A Year in Review – Top Eateries of 2013

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As everyone looks back at the year that was 2013, I try to remember where I’ve enjoyed meals at. People have suggested I do my own top 20 eats in Canberra (and surrounding areas), not all of them are flashy and expensive and not all of them made it to the top 20 list according to the Canberra Times (see below). I’ve eaten at many of these restaurants listed below this year and I don’t particularly agree with some of them just like how I expect for you not to completely agree with my list. I went to Aubergine this year for my birthday (I didn’t get around to posting about it because it didn’t particularly excite me and I fell behind) and I found myself disappointed and bored with the meals. Well this isn’t going to be a critic on their list, just a list I have developed myself based on my own opinions and my own experiences.

Tales of a Confectionist’s 2013 top twenty list

(in no particular order)

Malamay Barton, I might not have loved every course but it still sticks in my mind for all the ones that I did.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/malamay/

Ellacure Bruce, I’ve been there multiple times this year and even if I didn’t get around to blogging about each experience, it has never disappointed.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/lunch-at-ellacure/

Flute Bakery Fyshwick, amazing cakes and pastries! I am still amazed when people have not heard of this place. Just remember it’s only opened Monday – Friday 8 til 3pm and more importantly, no eftpos (or bathrooms).

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/getting-my-fruit-intake-canberra-flute-galette/

The Artisan Narrabundah, even though I went rather recently and didn’t enjoy the dishes I picked, I had complete food envy and other people’s dishes were amazing. If there are mushrooms on the main menu, order them!

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/the-artisan-surprise-party/

A.Baker New Acton, although I can only vouch for their breakfast, not much was appealing on their dinner menu, maybe when they change their menu I would be more excited to go.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/breakfast-at-a-baker/

Mocan and Green Grout New Acton, despite being rather expensive, they small plates that I tasted were amazing.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/quick-dinner-at-mocan-and-green-grout/

Koochi Gungahlin, they sure can cook lamb! A fabulous unique place that I suggest you all try.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/koochi/

Italian and Sons Braddon, fabulous food and one of the best tiramisu in Canberra!

Mekong River Dickson, great hot stir fried noodles and laksas.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/mekong-river-mmmm-noodles-get-in-my-belly/

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/mekong-river-re-run/

Royal Tara Binalong, it might seem like a long way to go but it is well worth it, please don’t let anyone talk you out of ordering the sticky date pudding.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/royal-tara/

Morks dined at Florey, I’ve never had fine dining at a Thai restaurant before so this was an eye-opening experience. Unique menu and I’m keen to try them at their new location.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/morks-restaurant/

China Plate Kingston, Chinese food done really well.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/china-plate/

Frugii ice cream several locations, technically not a shop front (hopefully soon, although you can sample a lot of John’s work at Stripey Sundae in Gold Creek village) but Frugii ice cream seems to be popping up more regularly at Canberra markets and events. He puts lots of thought into his unique ice cream flavours and if you get a chance, you have to try his cakes.

Baitong Weston Creek, everyone has eaten Chinese/Vietnamese/Indian/Thai food so this is something different. Lao food takes a lots of food preparation so it is much easier to have someone else to prepare it for you.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/baitong-authentic-lao-and-thai-cuisine/</

Wild duck Kingston, great fine dining Chinese food with unique dishes like lamb shank in golden sands and lemongrass chicken. Don’t forget to order a serve of fried mantou.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/wild-duck-re-run/

PappaRich Civic, quick, cheap and easy Malaysian food, enough said.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/pappa-rich-malaysian-delights/

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/papparich-rerun/

Can Tho Belconnen, I might only eat one thing here, but they do it soooo well! I’m slowly converting everyone I work with to come here.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/its-a-noodle-kinda-weather-in-canberra-today/

Heng Hing Roast Inn Belconnen markets, a quick cheap place to get your Chinese roast duck on.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/heng-hing-roast-inn/

Bernie’s from the bay Charnwood, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, best Fish and Chips in Canberra.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/bernies-from-the-bay/

