By day, it’s a humming canteen-style spot for civic workers. By night, it’s a destination restaurant with a sophisticated menu. So what ties Canberra’s Terra together?

In the same way Firedoor’s Lennox Hastie and Arkhe’s Jake Kellie strive for fire, so too does Terra co-owner and chef Sungyeol Son. And while he and business partner Anthony Iannelli formed Terra with primitive cooking in mind, nothing about their operation is underdone. The service is polished and the space is sleek, clad with textured walls, warm timber and black metal finishes.

At the heart of it all is a massive custom rotisserie from WA, proudly on show with everything from whole chooks to scorched pineapple. A vertical offset smoker takes care of fall-apart 18-hour Angus brisket, while the grill is all about steak – among the best you’ll find in Canberra.

Turn up for breakfast and you’ll be met with thick bacon and egg buns, and coffee by Melbourne import Duke’s. Lunch is another story – organised chaos, in fact, with lines out the door most days. Choose your protein (think brisket, spit-roasted pork belly and friends) and a smorgasbord of sides, salads and condiments displayed along the “terra bench”. (Try the miso chat potatoes, they’ve been on the menu since day one.)

At night the lights go down, the bench is cleared and a menu emerges. Little pig's head croquettes. Whopping flame-grilled tomahawk steaks. Smoked broccoli with hummus, bottarga and grapefruit. Even desserts aren’t exempt from the flames. You might get that spit-roasted pineapple with a sweet pineapple sorbet, or coal-roasted bananas with dulce de leche and whipped mascarpone.

The wine list goes all-in on characterful expressions from minimal-intervention producers. As for cocktails, there’s a rotating line-up of classics spun with a seasonal twist.

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Updated: February 21st, 2023

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