Bon appetit @ Le Tres Bon

——-04/02/2012——-

The phone line was busy when I tried to call and book a table at Le Tres Bon but I was pleasantly surprised when they rang me back and apologised that they were on the phone. ‘I like them already’ I thought to myself. Heading all the way out to Bungendore for dinner might seem a little extreme (it’s not like I’ve ran out places to dine locally) but I had heard wonderful things about the tiny French restaurant nestled in the main street of the quiet town.

I was a little confused as the sign clearly said Le Tres Bon but the front room looked like a little boutique store. After I stuck my head in to double check, the waiter proceeded to take us through to the dining room and seated us in a cute room filled with French themed pictures.

Entree~ The entrees are a wonderful introduction to your dining experience. They have specifically selected and prepared to stimulate your palate, in tune with the season and as an invitation into the world of genuine French classique cuisine.

Carpaccio de poulpe (octopus carpaccio),fresh fennel and oranges. Slivers of tenderly cooked octopus dressed in invigorating summer flavours; fresh fennel and orange segments. Drizzled with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice ($25.00). This was so good, thinly sliced octopus with olive oil and was really well complimented by the sweet orange segments.

Terrine de campagne (traditional terrine). Christophe’s terrine is a blend of pork, duck and veal; marinated in white wine and Cognac with a unique combination of herbs and spices. Served with sour dough bread and a petite salad ($19.00). The terrine was a mix of meaty flavours and went really well with the sour dough bread.

Plats chauds (Mains)~ The main dishes offer you tradition, the sort of food which takes time to prepare. Ingredients are marinated overnight, summer all dau on the corner of the stove. Specific stocks are made in house to enhance these dishes and their sauces. Main courses are served with traditional Alsacienne spatzle and seasonal vegetables.

Carbonnade de boeuf à la bièr (beef and beer carbonade). Prime beef is slow cooked aromatic garniture, beer and brown sugar. This is a classic dish from the north of France- Pas de Calais ($32.00). The beef was very tender but the sauce didn’t have a strong flavour. The ‘alsacienne spatzle’ was very bizzare to eat, I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, it felt like the pasta that gets stuck at the bottom of the pan. The vegetables were nice and soft but still retained their flavour.

Fricassée de lapin à la moutarde (wild rabbit fricassée and French mustard). Wild rabbit marinated and slow cooked in a white wine and stock. Finished with a delicate cream and French mustard sauce ($34.00). The rabbit had a subtle mustard sauce. I’ve never eaten rabbit before (knowingly at least) but it has very small bones and texture like chicken. My experienced rabbit eater friend said it was a tad over cooked.

Desserts~ In contrast to the mains which are hearty dishes, desserts are light to round off your meal and your gastronomic experience, for epicurean discovery and pleasure!($15.00)

That’s right, we chose three desserts between the two of us and we finished every last bit!

Crème brûlée au chocolat blanc (crème brûlée  and white chocolate) No gelatine or powders in this brûlée . You’ll enjoy the marriage of the smooth cream and white chocolate against the caramelised toffee crust. No gelatine you say? I was most excited to try this. This was really good, it had a nice toffee crust with a really smooth  custard but I couldn’t taste the white chocolate.

Crêpe Suzette (orange crêpes). The famous crêpe from Normandy region. Delicious butter crêpes are drenched in thick syrup made from caramalised fresh orange zest and Grand Marnier. I’m not the biggest fan of crepes or orange in my dessert, so it came as a complete surprise that this delicious warm crêpe was my favourite dessert (and definitely the sweetest) of the night .

Marquise au chocolat noir (dark chocolate Marquise). A Marquise is a delicate chilled chocolate dessert- halfway between a mousse and a parfait. Served with a perfumed bergamot creme anglaise. This had a very mousse-y texture with a very strong dark chocolate taste. A must for all the chocolate lovers out there.

Although I found the main courses a little underwhelming, I did really enjoy my entree and all three desserts. I did feel bad for not ordering the French cliché dishes like snails or foie gras but maybe next time. I would love to come again and try more desserts. 

Venue: Le Très Bon Café Restaurant 

Phone: (02) 6238 0662

Address: 40 Malbon Street, Bungendore, NSW 2621

Websitehttp://www.letresbon.com.au/

Entertainment card (11/12): Yes! The offer is a main course for a main course, double check your bill as they thought the deal was an entree for an entree.

