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L'avis de Gault&Millau
After a renovation, Canberra stalwart Benchmark Wine Bar is reborn as 65 Northbourne. The kitchen team continue to pump out the smart, casual bistro fare that has always been a feature here. Expect lighter, quickly served lunches; more substantial, European-influenced dinner selections to linger over; and the legendary wine list from the restaurant’s former incarnation.
The sleek new fit-out, all black with copper features and dark-wood tables, suits all occasions. The walls retain the atmospheric twinkling floor-to-ceiling array of wine bottles reminding you of what’s on offer to drink.
The bar menu offers snacks and tapas-style treats, which can be combined in a tasting platter to share. A rustic wooden board is adorned with crisp salt and pepper calamari, grilled chorizo, duck-fat potatoes and a trio of flavoursome dips with grilled sourdough. The lunch and dinner menus offer a range of classics. A dark jewel of eye fillet sits alongside peppery rocket and crisp apple batons with a matchstick pile of shoestring fries.
PSST! Visit the new espresso bar window, open to the street, for a quick shot of take-away caffeine.
Reviewed for the 2019 Guide