Home > Can: Griffith, Canberra, European, French > Aubergine, Griffith, Canberra

Aubergine, Griffith, Canberra

I think it takes a certain personality or courage to dine alone. It used to terrify me but there was a stage when I had to travel religiously for work and got comfortable to dining alone. However, it has been a while since then and it took a lot of courage and psyching on my behalf.

The problem with dining alone is that people either assumes you are a food critic, or you are a business traveller or you are dealing with relationship stuff. I believe, solo dining is really just a matter of changing your mindset and once you have gotten over the ‘I don’t want to be seen alone’ or ‘its’s so sad to dine alone’ you can start to enjoy your meal. It’s hard, but if you bring a book to read or a newspaper, or a flyer to keep you occupied, it really isn’t that bad. So once I got over all those fears, I went to Aubergine.   

Aubergine is located in Griffith shops in Canberra. It was given a lift a couple of years ago when head chef and owner Ben Willis took over in 2008. Ben a Canberra boy, left the Capital City to work in Sydney and London before returning. The food presentation is immaculate and contemporary and the flavours are absolutely delicate and refined. The menu has a combination of French and European twist and guests are offered a choice of either 2 courses ($60) or a 3 course ($70) prix fixe menu.

I was greeted by the lovely floor manager. The restaurant is small and intimate with high ceilings and huge windows overlooking the park and Griffith shops. There’s a long bench at the back, the bar and wine shelves are the backdrop over the room.

Whilst perusing the menu, I was presented with some roasted almonds and dates. Everything on the menu looked absolutely delicious and I was certainly looking forward to my meal.

The sourdough bread was warm with crusty exterior and soft fluffy on the inside.

I couldn’t go pass the confit ocean trout, shaved fennel salad, oyster beignet and avruga caviar. WOW. The confit ocean trout was served at room temperature, it was so delicate that it just melted in my mouth. The shaved fennel salad had a tangy, citrusy flavour, and it was refreshingly light and absolutely wonderful. 

The oyster beignet beautiful! Love the batter, it was thin and beignet batter just makes everything so much better! I really did love this dish, the cucumber and the fennel salad were a wonderful complement.

For main, I couldn’t go pass the mustard pork loin, black pudding, pork croquette, braised fennel and crackle. Again… OMG! Tender and succulent pork loin which is smothered with mustard was amazingly good.

The pork croquette with chunks of meat was fantastic and it was beautifully accompanied with fennel puree. I was in pork heaven!

It didn’t end there, the black sausage with gratin of cauliflower was frigging fantastic and eaten with braised fennel was just too good that I didn’t want the meal to end. The crackle which I ate last was one of the best things about the dish.

Unfortunately, I was too full for dessert, but the crepe suzette with blueberry ice cream sounded excellent so did the vanilla panna cotta, poached pear, and raspberry sorbet. I will have to come back on my next visit to Canberra and have the mains and dessert.

I sat there drinking my wine whilst talking to the floor manager. He moved to Canberra for a year, and three years later, he is still there and loving it. He was friendly and made me feel ‘welcome’. I did notice other diners ‘gawk’ but I was comfortable enough to sit there, read a book and scroll my iphone.

No doubt I will be back in Canberra and to Aubergine. I had such a wonderful meal here and am really keen to try their dessert next time. Reservation is highly recommended, most of the diners that evening was in suits. The service was friendly and warm, they had an extensive wine list, and the food, well, stupendous.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

18 Barker Street

Griffith, ACT, 2603 Canberra

Ph: +61 2 6260 8666

Aubergine on Urbanspoon

  1. April 23, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Wonderfully relaxing experience dining by yourself at times – once you ignore other people’s stares etc – so you can enjoy the silence and sometimes eavesdrop on others. Love having coffee by myself and reading the paper or flipping through a trashy magazine!

    • April 23, 2011 at 4:12 am

      i agree mademoiselle! i was so relaxed afterwards – but it could be the combination of wine also.. i do love going to cafes on my own…

  2. April 23, 2011 at 2:26 am

    That pork croquette looks fantastic. Lol, I like anything with golden crumbs all over. I love dining alone with a good book, but I am the type who also likes to watch movies by myself too, so no one distract me. Hope you’re having a lovely Easter.

    • April 23, 2011 at 4:11 am

      hey dumpling girl 🙂 ya the pork was divine! really liked it. oh i havent seen a movie on my own for a while but agree, i dont mind it either! have a wonderful easter!

  3. April 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Looks nice. That ocean trout looks beautiful.

    Dining alone is an interesting one. There is definitely a stigma around it. I never even thought about it until last year when I travelled overseas a few times and my travelling companions didn’t quite share my enthusiasm for spending every waking moment in restaurants. But I very quickly learnt that there’s nothing wrong with it at all, especially if you’re comfortable with it and you have something to do like flick through your phone, read a book or (as I often do) write something.

    Other diners generally don’t care and the fact that you’re alone means you can pay more attention on the food you’re eating and the people around you. It’s quite interesting what you see and here when you pay attention at a restaurant. And if they do give you a sideways glance, who really cares what some random person thinks anyway.

    While I’ve never been treated badly dining alone, some restaurants are quite good at it. They’ll read your “vibe” and either leave you relatively alone or they’ll give you a bit of extra attention and have a chat with you. I’ve gone to Sepia alone a couple of times and (probably because they get a big corporate crowd that often contains solo diners) they always offer a book to read if I’m interested.

    • April 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      hey jobe thanks for dropping by! once i got over my fears, i actually enjoyed eating alone. it was quite relaxing and i can concentrate more on the food than anything else.

      it wont be the last time i will be dining alone… but its always that first hurdle.. now that i have done it once, i am sure the 2nd time will be less frigthening.

      there is definitely nothing wrong with dining alone! i actually went to a cafe earlier after the gym on my own and enjoyed it… of course i had a mag with me 🙂

  4. April 24, 2011 at 3:09 am

    I always get paranoid dining alone, I admit it I still do! There isn’t nothing worng with it and I really admire people who do this. It is quite relaxing dining on your own 😀

    The confit ocean trout you ordered looks amazing!

    • April 24, 2011 at 3:35 am

      ya the ocean trout was excellent! very tasty and full of flavours.

      there’s nothing wrong with it at all! just have to get over the paranoya and enjoy it… like you said – its very relaxing 🙂

  5. April 24, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I quite enjoy breakfast and lunch on my own, but dinner alone often makes me feel a bit sad & lonely. I do feel more ‘weird’ dining along now that I like to take photos of my food – I wonder if people think I’m a looney?

    • April 24, 2011 at 11:51 am

      I know what you mean mel. I don’t think people would think you are a looney – they probably thought you are a food critique 🙂

  6. April 27, 2011 at 4:10 am

    I have no problem dining alone in non fine dining restaurants, but when it comes to fine dining I want to enjoy the experience with someone and then you get to try some of their meal as well! I have been to Aubergine before and thought it was wonderful, although next time you are in Canberra you should try courgette out. That is my favourite restaurant in canberra by far.

    • April 27, 2011 at 6:17 am

      Courgette is on my list of places to try in Canberra. May have to try that this week – or next. Aubergine was wonderful but agree, I would have liked to try other dishes… especially the dessert!

  7. September 4, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Regional Restaurant of 2012! well picked!

  1. May 6, 2011 at 12:43 am

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