Peppercress 

It might seem odd that I took TimmyC and some friends to the Southern Cross club in Tuggeranong to eat, especially when no one had heard of Peppercress. I however, have wanted to go to Peppercress for years ever since I saw FPJ‘s post about fine dining in Tuggeranong and now with its recent addition to the Entertainment book it was the best time to go.

We had arrived a bit late because I became a member (which allows me to go to several other clubs) but we were promptly seated, given table water and a menu with the specials. I was really surprised to find that each menu category came at a set price; all the entrées and desserts were $12 and all the mains were $25.00 which was really reasonable when you’re talking Waygu beef cheeks, Black Angus Sirloin steaks and lamb rump.

Entree~ (all $12.00)

Calamari and chorizo salad house specialty pan fried haloumi, baby salad leaves and orange dressing. I chose this entree because I like all the ingredients individually but I was curious to see how these flavours worked together. The calamari was extremely tender and easy to chew although its flavours were overpowered by the spice of the chorizo and the salt from the haloumi. I did like the addition of the sweet orange segments which gave it a real sweet and refreshing feel.

Scallop and cauliflower roasted cauliflower and hazelnut soup, seared scallops, coriander persillade. Scallops are often paired with a cauliflower purée but when I saw the words ‘hazelnut’ and ‘soup’, I was super confused. The scallops themselves were rather small and thin which sat in a pool of bland cauliflower soup with a strong hazelnut after taste. I think they needed to add more of the coriander seasoning or salt which might have helped with the flavours. I didn’t really enjoy this.

Bruschetta with chef’s choice of topping ($6.90). I was really puzzled not to see a single tomato/Spanish onion/balsamic vinegar on the plate but my friend pointed out that the menu did say ‘chef’s choice of topping’. The haloumi was over cooked which made it dry and crumbly like fetta and not soft and ‘squeaky’ like it should have been (the haloumi in my salad was fine). I think I would have disappointed if I ordered this without reading the menu properly.Mains~ (all $25.00)

Moroccan lamb rump house specialty slow cooked and served with rosemary and potato rosti, Madeira jus. It looked a little dry as I was cutting pieces but when I took a bite it was really moist and tender. I really liked lamb flavours mixed in with the seasoning but it was made better when I dipped it in the jus. I had to eat my rosti fast as it sat there in a pool of sauce it was quickly losing its crispiness.

Berkshire pork, baked apple and crackling celeriac puree, cider and caraway cream sauce. The baked apple was the smallest albeit cutest little apple I have ever seen. The pork was very lean and therefore made it really dry especially as you worked your way through the thicker part. The sauce was very nice but there wasn’t enough to go around to cover all the dry shreds which I told TimmyC to not bother finishing. It really needed layers of fat through or on top of to give it some sort of flavour and maybe help the meat to be a little more moist. I asked the waitress what cut of pork it was as it was very lean and became very dry, she agreed that what we had left on the plate looked very dry and she had never seen that on a customer’s plate before.Black Angus Sirloin char grilled sirloin of naturally grown grass-fed from Riverina region in NSW, served with horseradish and potato purée, watercress salad and cafe de Pars butter. My friend asked for the steak to be rare and although it did come out pretty red, she would have preferred it more uncooked as it was a little tough to cut through and a little chewy for her liking.48 hour braised Tajima Waygu beef cheek Parisian mash, button mushrooms, speck and rich thyme jus. My friend described this as ‘beef clouds’ and with that description I had to lean over and try some; I agree that it was a very accurate description. It was effortless to cut and the tender beef with all the rich flavours of the jus and creamy mash just screamed winter comfort food. This was my pick for the best main on the table, how is it that it is only $25?!

Thick cut chips with lemon and rosemary flavoured sea salt ($6.90). They did give us more than in the photo, it was just my instinct to eat and it wasn’t until half way through the serve did I realise that I didn’t take a photo. They were served hot, crispy and well seasoned, all that you would want in a chip.Dessert~ ($12.00)

Noting that I was taking photos of all the food, the waitress had had a bet with the chef that I was going to instagram my meal. She asked me straight up if I used instagram and if I was going to put a photo up of my meal and when I said yes, she was extremely happy that she was right. She then said if we ordered dessert, the chef was going to make it extra pretty. TimmyC had already chosen his dessert before we ordered our meals so of course we were going to order desserts! Apparently everything but the ice-cream and edible flowers is made in-house.

We asked if the desserts were going to be prettier than usual, what happens if other people come in wanting the same level of prettiness? She said that they could ask for their desserts to be made just as pretty and the kitchen would do it. So I urge you dear reader if you ever happen to come to Peppercress, ask for your dessert to be extra pretty.

Soft centred warm chocolate pudding house specialty served with vanilla bean ice cream rolled in crushed pistachio (made to order and took 20 minutes). When I had taken a photo of this dessert from every angle, I wanted to dip a spoon in for a photo to show off the cake’s consistency. It was slightly gooey/moist but it had no chocolate sauce, which the waitress said that there usually was. It didn’t matter; it was still warm and decadent which was balanced out by the ice cream and nuts.

