Addicts

Here I stand waiting for my left overs to heat up in the work tea room having a later lunch than I planned and I come back to find my phone filled with messages of friends who have gone to The Hamlet and Frugii yet again (yes they went last night).
If you have lack of parking in Braddon or if places run out of food, I’d blame these guys.

Mr. Papa is finally selling papas (potatoes) again and Binnys Kathitto have just opened today, so at least they are very fair reasons to go back to the Hamlet. At least I have a(nother) Frugii cake waiting for me when I get home. ūüėÄ

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Dumpling Tuesday

I try to eat dumplings whenever I can but coincidentally, I eat/make a lot on Tuesdays. Last night was no different.

I’ve never made a vegetarian dumpling before but I find that although the quality of the frozen meat filled ones fluctuate, vegetarian ones are always delicious, so stick to those!

In other Dumpling news:
Dumpling Inn in Jamison has not re-opened yet. Boo…
Another dumpling restaurant is opening in Erindale soon. Yay!!!

Last night I pan fried frozen chive vegetarian dumplings
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April’s caravan

I’m sure you have all heard of The Hamlet, heck I’m sure most of you have eaten at there as well (but if you haven’t you must go!). What I thought was the cutest addition between all the meat-a-licious food vans was April’s caravan, serving old school milkshakes and drinks in a funky retro pink caravan.2015/01/img_8785.jpgI love polka dots!2015/01/img_8786.jpgThe menu: what flavour of milkshake would you choose?2015/01/img_8789.jpgI love this old school coffee maker!2015/01/img_8787.jpgDeluxe shake Apple pie ($8.00). I was torn about what milkshake flavour to get between caramel and lime but the lovely girl who was serving me suggested I try a deluxe flavour when I can. Oh my! I could not go past an apple pie. My eyes lit up when I saw that they used Tilba milk. The milkshake had lovely notes of cinnamon and I loved the addition of a short bread biscuit.2015/01/img_8790.jpgA close up of my deluxe ‘Apple pie’ milkshake. I probably would have preferred some ice cream blended into it but you need a good drinks/sweets van when you’re surrounded by food trucks with lots of savoury options. They also have cans of soft drink for $2.50.2015/01/img_8796.jpgVenue: April’s Caravan

Address: @ The Hamlet 16 Lonsdale St Braddon, ACT

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aprils.caravan

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Two Before Ten, anyone? Aranda shops – sneak peek

An awesome write up of what’s to come in Aranda. There was nothing interesting there or at Cook when I lived in the area.

short and sweet

The Juggernaut van - complete with cute wooden spoons The Juggernaut van ‚Äď complete with cute wooden spoons

Who would’ve thought… it figures

That immortal line by Alanis Morisette says it all for me. I have been a regular drive-past at the Aranda shops for near on ten years now, as both my kids have gone through primary school there. Forlorn, abandoned, crappy. Overrun by the activity at the nearby Jamison shops, which was nearly overrun by Belconnen Westfield and has only recently risen from the ashes. Almost everyday for ten years now I wished they would just do something with those shops, anything, but leave that hideous eyesore with broken windows and boarded-up doors. But what would you know, the irony of it, in September last year, just as I was about to farewell my youngest in year 6 to the big world of high school, a wee little pop up of a cafe opens at the Aranda…

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What is more summer-y than a mango and vanilla bean spectacular! It has vanilla bean ice cream, caramelised coconut crumble topped with mango coulis. Mmmm
#kokoblackchocolate @kokoblackchocolate #food #foodie #foodblog #chocolate #food #foodie #foodblog #cbr #localscan #visitcanberra #canberraeats

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The cutest drink I’ve ever seen! Apple pie deluxe shake from @aprilscaravan
Worth the $8 and shattered New Years resolutions. They use Tilba milk!
#shakeitoff #cbr #localscan #visitcanberra #humanbrichure #thehamlet #food #foodie #foodblog #canberraeats

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Lilotang

It was only by chance that I found out that Lilotang even existed when I was browsing through my Instagram and Mount Majura Vineyard said that they were dropping off some of their TSG. Not long after, I found some friends to go with on opening night to see what they had to offer.2015/01/img_8658.jpgThey have a detailed drinks list with an extensive range of sake, but I felt that this was wasted on us because none of us were drinking.2015/01/img_8666.jpgWe were being lead to our table, I love the funky decor of this place. The large mobile panels reminds me of Lanterne rooms.

