Water's Edge

Commonwealth Place, 40 Parkes Place, Parkes, ACT

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Built into the curve of Reconciliation Place, Water's Edge overlooks the lake.
Built into the curve of Reconciliation Place, Water's Edge overlooks the lake. Photo: Jay Cronan

Catriona Jackson

The Canberra Times Top 20 for 2013: No. 13

Occupying one of the best restaurant locations in the territory, overlooking the lake and built into the curve of Reconciliation Place, Water's Edge caters for a well-dressed crowd, offering intricately presented modern European food with an Australian emphasis.

Taken over by leading Canberra restaurateur James Mussillon a few years ago, with chef Clement Chauvin at the helm, it is a classic fine diner, with refined service, crisp linen, and a set menu of three courses at lunch and four at dinner.

Pork-hock terrine, pork belly with celeriac puree and piccalilli.
Pork-hock terrine, pork belly with celeriac puree and piccalilli. Photo: Melissa Adams

You might start with Spanish mackerel escabeche, with spiced rye crumbs, pickled celery, rhubarb and rainbow chards, then a shining dish of cured salmon, Vietnamese mint and walnut crunch, pickled beetroot, radish and apple salad.

The Grimaud duck a l'orange is a do-not-miss, with a beautifully tender and flavoursome piece of breast at its heart. Pickled red cabbage adds texture and lightness, and dabs of wonderfully savoury liquorice gel are genius.

For the truly ambitious you can add a serve of truffled mash or French peas with bacon and lettuce, but perhaps it is best to move to dessert - Valrhona chocolate volcano with almond sponge and dulce de leche ice-cream; or a passionfruit souffle.

The wine list is long and adequate, ranging through Europe and Australia.

Lights are low here, with soft cream and brown tones creating a calm atmosphere. Barely audible background music does not interrupt conversation. It's a place for quiet conversation and contemplation, rather than a thrill-a-minute night out. Staff make sure you have any information you require about the food and they know the menu and wine list well.

Dinner or lunch at Water's Edge is a sophisticated treat, with beautifully presented food, good service and one of Canberra's best outlooks.

In the city, Mussillon is behind the stove at Courgette, in Marcus Clarke Street. As with Water's Edge it is an oasis of calm dining, spaced tables and intricate food.

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Commonwealth Place, 40 Parkes Place, Parkes, ACT

  • Cuisine - European
  • Prices - Set menu, lunch three courses $60, dinner four courses $80
  • Features - Licensed, Wheelchair access, Views
  • Chef(s) - Clement Chauvin
  • Owners - James Mussillon
  • Opening Hours - Lunch and dinner Tues-Sun
  • Other Branches - Courgette, 54 Marcus Clarke Street, city, 6247 4042, lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Mon-Sat
  • Author - Catriona Jackson
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