18 Barker St Griffith, ACT 2603

View map

Opening hours Mon-Sat 6pm-late
Features Accepts bookings, Degustation, Events, Groups, Licensed, Wheelchair access
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Chef Ben Willis
Seats 55
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 02 6260 8666

Hang on, shouldn't fine dining be stiff and poncy, all tablecloths and starch? Walking into the split-level hubbub of diners at Aubergine, you'd think you were in a buzzy bistro instead of such a celebrated restaurant. Until you crunch into a feather-light beetroot crisp, that is, or pick up the frankly awesome wine list. A whip-smart entree combines veal tartare with parsnip, sweetbreads, a touch of bitter cocoa and crisp, soft-yolked quail egg; while another of tommy ruff fillets is an artful scattering of grilled octopus, globe artichoke and jamon. Everyone gets plate envy when a rib-eye of beef turns up, with snow-white waves of smoked potato puree and bone marrow vinaigrette. And how good to see quince on a menu, as a spiced terrine with creamy curd, oatmeal biscuit and immaculate fig-leaf ice-cream. Classy, flavour-first food and a cheery lack of pretension make this not just a big night out but a fun night out, too. BYO Monday to Thursday.