Canberra’s All-New Chef’s Table Dining Experience Launches in Tuggeranong



New Zealand smoked green mussels. Pictures: Adam McGrath, Hcreations Photography.

You won’t find Canberra’s brand new chef table experience in Braddon. It’s also not in Kingston, nor along Bunda Street in Civic. Instead, chefs Thomas and Larah Heinrich launched Table by Canberra Gourmet in the Tuggeranong suburb of Wanniassa.

What is a chef’s table?

Thomas explains: “It’s a dining experience at the heart of the chef’s kitchen. It’s seeing the magic of cooking food, all the little tricks home cooks don’t know. It’s being able to dine alongside the chef.

In the wake of the launch of their gastronomic meal activity, Canberra Gourmet, this husband and wife culinary team catapulted directly into the realization of another long-standing culinary dream, their first restaurant.

The table offers a front row seat as Thomas showcases his passion for Indigenous Australian cuisine and his flair for combining flavors and textures. Thomas has honed these skills at world-class, Michelin-starred establishments across Canada, the United States and Australia.

Chef Thomas Heinrich

Chef Thomas Heinrich at table by Canberra Gourmet

The life of a chef can be hard work.

“A chef’s journey is long and difficult,” explains Thomas. ” This is a difficult work. You’re always under pressure because most chefs genuinely care about guests enjoying their food, which puts pressure on the kitchen to perform well.

“The better the leader you work under, the better you become. After years of training and pressure, you slowly work your way up the kitchen ladder until you have a deep understanding of what it means to cook and be the chef. Always cook, always learn and always grow.

By concocting new magical taste sensations in the kitchen, Thomas’ chef’s personal journey remains exciting.

“You fall in love with an ingredient. And you start to think: what can I create with this ingredient? The dishes I serve at the Table are some of my favorite dishes, the ones I have learned over the years.

At night, Table’s entrance sparkles with string lights and lanterns along the path leading to its cozy interior. It is an intimate space. Seashell-pink candles and large plates adorn the custom-made wooden table.

Come wanting to discover; it will be an interactive meal. Thomas invites guests to come to his bench and watch him create each course. He explains his processes, how he creates dishes and shares stories as the evening unfolds organically.

You devour Thomas’ food with your eyes before your taste buds even look at it.

There were six dishes in this tasting, so I’ll describe a few.

Delicate curls of fresh trevally sit on a layer of tamarind vinaigrette, the flavors being both tangy and mellow. Refreshing touches of bright red lime add color and texture.

Appearance can be deceptive, but it’s exciting when chefs play visual tricks with food. The dried watermelon looks like meat and the initial bite IS sweet and meaty, but then you get a crunch that refreshes against the smooth gazpacho, smoked goat cheese, and heady black garlic.

Of all the dinner high notes, the most notable is Thomas’ New Zealand Smoked Green Mussels. Earthy mussels smoked over applewood, imbued with the sweetness and spiciness of desert lime and pickled onion, are hidden under a foam of sea green spinach. Each bite is pure poetry.

Lamb belly

Lamb belly! So many delicious flavors.

Pork belly purists, you may have met your match. I give you lamb belly! Under the expertise of Thomas, it is a lamb belly particularly melting in the mouth with a touch of Southeast Asia. The richness of this tender meat and a deep and creamy cauliflower puree is lightened by delicate slices of candied cumquat and the crunch of crispy shallots.

The sesame grilled kangaroo loin is fabulous in a delicate jus, flanked by quandongs, but the dairy-free gratin, thin slices of potatoes layered with macadamia milk with a crispy crust has become the hero. So creamy, how can you not be made with dairy products? The dark green, brittle glass of fried kale is a perfect textural foil for any sweet flavor.

It’s dessert time! It’s hard to believe that the best crème brûlée I’ve experienced isn’t dairy-based.

Thomas Acacia Creme Brulee is a KNOCKOUT dessert! With a sweetness that you continue to roll over your taste buds and the nutty undertones of the acacia seed, its burnt caramelized top creaks satisfactorily under your spoon.

Creme brulee

What a crunchy dessert to finish!

Canberra Gourmet Table is located at 2/65 Sternberg Crescent in Wanniassa.

Dinners take place from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday. Saturday lunch starts at 12:30 p.m. Definitely a treat for dinner, this tasting costs $ 135 per person.

To book your own Table experience, visit Canberra Gourmet.

Follow Table by Canberra Gourmet on Facebook and Instagram. Watch for cooking classes coming soon to Table!

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