Canberra Centre Masthead

Review: No. 10 Restaurant + Bar

Beatrice Smith

Far from the madding crowd of Canberra’s ‘eat streets’, foodie destinations are popping up in unexpected locations.

The latest hidden gem just waiting to be discovered is No. 10 Restaurant + Bar — a sophisticated bistro that has Woden workers and residents abuzz.

The interior, on the ground floor of Abode Woden, is spacious and cool, with subtle design touches like flocked wallpaper, colourfully textured tables and Edison globes hanging from the ceiling. Like any summer-ready venue, the outdoor area is sun drenched with a variety of seating from intimate bar tables to long tables.

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At the helm of décor and design is Manager Joe Wagland, who would know a thing or two about modern dining for large groups, having previously worked at QT Canberra and Marble and Grain. He explains that the fitout ties in with the menu and the restaurant’s overall themes: casual, relaxed, smart and fresh.

“It goes right through in relation to the food and service. Everything about the restaurant should be modern but a little fun,” says Joe.

“We’ve designed a menu that’s fast and accessible in terms of pricing so people can come in for decent food to brighten up their work day,” he explains.

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However, for dinner, Joe says the focus turns to the local residents who want to be able to stroll to their local, instead of always jumping in the car.

“Dinner for us is very much the local area residents and we try our best to look after them. We’re trying to break the mould for the Woden area.”

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Head Chef Duncan Winter, formerly heading up the kitchen in the Australian Embassy in The Hague, says these themes carry through to No. 10’s various menus.

“I created elaborate menus from three courses to eight courses matched with Australian wine for events there – it was a fantastic experience.”

“With No 10 we wanted to keep the focus on food that was relaxed but unpretentious,” he explains.

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No. 10’s breakfast menu is chock full of favourites-with-a-twist, including an Almond and orange blossom granola, Ocean Trout with kale salad, and Banana porridge, but it’s the lunch and dinner menus that really assert themselves. We sat down to get a taste of what’s on offer – we weren’t disappointed.

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The light summer starter of Calamari with an Asian style caramelised pineapple, coriander and cucumber salad was crunchy and tangy and the fresh chilli packed a kick.

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Next, the Salmon fillet with burnt leek was buttery and moreish with small clams that added a punch of sea salt flavour and the Prawn and mascarpone risotto was surprisingly light for such a rich dish – full of flavour and creamy without being overwhelming.

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I’m sometimes wary of single burgers on menus (as they can often be added as a crowd pleaser, less of a star feature) but the No. 10 Burger – a classic beef burger with cheese was above second-guessing with a sauce that would make any bespoke burger joint proud.

The Beet Salad was as tasty as it is colourful, with a generous dollop of creamy and sharp goats cheese under a colourful garden of earthy-flavoured beets and spicy radish.

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We saved the best for last. As Joe explains, No. 10 became “accidentally famous overnight” for their Chicken and Waffles.

“It’s the perfect blend of sweet and savoury and it’s a little bit naughty but nice,” he says. The perfect treat for a Friday late lunch, it was as tasty as it was fun to eat.

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Duncan himself finds it hard to pick a clear favourite.

“For lunch you’re looking for something light and fresh, so The Beet Salad is great,” says Duncan. “And for dinner we have some amazing cuts of Wagyu Rump from Robbin’s Island, although I’m from there so that might have something to do with it!”

While it was a little early in the workday for a tipple, Joe explained that the wine list has been curated to find a match for each dish.

“We’ve got 16 wines, all of them by the glass,” he says. “There’s lots of options and we’re very focused on local wines as much as we can – Canberra is awesome for wine.”

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One such wine is the ‘Blanc’ (Gewurztraminer/Pinot Gris/Riesling) from Mada Wines – Joe’s recommendation for something that’s out of the ordinary, yet local.

“We’re also very focused on the idea of afternoon drinks on the terrace – we have a lot of great beers on tap, which lend themselves to sitting outside after a long day and soaking up the afternoon sun.”

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As Marketing Manager Sean Smith points out, No. 10 are one of the only places in the Woden Valley area offering a relaxed afternoon drinks destination, aside from those with a club atmosphere. It’s the perfect place for a summer shindig.

Indeed, Sean says that their bookings are filling fast for Christmas party lunches and functions; unsurprising given the number of government departments in the surrounding area.

“We want to be renowned for amazing service and great food in a casual environment,” says Joe. “Three steps above café but not pretentious.”

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the essentials

What: No. 10 Restaurant and Bar:
Where: 10 Bowes Street, Woden
When: Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks from 7am to late, seven days a week
Website: www.number10restaurantandbar.com

All images by Martin Ollman

This is a sponsored post but opinions are the author’s own. It complies with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s guidelines on Online Reviews. Read our Sponsored Post Policy if you would like more information. 

The author dined courtesy of No. 10 Restaurant and Bar.

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author