Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pulp Kitchen, Ainslie

Pulp Kitchen is a restaurant that hasn't made much noise in my radar due to a rather ho-hum experience I had there in my pre-blogging days. But then raving reviews by an out of town foodie who dined there recently and the recent acquisition of a Good Food Guide hat had me thinking of second chances so when a friend suggested a dinner catch up I was all too happy to agree.

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Tucked away in a suburban shopping strip in true Canberra style, Pulp Kitchen calls itself a casual European style Brasserie. The setting is indeed casual; simple cafe style wooden tables and chairs, no table cloths, no fancy cutlery, an open kitchen and the only decorative feature of the restaurant is the giant blackboard with daily specials. It is however bathed in natural light as a result of the floor to ceiling glass windows and with the option for alfresco dining, Pulp Kitchen occupies a rather prime position in the Ainslie shopping strip.

As both my dining companion and I had other plans for the evening it was decided that the Early Bird Dinner was where we were heading. At $41 for 2 courses or $51 for 3 courses this is great value but the catch is you must order before 6.45pm and be out by 7.30pm. While this sounds like a rather hurried meal, we arrived for a ridiculously early 6pm dinner so I wasn't overly concerned about having to eat and run. 

The service at Pulp Kitchen was extremely casual (yet professional enough) which suited the general vibe. After pondering over the menu for far too long, I decided that I had to have the entree of beef tartare with smoked egg yolk, onion petals and beetroot, which of course wasn't part of the early bird menu. But ask nicely, and thou shalt be rewarded; our waiter was happy to let it slide and let me have my beef tartare instead of one of the other four entrees in the early bird menu. Little things like this go a long way to win me over!

This dish was just spectacular! Apologies about the extremely out of focus food photos; I was having a bad camera day. The beef was juicy and melted in my mouth. The onion petals and the beetroot were a nice touch both texturally and visually. The smoked egg yolk was all kinds of amazing and when mixed with the beef, the gooey and rich mix of smoky flavours was enough to set my taste buds on fire.

My main of hay cooked lamb shoulder, braised lamb belly, artichoke barigoule and ossau iraty also blew me away. The different cuts of lamb were cooked/braised to absolute perfection and deliciously tender. The artichoke was also full of flavour and not the least bit crunchy. And add a crumbling of creamy cheese to bring it all together and we have one winning dish.

Although I'm not one to pass on dessert very often, due to time constraints we decided to skip dessert and call it a night but not before making plans to return for weekend brunch soon.

So the verdict: Pulp Kitchen definitely proved to be a case of second time being the charm. Food was superb; classic dishes full of flavour cooked perfectly. While they were also plated up nicely I did feel the presentation was a tad old-fashioned with all the smeares and drizzles but that's just me being overly critical. At $41 for two beautiful courses this is definitely some of the best value hatted dining in town so this little European Brasserie is one to put on the regular list.

Pulp Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. I haven't really heard very much about Pulp Kitchen, I think I'll have to go! I agree that good service goes a long way too and I'm glad your charm paid off!

    Looking forward to hopefully catching up soon xx

  2. I have only been once and had a lovely meal and spectacular service, my housemate went and had really bad service, still one of my faves!

  3. One of my favourite places in Canberra :)