10 Yards is Canberra’s coolest new pop up restaurant. It’s brought to you by the Chris Dennis and Jarrod Deaton, who I’m sure most of you will know as ones who bring you your morning coffee – the Two Before Ten guys. Centrally situated in Canberra House, next to Harvest, the team have converted a relatively small space into a trendy 60-seater restaurant.
The 10 Yards pop up is just to tide them over until their highly anticipated new venture A. Baker opens in New Acton in September. The heart of the business will be a bakery, but there will also be a 150-seat, as-yet-undisclosed eatery and basement speakeasy bar. They’ve managed to score Adam Bantock, formerly of Dieci e Mezzo, which makes for a promising night out – and a good few months to come for Canberrans.
It sounded like the team were getting a bit restless waiting around for September, and so 10 Yards has come as a little teaser of what the future holds. Named for the ten farms that produce is sourced from (which is strangely enough, actually eighteen farms), the restaurant focuses on fresh, seasonal regional produce.
I visited on a Friday night with a group of friends. We had a booking for 8pm and were immediately seated. There were a few smaller empty tables but it was clear that it was a busy night. Chris mentioned that 10 Yards was structured around share plates and we should aim for around 2.2 plates per person. We ordered the cocktail of the week to start, which was a Bellini but were later told that they had run out. To console ourselves, we promptly decided to order one of everything on the menu instead.
Yass mushrooms, truffled brioche, quail eggs, Jannei goat curd – $17
While the dish was alright, I felt it was more suited to a breakfast menu than as a share plate – it’s essentially mushrooms on toast – it’s nice and all, but not really what you’d want at dinner.
Ricotta ravioli, smoked eschallot, peas, burnt butter, Blue Frog truffle – $19
A good dish but for $19 and as s share plate, I’d have expected more than three ravioli on a plate. Surprisingly, the truffles were disappointing – they lacked the potency of fresh truffle aroma, so I can only assume that they had been shaved earlier on in the day.
Salt baked Moorlands lamb, Hall artichokes, baby carrots, mint – $20
Again, this was good – the lamb was tender but nothing out of the ordinary; the artichokes were the best part of the dish.
Goulburn river trout, rye, beetroots, celeriac, horseradish – $19
It was hard to appreciate the subtler taste of trout after the richness of the lamb. We were all slightly disappointed when the trout turned out to be marginally overcooked.
Lost River handmade cotechino, braised lentils, black cabbage – $17
One of the best dishes of the night, the cotechino was really flavourful and paired well with the earthiness of the lentils, though for the price one might expect a bit more than four pieces of sausage – good sausage, but sausage nonetheless.
Pan roasted Bermagui ling fish, Cowra green olives, barley and lemon – $18
Another good dish – the ling was perfectly cooked and it’s slight sweetness was nicely balanced by the barley.
Roasted Galston Spatchcock, pancetta, Mogo pumpkin, amaretti – $19
Strangely enough, cauliflower really dominated the flavours of this one even though it’s not mentioned in the ingredients. The spatchcock was tender and the saltiness of the pancetta was in good contrast to the sweetness of the pumpkin.
Mascarpone mousse, organic apples and quince, gingerbread, honeycomb – $15
Very so-so, the mousse lacked flavour and the honeycomb just missed that slight bitter edge to cut through all the sweetness.
Chocolate and hazelnut crostata, vanilla semifreddo, salted caramel – $15
Chocolate is always going to be my dessert of choice, and though it was served to us with the ice cream already half-melted it was saved by the delicious oozy dark chocolate and hazelnut filling.
The verdict? It’s Canberra cool – the kind of thing that we’d all flock to because we heard the words ‘pop-up restaurant’. The food is good, solid fare but nothing in particular stood out – there were no unusual pairings of elements or interesting techniques, and too much use of puree. The portion sizes lacked the generosity of real share plates and despite having the requisite 2.2 dishes (and then some) we all left feeling not quite satisfied. Maybe it was the price – had the dishes been a couple of dollars less each, it might have justified the portion sizes. We would’ve probably also eaten more. On the up side, they fairly priced wines from local vineyards and it makes for a fun night out in Canberra – though you might want to eat a little snack beforehand.
40 Marcus Clarke St, Civic
Wed-Fri, 4pm til late – until Sept 2013