive.
<Shiro Kin 8+ Wagyu Striploin>
This is a definite highlight of the menu, the Shiro Kin Wagyu 8+ Striploin served with rhubarb salt, ponzu and wasabi on the side. It is a dish that will not be easily forgotten. The meat is superbly cooked and packed full of flavour with the right amount of marble fat and meat that will leave you wanting more. Every mouthful is memorable for its triumph of flavours and texture, served with a side of beautifully charred broccolini with Momori miso - an unrefined miso with a more rustic consommé taste and is subtle with its own texture and depth of flavour – much to enjoy!
An absolute well paired with the stylish and powerful woodsy spice notes 2020 Bannockburn Pinot Noir. You gotta love it!
<Seasonal Sorbet >
The same or similar yuzu sorbet served for the tuna sashimi without the wasabi was served again as palate cleanser. Still a pleasant refreshing palate before dessert is served.
Beautifully executed! The chocolate fondant was accompanied with a sticky miso caramel and Nikka “from the barrel” ice cream. This is decadently delicious with an alcoholic kick from the whiskey. A wonderful twist on the usual chocolate fondant you may recall in any other French bistros or Italian ristorantes. Paired with 2021 Tasmania Coal River Valley Frogmore Creek Ice Riesling with mandarin aromas and subtle sweet honey and apple tropical crisp flavours.
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
148, Bunda Street,
For the occasion, Maison Valentino has conceived a limited-edition sweatshirt with Mr. Valentino’s renowned quote on beauty. Valentino Garavani, born in Voghera on May 11th 1932 and known in the fashion world under his first name Valentino, where the preclusion of a surname is seen as a tribute to protégés who enter the collective imagination so pervasively to render it redundant - will be celebrating his 90th birthday.
This milestone celebrates a unique personality, who during his 50 years of career, has defined a genre and personal idea of beauty, expressing them in infinite forms making them relevant for the present day by introducing an idea of the future. Valentino has built a system of symbols that are more alive and multiform than ever before, also thanks to the work of Pierpaolo Piccioli.
The Teatro Sociale of Voghera present on the 11th of May 2022 a site-specific installation, that is now opened to the public and features exclusive creations designed by Valentino, from the 1960s to the entire first decade of the 21st century.
At the center stage a selection of iconic red dresses: the most powerful, recognizable, and recognized symbol and color that took the name of its creator. A monochrome show made of 36 dresses from the archive: an anthology of styles that have each been able to embody the spirit of their time. It is a metaphor in which Valentino’s women are both actresses and spectators, without differences, all belonging to a global vision that represents a total idea of beauty and femininity in which each subject is on the same level.
Alongside to the unique pieces, are studies, drawings, sketches, newspaper clippings, photographs, and documents that depict the spirit of the time in which the clothes made their debut and recreate, through brief anecdotes, how the world has received and perceived them.
6°c evening breeze, late autumn and a Thursday Meat Night Out to an African-Inspired premium steakhouse in civic, The Meat & Wine Co Canberra takes you on a journey for storytelling and to entertain. Also, let their carefully crafted aged meat have a voice to testify to your craving palate. mylifestylenews writes.
Every capital city and beyond will have specialist steak houses and Canberra is certainly no different. We love a good steak and leapt at the opportunity to try out The Meat & Wine Co in the heart of the city centre. Opened for just over a year, they are packed most nights and the location is perfect, in a new building right on the main thoroughfare of Constitution Avenue and London Circuit. It is difficult to miss if you look for the amazing 4.8-metre towering rusted iron statue of Andrew Inglis Clark on the corner which is quite easily identified from afar.
With the South African roots and heritage, storytelling through the tradition formed an essential part of the African legacy by passing the knowledge, culture, history and significant events from one generation to the next. The Meat & Wine Co has adapted these unforgotten aspects and is retelling its own tales through wine and dine entertaining that reflects the dining social values. While storytelling from this unique culture that happens at night, around a fire under the open sky and often in an enclosure, the interior design concept by Design Partnership Australia interprets the one-of-a-kind enclosure referred to as a Lapa, Boma or the homestead with details of designed elements referencing the South African heritage.
