Water’s Edge has a prime location.
As its name indicates, the restaurant is by the Water’s Edge, right next to the NGA and the Old Parliament. Now “next” in Canberra, means around 1km. Evidently, to move around and see what ACT has to offer, you need to have a car, or be able to run when it gets as hot as 40°C during Summer to fit in, all the sightseeings. Monsieur and I managed to travel in Canberra thanks to the fact we had rented a car – and luckily, one of us has a driving license… Not me.
Water’s Edge has a degustation menu or a degustation menu to choose from. Rest assured, the choices are numerous, 4 to 5 options for each of the 4 courses.
For Monsieur and I, it’s more of an 8 course degustation as per usual, we agree to cut our plates into two halves. That’s how we manage to turn 4 into 8. Tah Dah!
1st Course: Quail for him, Yellow fin tuna for her
We both want the quail, but only one of us can order it (Monsieur). I therefore, go for the yellow fin tuna.
Monsieur’s quail turns out to look like an arancini ball with a bone that’s been carefully inserted into said ball to make it look quail like. His quail ball does taste quail, but we both would have preferred a real quail. From the disappointed look that another patron gives to his plate when being served his quail bone and from his fingers being crossed, we think we’re not the only one into classic quail. The foie gras terrine is good, but the foie gras taste isn’t as obvious as real foie gras. That said, when you know forced feeding duck isn’t allowed in Australia, it does make sense that expensive foie gras imported from abroad has to be mixed to be turned into terrine. We found the dish interesting and the flavours were appealing, but we wouldn’t reorder that one. First because we like classic quails better, second because the foie gras is best when it’s just foie gras. We’d however, willingly go for another plate of that yellow fin tuna. That dish was absolutely stunning.
It has Pedro Ximenez and Vitello Tonnato in… meaning wine and veal (had to search that on the internet) and I’m not sure whether I sensed the subtle flavours of these ingredients, but the tuna sat on what looked like – and tasted like – cream cheese. Doesn’t sound that Wow when you put it that way, but it was actually quite good. If you wonder what Vitello Tonnato is, this is it. It is the cream cheese underneath your yellow fin tuna. I loved the veal floss (looks like browned dental floss, tastes like meat floss – close to the Chinese pork floss in terms of flavours). So good! I loved each of the flavours on the plate.
2nd Course: Kingfish for him, Pork Belly for me.
I loved my Pork Belly, in spite of the fact that having a line of boudin noir sauce wasn’t what I expected (I really wanted a real piece of boudin noir, for you see, I love my blood sausage). I prefer the apples to be cooked (that said this might be because Monsieur is allergic to uncooked apples so I’m a bit sad he doesn’t get to enjoy the apples). The Pork belly is cooked to perfection, and this dish is my second favourite dish.
Oddly enough, Monsieur prefers his black olive crusted kingfish and mango carpaccio. Is this because he first started on that dish? I found his kingfish to be a bit weak in flavours, but was glad to see he enjoyed it. Had we known we enjoyed our 1st choice more, we would have passed on the swap I guess?
3rd course: Duck à l’orange for her, Pan seared john dory for him.
The first favourite dish for both of us, is the canard à l’orange. Duck breast is rare and it seems, hard to find in Sydney’s butcheries vs back home in France. Their rendition is very close to the French flavours of a good old magret de canard. Perfect!
If anything though, I wanted a bigger piece of duck à l’orange, and more of the pistachio (didn’t get to taste much of the pistachio). Highly recommended!
For this 3rd course, the waiter has swapped the plates, so I started with Monsieur’s Pan seared John Dory, the flavours of which, were more subtle. Therefore, I was able to enjoy both dishes more than Monsieur, who started with bolder flavours. The peas were fresh, and I loved the raviolo. The crispiness from the John Dory’s skin was however, softened by the raviolo if anything.
4th course: Desserts. Pineapple Tart tatin for Monsieur, soufflé for me.
We were a bit disappointed by the pineapple tart tatin, which was not a tarte tatin. The pastry was nice, but the pineapple was trapped into a jelly bubble that was overwhelmingly sweet. Way too sweet for both of us. It didn’t add up, and we wouldn’t recommend that tarte tatin.
The Passionfruit soufflé, on the other hand, is the dessert you want to order. The soufflé is airy and cloud like (melts in your mouth!) and there’s crispiness from the praliné that sits below the coconut and kaffir lime sorbet. The white chocolate ball is a surprise I wish they had made us aware of. There’s passionfruit syrup in that fortunately, pours into the plate (so at least, Monsieur gets half of it!)
If you like to “experience your food” and sample awkward crusty balls that look arancini like but are called quails, and boudin noir that’s turned into a sauce, this is for you (and me). Whilst I did love some of their courses and found them innovative, I know I won’t re-order the pineapple tart tatin. Go to dish are the duck à l’orange, the passionfruit soufflé, and the pork belly. Delicious!
Bill came down to AUD 161 (we had 1 glass of Front Bencher Shiraz 2009 – because Monsieur was driving!) and we found this to be a real steal (might be because we’re used to steeper Sydney prices?). Water’s Edge is a great value restaurant and we highly recommend it