Where to eat out in Canberra: Chef Josh Smith-Thirkell, QT Canberra

 

THE EXPERT

Josh Smith-Thirkell, executive chef, QT Canberra

Having worked at at the Falls Creek, Victoria and Queenstown, New Zealand properties of QT Hotels and Resorts, Josh Smith-Thirkell now heads up the ACT's QT kitchen, emphasising Canberran producers and winemakers. See qthotelsandresorts.com

COFFEE

You can't go wrong with The Cupping Room. It's on the corner of London Circuit and University Avenu and designed by the team at ONA, the capital's largest specialty roaster. In fact, any of ONA's venues are worth visiting – there's no better local coffee in Canberra. Bringing a faultless cafe experience to your morning cuppa, there's outdoor seating, and it's always bustling on a Sunday morning so expect to queue. If you're after a classic, breakfast as well, order the avo. It comes DIY smash, with poached eggs, tahini labna, Hungarian dukkah, lemon and serious sourdough. See thecuppingroom.com.au

BRUNCH

Head to Dickson for Scholar Yum Cha. No special fit out here, it's old school style, but the food is great with a quintessential fish tank. Don't miss anything from the dumpling trolley. The crispy fried whitebait is also a top pick. See scholarrestaurant.com

LUNCH

Raku, is hands down Canberra's best Japanese. Take a seat at the raw bar around 2pm and watch the open kitchen work their meticulous magic. Opt for their freshly rolled sushi, or the sashimi plate served on an impressive bed of ice and presented like a work of art. It's popular and right in the city so book in advance. See rakudining.com.au

DINNER

Dinner time calls for some Italian classics and unforgettable steak cuts. Start by catching the last of the day's rays from Capitol Bar and Grill's deck here at the QT – vino in hand and the signature antipasto plate in arm's reach. Once seated, order the Burrata and ooze into the goodness paired with artichokes, anchovy, lemon and green olive bed. For the main event, share the T-Bone Bistecca Fiorentina, served with Salsa Erbe – it's a mouth-melting dish and not one to be forgotten. Finish with tiramisu, served at the table from nonna's bowl. Classic and boozy. See qthotelsandresorts.com

DRINK

One of Canberra's finest bars, Bar Rochford is found in the Melbourne building, featuring arched windows and an enviable vinyl collection. In winter, grab a spot near the fireplace and take a minute to peruse the wine list. My pick is the Don Pinot Noir from Martinborough and if you're there not too late, marry your glass with a cheese platter and enjoy the old-school hip hop tunes. A stone's throw away from Bar Rochford is Molly. If you can find it, visit for a late night negroni and live jazz. There's old fashioned service, classic cocktails and secret rooms – say no more. See barrochford.com and molly.bar

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