Rubicon review

Dark cholcoate delice.
Dark cholcoate delice. Photo: Karleen Minney

6A Barker St Griffith, ACT 2603

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Opening hours Mon-Fri noon-2pm; Mon-Sat from 6pm
Features Vegetarian friendly, Licensed, BYO, Accepts bookings, Degustation, Gluten-free options
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Chef Owen Kenyon and Evan Speed
Seats 60
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 02 6295 9919

Rubicon has solidified its place in the hearts of southsiders over the course of more than a decade, as a semi-formal restaurant for celebrations and classy dinners with family and friends. 

Still housed in a narrow space in the Griffith shops, it opens out into a backroom with starry lights and an exotic inside/outside feel. The vibe is welcoming and comfortable in a starched tablecloth way. 

The first thing to tackle is the 33-page wine list. An impressive array of wines are listed by region, here and abroad, with a full page of half bottles and the same of sparkling, nine sakes, 19 beers, classic cocktails, the list goes on.  

Cured ocean trout with clams and asparagus.
Cured ocean trout with clams and asparagus. Photo: karleen minney

Rubicon is not a place for a quick bite washed down with a house chardonnay. Get set for a serious evening meal, in relaxed surrounds. 

Helpfully the menu is labelled with vegetarian and gluten-free options, and "smaller plates" offer a lovely alternative to entrees if you are keen on variety but not too much food. We started with a fancy take on a Japanese dish of silken tofu, eggplant and sesame caramel wrapped in crisped nori. A well-executed version of this classic combination of textures and flavours, it is good to see vegetarian options being taken seriously. 

Another meat-free entree, twice-cooked souffle ($19), is the dish of the night. The combination of gruyere and chestnut gives a lovely fullness of flavour, with all the tender yet fluffy lightness of a souffle. Tomato kasundi and labna are not really needed, but work nicely nonetheless. 

Rubicon restaurant's twinkling fairy light ceiling.
Rubicon restaurant's twinkling fairy light ceiling. Photo: karleen minney

Morsels of rabbit sausage ($9 each) are well paired with portobello mushroom and tomato-parmesan stuffing, making a rustic mouthful.

Service is warm and mostly well informed, but unfortunately the small flaws have changed little since our last visit. There is plenty of willing here, and some deep knowledge, but little things fall through the cracks - such as getting drinks and the bill to the table in a timely fashion. More work is required to make sure the service meets the same high standards as the food and wine. 

For mains, duck breast ($36) and cured ocean trout ($36) are the order of the day. The duck is rich and tender and set off nicely by the pickled blood plums and baked celeriac. A side of shoestring fries is indulgent and delicious dusted with smoked paprika. 

Creative vegetarian options include this herb gnocchi.
Creative vegetarian options include this herb gnocchi. Photo: Karleen Minney

The cured trout flakes nicely off the fork with a velvety texture. A scattering of clams give a little salty contrast and asparagus and broad beans are good accompaniments. 

To finish, ginger creme brulee ($16) is clean and rich, served with creme fraiche sorbet and coconut cake. 

As we stagger off into the night many customers are ordering another dessert wine and chatting to staff. Rubicon is a good local occasion restaurant that has maintained high food and drink standards, and built a solid and well-deserved following.