Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A. Baker - Restaurant Review

Strangely enough this is the second time in 4 months that we have been in Canberra. First time was for the Eat Drink Blog Conference in October, and this time was for our niece's ceremonial parade as she has finished her initial military training.

We did a lot of eating and drinking while away.  Hubby and I went to A. Baker for dinner the first night we were there.  I am not sure what the go is in Canberra but everywhere you go, they play loud music including here at A. Baker.  Come on folks this is annoying! You can't hear yourself think, or talk to your table mates.

Bloody Mary for me $14   

I love vodka and I love tomato juice and I love Tabasco, but boy was this strong.  I think they must have tipped the Tabasco bottle over it and just let it run.  And then emptied a pepper pot into it. Nevertheless, I drank it all and enjoyed it.  Okay, so I love a food challenge.

Mr P. had his usual ginger beer $5  

house made bread and Alto olive oil came with Mr P.'s entree       

The award-winning, house made bread was replenished quickly. Hubby loves bread so this was a pleasure to him. You can even buy their breads and pastries to take home.

you know I can't resist oysters! $3.50 each   

The oysters were okay, but they seemed a little warm and not full of that gorgeous fresh sea flavour that I love.  They were well priced though, as a couple of other restaurants had them for $6 each. Funny how snotty they look.  Who on earth first thought to eat them? :=)  Best not to look, and just swallow. 

Mr P.'s entree of Wagyu pastrami $13  

Mr P. loves a pile of cold cuts, and he really enjoyed this plate. Tender and spiced up with chillies, he scoffed it all down posthaste. You can see the marbling running through it, giving it a juicy tenderness.

duck breast $34   
The duck breast came with carrot in the form of a puree (delicious), baby carrots (also delish) and pickled strips (not so delicious), walnut, rye, and mulberry jus. The breast was a teeny bit over-done for me, but I love duck so it was a win anyway.  I guess the point of the pickled carrot was to add crunch and tang, but it just didn't work.  For me the flavours just didn't marry.  Other than that, a super dish with different flavours and textures.

baked local mushrooms $31  

Mr P. who often chooses a vego dish when eating out, dined on baked mushrooms with kale, soba noodles, soy, and sesame crumble.  He loves 'rooms, and noodles (kale not so much) so this was a winner for him.  He loved the sauce so much he asked for a spoon to finish it off.  He told me to say his meal was superb. There were several kinds of mushrooms, which were earthy and interesting.  He really liked the squid ink noodles too.  He even liked the kale - shock, horror.:=)  I believe the white squares are halloumi which Mr P. said were good too.  He is a man of few words.  

kinda cute chefs working their little buns off in the open kitchen    

And now to dessert.  When I booked, it states that you only get 90 minutes to eat and go.  They were very busy, so took a while to get our dessert order.  This meant we were 10 minutes over, but they didn't give us any grief and let us finish in our own time.

peanut butter mousse $16     

I love peanut butter desserts, and this PB mousse came with salty caramel crumble, popcorn, and fruit bread chips.  I loved it folks! The mousse was soft and airy (I won't use that misunderstood word 'unctuous'), and fell down my throat like soft clouds. Waxing a bit lyrical there :=).  The PB flavour was well defined but not overpowering. The popcorn and crumble were a wonderful counter point with salty, crunchy goodness. My only slight quibble was the fruit bread chips.  These were festooned with a salty sprinkle, and I do mean salty.  The salt contrasted well with the mousse, but it was just so very salty.  I ate the chips, I enjoyed them but I do think they need to tone it down a bit.

nectarines $16  

Mr P. chose nectarines for his dessert.  They came with a chamomile pannacotta, matcha tea jelly, spiced crumble, and coconut ice cream.  Neither of us like gelatine so he wasn't that keen on the pannacotta, but the ice cream was superb he said.  He cleaned his plate regardless.
Service was somewhat indifferent that night.  Our waiter, nice lad though he seemed, was often to be seen just standing around doing nothing.  Mr P. at one point asked him to take away our plates, so he took one!  Entree plates were not removed till dessert came to the table.  I have no idea if he was a brand new waiter, but if not there seems little excuse for such shoddy service.   

you know I love a good ceiling shot

So apart from some minor quibbles and the somewhat lacklustre service, we had an enjoyable and flavoursome meal.  I do wonder if the chefs actually have tasted some of their dishes before they send them out (not from my plate obviously)!  A. Baker is a trendy restaurant with its own garden and bakery.  They source locally, and cook seasonally and regionally so you get to eat food that represents Canberra.  We shall be back.

A. Baker Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


  1. Yes Ma'am, I would like that homemade bread with good olive oil. I don't know what is hard about good service. If you train people how to do a good job, most of the time it will happen.

    1. isn't it odd maureen how hard it is to get good service? so strange.

  2. I'm glad they source local food and work with the seasons...all restaurants should if possible. And I could really go that bloody mary right now!

    1. I think their intentions are great and I love seeing their garden out the back so you know herbs and veg are fresh. But the service - oh dear.

  3. How strange is that service! It doesn't even make sense at all. I've had the breads here but not dinner so thanks for the review Sherry!

    1. the service is bizarre. i mean what was the maitre d' doing to allow this to go on? so odd. there were several tables looking around anxiously wondering about their dinner too.

  4. After you've grown up in CSA, service is never up to standard ; )


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