Pistachio Dining has been on my list of places to try for about 5 years now. Located in Torrens, it’s not really on the way to anything so I’ve never had a chance to stop by. I finally organised a dinner there one weeknight with friends. Pistachio nuts are provided on the table for diners to enjoy. As usual, I had scoped out the menu online to see what I would order. However, the menu at the restaurant was not the same as the online menu which was disappointing.
Items on the entrée menu (all $18) include crumbed lamb brains, scallops, gazpacho, rabbit raviolo and potted salmon. The Pistachio tasting plate of entrees (selection of 3 entrees) was only $19. You can also get a half dozen of oysters ($17-18) or a dozen ($26-27).
I chose the Potted Tasmanian salmon with pickled cucumber, watercress and crème fraiche. This is served cold with chunks of salmon mixed with the crème fraiche. The green goop on top is a light foam of cucumber and watercress. The salmon mix only filled half the pot with the top half made up of foam. Even with the crème fraiche and foam, I thought it was a light entrée and the chunks of salmon tasted good though I wish there was more of it. The dried bread accompanying the dish was used to scoop everything up.
The others ordered the tasting plate of entrees. This consisted of the potted salmon in a shot glass, the raviolo and a scallop. This is a pretty sweet deal considering the normal entrée sized raviolo is only slightly bigger than what was on the tasting plate. Everyone was happy with the entrees.
All mains are $30 with the exception of the Wagyu beef which had a $3 surcharge. I chose the 5 spiced duck breast with baby cos, spring onion, chilli, mirin and soy. The duck was cooked wonderfully – still nice and pink in the middle. If you’re not a fan of Chinese 5 spices than you probably won’t like this, but I enjoyed it. There was no sauce of any kind on the duck so I could taste the subtle spices and the natural duck flavour. The duck meat was juicy and this was very easy to eat. I found the lettuce drenched in soy sauce so I let the sauce drip off for a little bit. The puffed rice sprinkled on top gave the dish another element, but didn’t add much value in terms of taste.
My partner ordered the full blood shiro kin Wagyu beef inside skirt with potato croquette, crushed carrots, baby peas and mint ($33). He asked for it medium rare but it came out well done. I don’t mind well done beef so I thought the meat was tasty and still juicy. The croquette was warm and fluffy inside. Not bad and it was a decent portion.
My friend was very happy with the twice cooked veal loin with scorched onion, smoked potato and tomato. The potato was very much smoked.
The lightly roasted black rice with hazelnut, scotch egg, haloumi and asparagus looks impressive. The egg was apparently really good.
The roasted chicken breast with deboned wing, consommé, parsley, mushroom and cabbage.
The parmesan and gruyere crusted salmon with leek fondue, baked potato and jus.
Desserts are around the $15 mark with a cheese platter at $19. I’d already chosen my dessert from the website – the popcorn and banana sounded great, but sadly the menu had changed.
I went with the dessert tasting plate option ($19) as none of the desserts sounded that enticing to me. The tasting plate came with four mini desserts (the first four in the menu above). The vanilla custard tart was very subtle and light. This in the normal size has pepper on top of the strawberries but I couldn’t taste any pepper on the miniature version. The rice pudding seemed a bit odd next to the tart and wasn’t fully cooked. The éclair was hard to bite into and I found it was dry as well (overcooked as the top is burnt). I couldn’t taste much white chocolate in the éclair either. I did like the sorbet next to it and the meringue was soft to bite into.
I was expecting the pistachio and olive oil cake to be moist but it was very dry. The soft lemon curd was beautiful and I mixed this in with the cake to try to balance out the dryness. I would’ve liked this a lot better if it was soft and moist. The cherry parfait was lovely and sweet – lots of textures with crunchy dried flowers and nuts, sweet jam and praline, and creamy vanilla ice cream. The ice cream had a different taste to it that I can’t quite put my finger on. My favourite of the four desserts was the cherry parfait.
Full version of the cherry parfait – looks pretty.
Full version of the custard tart
The service here is average with two wait staff on the floor. We had to ask a few times for more water. There was apparently only one chef and an apprentice in the kitchen so it took a little while for the dishes to come out. But they did very well considering most people ordered an entrée, main and dessert, and effort was put into the presentation.
I thought Pistachio was nice and liked the variety in the menu. The food here is of a standard Canberran’s should come to expect. There wasn’t any big wow factor but I did enjoy the three courses I chose and my friends were happy too. I think it’s in the same league as other Modern Australian restaurants such as Eightysix and Mood Food, just out in the suburbs.