Rama’s Fijian Indian restaurant Pearce, a rediscovery of this restaurant since I haven’t been in a while. A good place to get a hot curry.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/ramas-fijian-indian-restaurant/

Special mentions outside of Canberra:

Hanuman Cairns, they have a mixture of cuisines which usually worries me but they made everything really well.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/carins-adventure-hanuman-thai-indian-and-nonya/

il Bacaro Melbourne, fabulous Italian hidden away in the CBD.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/melbourne-long-weekend-il-bacaro/

Le Crouton Freshwater (Cairns), I tried to eat as much as I could here and I couldn’t fault anything, the pain au chocolat is amazing.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/french-patisserie-breakfast-out-in-the-middle-of/

Vivo Bar and Grill Palm Cove, I had breakfast here and it was amazing! My friend told me he had an amazing meal at Palm Cove and it was not surprising to find out it was the same place that I went to!

Lux Bite Melbourne, it will always be my ‘endless love’

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/melbourne-long-weekend-lux-bite-re-run/

Beard Papa multiple locations (not in Australia sorry!), in short if you see one get the Paris Brest with vanilla custard, you won’t regret it.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/beard-papas-hong-kong/

Lord Stow’s bakery Macau, OMG Portugese tart, you are forever in my thoughts.

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/portuguese-tarts-lord-stows-bakery-macau/

Berowra Waters Inn Berowra, I have only been here very recently but I can safely say that it is the best meal I have ever had and that is a very big call!

https://talesofaconfectionist.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/berowra-waters-inn-sneak-peek/

The list (top 20 according to the Canberra Times)

No. 1: Aubergine

18 Barker Street, Griffith, Australia, Australia, 2603
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (23)

No. 2: Italian and Sons

7 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, Australia, Australia, 2612
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (25)

No. 3: Eighty-six

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (61)

No. 4: Silo Bakery

30 Giles Street, Kingston, Australia, Australia, 2604
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (18)

No. 5: Ottoman

Blackall Street, Barton, Australia, Australia, 2600
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (13)

No. 6: Mocan and Green Grout

19 Markus Clarke Street, Acton, Australia, Australia, 2601
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (14)

No. 7: Lanterne Rooms

3 Blamey Crescent, Campbell, Australia, Australia, 2612
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (7)

No. 8: Pulp Kitchen

Shop 1 Wakefield Garden, Ainslie, Australia, Australia, 2602
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (21)

No. 9: Malamay

1 Burbury Close, Barton, ACT, Australia, 2600
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (8)

No. 10: Sage Dining Rooms

Gorman House, Batman Street, Braddon, ACT, Australia, 2612
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (18)

No. 11: Ox Eatery

69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston, ACT, Australia, 2603
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (13)

No. 12: Le Tres Bon

40 Malbon Street, Bungendore, ACT, Australia, 2621
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (9)

No. 13: Water’s Edge

Commonwealth Place, 40 Parkes Place, Parkes, ACT, Australia, 2600
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (16)

No. 14: Rubicon

6A Barker Street, Griffith, ACT, Australia, 2603
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (20)

No. 15: The Artisan

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (16)

No. 16: Grazing

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (31)

No. 17: Jamie’s Italian

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (39)

No. 18: Jewel of India

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (21)

No. 19: A. Baker

15 Edinburgh Avenue, New Acton, Canberra, Australia, Australia, 2601
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (8)

No. 20: Red Chilli Sichuan

75 Alinga Street, Canberra, Australia, Australia, 2601
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Reader ratings (8)

I wish you all a happy, safe and healthy New Year! I’m still working on my last year’s resolution of cooking at home more often but I think Canberra has opened restaurants/cafes/bars recently more than ever before.

Happy eating xxx

 

Oriental kitchen

Long before I was a food blogger, I was a uni student who liked to eat at one Chinese restaurant in the city and was always served by a guy who looked like Monkey Magic, we always ordered the same thing, I would always eat too much rice and the meal would be perfect. I was really sadden when Oriental Kitchen closed up, or so I thought it was. During my quest to find fish and chips in Charnwood, I was delighted to come across Oriental Kitchen again in its new location (well new to me) and I vowed to come again ASAP to see if anything other than the location had changed.

