Char Restaurant – Darwin

Char restaurant is owned by restaurateur John Kilroy. He also owns Jellyfish in Brisbane.


When Jellyfish had to close due to the Brisbane floods, the chefs moved to Darwin and cooked their fish dishes at Char. This was deemed a hit, and even though Jellyfish had re-opened and the chefs are back in Brisbane, the fish menu remains.


John is also a beef judge, so you presume he knows his stuff and Char would serve a decent piece of meat.


If you don’t like fish or steak, then Char is not for you.


When we were in Darwin we wanted to try some of the better restaurants and Char continually rates well. This was the only restaurant we had booked before our trip.


It is a pretty restaurant, predominately outside with a bar and serving area undercover. It is located in the heritage listed Admiralty House and its grounds

After some initial confusion, the tables had been rearranged that day, we were show to our table and offered menus.

Drinks wise we started with a cocktail each. J had a Mojito (fresh mint and lime, muddled with sugar and Matusalem Platino Rum, served with crushed ice and topped with soda).

And I had a French Martini (Absolut Raspberry, muddled fresh pineapple and raspberries and a splash of chambord).

I was having trouble deciding on an entrée, there were four that sounded really good! J said if I picked a couple he would share. I eventually decided on beef tataki and the meatballs (Wagyu Meatballs Sofrito, Charred Ciabatta & Shaved Manchego).


J was also having issues deciding on an entrée, though he was choosing form the Jellyfish menu. He went with the Tian (tiger prawns, crab remoulade, avocado, lemon).


The tataki and meatballs came out first.

The beef tataki was the dish of the night. Beautiful melt-in-the-mouth strips of beef with fresh Tasmanian wasabi.


I also really liked the meatballs, they had lots of flavour and the accompaniments worked really well with them. My only complaint was there was a sardine on top of each meatball, this was not mentioned in the menu. I picked them off and J happily ate them.


J thought the tian was fresh, a good serving and he likened it to a fancy prawn cocktail. I tried a bit but it was too prawny for me.


We then had a glass each of Dalwhinnie Pyrenees chardonnay. J didn’t like it and gave most of his glass to me. He thought it was too acidic and possibly needed more time in the bottle. I will say that the pours were very generous.


There was no doubt in my mind what I was going to select for main course, we were at a steak restaurant! The only question was, which steak? When I can’t decide between main dishes it always comes down to sides. Which steak had the best sounding sides?


I went with the T-Bone, Aged 18-24 mths, 500 grams, Grain Fed 100 days, and served with an Asian style salad including a son-in-law egg. It was the son-in-law egg that won me over, I have always wanted to try one.


J used a different method of steak selection, he decided to go with the smallest size steak, the Eye Fillet, Aged 18-30 mths, 200 grams, Grass Fed. His theory was a smaller steak would mean he would have room for dessert. Sensible man!


The eye fillet was served with potato puree, pea & broad bean, crispy prosciutto, horseradish cream.


Needless to say my steak was huge! As was the knife to cut it.

It was a very good piece of meat, but I couldn’t do it justice. The son-in-law egg tasted like a normal hardboiled egg, so that was disappointing. Probably not the best place to try this sort of thing though.


J really enjoyed his steak. He also chose to pay $5 for the trio of mustards (sauces were the same price).

My one complaint about the staff is they came over about two minutes after we had received our mains to see if everything was alright and if we were enjoying our food. I find this a very American thing to do and a bit annoying. Let me enjoy my meal in peace. If there is an issue with it I will soon let you know.


The staff were friendly and reasonably efficient, there were a few communication issues being that they all have English as a second language but overall they were OK.


We were both pretty full by this stage but were determined to try dessert so asked for a bit of a breather between courses.


It was just nice to be sitting outside relaxing in the warm weather!


When we eventually ordered dessert J went for the cheese, selecting a brie and a cheddar.

He really liked the cheddar, but declared he isn’t a brie man. The accompaniments were quince paste, muscatels, apple and house lavosh and he said really liked those. He enjoyed a glass of 2008 Henschke Keyneton ‘Euphonium’ Shiraz Cabernet with his cheese.

I chose the Dark Chocolate Crème Brulee Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream, House baked Almond Biscotti and I also had a Chocolate Martini (mix of chocolate liqueurs and a dash of cream).


This was a nice dessert but not great. I was really interested in seeing what a chocolate crème brulee looked and tasted liked. The top was crunchy and made a satisfying crack when I tapped it with my spoon but the filling was just like a chocolate mousse, which is not what I expected.

The cocktail was yummy but I have had better chocolate martinis.

After dessert we ordered another red wine for J, and a Grand Margarita (Jose Cuervo Tequila, Grand Marnier, sugar with lemon and lime juice) for me.

We then moved to one of the couches and finished our drinks there. J had a coffee and we settled the bill.


Overall, we had an enjoyable night at Char and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice night out in Darwin.
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