Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Alto and Cream

Alto is the restaurant on top of Black Mountain Tower, and I've heard for a while that it has become an exception to the "Never eat in a revolving restaurant" rule. Judging by their catering on Saturday, this is true. I can't tell you much about the cost, or the menu details, because I was there for a wedding reception. But it's fun to sit and watch the world go by below you outside the window - and the inside of the restaurant go by, too. All the tables are right up at the window; and there's no Siberia. Everybody got their turn by the bar, the wedding party, and the toilets...

The food was really quite spectacular. Entrees were sashimi tuna with microleaf salad and poached celery; fetta stuffed zucchini flowers; or a roast quail. Mains were duck with a waldorf salad; blue eye cod with broth and vegetables; a vegetarian pastry; and some sort of veal dish. Sides of fresh salad and crisp cooked green beans came along, too. We had wedding cake for dessert, so I don't know what the standard there is. But all the food I sampled was very good. They did seem to have a bit of a fetish for the microleaf salad, but that does no-one any harm. I'd be interested to go back sometime.

Cream is another place that I'd heard good things of. It's located outside along the edge of the new Canberra Centre; pretty much across the road from Gus'. I finally made it there for Sunday brunch with Belinda, and I enjoyed it a lot. They do brunch until a very civilised 3pm. We had blueberry waffles and blintzes, and they were delicious. My blintzes ($14) came with a wonderful bitter orange marmalade syrup, although the filling was a bit mild - lacking any sour cream or cottage cheese bite. The coffee ($3.20) was good; the atmosphere was cheerful and buzzing without being oppressively loud. It's a big barn of a place, but with the coffee bar in the centre, and banquettes along the edges, it's broken up nicely. The decor is retro modern, with lime colour accents. My only qualm is that the service was erratic. We were seated quickly, and got our first coffees and food in good time, but a later order of a second coffee took ages to arrive, as did the bill. I'll be going back there, too, and probably relatively soon.

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