The original Parlour Wine Room was a Canberra institution, so I hear. It was before my time in the capital, but a fire destroyed the restaurant in June 2011. Fast forward a few years later, the owners have worked hard to rebuild a new space that reflects what Parlour was and has now come to be. Last Friday marked one year since the new Parlour Wine Room premises opened in their brand new New Acton building. True to Canberra form, they’re celebrating with great wine, good food and general festivities.
The guys at Eden Road Wines have built them their very own pop-up bar, and from it the crew are serving $8 glasses of Eden Road Wine, $5 Moritz or Martin Pils, and $9 basic spirits. And, for those looking for an easy way to write off Fridays, there’s the $18 Negroni which looks pretty lethal.Did I mention that there’s two for one tapas between 4pm and 6pm?
Upon arrival at Parlour, I’m immediately suspicious when everyone has what looks like glasses of rosé. Not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I would never order it over a white or a red. It’s in a mysterious purgatory of wine to me and I’ve yet to find an occasion that I’d ever order it. Yeah, ok maybe I don’t like rosé.
The wines on offer are the ‘The Long Road’ 2014 Chardonnay and Pinot Gris and the 2012 Shiraz. Eden Road Wines is a 5 star Halliday rated winery, and having visited over the weekend, I must admit it’s one of my favourites in Canberra. Beautiful floor to ceiling windows in the tasting room, a very knowledgeable host and some of the best wine Canberra has to offer, from whites right across to the reds.
Lucky for me, there’s no rosé and I’m immediately intrigued by Eden Road’s pink hued Pinot Gris. With 36 hours skin contact, the wine takes on beautiful coral pink tones. It has bright fruit tones of strawberry and peach with a well-balanced, not overly sweet finish.
I’m not one for Chardonnay, but I’m told this is a more modern style – not overly oaky and heavy like the more traditional ones. It’s interesting, with oak and spice tones set back a little from the fruit, but not quite as exciting as the Pinot Gris. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, neither of the whites are cold so I opt for an Apple Thief pink lady cider ($9) instead.
Did I mention that there’s two for one tapas? It’s really good value and all the food is excellent, though I’m not totally sold on the salt cod, but that’s probably my own fault for ordering it when I’m not that fussed about salt-cured fish. The prices listed below are as they appear on the menu, and when you pay, you’re only charged for one item (and if they’re not the same price, you’re charged for whichever is more expensive).
Rodriguez chorizo, ham hock, puy lentils, piquin chilli, 62C egg ($18) – anything with 62 egg is pretty much an insta-must-order-it for me, and this dish doesn’t disappoint. Sure it’s more breakfast-ish than evening tapas, but oozy egg yolk, spicy chorizo and slow-cooked ham hock in braised lentils – it’s comfort food, even in the hot summer weather.
Twice-cooked crispy belly, PX glaze, fried onion, hazelnut ($18). Don’t let the super hipster factor of it being served on a roof shingle distract you, this is all that is to love about Spanish food. PX and pork, that’s all you need right?
This wasn’t quite on the menu yet, it’s up coming for this week but the lovely chef gave me a sneak peek. Salt cod potato croquettes with fennel salad. Despite not liking the earlier salt cod dish, this one is an absolute winner. It’s slightly fishy, smoky and just perfectly offset by the freshness of the fennel salad. At first I thought it was a little too fishy, but I can’t stop eating and it just gets better the more you eat.
And the favourite by a mile – the simplest of them all – dusted calamari, squid ink, black garlic romesco, almonds ($16). It just proves that sometimes you don’t have to do much when you have good produce.
Fridays on the terrace is on during summer, until further notice, at Parlour Wine Room. Two for one tapas is Friday from 4-6pm and Sunday from 2pm. Check their Facebook page for more details.