I've been out for a few cheap eats recently, but fine dining experiences have been a bit thin on the ground. On Saturday night in Canberra we went for dinner at Sabayon, which chalked one up for white table clothes (although it was a bit too laid back and chic for pressed linen).
The restaurant was a meeting of French and Aussie styles, a blend that they pulled off well. As the name suggests the food is French, however, the interior and ambiance is more Australian than a French salon. The service was more formal than your regular Aussie cafe, without being stuffy.
The menu was short and compact with only five starters and six main courses. I think this is a good thing in a small restaurant as it increases the likelihood of everything being freshly prepared with a little more effort. Within the short menu there was a good selection of fish, meat and one vegetarian option for each course.
To start I went for the scallops and duck confit. The three nicely coloured and sweet scallops where only just cooked which left them lovely and juicy. They sat on a bed of melt in the mouth confit, sitting underneath a piece of crispy duck skin. The textures and flavours came together well. It was probably the first decent tasting duck I've had in Australia (I find them quite bland compared to back in the UK).
For the main course I had herb crusted lamb with a potato gallete. The lamb was pink, juicy and tender. The herb crust was stuck on with a good layer of mustard which gave the lamb a lovely bite with every mouthful. The potato gallete was buttery excellence. There was some mild pesto(?) in between the layers of potato which gave the gallete an extra dimension. Such heresy to the humble gallete probably tells you the chef wasn't French! I would have appreciated a bit more of the red wine jus, but apart from that I had no complaints about the wonderful dish.
New Year moderation meant that I didn't have a desert, so I have included a picture of the meringue that Penne ordered. It looked good and there wasn't much left so must have been tasty.
I think my new friend Karen was slightly fearing this review in case I slated her restaurant choice. No need to worry, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Apologies for the photos, I was struggling with the lighting as you can tell!