The Macadames review of the Lanterne Rooms 7 Course Red Earth & Ocean Degustation for Canberra Good Food Month.
Lanterne Rooms has long been a favourite restaurant of mine. A dimly lit, cosy and relaxed little restaurant nestled into the Campbell shops, serving a modern take on Malaysian, Indian & Thai food with rich flavours. Their staff are always very polite, informative and take the time to explain each dish and are skilled in recommending a matched wine. I’ve noticed the decline in really knowledgeable waiters over the past few years, so it’s always a refreshing change when waiters are friendly and capable, which you can certainly expect from Lanterne Room staff.
The restaurant is sliced into personal pockets of space, lit by Asian inspired lanterns allowing each group to enjoy their dining experience with a feeling of seclusion.
Speaking to restauranteurs during Canberra Good Food Month, it is clear the event is a success. I haven’t managed to visit as many venues as I would have liked but have definitely been impressed with every event I have attended so far. For another review, please check out my visit to Bicicletta.
For Good Food Month, Lanterne Rooms hosted a guest chef, Aravinth Seriamlu, who joined them from Capella Resort in Singapore. Aravinth developed a fascination for Indian cuisine early in his career, and at the same time, Indian flavours also remind him of his home, Malaysia. He has spent his career as a Specialty Chef in Indian style cuisine in China, South Korea and Singapore. Over his career he has gradually developed his own unique Indian – Malay fusion style, which was expertly expressed in the Red Earth & Ocean menu we tasted last night.
Sadly this menu will not be available when Good Food Month is finished, however, there is one more chance to taste his cooking in May this year. There will be an special finale event called “Capella Final Check-in” on 6th, 13th and 20th of May, serving a 7 course degustation to conclude this year Red Earth & Ocean Capella Chef Event. I highly recommend making a booking for this as it’s the only (high quality) Indian degustations I’ve had. I apologise for the highly grainy photos, I attended at night and the venue is dimly lit (but wonderful to spend the night in), making high quality photos very difficult but I hope to do the food justice with my words.
The first course was a chicken tikka served in a beautiful crispy cumin poppadom. The chicken tikka was flavourful yet somehow still delicate and had the perfect amount of spice. This course was paired with a 2014 Vinea Marson Prosecco (Heathcote, VIC). The light and refreshing sparkling matched with the spicy tikka well.
Second course was the Lanterne Rooms signature Tom Yum infused crispy prawns with a rockmelon and apple slaw. I’ve had these before and they were every bit as good as last time. The prawns have a light delicately crispy batter which matches perfectly with the slaw and slightly sweet sauce. This course was paired with a 2014 Rispote ‘The Stiletto’ Pinot Gris (Adelaide Hills, SA). This was a simple wine that didn’t take away from the delicate flavours of the food.
Third course was a sharing platter of tandoori fish and Dahi Vada. The tandoori fish was a soft ling fillet drowned in that lovely tandoor flavour. I particularly loved this course because it matched so perfectly with the wine pairing, a 2015 Walsh & Sons ‘Little Poppet’ Semillon Chardonnay (Margaret River, WA) (I loved the label of this bottle too!). The wine was very woody (which I like anyway) on first taste but paired with the spicy fish, it really made the wine come into it’s own. The Dahi Vada were soft, fluffy and golden brown and served with pickles and a sweet and yoghurt dipping sauce that was just divine.
The fourth course was a Biriyani and scallop risotto. I’d never thought of making a risotto with indian flavours but it well and truly worked. Risotto can sometimes be a bit bland unless made very well so I really enjoyed the more powerful flavours of the Biriyani spices. I should also note that the risotto rice was cooked to perfection, soft and fluffy but with that slight crunch in the middle. This course was paired with a 2014 Domaine Fevre Chablis (Burgundy, France). This was my least favourite wine of the night but had a sweet honey flavour that went well with the spicy Biriyani.
The fifth course was a Nyonya style salted duck noodle soup. This was one of the highlight courses for me. A beautiful broth that had an ever so slight kiss of nutmeg which really worked with the tender duck. The noodles were perfectly cooked and the broth was very flavoursome. This course was paired with a 2014 Eden Road ‘The Long Road’ Pinot Noir (Tumbarumba, NSW). Every year I like Eden Road wines more and this was no exception. As a pinot, it was a delightful match for the duck.
The sixth course was a Beef Dendeng. A perfectly chargrilled sticky beef flank in a sweet and spicy marinade served with rice. It had a beautiful rich, caramely flavour with a slight spicy kick from the whole sweet red chillis in the sauce. We loved this course so much we asked for seconds, which the waiters happily obliged. This course was paired with a 2011 Collector ‘Marked Tree Red’ Shiraz (Canberra District, ACT). This Shiraz was a bold and heavy red that did the richness of the food justice.
Dessert was a deconstructed Ras Malai. Traditionally Ras malai consists of sugary white cream, or yellow-coloured (flattened) balls of chhana soaked in malai (clotted cream) flavoured with cardamom. This deconstructed version used a sweet ricotta (still flavoured with cardamom) for a modern twist. I enjoyed the varying textures of the fruit and crispy pink peppercorn wafer. It was a subtly sweet and light way to finish the meal.
The menu took us through various indian and malaysian flavours and was a well thought out roller coaster of flavours curated by the chef. Delicate courses were followed by the rich and flavoursome, providing balance and ensuring the diner appreciates each individual course and its intricacies.
If you enjoy Indian or Asian foods, you are absolutely going to love this menu and I highly suggest you book in for their last few nights in May.
Address: 3 Blamey Pl, Campbell ACT 2612
Open: Dinner Tuesday – Saturday 6pm – 10pm, Lunch Tuesday – Friday 12pm – 2:30pm
Phone: (02) 6249 6889
Don’t forget to hashtag #dinewiththemacadames and #canberrawiththemacadames if you go to this restaurant, I love to see you exploring Canberra.
For another Good Food Month review, check out my post on the Great Wine Dinner at Bicicletta.
Anisa – The Macadames. xx
*I visited Lanterne Rooms as a guest but all opinions are my own.