Lanterne Rooms: Best Canberra restaurants 2015

Natasha Rudra
Sebak kristang at Lanterne Rooms.
Sebak kristang at Lanterne Rooms. 

In a resurgent dining scene where shiny new eateries open every week, and the Kingston Foreshore and Braddon are filled to bursting, Lanterne Rooms is still a bit of an old favourite.  

This is partly because Josiah Li's team keep things ticking along at a comfortingly good standard - yes, there are many of the same classic dishes on the menu, the decor hasn't changed beyond the white tables, the dark wooden carved screens that section the dining room cleverly into intimate mini-rooms, the ornate lamps on the walls.

Lanterne Rooms, Campbell.
Lanterne Rooms, Campbell. 

But there's a lot of pleasure to be derived from this Campbell eatery. Those hearty Malaysian dishes are executed beautifully, village style with a gentle contemporary twist. There's light, crisp tofu and smoked eggplant with a sesame sauce, or a plate of flat rice noodles sticky with soy sauce and sprinkled with tender seafood.

The beef curry is a tender triumph of spice and meat, perfect served over some fluffy rice. Desserts include a colourful pandan and sago pearl concoction that makes the Asian heart sing.

There's change afoot in the Chairman Group with Malamay undergoing a big renovation this holiday season and set to reopen early in the new year but Lanterne Rooms is still a calm, gentle sanctuary with excellent Malaysian style food.

3 Blamey Place, Campbell, 6249 6889, chairmangroup.com.au