Last night I had the pleasure of visiting First Edition Canberra for the launch of their special Lunar New Year Menu. First Edition is located on the first floor of the Novotel Canberra on Northbourne Avenue and opened in 2017. As soon as you step into the restaurant you feel a moody vibe featuring wooden & velvet elements and old bookshelves lined with books.
Regularly having a modern Australian style cuisine, you would think that touching on Chinese Elements for their Lunar New Year Menu would be a risk, but in this case it is one that paid off. The set menu is three courses (an entree, a main and a dessert) for only $35.
First Course: Deep Fried Eggplant
I am not usually a fan of eggplant, something about the gooey texture just isn’t for me but I think that I may possibly be warming up to the idea of it after this dish. The Eggplant is stuffed with chicken and snake beans, coated in a light batter and topped with sweet and sour chilli sauce. I was very impressed, it was full of flavour and all of the elements complimented perfectly.
Mitch says: “Nice entree, not slimy like some eggplant can be. Moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.”
Main Course: Taiwan Braised Pork Belly
The pork belly comes served with deep fried tofu, cut into small cubes and marinated in a sauce that is packed with flavour. The dish is served on a bed of rice with a marbled egg on top to accompany. This was my favourite dish of the night! The sauce was filled with the flavour of authentic Asian spices, both the pork belly and the tofu took on so much flavour. The pickled vegetables cut through the spices and added an extra element. This is a dish that I could eat every night.
Mitch says: “Large portion size which I liked and tasted awesome, definitely my favourite. Would eat this on the regular menu for sure.”
Dessert: Sesame Ice Cream
Lavender in colour this dish is very simple aesthetically. Two scoops of ice cream topped with some edible flowers, a dried lychee and a small shard of almond praline. Being so simplistic I did not expect it to be so full of flavour. The ice cream itself has a very strong sesame flavour and a very creamy consistency. The dried lychee is the most interesting element with a flaky texture and a short burst of flavour it is the perfect compliment to the ice cream.
Mitch says: “Strong sesame taste was a nice surprise and the dried lychee added another level, great dessert to finish on.”
Cocktail: Chinese Five Spice
The chinese five spice cocktail is based on cognac and features Coriander, Ginger and Basil. It was probably a bit too strong for me. I enjoy a slightly more girly cocktail, but it was packed with flavour and it was delicious!
Mitch says: “Tastes stronger than it looks, definitely worth a try if you like something a bit different. Can really taste the coriander and ginger.”
The Final Verdict
For $35 per person, you simply must try this menu. Every element is so full of flavour, the serving sizes are a lot larger than we expected. We were struggling to finish the main course. We are already planning to visit again next week!
Massive thank you to First Edition Canberra for hosting us and giving us the opportunity to try the new menu- we will see you again soon.
Lots of Love,
Note: while we were invited to this experience, all opinions are my own (and Mitch’s.)