On arrival, the moment you enter and instantly get carried away by the cathedral height ceiling that creates one big central island or Boma that interprets in the middle of the space formed by the inward facing bench seat that is rolled up around the entire base of the Boma. The room is broken into an outer dining and an inner dining section – the outer being tables at the windows and the inner being delineated by banquette seating as the ‘border’ with small elegant solid wood grained tables populating the centre of this inner space. “Shongololo” – a Zulu word to describe this for Centipede and literally meaning “to roll up” for a more intimate gathering. This golden crown banquette encircled inner section is created and formed by a type of interior design that is composed of a series of individual handmade small sheets of fabric by African artisans, dipped, sculptured and layered in various shades of metallic gold, bronze, copper and silver colour treatments to give a rustic feel and create an ‘enclosure’ that reflects both the richness of the African soil and the abundance of minerals which you would find in villages from the promised land.
Reasonably congested in its footprint - in a deliberate way - yet it is a clever way to create some contrast of intimacy within such a high-ceilinged central island in the middle of the room. Table tops are simply set and of course there is the ubiquitous steak knife of serious proportions! The napkins are designed to look like butcher’s aprons and of excellent quality linen. The stylish leap of the interior creates a comfortable, not unduly formal, unpretentious ambience and a welcoming impression that pleases on all grounds. There is a display fridge behind the reception showing the various aged meats available which whets the appetite. While you look to the open kitchen all along the back wall as a focal point and there is a small bar to the right which is not for guests to sit at, but is a feature anyway.
The tasting plate provides a good range of offerings and comprises of Boerewors sausages on a chakalaka sauce (a South Africa dipping sauce made from onions, tomatoes and beans) and accompanied with a corn and maize croquette, BBQ’d pork belly glazed with a good bit of char to the meat, Szechuan calamari and a classic bruschetta with superb flavours of the Roma tomatoes, avocado, oregano, basil and parmesan on excellent crunchy sourdough bread. Every bite was delicious and creates a contrasting palate to the other and it is a very good portion. The standout element was the pork belly – moist and tender, with the chargrilling and sympathetic glazing combing to achieve a very satisfying outcome. The Szechuan calamari was a little let down despite we were told that their very own recipe will have you come back for more. It was light and well coated and battered, deep-fried to the light crisp yet strangely bland, more of a texture than a flavour and lacking any kick from the Szechuan marinades as the name suggests to give prominence to this dish to be more salivating. As it is meant for 3-5 people, but be warned, very filling yet a great start to our evening.
The peri-peri marinated Portuguese prawns were also a well realised dish, glistening prawns cooked firm and that hint of spice along with seasoned barley, tomato and coriander salsa that gives a further taste and a great soft counterpoint textural complexity, resulting in a quite enjoyable dish.
The presentation is eye-catching and makes it easy for you to take a little at a time and drizzle lemon juice how you want. The meat was smoky, beautifully cooked with a suited marinade, tender and poignant in flavour and the accompanying fries were executed perfectly. Another spot on and a very moreish dish!
<Shorthorn New Yorker> 330g (grain fed 150 days)
The marble score 2+ meat gives the right amount of fats that melts and evenly immerses into the moist and tenderly cooked steak. Another delicious cut of meat that was quite satisfying on the palate and distinctly different in thickness and in its own way had an amazing depth of flavour and texture that made it stood out. It hits the marks and exactly what you would expect from a specialist steak house and it was slowly enjoyed with a peppercorn sauce and salad to maximum effect.
<Monte Rib-Eye> 300g (grain fed 120 days)
It is time to savour the premium tenderness and taste of expertly dry aged meat. This is a great cut of steak and cooked to perfection. The meat has a depth of flavour that one would expect with such provenance and the care and attention taken to age the meat. We chose a veal jus for the sauce and it was the perfect accompaniment along with the crunchy chips. Monte is the premium line of beef exclusively sourced for The Meat & Wine Co, while the char-grilling brings out the best flavour and texture and it could not be faulted! A carnivore’s delight!
This platter is a combination of beef and pork ribs and they are enormous and extremely generous in portion. Knowing that the bone takes a lot of space, these slow-cooked ribs still had a lot of meat packed with flavour, due to the hot char-grill finish along with the unique basting. Moist and tender, the sticky, saucy fun with a savoury appealing glazing outside seasons the soft, giving meat inside, begging to be torn from the bones and have your fingers ever ready by digging in at once. All meats come with a choice of crunchy chips or farm salad on the side at no extra cost. This was a meat lover’s dream and full marks all round!
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
The Meat & Wine Co Canberra
1 Constitution Ave Constitution Pl,
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.