Foie gras parfait with rabbit, salted walnut and potato wafer.
Foie gras parfait with rabbit, salted walnut and potato wafer. Photo: Graham Tidy

54 Marcus Clarke Street Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

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Opening hours Mon-Sat 12:00 – 3:00 PM 6:30 – 11:00 PM, Sun Closed
Features Accepts bookings, Business lunch, Groups, Long lunch, Private dining, Romance-first date, Wheelchair access
Chef James Mussillon
Payments Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 02 6247 4042

Canberra Times Top 20 for 2012

Courgette has long been set up for serious dining, back to the days of Fringe Benefits. On our most recent visit, we also found new energy in the menu. Owner chef James Mussillon, who also has Waters Edge on the lakefront, now offers a four-course menu, good value at $75, with four choices for each course.

Each plate has a lot going on. Take the incredibly complex foie gras parfait with roasted rabbit loin, salted walnut, crisp potato wafer and port jus – just making the super-thin chips would take more care and time than most would throw at this part of the dish. The pate is very smooth, the rabbit very tender and some really good condiments set these textural components off well.

Courgette restaurant.
Courgette restaurant. Photo: Graham Tidy

A pair lamb cutlets with slowcooked octopus and eggplant is tasty and moreish - an unusual combination, but there it is and it works. John Dory is beautifully cooked and served with saffron mash and Avruga ‘‘caviar’’. To finish, a very complex dessert based on a cigar-shaped almond and pear arrangement with delicious fig ice cream.

The white-tableclothed rooms are elegant and private, staff are pleasant if not hugely attentive. The wine list feels a little out of date, with lots of older wines. But the food from one of the city’s best is of a very high standard.

Changes afoot at Waters Edge, too, where Mussillon has taken on talented chef Clement Chauvin, previously at Sage.  Waters Edge details: Commonwealth Place, Parkes, 6273 5066, chef Clement Chauvin, lunch and dinner Tues to Sun.

How we score: Food and Wine Annual Top 20