As we sat there and waited for our meal, countless people came in and our collecting their take aways, this place was really popular with the locals (I assumed they were locals and not crazy like us eating at the other side of town).

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Short soup. I found this bowl completely impractical, even when the waitress was sitting it down she was finding it hard not to spill the short soup. The short soup was nice enough, not overly salty and a decent amount of dumplings inside. 

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Spring rolls. Nothing particularly special about these spring rolls although they were served piping hot.

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‘Surf and turf’ hot pot with black pepper fillet steak, snow peas and prawns. This was no longer on the menu but the waitress said that they could replicate it, after all, this is what we came for. As soon as it came out on the sizzling hot plate, I knew it wasn’t going to be the same. The beef was tender but it wasn’t in cubes (yes shape makes a big difference) and the sauce was heavily doused with black pepper.

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Chicken chow mein. This is my measuring stuck for a Chinese restaurant, my pad Thai for Thai and butter chicken for Indian equivalent. I could tell right away by looking at the noodles that this wasn’t the type of noodle that I liked. The chicken pieces were nice and tender but overall, even with the abundant amount of greens (it was 85%+ worth of greens), it was too salty.

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Overall the service was friendly, the food came out fast and cheap but it wasn’t what I remembered the food to be like, if it was, I would travel a lot more frequently to Charnwood. It is just a typical local Australian Chinese restaurant.

Venue: Oriental Kitchen

Address: Shop 2 / Charnwood Shopping Centre, Charnwood Pl, Charnwood, ACT, 2615

Phone: (02) 62588184

Opening hours:

closed Monday and Sunday lunch

Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 2:30pm

open for dinner 5 – 10pm 7 days

Oriental Kitchen on Urbanspoon

The Pancake Place

The Pancake Place might seem like an unusual choice for dinner but they have an extensive savoury crepe menu and then there are some people who still act like they are five and choose sweet pancakes for dinner *looks at TimmyC*.

This establishment has been in Port Macquarie for more than 20 years and it brings much nostalgia to those who used to come here for a treat as a kid, not because it is still open and serving delicious pancakes, but because the decor, friendly hospitality and uniform have not changed much since.

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If we are going to do a kid indulgent meal, we may as well complete it with an iced caramel ($6.50) and iced coffee ($6.50). It is very nicely decorated with cream, ‘tv snacks’ and sprinkles.
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Large stack of 3 pancakes ($14.90) with extra ice cream ($1.50) and extra syrup. Thick fluffy pancakes that have never disappointed. I’m glad that we got an extra scoop otherwise I don’t think they would have gone far enough for three pancakes. I also like how if you want extra syrup they leave it with you at the table.

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Gourmet crepes~

Each savoury crepe comes with a soft roll with delicious butter. The meals came out at lightning speed, drinks and water came out within minutes of ordering and in less than 10 minutes all meals were on the table.

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Bologneseprime ground beef with onions, mushrooms, garlic, tomato and red wine, topped with a mild cheese sauce (lite bites $16.90).

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Chicken and asparaguschicken, mild cheese and asparagus with our creamy wine sauce (lite bites $18.90).

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Mexicanprime ground beef with chilli, capsicum and beans topped with melted cheese (lite bites $16.90). Obviously not authentic, just an Australian Mexican version complete with Doritos corn chips. I chose a small one so I could fit in sweet pancakes for dessert but even after eating the small one I was stuffed. Lite bites just mean there is less filling. The salad was very bright filled with unusual things such as kiwi fruit, watermelon, zucchini, red cabbage, pretzels, tomatoes, pineapple, canned fruit and fresh strawberries.

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Always fast friendly service here at the Pancake Place, but I think that the savoury crepes lacked a bit of salt and flavour having only used very mild cheeses and the ‘cream of the crop’ choice on the menu would be their sweet pancake options.

Venue: The Pancake Place

Address: Clarence Street, Port Macquarie, New South Wales 2444, Australia

Phone: (02) 6584544 They apparently don’t take reservations during the peak holiday season, it is a first come first serve basis but we didn’t have any trouble getting a seat for dinner.

