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A long lunch with fabulous cocktails in Canberra

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My dear friend from Sydney, Tracey wanted to come to Canberra for a visit so I planned with another friend to go out to lunch at a local restaurant; one I hadn’t been to before – Marble & Grain near the centre of Canberra city.

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I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the restaurant as it was very modern but I should have realised this as it’s actually located in the new ‘Avenue Hotel’ which other friends had told me was very lovely and a good place to recommend for visitors to Canberra.  The kitchen is open plan and we sat nearby and could see the chef cooking our meals.

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The restaurant also has a huge glass fridge which contained the cold meats (not for me of course being a vegetarian but I am sure meat eaters might find it appealing)

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The menu had good variety and I ordered the haloumi cheese salad (which was very nice) but a lot of cheese so I shared with my friends.  Both my friends ordered four oysters kilpatrick each and scallops for entree which came served with cauliflower, watercress and smoked chorizo oil.  We all agreed the entrees were delicious.

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We also started with some NZ white wine and both my friends had a cocktail each; one of about three or four I think they had [each].  The cocktail menu is rather extensive with some very interesting cocktails and cocktail names.  I had a taste of each but as cocktails are not my thing, I only had one sip.  Both of my friends enjoyed every one they ordered which included names such as ‘The Italian Job’, ‘Pablo Escabar’, ‘Xpresso Ice Cream Martini’, ‘Chilli Chilli Bang Bang’ and ‘The Kardashian’.

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For our main course I ordered the honey roasted pumpkin salad which came served over winter leaves with honey roasted seeds and lemon dressing; but too much mayonnaise over the whole dish [which was not on the menu] for my liking and unfortunately only two pieces of pumpkin.  My friend Tracey had the goats cheese soufflé with wild fig and roasted hazelnuts whilst my other friend, Jon ordered the seafood bouillabaisse with tomato, saffron and fennel broth.  He enjoyed this enormously and used the sourdough bread which came with our entrees to dip into the broth which he said was absolutely delicious.

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Service was excellent.  Our waiter was a young boy who told us he was leaving Australia to move to Canada as he has a job as a waiter ready for him.  The wine menu was reasonable with plenty of wines to choose from.  The restaurant also had a beautiful wine fridge which really suited the ambience of the place; all wood and glass.

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There is also a great bar menu for those who just want to hang around the bar and eat some snacks.  They serve arancini balls, thick cut chips, cheese platters and soft corn tacos and other more substantial meals.

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A place definitely worth going for lunch or for dinner.