Rating: 14.5/20

  • Iluka Street, Narrabundah shops, 6232 6482
  • www.theartisanrestaurant.com.au
  • Owners and chefs David Black and Sam McGeechan
  • Open Monday to Friday lunch and dinner, Saturday from 4pm
  • Licensed and BYO, corkage $15 a bottle
  • Wheelchair accessible, disabled toilets
The Artisan Restaurant, at the Narrabundah Shops, displays duck confit.
The Artisan Restaurant, at the Narrabundah Shops, displays duck confit. Photo: Gary Schafer

I still remember the preciseness of the food at Artisan even though so much has happened since I casually strolled through their front door.

A cube, straight sides, perfectly geometric comes to mind. Whenever anyone mentions cubes to me, and it comes up more than you'd think, this dish of pork belly pings around the brain. Do they have a laser level in the kitchen?

On the current menu, Artisan still has a pork belly dish - everyone does, but the one I had as an entree for $19 was the best I encountered this year. Maple glazed to a sheen that Torville and Dean would have found perfect, say they were thumb-high and still on top of their game.

Did I mention this is a newbie in Canberra, two young guns in a quiet shopping centre out Narrabundah way, a small restaurant, well priced? No? Well, there you have it.


Another dish that I can recall with some clarity is the oysters, six Pacific gems of the sea, freshly opened or shucked, briny, salty, smells like you are standing on a pristine beach in South Australia with $18 less in your wallet.

Teamed with a limey vinaigrette, they look great and taste just fine, plump, firm, slightly nutty.

So my memory continues to astound me. Chocolate pav ($14). Get out of here, this was good. A Valrhona chocolate cake-torte, bitter dark chocolate teamed now with cherry but back then a citrus focus carrying a wig of fairy floss.

A pretty complete little dessert this, lovely texture, rich as in Donald Trump would think, wow, that's pretty rich, I gotta make me some more cash.

It's all new but something tells me these guys are committed. They did a splendid job on the refurb of the little bar that was here before.

The wine list is still glowingly new but has breadth, and they take seriously the food-wine matching, giving you a couple of wine choices with each dish - like a 10-year-old malmsey with creme brulee, pistachio and spiced pineapple.