Restaurant Guide

Aubergine: Restaurant review

Chef-owner Ben Willis continues to refine a menu that effortlessly drifts with the seasons and crosses geographical boundaries.


18 Barker St
Griffith, ACT


Dinner Mon-Sat 6pm-9pm


4 courses $105

James Mussillon was probably channelling former boss Marco Pierre White in substance, not style, when he introduced Canberrans to Michelin star-style fine dining. A couple of decades on, a sleeker and more understated Aubergine still attracts accolades. After taking the helm in 2008, Ben Willis has maintained a steady course and strong vision through waves of molecular gastronomy and paddock-to-plate trends. Desserts showcase his instinct for edgy flavour combinations and judicious application of technique. A signature dish of brown butter ice-cream, for instance, arrives encircled by layers of almond praline and frozen lemon verbena milk made with liquid nitrogen. A fillet of pan-fried sand whiting, meanwhile, is dressed in mussel butter and plated elegantly among pools of smoked eel cream and garnished with thin discs of fermented daikon. Monochrome tones and ceiling-to-floor sheer curtains reinforce the sense of destination dining. And polished service owes itself in large part to the star presence of sommelier Cyril Thevenet, whose impressive grasp of a fine wine list means there's room to test your boundaries (a $27 glass of Georgian natural wine, perhaps?) comfortable in the knowledge that here, you're in safe hands.
(02) 6260 8666
Bookings essential for weekends
  • Licensed
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Wheelchair access
  • Impressive wine list
Accepted card types:
  • American Express
  • Eftpos
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Ben Willis
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.