Le Tres Bon on Urbanspoon

Punjabi hut – rerun

——-31/01/2012——-

As I’ve mentioned before, Punjabi hut has very delicious food and accommodating to vegetarians and therefore was the perfect place for birthday celebrations. We were a large table and people had their favourite dishes so we decided to go samosas, 6 dishes with sides and double of everything!

Vegetarian samosas– delicious and the sauces compliment them very well.

Pappadums, rice and garlic naan.

Sabzi kormaseasonal vegetables cooked in cashew nut gravy and spices ($15.50)

Beef kormaA mild dish prepared with grounded cashew nuts and creamy sauce ($15.50). Delicious and tender, although maybe not as tender as when I had it @ the Queanbeyan restaurant.

Dal Handiyellow lentils cooked with chillies, coriander, onions and tomatoes ($14.50)  Not the best yellow lentils I’ve eaten but I didn’t come here for lentils.

Malai kofta- fresh cheese and potato dumplings simmered in rich creamy sauce ($15.50) One of the most highly anticipated dishes of the night. Timmy’s cousin had talked it up (big fans of the restaurant) and said it was just as good as the butter chicken if not better- is that possible?! Yes it is! The dumplings went fast but I was even content with just the sauce. Definitely one to order! 

A closer look at the Malai koftadumpling.

Palak paneer spinach and potatoes cooked in traditional style ($15.50)

And of course butter chicken. Delicious as always and I still hold onto my claim that it is the most delicious butter chicken I’ve had. It does disappear fast though, lucky we ordered two. 

——-04/04/2012——-

So yes, I came here again before I even posted about it the second time. This time there were only four of us but we might have eaten the same amount of food as when I came with 14 people!  This time we got the banquet because some of us claimed we were hungry but I can assure you, we were quite content by the time we left.

Punjabi Hut Banquet $32.50/ Per Person (only for 4 or more people)

Mixed Entree Platter Samosa, veggie cutlet, chicken tikka and rum kebabs< that’s right one of everything for each person, no sharing except for the sauces.

Choose any Chicken Curry > of course we chose butter chicken

Choose any Lamb Curry > lamb rogan josh

Choose any Beef Curry > beef korma

Choose any Vegetables Curry > malai kofta (if we learnt anything from the previous  dining experience it was order this dish every time you come here)

Naan/Garlic Naan, rice and pappadams

Side Dish PlatterRaita, Kachumber Salad, Pickle, Mango Chutney

Dessert – Gulab Jamun or Mango Kulfi


I know it sounds like a lot (and the end of the meal it sure did feel like it) but while we were ordering it didn’t seem like that much.

Mango lassi – Punjabi style mango yoghurt smoothie ($4.50) Not included in the banquet and maybe not recommended with the banquet as it is filling enough. It also didn’t taste all that mango-ey.

I really enjoyed the entrees although I do understand the look of some of them might be off putting to some. Definitely the thing to order to experience a variety of entrees.

Sides, rice and naan.

The clear favourites of the night were butter chicken and malai kofta. The beef korma was disappointing and the meat was really tough and although the lamb rogan josh was a bit more tender, it could not compete against the butter chicken and malai kofta. I talked up the butter chicken (a lot) so the pressure was on, but my friends agreed it was pretty darn good.

Malai kofta dumpling

The gulab jamuns have it, the better dessert, warmed and delicious. My friend was skeptical at first with the look of it but in the end she even polished off the syrup. Don’t judge a dessert but it’s cover. 

Still the same friendly and attentive staff every time I come here (and the Queanbeyan restaurant). The banquet is a pretty good deal considering you get a pretty big say in what you get etc, the variety, and a set price for all the dishes that come in the same size as if you were ordering them individually.

Although it is very creamy and rich, butter chicken and malai kofta are my favourite choices. The beef and lamb dishes can vary in tenderness so it is a riskier choice but whatever you choose, I do recommend leaving room to try the gulab jamun or a punjabi malai kulfi for dessert!

Venue: Punjabi Hut

Address: Erindale Shop 3B/38 Gartside St, Waniassa, ACT 2903

Phone: (02) 6296 1088

Opening hours: Dinner 7 nights (5:00pm – 10:00pm) > other locations are open for lunch

Entertainment book: Yes a there is a tear out voucher

Websitehttp://www.punjabihut.com.au

They have now opened a third location in Manuka!

Punjabi Hut on Urbanspoon

Bean and grain

——-01/04/12——-

I’ve been walking past this shop front for ages now and then when I missed a few weeks of shopping at the Fyshwick markets, Bean & Grain finally opened. As soon as I heard, I grabbed a friend and we headed straight to the markets!

