Bar Rochford – Exciting Venue

Bar Rochford – Canberra Institution

Bar Rochford has become an institution in the city of Canberra in the relatively short time it has been here. For many years in the 1990s and the 2000s we regularly flew to Canberra for our work in the IT trade when we were working with IBM on large projects for the Government.

As a side note, we fondly remember the weeks and months we spent working with public servants who had a very clear idea of what they wanted the projects to deliver and specified the work required with precision. It is sad that much of the work they used to perform with such dedication has now been outsourced to organisations who mainly seem to be motivated by how much money they can extract for their services.

But we digress!

Bar Rochford was not part of the food and wine scene when we spent a significant amout of time in Canberra, but since it opened it has certainly made an impact.

Our main interest has also changed due to our decision in 2006 to begin importing natural wines from France and to only drink wines that have been fermented naturally and made with grapes that haven’t been sprayed with systemic sprays where the poison cannot be washed off because it penetrates the entire inner fruit.

Bar Rochford is a place where we can select from an excellent range of natural wines (including some of ours we are proud to say), and it is also a place where the service is excellent and the food very, very good.

When you approach the Bar Rochford on London Circuit you will notice an illuminated “Wine Bar” sign with a reversed letter N and a blackboard with the name of the bar next to the steep flight of stairs that you conquer to reach the bar.

Once you get to the top of the Bar Rochford stairs you will see the large rectangular bar dominating the room with tables surrounding it. The kitchen is tucked at the back but open to view so you can see the chefs at work.

One of the things we always notice at Bar Rochford is the eclectic clientele you find here. You will see academics from the nearby University, students from there as well, public servants, hipsters, wine afficianados and many more. It is definitely a gathering place.

The clientele at Bar Rochford reminds us of places such as Embla in Melbourne, Lucinda in Hobart, 10 William Street in Sydney and RVLT in Singapore.

On our most recent visit we spied a white wine from the Jura made by an acquaintance from that region, Fabrice Dodane. The wine was Le Dos d’Chat which is made from Chardonnay that had been topped up during maturation – something that is only a recent process as the white were usually allowed to reduce in the barrels allowing a “flor” to be created on the surface to protect the wine but allow oxidation to occur.

Our choice was soon proved to be a very good one as it matched all of the dishes we ordered throughout the meal including the ice cream at the end.

And now to the dishes.

As you can see above, our first taste was a delectable “soaked” beef skewer topped with an anchovy mayo. This was a great start to the meal.

Next was a potato galette with a miso sauce topped with caviar. This was cooked perfectly and the combination of flavours and textures was very appealing.

Next came a radish tart with perfectly cooked thin, thin pastry and buffalo ricotta. This was one of the best snacks we have tried recently – very clever!

The next dish was steak tartarte with pommes gaufrettes (chips with holes, if you would like a more prosaic description) and a very generous slathering of grated parmesan. The combination of flavours and textures was very appealing.

Our last dish was a roasted rice ice cream with yuzu, pear and earl grey meringue which provided texture. The ice cream was wonderful and the yuzu was presented in sufficient quantity to cut through the other flavours and say “look at me”.

We should also make a brief mention of the music – vinyl of course, think Durand Jones & The Indications with some of their R&B numbers such as Giving Up, as an example.

All round, this is one of the best bars cum restaurants in Australia – the wait staff are super friendly, the kitchen staff are turning out very attractive dishes and there is a commitment to interesting and exciting natural wines for those who want to steer clear of poisonous residues.

They have a Web site where you can check their current opening times here.

We have also mentioned this location briefly in an introductory story about Canberra on this site here.

Additional information

Name: Bar Rochford

Street: 1st floor / 65 London Cct

Town/Suburb: Canberra, ACT, 2601

Phone number: +61 2 6230 6222

Opening hours: Mon – Thu 5pm – Midnight, Fri 12 noon – Midnight, Sat 5pm – Midnight