Unparalleled fine wining at Brunello on City Walk | The Canberra Times


City Walk has long needed a place to linger in the sunshine over a glass of wine and newcomer Brunello might just be it. Part wine bar, part restaurant, it’s a lovely place to stop in for a drink whether you’re seated outdoors or inside. An impressive wine wall reassures me that I’m in good hands. It’s clear that no expense has been spared in the fit-out. Locals Dept. of Design designed the schmick looking interiors, plus the wine wall features no less than four Enomatics – I believe the first in Canberra – reserved for Brunello’s most exclusive wines. For those curious, Enomatic is a high-end Italian wine pouring system; the dispensers allow for accurate short pours, in this instance 40, 70 or 90mls. It dispenses the set amount, then pumps food-grade argon or nitrogen back into the bottle to preserve the quality of the wine. The drinks list is thoroughly impressive. There are no less than 50 premium wines via the Enomatic, along with an incredibly comprehensive wine list that covers all the usual suspects at prices from $ 12 a glass. Cocktails, beers, ciders – you’ll be spoiled for choice. I can not resist the opportunity to try some fine wines. Tonight, it’s the 2013 Cyril Henschke from Eden Valley (which retails for about $ 200 a bottle) and the 2015 Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino. They are both brilliant wines, the Henschke in particular; aromatic and layered with spice and herbs, and almost a decade of bottle age allowing for smooth, fine tannins. The downside? Prices aren’t listed on the wine list, only on the Enomatic, so it’s much later when I find out that I’ve paid $ 46 and $ 31 for two 90ml pours of admittedly, very excellent wine. Everything about the wine delivery here is polished – high-end wines are served in enormous Riedel Winewings glasses, almost never seen in hospitality because they’re too fragile and expensive. From an experience perspective though, there’s no sommelier here tonight to lead us on our wine journey or suggest wine pairings. Food is broadly Spanish influenced – think small share plates of padron peppers or croquetas. If you’re after a more substantial dinner, there’s not much by way of large plates; a couple of rice and pasta options and three charcoal-grilled proteins. Share plates range from rustic to fancy. On the swanky end, there are Olasagasti anchovies on duck fried sourdough, smoked butter, oregano tomato case ($ 25). Crunchy salty bread is always a winner, but there are almost too many elements here – no one flavor really carries the dish. The fried eggplant is a bit of a surprise ($ 18). They’re almost eggplant crisps, thin battered slices garnished with honey, Meredith feta and sesame seeds. It’s quite a sweet dish in itself and leaves my red wine tasting a little sour and harsh on the tongue. Dishes like barbecue slow-cooked chorizo ​​with confit Rome beauty apple ($ 24) rely on familiar flavors with new contrasts. I’m not sure what the apple adds; the chorizo ​​is the hero here, along with the slightly acidic cider sauce it’s finished in. The garlic king prawns ($ 28) are good too, if a little pricey. There’s four per serve, cooked in terracotta and finished with chardonnay and a hint of chilli. The more rustic dishes win here, taste-wise at least. Of the many small plates, the patatas bravas ($ 12) are most moreish. Rustic and comforting, the simplicity of fried potatoes with aioli and bravas sauce is not to be underestimated. Still hungry, we order a charcoal grilled wagyu flank steak with a marble score 9+ ($ 65). The steak is smallish, cooked well enough but missing the char marks and slightly smoky flavor of a searingly hot charcoal grill. It’s served with chimichurri, a piquillo pepper and a slightly underwhelming potato puree. The share plates we’ve had have been on the small side. There’s enough for a bite or two, but it’s not a solid enough base for such a comprehensive wine list, and the lack of more substantial dishes seems like a missed opportunity. I can see that they’re going for a more tapas-style menu, but in my opinion, there’s just not quite enough carbs to lay the base for wine tastings. The tarta de Santiago ($ 16) is my favorite dish of the night. The cracked crust is dusted in icing sugar and collapsing in on its insides, a vanilla bean flecked crème fraiche beside it. Inside, the almond frangipane is decidedly soft and oozy, almost amaretto-esque. It’s decidedly uncomplicated, a beautiful combination of flavors and textures. I can not quite say the same for the Catalan cream ($ 15), a Spanish version of creme brulee. The crust is not caramelized evenly, and the custard has a slightly grainy mouthfeel. Brunello offers fine wining on a scale that’s unparalleled in Canberra. The food has good bones, though I’m not quite sure what the overall vision is. It’s not exactly rustic and charming and somehow not quite fine dining either – perhaps it straddles a territory somewhere in between. Address: 222 City Walk, Canberra, ACT Phone: 6152 0101 Website: brunello.com.au Hours: Lunch, Monday to Sunday. Dinner, Monday to Saturday Owner: Tasso Rovolis Chef: Nacho Castells Sommelier: Christian Cante Vegetarian: A few good options Noise: Not a problem



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