Saturday, 22 February 2014

Opening night @ Temporada

The guys at Aubergine have entered into a new partnership, bringing us Temporada. I first heard about Temporada after reading a very informative HerCanberra article.  It means 'seasonal' in Spanish and offers modern Australian fresh seasonal produce. It's opening to the public was on Friday and I couldn't wait to try it out for dinner. My friends and I had recently tried Aubergine and were eager to see a similar style for cheaper.
There are large windows so you can peek in and see that it's quite open and spacious. There's a long bar down the middle of the restaurant with stools for those that just want a drink or a quick bite. The bar counter extends all the way to the back for additional seating.
Tables are lined up against the wall on one side, with a few tables for two on the other side of the bar. Raw wooden panels are fixed against the wall.
Our reservation made the previous day had gotten lost but they had no problems in seating us at a table. The menu looked good and I'm happy to see the majority of dishes were under $30. The most expensive item on the menu is the beef rib eye for $39. Menus will change regularly. Our waitress informed us that plates can be shared so you can try a bit of everything.
A couple of us ordered some sourdough and cultured butter ($2.50 per person) to start with. The sourdough was soft and the butter fluffy.
A friend ordered the pigs head roll ($7) as a starter. I was expecting a sushi roll or similar. But out came a mini burger, slider-style, with a small but thick crumbed and fried pigs head pattie. So cute.  It looked great and I'm making a note to try it or the beef short rib roll next time.
I decided to be brave and try the Veal sweetbreads (throat/neck/gullet/pancreas), clams, turnip greens and XO sauce ($28) as my main. I'm not a huge fan of offal but had never tried sweetbreads before, so I thought I might as well give it a go. The sweetbreads looked a bit like chicken with white flesh, tasted very spongey and chewy, and had a strong pungent smell. I didn't like it as much at first, but then smothered it in the XO sauce and chilli so it wasn't too bad and I finished the lot. The clams were so full of flavour and juices. I wish there were a few more greens on the plate. Not sure if I'd order sweetbreads again, but I love the sauce and clams.
Food porn of my friend's dishes:
Raw kingfish, pink peppercorn, finger lime ($19)
Grilled octopus, rockmelon and prosciutto ($26)
Now onto the desserts (all $16) - I picked the salted caramel donuts with banana ice cream and marshmallow. I couldn't see the salted caramel until I broke one of the donuts in half and realised it had been filled in the centre. Clever. The donut itself was a little dense but nice. I couldn't tell that the ice cream was banana flavoured but perhaps my senses were overpowered by the salted caramel. Love the toasted marshmallow which really helped balance out the saltiness.
The salted caramel centre
My friend's ordered the other two desserts on the menu. I had a taste of the below coconut sponge with passionfruit curd and jelly, and star anise sorbet. Yum! I'll get this one next time. A lighter dessert than the donuts.
Coconut sponge, passionfruit curd and jelly, star anise sorbet
Lime parfait, licorice custard and hazelnut praline
It was quiet here on Friday night and I was surprised that it wasn't packed with half of Canberra. Word of mouth will undoubtedly change this.
By around 8.30pm, we noticed noise levels had gotten louder and most of the tables were full as well as some people sitting at the bar. Toilet facilities are upstairs and I do like the nicely tiled bathroom and lovely hand soap available.
Portions are on the small side but everyone was happy with their dishes. The starters and dessert helped fill us up. Wait staff were very friendly and asked for our drinks order up front. Our water was regularly topped up. We only waited about 15 minutes for our food to come out (starters, mains and desserts) but that's more due to the fact that there weren't many people dining. It gets dark inside and there is a little bit of mood lighting to provide a cosy atmosphere. It does get loud, not from music, but from the general chatter around you.

I'm keen on testing out the other items on the menu so I will be returning.

Foodgasm 7/10
Temporada on Urbanspoon

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