The first thing that caught my eye was the cabinet filled with tarts and pastries. My eyes lit up like a happy little girl. 

Oh yeah, there were bagels

and coffee too.

Chicken and curried leek pie ($6.00) I have a thing for curry pies and I’ve never had a curry pie containing chicken, also chicken and leek is a wonderful combination. All in all- an awesome pie! The guy sitting next to us was eating a giant sausage roll and beef bourguignon pie- I asked how his pie was and he said the meat felt dry and it wasn’t the best and when they left, there was still half the sausage roll on the plate. Maybe we were lucky with our pie choice.

Tomato bisque & sour dough grilled cheese sandwichSour dough bread lightly grilled with aged cheddar & gruyere cheese & out signature rich tomato bisque ($19.00) The soup was nice and creamy by itself but if you dip the grilled sandwich into the soup, the serving suggestion from the waiter, it’s magical!

Turkeysmoked turkey, maple chilli bacon, cheddar cheese, sprouts, avocado, tomato & cranberry mayo ($13.00) They ran out of the cranberry bagels by 1pm and there weren’t that many bagels left, so we went with an onion bagel. A great combination with crispy chili bacon, avocado with turkey and cranberry sauce. The Japanese inspired salad was good and a little a bit spicy.

Sweets to go– ’Bob the baker’s’ famous hot cross bun ($1.50 each), chocolate chilli tart ($4.60) and Portuguese tart ($4.00)

It might be a personal preference thing but I prefer more fruit in my hot cross bun so ‘Bob’s famous hot cross bun‘ didn’t cut it for me.

Chocolate chilli tart– a smooth delicious tart, I couldn’t taste the chilli directly but I could feel the slight warm burning sensation on my tongue and throat.

Portuguese tart– not very ‘custard-y’, very thick and heavy with an almost cheesecake texture.

The staff were really friendly and I do like the menu at Bean and Grain although it is limited. I’m keen to come back to try the breakfast menu with all the jams made in house and they have Belgium waffles. 

Venue: Bean and Grain

Address: 12 Dalby St, Fyshwick, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 62959220

Opening hours: Thursday – Sunday (8:00am – 5:30pm)


Bean and Grain on Urbanspoon

hip hip hooray at the Dockyard

——-28/01/2012——-

Well I could say that was my sister’s 21st birthday but as you can tell by the cake, that’s a lie. 

My sister organised her birthday at The Dockyard, a trendy bar over looking the Newcastle wharf (near the Hog’s breath that I went to previously), offering tapas and modern pub food.

A Corona Bucket- a ingenious way of serving a crowd favourite beer.

Meatballs in a spicy tomato and red capsicum sauce (6) ($10.00)

Honeysuckle pizza with chorizo, bacon, Spanish onion, mushrooms and BBQ sauce ($15.00)

Grilled Haloumi and vegetable skewers with balsamic reduction (4) ($10.00)

Lime and black pepper squid with aioli ($10.00)

Twice cooked sticky pork belly with honey and ginger soy ($10.00)


Everything was absolutely deeeeeeeelicious (although I didn’t try the haloumi) so much so that we even ordered more of everything! I like when you order a variety of things and nothing is disappointing. 

My sister especially chose this cute custom made star shaped cake from Bobbie’s cakes and I didn’t think there would be enough but I got to take some extra home with me and that’s all that matters. 

I took a lot of photos with my impatient keen bean hands and only one shot was not blurry, but it doesn’t really do it much justice (sorry about that). I usually peel off the “pretty” icing layer on decorated cakes because it’s usually too marzipan-esque or too sweet but this one was perfect and I ate the whole thing (of my slice not the whole cake!).

This was a delicious dense moist chocolate mud cake with a chocolate ganache that wasn’t another overpowering sweet cake where you have to skull a gallon of milk per bite- a nice sweet ending to a delicious meal.

Even though there were a lot of people, we were not forgotten by the staff at the Dockyard. Drinks and amazing food were at reasonable prices and it’s at a great location. You can’t go wrong coming here for a meal or hosting your next casual function. 

