Lanterne Rooms

Inside Lanterne Rooms.
Inside Lanterne Rooms. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

3 Blamey Place Campbell shops, ACT 2612

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(06) 6249 6889
Opening hours Lunch Tues to Fri, dinner Tues to Sat
Features Licensed, BYO, Wheelchair access
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Chef Jeffrey Shim

Canberra Times Top 20 for 2012

After four years in business, Lanterne Rooms is well known as Canberra’s most-refined, but also hippest South-East Asian restaurant.

Nestled into the Campbell shops, it is exotically sectioned up with dark wood shutters, giving tables a little privacy, while keeping the lines of sight through the space. Staff are swept up, very polite and knowledgeable, and the whole place is filled with a feeling of competent control.

Tom yum infused crispy prawns with apple slaw and rockmelon at Lanterne Rooms.
Tom yum infused crispy prawns with apple slaw and rockmelon at Lanterne Rooms. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Part of the Chairman group, Lanterne specialises in interesting takes on Nonya food, with emphasis on depth of flavour, but also on careful balance and very good (sometimes surprising) texture and taste combinations.

Take, for example, the starter of prawns, infused with tom yum, served with winter melon and apple slaw. This is a triumph of balance and freshness, with the sweetness of really good little prawns set off wonderfully by the crunchy slaw. Tofu and eggplant is a simple dish beautifully executed. Perfectly crisped on the outside and silken inside, the tofu sits atop slices of eggplant, with a little black sesame pulling the dish together. A main of slowcooked curry of beef is a must-have. Precisely cubed and utterly lean pieces of beef are bathed in a dark sauce, and fall apart with a depth of flavour that has the bowl wiped clean.

The wine list is concise, and well chosen, with a good range of wines that can stand up to the food. Dessert is a feature here, and takes you around the world, from Indian ice-cream, kulfi, to the light Italian light custard of egg and sweet wine, zabaglione. Both make a very good end point to a great meal.

A meal at Lanterne is a treat to be looked forward to, with the certainty of good eating and some surprises along the way.

How we score: Food and Wine Annual Top 20