Restaurant News

The neighbourhood wine bar that has Canberra talking

The city’s hippest restaurants and bars may be clustered around the CBD. But Lamshed’s has quietly snuck in on a sleepy shopping strip down south, and it's doing great things.

By Gareth Meyer
Canberra may be known as the secret city but word is spreading about Lamshed's, a casual wine bar and diner located in the city's affluent southern suburbs.
Canberra's hippest restaurants and wine bars – Pilot, Temporada and Bar Rochford spring to mind – are clustered around the city centre and inner-north, but Lamshed's is breaking ground by quietly bringing the tried-and-true relaxed wine bar format to sleepy Yarralumla.
"We've snuck in quite nicely. We wanted to do a suburban place – not in the city or Braddon," says chef Jeff Lamshed. "We don't want people just coming in for dinner. We're experimenting with being open all afternoon, so people can drop in for a glass of prosecco and olives."
Co-owners Lamshed and Matt Aspland are friends and colleagues from the early '90s when Paul Keating and their employer, Ottoman Cuisine, were at the height of their powers.
Both spent time away from their hometown notching up experience abroad – Lamshed in the Michelin-starred Restaurant Martin Wishart and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in the UK, and Aspland earning his front-of-house stripes at Sydney's Rockpool Bar & Grill. But, like so many before them, they wanted something more.
"We used to hang out at a wine bar and dream of doing something ourselves," says Lamshed. "And over the years we joked about calling it Lamshed's – it's a funny name."

With the help of Salman Zeineddine (owner of Express Fitouts, and husband of their business partner Caroline Smith) they've transformed the former Thai restaurant into a venue with a minimalist, warehouse feel, all worn concrete floors, high ceilings and wooden tables. Grey linen napkins and fine Japanese crockery add a touch of elegance.
The menu strikes a similar balance between accessibility and style. There are snacks, of course: Narooma oysters, smoked almonds and playful sweet potato "schnitzel". And their take on gnocco fritto (the crisp-fried dough come topped with piped mortadella mousse) is destined to become a house-defining starter.
In the larger dish offerings, you'll find delicate orange wedges and fresh tarragon set off cured kingfish and shaved fennel, while dollops of 'nduja cream add bite to the charred octopus. And towards the richer end of the menu – pressed layers of rich oxtail meat complemented with pickled shavings of celeriac, a masterclass in fine-dining technique crossed with casual Canberra inspiration.
The modest but carefully crafted drinks list sits well with the more-is-less ethos. There's a handful of local beer options, and a satisfying roster of wines to satisfy conservative tastes and orange-wine swilling hipsters alike.
It's adventurous, Lamshed says, without scaring off the public servant demographic. "We're aiming for simple, high-quality seasonal dishes. As I've got older, I've focused more on the quality of ingredients," says Lamshed. "And Matt was keen to avoid fine-dining dots and foams."
Lamshed's, Unit 2/27 Bentham St, Yarralumla, ACT, (02) 5100 9058,
Open Tue 3pm–late, Wed–Sun noon–late.