If anyone ever complains about Canberra’s nightlife, just nod quietly and then laugh all the way up the stairs to Bar Rochford, where you will be enjoying a glass of the grippy, slightly volcanic Rami wine from COS in Sicily. This is undoubtedly the best little wine bar in the ACT and once you’re here, you’ll never ever want to leave. You know how they talk about some venues being timeless? Well, this place is locationless. Once you’re up in the cosy confines of this first floor bar you could be in Melbourne, or Berlin or deepest Darlinghurst. There’s a stack of records on the wall, a roll down specials list on brown paper, early hip hop on the stereo and super lovely staff wearing vintage shirts. Big arched windows at one end let in light and brighten the space, but a real log fire keeps things toasty on a bracingly cold Canberra evening, and they have enlisted a team of excited young guns to run the joint.
Let them guide you on a vinous adventure that traipses the world, but if you don’t order food too it’s a lost opportunity. You’ll feel like a Viking conqueror when a whole, golden brown, salty, juicy spatchcock arrives on a bed of fragrant hay. You won’t even need the side of anchovy butter – just a squeeze of lemon and a disregard for mess is required. A crescent of roasted pumpkin spiced with funky fermented chilli and a creamy chestnut base completes your elegant roast dinner. If you’ve only got room for a snack, order a plate of house pickled cauliflower, green beans, radish, fennel and watermelon rind that will slap your sense awake. Wine bars/restaurants like these didn’t exist ten years ago, and now we want one in every suburb. But Rochford is definitely the yardstick against which all others shall be measured. It’s just that good.
|Venue name:||Bar Rochford|
First Fl, 65 London Circuit
|Opening hours:||Tue-Thu 5pm-late; Fri 3pm-2am; Sat 5pm-2am|