Australia & NZ 2011 (25 March)

The third day in Canberra was when I finally got my routine up and running, which consisted in a banana, a hotel gym workout, and my signature breakfast for that leg of the tour (a banana, a pear, almonds, and two soft-boiled eggs).

A bunch of us arrived a bit earlier to the Buddhist centre to help make sandwiches for the cafeteria to sell at lunchtime.

After the morning lecture Jane and Gary drove Angela, Catalina and me to Kingston for lunch. Following a suggestion from Lauren (Corridor Kitchen), I convinced the gang to go to Silo Bakery. Unfortunately, it was absolutely packed. We walked around the block and ran into Victor and Jeff, who joined us.

We had seen a few good-looking Italian restaurants, and decided to stay at L’Unico Ristorante, which was pretty empty. The waitress was Italian, which gave us (or at least me) high expectations. The specials menu didn’t have prices, which made us think that we’d better off choosing from the regular menu.

Gary and Jane ordered the Insalata Mista (radicchio, rocket, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, kalamata olives, Roma tomatoes, red Spanish onion, dressed with an aged balsamic vinaigrette), which they shared with the rest.

L'Unico Ristorante - Insalata Mista

Insalata Mista ($9.90)

As main, Gary had the Angus Osso Buco (slow braised in white wine for three hours for tenderness, finished with a thyme, parsley and lemon zest gremolata and served with seasonal vegetables), which was as good as it looked. The meat was super tender, the flavour was spot-on, the serving was huge. They advertise their Angus beef as totally grass-fed, as well as preservative, hormone and chemical free.

L'Unico Ristorante - Angus Osso Buco

Angus Osso Buco ($29.90)

Jane had the Spaghetti Bolognese (a rich, slow cooked sauce of tomato, beef & pork mince), which looked like it didn’t have enough sauce and meat.

L'Unico Ristorante - Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese ($16.90)

Jeff had the Crab & Moreton Bay Bug Lasagna (a delicious and generous mixture of sauteed crab and Moreton Bay bug meat, lovingly combined with Clare Valley white wine, a hint of dill, shallots, seasonings, Bechamel and Napoli sauces creating a perfect texture- all layered between sheets of fresh, home – made pasta). I was tempted to order this dish, too, but the price tag turned me off. It looked great, creamy, silky and classy.

L'Unico Ristorante - Crab & Moreton Bay Bug Lasagna

Crab & Moreton Bay Bug Lasagna ($27.90)

Our pescetarian Catalina decided to go vego this time and had the Insalata Caprese (roma tomatoes & bocconcini cheese, freshly sliced and topped with basil & oregano, dressed with extra virgin olive oil) and the Profumata wood fired pizza bread (extra virgin olive oil, rosemary & sea salt). The salad came with a large bunch of rocket, which Catalina doesn’t like, so she donated it to me. I had a few pieces of the pizza bread, too, it was very aromatic and crunchy thanks to the semolina it was made with.

L'Unico Ristorante - Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese ($13.90)

L'Unico Ristorante - Profumata wood-fired pizza bread

Profumata Wood Fired Pizza Bread ($9.90)

We got a copy of the specials menu with hand-written prices on it. They were indeed pricey but this didn’t stop Victor and Angela. Victor ordered the baked whole fish and Angela the gnocchi. The fish was cooked en papillote, and arrived to the table wrapped in foil. It was way too watery but according to Vic, quite tasty. Apparently, it wasn’t enough food for him, though.

L'Unico Ristorante - Baked whole fish

Baked whole fish

I completely forgot to write down Angela’s gnocchi description. I do remember that it included olives and vegetables. I tried one, it was a bit too soft and wet for my taste, but the sauce was alright.

L'Unico Ristorante - Gnocchi

Gnocchi

Because this place looked very authentically Italian and there were many appetising pasta options in the menu, I decided to try one. But when I saw everybody else’s pastas (and mine) I realised it was a mistake. I ordered the Pasta al Forno (oven baked pasta in a rich tomato sauce with beef & pork meatballs and pecorino cheese), which sounded like traditional comfort food but was pretty ordinary. The sauce was ok, but the meatballs were very dry and all the noodles on top were burnt.

L'Unico Ristorante - Pasta al Forno

Pasta al Forno ($17.90)

L'Unico Ristorante - Pasta al Forno

Pasta al Forno, meatball close-up

I think besides from Gary any of us was impressed with the quality of the food or the service. It took them around one hour to serve our meals, even when the place was almost empty, and the meals didn’t arrive together. Another average restaurant in Canberra not worth revisiting.

Dinner was again at the centre, this time they bought “burritos”, which were more like yeeros with rice in them. Choices were lamb or vegetarian, with either yogurt or chipotle sauce. I had the lamb “burrito” with yogurt sauce, which was very, very, tasty (and also very, very big).

Lamb "burrito"

Lamb “burrito”

L’Unico Ristorante
27 Kennedy Street
Kingston ACT 2604
(02) 6295 0777
www.lunicoristorante.com.au


9 comments

  1. Shame about your aweful lunch experience! At least you know not to go there next time you visit Canberra. Sounds like dinner made up for it a bit ;)

  2. Hahaha Pescetarian Catalina? hahaha
    And don’t forget, I only like the fish that doesn’t taste fishy!


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