We were in Canberra en route to Jervis Bay for two nights recently and research pointed us to the direction of Eightysix for one of our dinners.
We were a little early for our table and the place looked super busy. We were invited to stand at the bar and order a drink whilst we waited. Our wait wasn't long and we were shown to our table before our drinks were ready.
It's a busy, buzzy dining room; a little hip, a little cool and a lot manic. Things move fast including the wait staff and it takes energy to keep up!
Onto food...we order to share between us:
- Duck bun with hoisin
- D'Affinois wafer
- Smoked chicken wing, maple glaze
- Cured kangaroo, horseradish, beetroot
- Asparagus, fines herbs & aioli
- Ghetto beef w salsa verde, rocket & parmesan
- Potato and gravy
Our comments are that the duck bun was tasty enough. Nothing particularly stand out but well received by our tummies and tastebuds.I think it would have been better if there was more filling. The D'Affinois wafer is effectively a piece of that creamy, lovely cheese sandwiched between two crumbly wafers and seasoned with some spices and a fruit chutney. Again a tasty morsel but not ground breaking.
Ground breaking though were the chicken wings. Giant wings that must have come from a chicken dinosaur, the glaze came separate so it didn't make the skin soggy. I've had plenty of wings in my life and these come up tops.
The kangaroo dish was as it sounds and again we had no problems consuming it. The asparagus was disappointing in that it was 4 slender pieces of asparagus and fines herbs to me means finely chopped herbs but this was a mound of herbs whole and chunky and certainly not "fines". So I guess it was more a herb salad with a smattering of asparagus. The lemon aioli was tasty but too much for the little asparagus we were served.
Ghetto beef was 4 slices of rare beef, thicker than carpaccio but far from steak...maybe sandwich steak thickness. I quite liked the beef with the rocket and parmesan but my tastebuds weren't quite so enamoured with the salsa verde. I found the texture a but gluey and the flavours not my thing.
Where the beef dish was light and summery, the mashed potatoes and gravy was much richer and definitely comfort food category. The potato was rich and creamy and the gravy salty and intense. It probably didn't quite go with the beef but we still consumed it all!
We were pretty tired by the end of this food and although the desserts sounded yummy and looked great coming out of the kitchen we decided to call it a night. Steve found the ambience too frantic and couldn't relax which probably didn't help to make us feel like staying for the sweet stuff.
For us, Eightysix was average. It's certainly popular and boy, I'd return just for a whole plateful of chicken wings but everything else just hit the average scores.