Saturday, April 16, 2011


Location: Shop 4, Melbourne Building, West Row, Canberra City
Phone: (02) 6247 8212
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Sabayon was the first classy fine-dining experience I've had in Canberra. And I must say from the outset, I was quite impressed with the place. 

Service started off a little slow, we were taken to a table by a friendly and polite waiter, but had to wait a few minutes before menus and water were offered. On opening the menu, I was a little disappointed that the menu differed from that which I had seen on the website (the pork belly dish I had intended to order was missing).

That aside, the menu had a nice selection of dishes ranging from red meats to seafood and also vegetarian options.

Ironically, my first highlight of the meal was the complimentary bread. Having been served far too many bad bread rolls (either rock hard, dry, cold or a combination of the three), the bread at Sabayon was delightful. Served warm, you could tell that the bread was freshly baked - light and airy, and when smothered with some butter, just melted in your mouth. Hands down the best complimentary bread roll I've had. Unfortunately, it just looked like an ordinary bread roll, so no photos were taken.

Now onto our entrées.

seared Queensland scallops with a confit duck terrine, Fennel puree and an apple salad
First up were some beautifully seared scallops served on top of a duck terrine. The scallops were fresh, juicy and lightly seasoned to bring out the sweetness in the scallops themselves. The duck terrine was nicely flavoured and you could still get actual pieces of duck. The matchstick sized apple pieces provided a nice refreshing balance to the dish.

quail Wellington with a mushroom Duxelle, beetroot and
goats cheese finished with a balsamic walnut oil dressing
Probably my least favourite dish of the night - which was perhaps an ordering mistake rather than a mistake of the chef - I found that the dish was very much pastry dominated. So much that the quail, which in and of itself, was beautifully cooked and well flavoured, was drowned out. The pastry also seemed to have more oil or butter that it needed. The beetroot, goats cheese and dressing gave the dish with some extra 'kick' but were very much required to balance out the excess pastry flavour.

Our mains took a little while to arrive. But the wait turned out to be a good thing - the serving sizes weren't as small as we had anticipated.

grass fed beef fillet (cooked medium), mustard spatzle, chick pea
 chips, zucchini, tarragon bearnaise and port jus
A fairly sizable portion of tender beef was cooked exactly the way we asked for it to be cooked. The beef was so well cooked that we didn't even need a steak knife. The chick pea chips were very creative, with smooth chick pea puree centre and a crispy outer shell. 

ballotine of ocean trout and dory fillets wit herb gnocchi and
chorizo, Jerusalem artichoke puree and basil jus
With so many components on the plate, we were a little concerned as to how the flavours would pair up, but it kind of worked. The ocean trout was cooked to perfection. It held its shape when being cut, but just melted in your mouth with an almost creamy like texture. The gnocchi and chorizo went well together and gave the dish a subtle chilli 'kick'.

roasted Moroccan spiced lamb rack, spec and cauliflower puree,
potato fondant, confit cherry tomato, marinated artichoke,
lentils and garlic jus
Again, the meat was cooked perfectly. The lamb was just cooked, a little pink on the inside and very juicy and tender. The potato fondant was like a little disc of mashed potato with crispy edges. The two richer flavours were balanced off with the slightly sour artichoke, spec and cauliflower puree and the burst of freshness from the cherry tomato. The lentils added a interesting dimension to the dish with the somewhat nutty texture.

nectarine sorbet

We were surprised to be presented with a complimentary scoop of nectarine sorbet each, as a palate cleanser. Whilst the sorbet was a little too sweet for a palate cleanser, it was however very refreshing and quite tasty. It could potentially work well served as an accompaniment to a dark chocolate dessert.

warm chocolate fondant with fresh raspberries and
a pistachio malt ice-cream
Chocolate fondant. Probably one of my favourite desserts of all time - when done well. Tonight's was delicious, but a little on the overcooked side. The edges were nice and crisp, but the inside was not as oozy as I had expected it to be. It was probably closer to being a cake than a fondant. The ice-cream, on the other hand, was absolutely spectacular. On reading the menu, I had imagined pistachio flavoured ice-cream. This was not to be - the ice-cream was served with actual pieces of pistachio in it! The pistachios added a wonderful crunch and nuttiness to the ice-cream. 

Service was a little slow, which I guess is understandable for a Friday evening, and given the serving sizes are not as small as one would expect at a higher end restaurant, the breaks were rather needed. The staff were pleasant and friendly without being overbearing.

The atmosphere was chilled and relaxed, seating comfortable and lighting dimmed. A nice place to enjoy a quiet dinner for a special occasion, but definitely not a place where you would let your kids run wild in. 

Sabayon is reasonable in terms of value for money if you appreciate quality as well. The entrées.were $18 each, the mains $32 each and desserts $15 each.

Overall Impression: 8.5/10
Sabayon on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Yuki said...

Yumm....i remember the bread too!!!
i liked their scallops too..but is sister restaurant,courgette, had even better ones! u should go there too!