Pancake Place on Urbanspoon

PappaRich – rerun

After hearing about complaints that I went to PappaRich without certain people, off we went together to play the ‘line ride’ to eat Malaysian food after their official opening (see my previous visit before they officially opened here). Initially there was 5 of us for the waiting ticket but after some delays we just cut the number down to 3,  we probably would have gotten in sooner if we initially only had the three of us but by the time we adjusted the number and got seated it ended up being a 40 minute wait. I didn’t find this too bad if you have ever waited for a table for yum cha in Sydney, but for those who aren’t used to it, they might consider the wait too long or the large crowd waiting around too daunting. The annoying thing is that you have to wait around for the ticket to be called, at least at Jamie’s Italian they give you a buzzer when a table becomes available so you can continue shopping until then.

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When we got inside, we were greeted with friendly faces and a bustling crowd of happy patrons.

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Drinks~

These drinks are perfect as a refreshing beverage on a hot Summer’s day.

Lemon Iced tea ($3.90).

Ribeana melon ($6.50).

a blurry photo of an Iced chocolate ($4.20).

and a Mango mania ($6.50).

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We were so excited about so many things, we just ordered what we wanted but the problem with that was the table couldn’t fit all our food despite conglomerating everything as it arrived and just when I thought everything complete, the noodles came and we had to pull up a chair to accommodate it.

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We ordered some things that I’ve already tried before like:

Hainan chicken rice set ($12.90).

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20131215-175459.jpgRoti canai with chicken curry ($12.50), 1 extra roti canai ($4.90).

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Then we ordered some new things:

Pappa deep fried chicken skin ($6.90). I wouldn’t eat this as a ‘main meal’ or anything but as a snack between mouthfuls of curry and roti, it made for an addictive salty snack. The unplucked feathers can be a bit off putting.

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Pappa Char Koay Teow wok-fried flat noodles with prawns, egg and bean sprouts. This dish is mildly spicy ($12.90). I was eager to order this because a Malaysian friend said that they used authentic noodles in their char koay teow here and I was keen to see what that meant. I was surprised to find that the noodles were thin almost like pad thai noodles, but overall I found that the dish a bit bland only consisting of egg and bean sprouts, some fish slices and only two prawns tossed to the side. I much prefer my noodles to have lots of shallots, soy sauce and fatty Chinese sausage.

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Even the fish pieces didn’t offer much in the way of taste. 20131215-175728.jpg

Satay mixed 3 sticks of chicken satay and 3 sticks of beef satay ($13.90). I am always wary of ordering anything other than chicken on a satay stick as I think the other meats get tough and over cooked and it was no different here. The beef satay sticks were hard to chew and were nowhere near as nice as the moist tender chicken. Stick to the chicken satay sticks! 20131215-175622.jpg

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Tandoori chicken ($8.90). I was surprised to find this on the menu but it was a moist chicken leg piece with all the spices served with a creamy yoghurt.

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Dessert~

Roti bom a variant of roti canai. It is thicker and sweeter and served with condensed milk and sugar ($7.90). I was determined to make space for the dessert roti that everyone kept talking about. It really is a thicker roti which made the centre more doughy. I didn’t think it was sweet enough or needed more condensed milk despite other people’s thoughts that it was sweet enough as is but I don’t think it is worth almost $8.00 for a bread with a bit of dip when for a few extra dollars you could get a whole meal with a roti canai. Sorry people, I really did want to love this.

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Despite saying I was full, it didn’t stop me from ‘tasting’ my friend’s meal as we were leaving the restaurant.

I’m used to having my silken tofu dessert with more of a gingery syrup but this had a very caramel/coffee taste to it. The texture was silky, smooth and perfect.

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Hainan toasted bread with peanut butter. This was one super thick paste of sticky peanut butter but overall nothing special.

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Even though I’ve been here twice and tried to order lots of things, there are still many menu items that I would like to try. If you don’t go overboard, a tasty meal can be rather cheap if you don’t mind a bit of a wait to get in.