Plaka

When I mention ‘Plaka’, people think of great steaks and pizza, when I think of Plaka, I think of missed opportunity.

I never got to eat at the Plaka restaurant when it was at Mawson, although I’ve had many people recommend it to me after they had closed for three years. Lucky for me, they have re-opened in a new location in Dickson where The Copa Brazilian BBQ restaurant once was. 20140807-122427-44667639.jpgApparently some of the artwork have been taken from the old location and taken to the new restaurant now located in Dickson.20140807-122702-44822962.jpgMy eyes darted around the menu. I didn’t know where to start. I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. Oooh lamb cutlets, oh no wait, lamb souvlaki, oh wow they have mousaka too! In the end, there was no way around it, to taste as much as possible I was going to need to order the mezze plate.

Greek Mezze Platter traditional mezze served with greek salad, chips and grilled pita bread. Spanakopita and tiropita (homemade filo pastries); kefalograviera and feta; chicken and lamb souvlaki; lamb cutlets; vegetarian dolmathes; keftedes (greek meatballs); kolokithokeftedes (zucchini balls) with a mix of homemade greek dips (tzatziki, taramosalata and hummus) ($38.00 per person). Plaka only had several bookings that night and what they didn’t expect was for the restaurant have two table turnovers before we even got there, so they had run out of kolokithokeftedes. 😦20140807-122428-44668999.jpgA mezze platter for three people.20140807-122545-44745826.jpgSpanakopita and tiropita (homemade filo pastries). The pastries were flaky and buttery with a delicious filling, even TimmyC really enjoyed them and he doesn’t usually like ricotta and feta.20140807-122609-44769209.jpgChicken and lamb souvlaki. It amazes me how they have kept the meat perfectly moist while being cooked on a skewer. The chicken had a lovely lemon-y tang to it while the lamb had a strong lamb flavour but lacked a little salt. 20140807-122432-44672147.jpg20140807-122605-44765890.jpgLamb cutlets. They marinate their lamb in herbs but don’t season it with salt but I guess that allows you to add enough for your liking. The meat cutlets were big and tender, very tasty.20140807-122604-44764487.jpgVegetarian dolmathes. There isn’t much I don’t eat but I must admit that dolmathes is something I don’t enjoy. I find the flavours and the oil that it is saturated it unbearable but I took a chance and had one, I surprisingly ate the whole thing. The flavours aren’t as strong and the filling wasn’t completely oily.20140807-122548-44748880.jpgChips. I didn’t really see the need for chips and with everything sitting on top, most of it got soggy but I did sneak in a few in my meal to go with all the meat. 

Pita bread. I was sad to find that they get their bread from Sydney, that seems a bit too far to travel for bread, so I guess I’ll just have to come back more often and eat it here. I was told to wrap a variety of salad and meat in the bread and eat it with all the combined flavours. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to get dips too with the way the menu was written but even without the dips and zucchini balls, we were stuffed and we couldn’t finish the platter.

Keftedes (greek meatballs). I applaud whoever made these. These were cooked through nicely while being fluffy and moist. A great mixture of breadcrumbs, mince and herbs. YUM!20140807-122607-44767656.jpgDessert~ Not only did I eat slowly making us the last people in the restaurant, everyone else before us had eaten all the delicious desserts leaving baklava as the only choice but I was completely fine with that.

Baklava. It’s a big call, but I going to say it is the best baklava I’ve ever eaten if not, at least in the top two! TimmyC promised me his piece because he doesn’t usually like baklava and yet when he tasted it he couldn’t stop eating either.20140807-122648-44808828.jpgI was dining with one of TimmyC’s friends who is the nephew of the owners and with that  privilege I was able to meet the family. By the end of the night, I was ready to become a Greek and move in! They were so super friendly and I loved their food. I was a bit annoyed at the end of the of the night though, they wouldn’t take any of our money even though we insisted.

Plaka have just opened last Saturday (2nd Aug) but with old patrons coming to find them and new ones excited to try them, they get very busy and I would advise booking early to not miss out on anything.

I’m a huge fan of seafood but I currently can’t eat any at the moment (don’t ask, it is just easier not to argue with a Chinese Mum) but when I can, I would definitely come back to try their seafood. I asked them how often they receive seafood and they said everyday (wow!), their prawns come from Coffs Harbour and the rest come from the south coast.20140807-122704-44824253.jpgAlthough they don’t have pizzas right now, there are plans in the future to expand hours to cover Saturday breakfast, maybe have a lunch sitting, eventually bring back pizzas and maybe do BBQ kababs. *licks lips*

Venue: Plaka

Address: 5/55 Woolley Street, Dickson, 2602

Phone: (02) 6249 8880

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 6:00pm till late

Wesbite: http://www.plaka.com.au

Plaka on Urbanspoon

That Gelato Place re-run

It’s always hard to explain where I went for dessert and I answer with ‘that gelato place‘, it makes me sound obnoxious and vague but that is really what it’s called. Now with different opening hours during Winter, my friend and I were able to squeeze in before they closed after dinner at Ming’s.

