Char Restaurant

Cnr The Esplanade & Knuckey Street, Darwin

Glass-fronted steakhouse with a courtyard offering select grilled meats & modern Australian dishes.

Housed in the heritage-listed Admiralty House on Darwin Harbour, Char Restaurant is a venue that is steeped in history. The building was constructed in 1937 and was one of the few structures that remained after Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin in 1974. Today, it takes on a new life with Char, though that classic tropical charm that Darwin is so well known for remains close to its heart.

Behind Char is a man who needs little introduction, John Kilroy. John grew up on a beef and wheat property in Central West Queensland and still has a great connection to the land and his farming background. These days he runs three restaurants in Brisbane, Cha Cha Char, Il Centro and Jellyfish, as well as Darwin’s Char Restaurant, which all fall under the Boutique Venues label. He is also a nationally renowned beef judge.

For John, Char combines the best of his two original Brisbane ventures, Cha Cha Char and Jellyfish. Cha Cha Char is dedicated to meat, whereas Jellyfish focuses on seafood. Char looks at both and Darwin is the perfect setting for this - a place where the land meets the sea. Just like John’s Brisbane venues, produce is key at Char. In his eyes, beef is often considered a commodity once it leaves the farm, so he insists on sourcing the best quality beef from a number of locations around Australia.

The Char menu is overseen by the Boutique Venues’ Executive Chef, Angelo Velante. Angelo’s resume boasts work in kitchens all around the world, in one and two-star Michelin restaurants, and most notably setting up restaurants alongside Gordon Ramsay. At Char, he and John have designed a menu that places a great deal of value on provenance. Specifically,

the steak menu, which states where the meat is from, who the supplier is, what it has been fed and of course the marble rating, ensuring that only the highest quality beef is on offer.

Dishes are innovative, filled with local ingredients and cooked simply. The best produce sings on its own and it this flair that shapes the Char menu. Crispy Fried Whole Baby Barramundi served with bonito soy and spring onion is the pick of the bunch in regards to the fish, but who could resist a decadent 250g Wagyu Rump Cap with your choice of sauce and sides?

When it comes to the wine list, John has used Char as a platform to bring a wide range of Australia’s finest wines to the Northern Territory. The menu favours Australian winemakers and also claims the Northern Territory’s most extensive collection of sparkling varietals.

Char Restaurant has brought fine dining to this often neglected corner of Australia. A local venue through and through, Char brings together the very best of Australian produce, producers and cuisine and ties it together with a neat bow.

Photography by Charlie Bliss

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