Venue: The Dockyard

Address: No. 13/1 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle NSW 2300

Websitehttp://www.thedockyard.com.au/

Phone: (02) 4915 6558

 Cakehttp://www.bobbiescakes.com 

Dockyard on Urbanspoon

Home is where my heart (and tummy) is

——-06/04/2012——-

It’s hard to show off Canberra’s culinary finest when most restaurants over the Easter weekend were either shut or charging an exorbitant surcharge. I ended up taking my Mumsy and sister to Noble Palace– service was terrible and although the food was good, our experience was tarnished but the long (loooooooong) wait, Tudo– the food was below average (which is a shame considering I love this place) and D’browse– some of the dishes were disappointing but overall it was good.

But the best meals we had over the weekend was the delicious food we ate at home. Steamed scallops with ginger, steamed garlic prawns, marinated pork chops, mornay oysters and tamarind chicken wings. We also enjoyed delicious hot cross buns from the Flute bakery and awesome hot cross bun ice-cream from Mr. Frugii.

I stole these photos from my sister because I was too busy stuffing my face

Timmy made a delicious smooth vanilla bean panna cotta with a plum and cinnamon sauce made with the jam by Black Horse. So creamy and evenly flecked with vanilla bean seeds.

I hope you all had a safe and delicious Easter break!

A dream come true

——-10/04/2012——-

With most people dreading the thought of work this morning (Monday-itis regardless if it isn’t Monday), I woke up feeling excited like a kid waking up on Christmas day. It’s here- finally! The grand opening of the Dream Cuisine Patisserie store!

Although I wasn’t a keen bean early riser like some (with Owen getting there at 5am to start the day), I still had a big smile on my face when I walked through the door just after midday.

From their pamphlet and website:

“Dream Cuisine is take no prisoners, make no compromises sweets and pastry. We use organic ingredients and we make everything fresh by hand. Everything is made in our Canberra kitchen from the freshest natural ingredients. We use organic whole flour, free-range eggs, farmhouse cream, organic milk and fresh seasonal fruit.”

A cute petite store with very lovely colour detailing from the walls to the lights even the chairs.

What did we leave with?

A sampler of a ‘mini macaron’- double chocolate, all 6 available macaron flavours ($3.00)- lavender and honey; salted butter caramel; strawberry and champagne; pistachio and lime; passion fruit and double chocolate

and two flat whites (I don’t drink coffee so I badgered my two friends to try it, they said it was good coffee but not outstanding).

So what have I sampled from Dream Cuisine previously from accidentally/on purpose bumping into them all the time at the markets?

A break down: there’s only so many ways you can say amazing and wonderful so just assume that description for all of the following flavours. 

Coffee (although I don’t drink coffee I still liked this and didn’t find it bitter), strawberry and champagne (tasted more like white chocolate and strawberries but I still liked it) and salted butter caramel (one of my favourite flavours).

Passion fruit(an amazing burst of passion fruit flavour), ‘Real Chai‘ ( Real Chai and this is very true to the flavour), lavender and honey (you can definitely taste both flavours and they go so well together) and raspberry (my first lve- yep it’s the first flavour I had from Dream Cuisine and I’m always sad when they don’t have it). Not shown: double chocolate (a pure chocolate indulgence) and pistachio and lime (they don’t win awards for this for nothing).

Tarts:

Crème brûlée tart, raspberry tart, roasted hazelnut and honey tart, crème brûlée  tart, crème brûlée  tart (approximately $4.00-$5.00 from the markets).

A break down:

Raspberry tart (the burst of fresh delicate raspberries and vanilla bean custard how could you go wrong? I think this is my favourite! Oh Owen, why didn’t you have this today? ), Crème brûlée (yes you might have noticed the multiple pictures, I also enjoy this tart very much. It stays true to its name and has a crunchy top and a velvety custard texture), hazelnut and honey (a great marriage of flavours and not too overly sweet).

If my memory serves me correctly the prices of the macarons have gone up (even though Adriano Zumbo macarons are just $2.50) but if other people around Canberra (and Melbourne for that matter) are charging the same if not more for no where near the quality (texture, flavour and quality of ingredients), I’m ok with that, it might just mean I only eat 3 macarons and not 4. 

Being the first day, they didn’t have all the fabulous flavours and tarts that I wanted, but they assured me during the up coming weeks there’ll be more variety and even hot food! I guess I’ll just have to come back real soon.

Venue: Dream Cuisine Patisserie

Address: 9/18 Whyalla St Fyshwick

Websitehttp://www.dreamcuisine.net.au/

Opening Hours: 6:30am-4pm Monday – Friday (except public holidays)

you can still find them at EPIC farmer’s market on Sat and OBD markets on Sunday.