They stock a large range of award-winning Pure Gelato gelato. I tasted a few flavours that I thought I would like but upon tasting them I didn’t like their interpretation. I ended up choosing white chocolate and hazelnut while my friend couldn’t help herself but get the waffles with tiramisu gelato.

See my previous post two years ago (wow, that was ages ago!) here.

Waffle with a scoop of tiramisu gelato and chocolate topping. The smell of freshly made waffle started to fill the store and seduced other patrons into getting one also. The waffle wasn’t cooked long enough and it was more like a pancake molded into a shape rather than a crispy waffle.
20140712-202853-73733503.jpg1 scoop of white chocolate and hazelnut gelato. I had tried several flavours and I started to feel bad for trying so many but there wasn’t one where I was like ‘wow I must have more’ so I just chose the one that I liked the most from my samples.20140712-202855-73735004.jpgThese are the new Winter hours.20140712-202852-73732064.jpgIt’s nice to have something like this on the south side.

 

Ming’s Restaurant

Several people have mentioned Ming’s restaurant to me but I didn’t get around to going there until we needed a family friendly restaurant in the Woden area. A larger sized group meant that we got to try a variety of dishes.20140712-201909-73149415.jpgSpring rolls with beef mince ($3.60 for 2 pieces). Nothing really special, I didn’t really get much meat in mine, just lots of air pockets and cabbage although they were deep-fried well, being crispy but not overly oily.20140712-200558-72358219.jpgPan-fried roti (4.00). Pieces were cut up into quarters, my piece was crispy and warm while my friend who got a piece before me had a cold soggy piece. I don’t think one piece of roti should be this expensive unless they are made fresh.20140712-200559-72359539.jpgBelacan beans ($14.80). It’s hard to describe the taste but it wasn’t for my palette, I’m used to having these beans in a different way.20140712-200936-72576489.jpgShantung chicken ($15.80). So I only had blurry photos of the shangtung chicken which didn’t make the cut so there are no photos. I thought they did this really well, the chicken was super tasty with plenty of pickled cucumbers underneath. I would definitely order this again and it was a real crowd pleaser.

Honey King prawns ($18.80). Made really well with big prawns but then again I’ve never had a honey prawn that I didn’t like.20140712-200939-72579279.jpgBeef Rendang ($16.80). I loved this! Hands down the best dish of the night. It has a bit of a chilli kick to it and it was borderline too hot for me but I couldn’t help smothering my rice in the delicious rich sauce anyway.20140712-200937-72577983.jpgRock salt squid tentacle (Australia produce) ($17.80). A bit daunting to look at if you’re not used to eating this type of thing but it was tasty. I would have wanted it to be saltier with a bit more garlic, shallots and chilli but at least the pieces were easy to chew.20140712-201258-72778768.jpgSpecials board~ I am always so self-conscious when I take photos in a Chinese restaurant, I always feel eyes on me like I’m trying to steal secrets back to my parents Chinese restaurant even though both my parents are retired. For this reason, I decided not to walk to the specials board in the centre of the long wall and take photos of the description of the dish and the price, so sorry this is what I can remember to the best of my ability.

Fish in two ways, ginger and snowpeas and chilli sauce. I didn’t mind this dish but my preference is for steamed fish with ginger and snowpeas. Seafood dishes are more expensive obviously, I think this was around the $30 mark.20140712-200601-72361117.jpgGolden pork chops. I expected a more juicier and salty pork chop and a bit more ‘wow’ but I didn’t get it from this dish.20140712-201257-72777430.jpgI think Ming’s do some Asian dishes really well but they don’t have signature dishes that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Their advantage is their extensive menu ranging from Chinese, Malaysian to Nyonya style clay pots and their location. I would love to come back and try more dishes like noodles and dry chilli beef, it would be nice to have a place that does these dishes well in the south side area.20140712-201910-73150813.jpgThe venue is really spacious and because it is away from the mall area, it is really easy to find a park. The place is family friendly and has a large range or dishes to suit everyone.20140712-201912-73152399.jpgVenue: Ming’s Restaurant

Address7-11 Botany St Phillip, ACT

Phone: (02) 6282 9799

Website: www.mingschinese.com.au   << I just checked out their website and it has a really good layout with a great online ordering system which I did not expect from this little restaurant. I am very impressed!

 

Ming's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Dinner at the Boat House

There was a little of me that wanted to check that I couldn’t just treat people to a 4-7 course fine dining experience without all the excess wedding hoo-ha, so to put my mind at ease TimmyC took me to an impromptu sneaky dinner at The Boat House. I was tempted to get try the truffle degustation but to see their calibre of food without a reoccurring star ingredient, we chose from the four course a la carte menu.

Four course menu $80 (it is in the Entertainment book, don’t forget your gold card/app!).

