Onred on Red Hill Lookout

 

On Friday night Bron and I dined at Onred on Red Hill Lookout. We’ve dined there before and enjoyed the experience. This time was no different. The restaurant is at the top of a hill with a great view of Canberra. I imagine dining in summer in the early evening is more spectacular with the changing light conditions of sunset to view. At the end of May though, even with a 6.30 reservation, the sky was black and all of Canberra’s lights could be seen :-)

Onred at night Image from http://www.onred.com.au/images/about_us10.jpg

The menu looks pretty impressive and provides for a three, four or five course selection with some sharing plates.

Onred Menu April 2014

 

So guess what we chose to eat? Bron went for four courses and I chose five. From the individual dishes Bron chose the Kipflers, buttermilk, brioche, asparagus and caramelised shallots while I chose the oysters and pork dishes. We both shared the duck and lamb dishes. Of course we had dessert but you’ll see that later.

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The oysters were fresh and lovely. Only one of them was really plump but the others were fine. The celery jelly wasn’t too strong and the white soy dressing was very pleasant.

Five freshly shucked merimbula oysters with celery jelly and white soy dressing

Five freshly shucked merimbula oysters with celery jelly and white soy dressing

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The flesh and fat of the strip of pork belly was really very nice and combined with the mandarin and beans the flavour balance was good. The dish also had some pork croquettes which were delicious. The only thing I didn’t like was the crackling. I’d left it to the very end of the dish assuming it would be crisp and delicious. It was crispy but it was really salty. I like my food well seasoned but this was too much. I gave a little piece to Bron and she agreed.

Salted pork belly with mandarin and white beans

Salted pork belly with mandarin and white beans

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Bron chose this dish because she’d had something similar at Aria in Sydney. She said her kipflers dish was nice but it was difficult to compare with Aria, because, well, it was Aria.

Kipflers, buttermilk, brioche, asparagus and caramelised shallots

Kipflers, buttermilk brioche, asparagus and caramelised shallots

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The duck was the first of the sharing plates. We’re both fans of duck, we don’t particularly mind how it’s cooked but confit duck leg is very special. The meat was a little dry but delicious just the same. The sweet potato fritters were piping hot and were balanced with the coolness of the cucumber.

Confit duck leg and roast breast with sweet potato fritter, cucumber and garlic puree

Confit duck leg and roast breast with sweet potato fritter, cucumber and garlic puree

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The second sharing dish was the lamb shoulder. I’m guessing it was slow roasted because it was very succulent. It was quite lean though (you know I like my lamb fatty). The harissa was gorgeous and went nicely with the hummus. The tabouli though was a little simple and bland. The parsley was a little overwhelming.

Bungendore lamb shoulder with hommus, tabouli and harrisa

Bungendore lamb shoulder with hummus, tabouli and harissa

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For dessert I vacillated over a sweet or cheese. In the end I went for caramel fudge contrasted by a very tart and citrus orange sorbet.

Caramel, orange sorbet and meringue

Caramel, orange sorbet and meringue

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Bron chose the almond custard which she said was nice but the custard wasn’t very sweet and didn’t really taste of almond. Bron remarked she would have liked the almond custard sweeter, although she concedes there is a trend towards less sweet desserts.

Almond custard with blueberries, tarragon, filo and vanilla ice cream

Almond custard with blueberries, tarragon, filo and vanilla ice cream

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Overall we were pretty happy with our meals. The restaurant seating is arranged to make the most of the view and the available space. The large ceiling to floor windows allow for a view of Canberra and all it has to offer. The service was very good. Our waiter was warm and friendly and when we asked her for advice about desserts she gave us a good run down of the highlights of each dish.

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Not a great photograph. It was cold and my hands were shaking. I could have found a better spot but my legs were shivering. Please ignore the tree in the middle of the skyline.

Canberra from Red Hill

Canberra from Red Hill

A comment about the images. I tried a different mode on the night. Normally I use my Canon PowerShot G16 in manual mode but this time I selected aperture priority and automatic ISO selection. I chose an aperture of 1.8 and didn’t touch the zoom. The lighting was tungsten and very atmospheric. I needed to do some tweaks in Adobe Lightroom to improve the exposure and light balance. The images are all pretty noisy so next time I’ll keep the ISO at 400 and see how the images turn out.

Onred http://www.onred.com.au/

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Google maps https://goo.gl/maps/2NOOX

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