Restaurant Guide

Bar Rochford: Restaurant review

Nowhere else captures Canberra's special blend of the parochial and the worldly like Rochford.


Level 1, 65 London Circuit
Canberra, ACT


Tue-Thu 5pm-midnight,
Fri 3pm-1am,
Sat 5pm-1am


E $11-$20
M $26-$28
D $12

Armed only with some old furniture and a grand vision for an upstairs alcove in the stately Melbourne Building, rookie publican Nick Smith started a bar in Canberra made for a fine time. His next big move was a calculated risk, putting Louis Couttoupes – an enthusiastic, but untrained, walk-in – behind the stove. Fast forward and Gourmet Traveller's 2018 Bar of the Year continues to show what fun is possible in Canberra. With Couttoupes on sabbatical, Josh Lundy (Eightysix, Pulp Kitchen, Sepia) has inherited the bar's signature potato galette where alternating crisp and soft textures are lifted by a dusting of smoky dehydrated bush tomato. Gruyère gougères are stunningly light, while plum sauce cuts the richness of charred sourdough wrapped in warm, lightly rendered lardo. Larger share plates include pan-fried barramundi with Jerusalem artichoke, and inspired vegetarian options that draw on local organic and heirloom produce. Smith's service is exemplary, as are his wine choices, which gravitate to things biodynamic, orange and funky. With the crackle of an open fire and warm tones emanating from an encyclopedic vinyl collection, Rochford embodies authenticity and unpretentiousness. Fun, fine times indeed.
(02) 6230 6222
Bookings recommended
  • Licensed
  • Bar
  • Impressive wine list
Accepted card types:
  • American Express
  • Eftpos
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Josh Lundy
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.