A.Baker is located in the burnt out remains of the former Acton Hotel (in a relatively new residential, art and entertainment precinct). It is designed to give that increasingly common industrial look – raw exposed walls, exposed air conditioning pipes, a rough wooden floor and open kitchen “to further break down physical barriers between raw product, chef and consumer”. “Raw and confident” per their website. So far so good.
Alas, that is where it ends.
I generally steer clear of writing bad reviews of restaurants, preferring just not to return. In this case I make an exception lest my readers accidentally come across this place (e.g. if you visit the excellent cinema across the road). This is the most pretentious restaurant I have ever visited. It is clearly set up the catch the Canberra would-be seeking a place to be seen. Even they can only be fooled in the short term.
I went there for lunch at around 1pm but, off course, they don’t do lunch. One brunches between 7am and 3pm – how unrefined of me. Having got over that faux pas, I pondered the menu – most of which I didn’t understand – and the thought of smoked fish sounded nice. My dining partner went for duck confit – not any ordinary duck, of course, but Dutton Park duck – with frisee, croutes, house (how common) pancetta and poached egg.
I was under no illusions and, notwithstanding that each dish was around $20, anticipated that the dishes would be small. How wrong I was, they were minuscule and certainly not a lunch. Ah, but of course I was having brunch not lunch.
My fish dish comprised a couple of tiny pieces of fish, actually quite tasty, but totally over-powered by a salsa on a small piece of sourdough bread. The thing you see sprinkled on the plate is dried tapenade. The sprigs of rocket were added to make the whole thing look bigger.
The duck confit pieces (hard to find on the plate though arranged on top by us for this photo) was smoothed in a mixed leaf salad and crutes which translate to oversized croutons of teeth breaking density. If you choose this dish I advise that you remove your teeth if that is an option for you. The house pancetta was almost non-existent.
I have since googled “frisee” and find it to be a variety of endive with curly, pale-green or yellowish leaves. Lucky we didn’t ask what it was and embarrass ourselves. In retrospect that might also be frisee on my plate (fish dish) and not rocket.
Service was very (unacceptably) slow, the staff seemed rather put out that they had to deal with customers and, worst of all, the place was dirty. Rustic, bohemian, basic are all good with me – downright grubby and dirty – No.
I do accept that restaurant reviews are very personal and if you are not hungry, have money to give away and are not fussed on cleanliness then this indeed might be a good option. The coffee was fine.
There is a bar downstairs and you can purchase home made breads. Having seen enough upstairs we didn’t partake of these additional offerings.
Opening Hours Seven days 7am-10pm, bar open later
Address: Pavilion Unit 2, 15 Edinburgh Ave, New Acton
Price Comparison: more expensive than average