2015/01/img_8661.jpgThe table is set with all the utensils that you need to eat dinner.2015/01/img_8662.jpgSmall~ small plates to share2015/01/img_8676.jpg

Chargrilled cold eggplant with creamy sesame sauce ($12.50). This was a punch in the face. This dish has very bold pungent flavours of chargrilled-ness (am I making up words now?) and sesame. I found the chargrilled flavours to be too harsh and my friend described it perfectly when he said it was like he had just eaten a cigarette. Even though the flavours didn’t seem so strong after my second piece, I won’t be ordering this again.2015/01/img_8677.jpgRoast Umami vegetables with orange miso in orange pot ($11.50). I must admit I ordered this mainly based on looks but thankfully it was also really nice. A little orange is hollowed out to house uniformly cut vegetables which have a delicate miso flavour to them.2015/01/img_8682.jpg

2015/01/img_8683.jpgSauteed Edamame with shichimi salt ($8.00). This is the quintessential Japanese dish to have¬†while drinking or as an addictive snack. I really liked these and the shichimi salt took it to another level; the chilli heat slowly builds but you cannot stop yourself from eating more.2015/01/img_8680.jpgChicken Namban-zuke with spicy tartar ($16.50). Not many people were a fan of cold chicken and it might seem like an odd description but when smothered¬†into the creamy sauce, this dish reminded me of a potato and egg salad. That might not sound typically Asian or what you’re into but I really liked it, although it is a small bowl for that price.2015/01/img_8687.jpgThere were¬†more patrons hidden behind the walls, the place was filling up and the pace of the food became slower because of it.2015/01/img_8690.jpgRobata~ Everything comes in pairs

Seeing how the yakitoris measure up against each other. There was a clear winner.2015/01/img_8704.jpg

Chicken thigh, inherited homemade yakitori sauce ($11.00). Your typical ‘meat on a stick’ from Japan, it was the more traditional tasting one¬†out of them all.2015/01/img_8696-0.jpgChicken meat ball, creamy egg ($13.50). We were instructed to break the egg and use it to dip the chicken meatball. This dish has lots of yummy savoury¬†flavours and I really enjoyed the onion chunks which gave the chicken meat ball more texture.2015/01/img_8700.jpgDipping my chicken meat ball pieces into the lovely molten egg.2015/01/img_8705.jpgPork belly, yuzu kosho miso ($9.50). I didn’t like the taste of the¬†yuzu kosho miso by itself, you could taste the citrus flavours and something else that we couldn’t describe but when eaten all together it works well, although it was probably my least favourite¬†yakitori comparatively.2015/01/img_8697.jpgWagyu sirloin, wasabi soy ($16.50). We ¬†all saved this one for last on our plates. The Wagyu was ridiculously tender and the wasabi was subtle; the paired flavours work¬†really¬†well together. Despite the price, I was ready to order another serve.2015/01/img_8698.jpgSweet corn ($8.50). There was a fair wait before our corn arrived which is unusual because it just looked and tasted like char grilled corn, not exciting at all, I wouldn’t bother (I really gotta stop ordering corn from restaurants).2015/01/img_8706.jpgMains~ meant for sharing

BBQ Wagyu Okonomiyaki Japanese style savoury pancake ($29.00). This dish contains no octopus but a small amount of prawns just a FYI for people with allergies. For all those who can eat this must do so immediately.

I love how they have added a lot of red cabbage which almost gave it the same texture (and almost the same colour) as octopus. The more filling of the dishes and it is topped with all the yummy¬†sweet sauce, mayonnaise and dried fish flakes. The BBQ Wagyu pieces gave it a big surge of¬†saltiness but there really wasn’t that many pieces to¬†go around.2015/01/img_8718.jpgChargrilled Wagyu sirloin marinated in Japanese Herb miso ($48.00). I ran into some other friends who were at another table and they loved this dish so much that they ordered two more serves immediately, based on this I had high expectations of this dish before it arrived on our table. Watching my friends divide three pieces into four serves was interesting (yes only three pieces for that price), but it was only when I started to watch them cut so effortlessly with just a normal¬†dinner knife did I start to comprehend why it was so expensive. This was a really good Wagyu sirloin! The meat was well marbled, it was tender and just lightly seasoned to not take anything away from its natural flavours. I know they encourage sharing the plates but I was tempted not to.2015/01/img_8725.jpg2015/01/img_8723.jpgOh my, so juicy! Check out that marbling.2015/01/img_8730-2.jpgPork spare rib, black pepper balsamic soy ($30.50). I could really taste a strong Chinese wine flavour to this pork and not much of a black pepper balsamic soy that they claimed to have.¬†Nothing really interesting here just a plate of meat,¬†although they did offer steamed rice if we wanted some. My friends on the other table ordered lamb and they really enjoyed that, maybe I’ll try that next time.2015/01/img_8728-2.jpgThere was a wooden motif throughout the restaurant which was carried on through to the bathrooms, btw mind your step!2015/01/img_8693.jpgDessert~¬†You would think with only two dessert items on the menu that we would have this covered, but I couldn’t convince anyone to have a dessert with me. It took so long to arrive that¬†one of my friends couldn’t wait any longer and left. In the end we waited 30 minutes for a dessert that was cold and looked like it pre-prepared already.

Houji tea smooth pudding with sweet potato ($12.50). I didn’t know what to expect from this dessert because I wasn’t exactly sure what I ordered. What arrived was a cold individual ‘cup’ containing a very smooth pudding with a texture of a cr√®me caramel.¬†This is a very Asian dessert because of the green tea flavours as well as not being too sweet (or barely sweet at all really).¬†At first it had¬†a strong green tea taste but by the second or third mouthful, the flavours mellow out in your mouth. The sweet potato was very sweet and complimented the green tea flavours.2015/01/img_8731-1.jpg

2015/01/img_8735-1.jpg2015/01/img_8736-2.jpgThere were a few hiccups which is expected for the¬†opening night but things ran seemingly smooth for most of the service. There were a few hit and misses between the dishes and between us there were mixed feelings about the restaurant. I personally thought there were enough ‘hits’ to warrant a return visit in the near future although it wouldn’t be cheap.¬†At the end of the night it ended up being $70 pp without alcohol. That might sound expensive at first but I was reminded that we spent basically the same at Akiba. I left content borderline full but I did enjoy the amount of variety that we got to experience because of the structure of the menu.

I wouldn’t have associated some of these dishes to being¬†Asian let alone Japanese but I would recommend you come here and try a variety of dishes.2015/01/img_8673.jpgCheck out FoodPornJournal’s Lilotang visit here, she ordered some different dishes but she too could not resist Wagyu and wasabi. ūüėČ

Venue: Lilotang

Address: 1 Burbury Close Barton, ACT

Phone: (02) 62731424

Website: http://lilotang.com.au/

Lilotang Japanese on Urbanspoon

Frugii Dessert Laboratory

Today was a foodie’s dream as the highly anticipated Frugii Dessert Laboratory¬†had finally opened their doors. I had watched throughout the day as my news feed and Instagram account was covered in¬†photos of a¬†gorgeous cake cabinet filled with interesting looking desserts and I day dreamed about what I would get when I got there.2015/01/img_8615.jpgI had arranged with my friends to meet at the Hamlet at 6:30pm, we did the adult thing and got dinner first which was our first mistake. After eating my dinner at a record-breaking pace of 30 minutes (which is a huge deal for me) we whisked off to Frugii after hearing rumours that cakes were quickly disappearing.

