Ottoman Cuisine, Barton

18 Dec

Away from the hubbub of Braddon and the growth of the Kingston Foreshore sits one of Canberra’s most awarded restaurants. It’s not by the water, nor in a local shopping centre, nor near the mall. In fact, it’s in a suburb which is often lambasted for having little amenity – Barton – and on this Tuesday night is humbly packed.

Ottoman shares its abode with Barton Cafe, a stalwart but one of the few cafes in the area. While they’re both open for lunch, Ottoman continues into the night and quietly separates itself from its neighbour with translucent glass doors which only give you an impression of what might be inside.

Tonight both its private rooms are hosting large parties, and the main dining area – with a mix of chairs and booths at tables, and a large bar in the middle of the room – is busy without being loud. We’re a mid-sized group and I’m on the end of the table but it’s not difficult at all to hear anyone.

What immediately strikes me about Ottoman is how reasonably priced it is. A banquet with plenty of food is $45 per person (see here) and a degustation with seven courses (including salad) is $75 which seems good value for a one-hatted restaurant in Canberra.

We’ve all got different tastes so we opt to each choose an entree which we’ll do our best to share. While these aren’t quite sharing dishes we’re diplomatic enough to do so without drama and our waiter is obliging. While generally around $18 they prove good value.

We’ve ordered zucchini puffs ($18), char-grilled spicy mushrooms ($18), zucchini flowers ($18), salmon, prawn and mushroom dolma ($22) and haloumi ($18) – and they’re each faultless. We come away with different favourites but are each in agreement that they are good value and have fantastic textures and tastes. I would order all of these again and again.

Zucchini puffs

Zucchini flowers

Spicy (enormous) mushrooms

Salmon, prawn and mushroom dolma

The mains are good – solid – but not rave worthy like the entrees. Again, they’re consistently priced – between $29 and $33 – and while the flavours are in my dish of Cowra lamb cutlets ($31), the textures aren’t as inviting and the small slap of lettuce seems like an afterthought.

Lamb cutlets with potato kofte

Ottoman is a relaxing environment best enjoyed with a small group of friends you haven’t seen in a while – which has the added benefit of letting you sample others’ entrees!

Date: Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Where: Broughton Street, Barton (near AFP)

Cost: About $50 per person, not including wine

Value for money: High

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Check out their up to date website here.

Ottoman Cuisine on Urbanspoon

6 Responses to “Ottoman Cuisine, Barton”

  1. Gary Lum December 18, 2014 at 5:20 am #

    Going there today for a work lunch 🙂

  2. whisperinggums December 18, 2014 at 6:01 am #

    I was just thinking about the Ottoman the other day. We’ve been many times over the years – one of the first was to celebrate the selling of our first house in 1997 when it (the Ottoman I mean) was located in Manuka. However, we haven’t been there for a couple of years now and I was thinking that with all the buzz around town about new places, I hadn’t heard anyone talk about the Ottoman. I think it’s time we went back. Your review pretty well accords with our experiences – entrees are where the main excitement lie, but all is well cooked, nicely presented, well-served, and decent value. Pretty classic but tasty. And the building with those lovely old windows is rather gorgeous.

  3. Erin December 18, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    Loved those mushrooms!

  4. Mandy B December 18, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Did you have the Imam Bayaldi? This literally means the Imam fainted (because the dish was so delicious). Believe me it lives up to its name! Nice review. Ottoman has been a fav since we first arrived in Canberra (decades ago) and is still IMHO one of the best dining experiences in Canberra.

  5. Neil December 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    Have been a fan of the Ottoman since first dining there in the 80s when it graced the space now occupied by Polit Bar in Manuka. It won’t ever adopt an in-yr-face approach in the way new restaurants often seem to need to do but can always be relied upon for fresh,seasonal dishes along with favourites that have been in the menu for decades. And they will treat your best BYO with reverence – an opportunity to drag up a really good bottle from the cellar.

  6. lizzygoodthings January 20, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Great post! Oh those zucchini puffs are amazing! I am hoping to recreate them at home!
    Serif Kaya was one of my FAVOURITE chefs who came to the cooking school when I co-owned it. I haven’t been to Ottoman for years (don’t dine out that often, as you know), but must get back there some day! Glad to hear it’s still good.

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