The Boat House is always inviting with their attentive service and freshly house made bread and butter.20140727-225006-82206066.jpgFirst Course~

Morks

I’ve been wanting to try out Morks since they’ve moved to the Kingston foreshore and with my cousin and her family visiting, I couldn’t think of a better time to go.

Entree~

Three crunch salad, eggplant and chilli jam ($12.00). I must admit, I sort of rolled my eyes when my cousin ordered this salad. I didn’t come here for salad, I came here for awesome amazing dishes, but boy was I blown away by this and it was probably one of the most delicious things we had during lunch. In my defense, no where on the menu did it mention pork crackle. If it had that in the description I would have ordered it myself. Indeed it did have three ‘crunches’ in there – pork crackle, noodles and nuts. This combined with the fresh flavours of the mixed herbs gave this dish an ‘uplifting’ feeling and it was rather addictive. I would definitely recommend this dish as well as reorder it myself.20140728-204620-74780208.jpgSoft shell crab, curried potato and leek ($16.00). Well made in terms of being crispy but not oily although it didn’t compare to the salad. 20140728-204651-74811642.jpg

20140728-204653-74813078.jpgMains~

Farmer’s Pad Thai (g) ($25.00). I was keen to order this to see how they would make it. I thought the chunky pieces of chicken would be dry but they were quite the opposite, very moist and tender. At first I thought the dish looked a little disjointed with the chicken separate from the noodles, the bean sprouts and the perfectly cooked egg off to the side but it allowed me to pick and choose how much I wanted of each element on my plate. The noodles tasted somewhat lime-y which I loved but I would hate to have ordered a $25.00 pad thai and still be hungry afterwards, as it wasn’t the biggest serve of noodles.20140728-204725-74845370.jpgA close up of the lovely moist chicken pieces.20140728-204655-74815873.jpgBeef chuck stewed mussamun style, chilli bread (g) ($28.00). Really tender chunky beef pieces in a rich nutty sauce. I thought it as unusual to serve it with bread and not rice but with the chilli kick in the bread, it sorta works.20140728-204726-74846747.jpgDessert~

Egg in Hay homemade coconut ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, roasted coconut, roti, pashmak ($15.00). The toasted coconut with the addition of the crispy roti gave the flavours and feeling of a lovely aromatic deep-fried ice-cream shell. The different textures of this dessert working really well together and I would definitely order this again.20140728-204757-74877031.jpgDefinitely not on my cheap eats list but I find that Morks defy the norm and aren’t scared to do something with your typical Asian dishes whilst using fresh ingredients and flavours that work well together.

Venue: Morks

Address: 18-19 Eastlake Parade, Canberra ACT 2615

Phone: (02) 6295 0112

Morks Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Espresso Room

I’m glad that with fancy coffee places popping up left right and centre in Braddon, Civic and Belconnen that Tuggeranong was not left out. My Mummy wanted a coffee so an idea sparked from my head and I wanted to take her to the Espresso Room in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome.

A simple set up with a few seats but there are a lot of take aways going on.20140802-125953-46793068.jpgWritten on their website: “The concept of Espresso Room is one of a company owned and operated by its own Baristas. This assures a high level of passion and quality goes into the making of every cup of coffee. Baristas are trained in the use of many different brewing methods and techniques.”20140802-125951-46791756.jpgI’m glad that they participate in Project Origin where they develop long business relationships with growers for a sustainable future.20140802-125950-46790411.jpgWell this is lovely and thoughtful. 🙂20140802-130015-46815311.jpgSmall latte ($3.50). Mummy really enjoyed her coffee and her latte art made me smile, I thought it was super cute.20140802-130013-46813841.jpgI must admit I had an ulterior motive when I took Mum here for a coffee but she doesn’t need to know, let’s call it a silent “win win” situation. Kronuts were $4.50 each, I couldn’t decide on a flavour so I chose both vanilla cinnamon and chocolate raspberry. 20140802-130016-46816873.jpgThings were disappearing fast from the boards, I thought I’d bet buy them now as they might sell out when I come back.20140802-130018-46818298.jpgChocolate and raspberry kronut ($4.50). They both didn’t look attractive by the time we got home with the oil penetrating through the brown paper bags but I did like how them the vanilla cinnamon had a custard filling. I didn’t really get a ‘kronut’ feel about these pastries, they weren’t very crispy like a croissant and it was more like a cross between a krispy kreme donut and a jam/custard filled donut. I forgot to ask where they source their pastries from.20140802-170059-61259288.jpgIt looks like this chain of stores are over taking Canberra with two other locations already in Woden and Belconnen and a store in Civic to open soon. Go check out the Belconnen store (located across from Fernwood Belconnen, right next to Outback Jacks.) this 6th Aug 2014 for their free coffee day between 7:00am – 5:30pm!

Venue: Espresso Room

Address: Shop 1-178 Tuggeranong Shopping Centre, Greenway, Canberra (near the Target entrance)

Website: http://espressoroom.com.au/

Store Opening Times:
Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Friday 9:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm