1 Wakefield Gardens Ainslie, ACT 2602
|Opening hours||Lunch Fri-Sun from 11.30am; Dinner daily from 5.30pm|
|Features||Licensed, Wheelchair access, Accepts bookings|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Seats||60 inside, 40 outside|
|Payments||eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||02 6257 4334|
Canberra Times Top 20 Restaurants for 2013: No.8
Pulp Kitchen is a classy neighbourhood diner offering slightly more upmarket food than you might expect in the if-not-shabby-then-certainly-not-swank inner north. But it's food that delivers in flavour and has its sights most happily on Euro-Brit bistro fare.
Pulp has a bit of attitude in its set-up, with bare tables decorated by little else than a candle, alleyway loos, natural lighting and outdoor pavement dining at the Ainslie shops.
The kitchen is open down one side of the room, so there's a sense of heat and action. The menu is simple and pleasingly offers most dishes as either entree or main, with no artificial divisions between the courses. Prices are good.
The duck liver mousse focuses really well on the richness and creaminess of duck liver, offset with sweet crumb and sultanas. It's delicious, although with the extras the plate feels rather too complicated, with sauces of red cabbage, apple and walnut cream.
The chicken terrine has a lovely texture, rustic rather than smooth, and is clean and fresh-tasting. It's served with toast and well-matched strong leaves of watercress and parsley, and grape jelly, and with a splash of pea puree which is either creative or messy, depending on your viewpoint.
The beef bavette is great, a simple piece of skirt steak, charred and full of flavour, well accompanied with mustard seeds and gelatinous, excellent beef cheek.
Desserts are also complex and feel quite deliberately not sweet or easy. Watermelon is poached to intensify it and served with torn bits of bitter black sesame ''cake'', pistachio crumb and a soft chocolate ice-cream.
Pulp Kitchen's wine list aims to keep things mid-priced and interesting with plenty of imports that allow for a bit of experimentation.
You can usually find an intriguing French wine offered by the glass, and always rustic French cider. Owner Daniel Giordani is front of house and keeps a professional hand on service.