The more experienced foodies such as Michelle from HerCanberra had dessert first and then later on went to the Hamlet for dinner. She’s a smart girl,¬†but even just after 6pm when she went there were only two types of cakes left.

Rumours were true but one cake is definitely better than zero.¬†2015/01/img_8627.jpgThere we were at the back of the line which then quickly turned into the middle of the line as other people joined the queue. I looked at the cake cabinet and there were only three slices left of one type of cake, I felt a little nervous as there was several people in front of us including another fellow food blogger ‘In the Taratory‘. Another cake was taken, now with two people in front of me I held my breath praying that they wanted ice-cream and not cake… Phew! They bee lined straight towards the ice cream.

We’re getting closer to the counter!2015/01/img_8604.jpgI greeted John with a very big smile, ‘one piece of cake please’ I said proudly when I realise the people in front didn’t want cake. Despite being busy John didn’t mind chatting to us while we were being¬†served and he was making us coffee on his gorgeous machine, he and Ed are always so friendly and I’m glad to see they were still like that¬†even after a long busy day which was not over yet.

The very lovely couple John and Ed hard at work keeping up with the demand of their delectable product. I love your new hairstyle btw John!2015/01/img_8611.jpgA strong¬†latte ($3.00 based on mathematics). This was deliberately made strong by request which meant the coffee was slightly bitter but it was very smooth TimmyC described.2015/01/img_8626.jpgFrugii cake¬†pumpkin and olive oil sponge with a strawberry and raspberry jelly, champagne mousse topped off with a white chocolate glaze ($6.00). I couldn’ taste all the complexity of the cake in one mouthful. When broken up in its separate components I could taste the flavours (although I wouldn’t have been able to pick pumpkin and olive oil) but altogether the dominant flavours were the jelly and mousse with a subtle white chocolate after taste. I wish the¬†jelly wasn’t so stiff as it made the cake a little harder to cut downwards with a spoon.

The dessert I really wanted to try was the choux pastry with the lemon lime and bitters.2015/01/img_8608.jpgSmall tub of ice cream ($5.00). We had asked for chocolate and vanilla and it was serendipitous that John accidentally gave us chocolate and pistachio. Pistachio was absolutely delightful and I’m going to add it to my list of ‘favourites’. My friend also got a small tub which consisted of the very popular salted butter caramel and cookies and cream. I’m not the biggest fan of cookies and cream with its usual chunky texture with stale cookies but this had no chunks of cookies but a beautiful blended cookie flavour, yum!2015/01/img_8614.jpgBig tub of ice cream ($10.00). My friend tried lemon myrtle¬†and we all agreed it was nice. This tub could seriously fit a lot of ice cream.

My friend had eaten a fair chunk of his ice cream before I remembered to take a photo.2015/01/img_8617-0.jpgThere is limited seating but it is a very cute design and use of space.2015/01/img_8619.jpgThere is not distinct sign at the front of the Ori building but that didn’t matter, apparently everyone eventually found their way inside. If you don’t know where he is, you have to look for this funky black building on Lonsdale Street. I hear it is cash only at this point(?).2015/01/img_8621.jpgIt’s amazing, Frugii only opened their doors at midday and¬†before 8pm they had gone from 8 types of cakes/dessert down to one and then quickly none.

I wish John and Ed the very best and they will definitely be seeing me more often!2015/01/img_8625.jpg

Venue: Frugii Dessert Laboratory

Address: 30 Lonsdale St Braddon, ACT

Phone: 0438 366 368

Website: www.frugii.com/

Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday 12pm – 11pm

Frugii Dessert Laboratory on Urbanspoon