Braeburn apple and macadamia crumble with blackberries and cream. My friend really enjoyed his dessert. It had a nice mix of fruit with a nice spice blend, topped with crunchy crumble topping. It was made better by cream that it was served with.

Traditional crème brulee served with short bread. There were a lot of different desserts I wanted to try but I settled for crème brulee as everyone else on the table had my other options covered. It was served with the cutest little row of flowers and a beautiful caramelised sugar hard top. The custard itself was smooth but it had a very thick consistency. With all the over decorating they forgot the short bread. It was one of the biggest serves of brulee I have come across.Eton mess new season strawberries, raspberries, messed in whipped cream and meringue, served with vanilla bean ice cream. I was sad to see that the raspberries were not fresh and that there was only one strawberry but it didn’t stop this dessert being the best one on the table. The mix of berries with the ice cream and cream made for a refreshing summer dessert and the flavours complimented each other perfectly (think strawberries and cream).

We found the staff to be most friendly, patient and helpful. We were pleasantly surprised with the calibre of food here but I wouldn’t have described it as fine dining. It has a relaxed environment and would be perfect for large family get togethers. I would come back for the mains and desserts and skip out on the entrées unless they improve.

Venue: Peppercress

Address: Southern Cross Club, Pitman St, Tuggeranong, ACT

Phone: (02) 6293 7200

Opening hours: Dinner Wednesday – Saturday from 6pm

Entertainment book: yes! It’s in there, don’t forget to use it.
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Double Shot

It was a spur of the moment that we went to Double Shot in Deakin for brunch. At first I was going to go somewhere else in the south side region, but just before we got into the car I asked TimmyC if I changed our brunch area to Deakin would it be that much further away on our way to Fyshwick, when he answered ‘no’ we bee lined straight to the Deakin shops.

I have hardly been in the area, so when we were browsing the shops wondering where the cafe would be, we turned around to see a very very busy cafe with cool outdoor seating. I was dreading the waiting time but we were there already and made the trip out especially, so I was willing to wait. Looking around while waiting for a table, it seemed like babies and dogs are almost mandatory here with most people having one or the other.

There are basically four ‘sections’ to the cafe: out outside.Outside/coveredInside near the counterwhich is near this cake cabinet!Or their extended insideWith such a big capacity and still being very busy was a good sign that the food was worth waiting for.

I usually take note of timing in a venue, we were slightly dismayed by the length of the line to get in but after 15 minutes of waiting we were able to get a seat inside. We were given a menu straight away and ordered within 10 minutes. I was guessing we would get drinks in another 15 and food would take around another 15-20 minutes more considering how busy it was but after 10-15 minutes of ordering we were given drinks and food. I was super impressed!

I thought the upside down planters inside looked really cool. It must take a lot of time and care to water these plants.Make your own juice my go to juice is orange, pineapple and ginger ($7.00) and a flat white in a mug ($4.70). There was a lot of foam build up towards the end of my juice. It was very nice juice but it could have done with a tad more ginger. TimmyC really enjoyed his coffee. Eggs Benedict with bacon free range eggs, choice of bacon, salmon, baby spinach or gypsy ham topped with hollandaise sauce ($18.00). I didn’t start digging into the Benedict as I was busy with my two dishes but after three bites, TimmyC said he really liked his eggs Benedict and then in the breath of his fourth bite he exclaims they are “exceptional”, leading me to dip my fork in across the table. The hollandaise was nice and the eggs were cooked perfectly but I liked my choices of brunch better because they were different to the usual breakfast menus.Poached pear pistachio crumble, chai tea panna cotta, pomegranate and blonde agave nectar ($15.00). The pear was rather big and was poached perfectly. The sweet flavours of the fruit really balanced out the flavours of the subtle chai panna cotta and the coconut. A nice blend of spices and textures.Chicken breast, avocado, smoked cheddar and aioli toastie ($10.00). Simple ingredients but it was an awesome combination. I have a friend who loves chicken sandwiches and I think she would love this one too. I could not believe how delicious this simple toastie was! A close up of the toastie itselfI envisage lots of trips to Double Shot in the future and I know it’s early and a big call but Double Shot might quickly become one of my favourite places to eat if they keep their food standards and service up. I am super keen to try more of their breakfast menu as well as their lunch offerings.

Venue: Double Shot

Address: 7/18 Duff Pl, Deakin ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6162 2027

Sundays: 10% surcharge on Sundays
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Bowing to the Churros King

After posting about Oliver Brown and their churros, I got to talking to Lisa from blithemoments about churros in Canberra. There was one place that I have been meaning to try their churros and it is the only thing they serve so you would expect it to be good. The Churros King resides as a little cart amongst the Hamlet crew just inside the entrance way on the right. Their menu is simple: churros dipped in either chocolate or caramel sauce, 1 churro ($2.00) or 6 churros ($10.00).

I had just eaten a combination of roast pork roll with extra crackling and a souvlaki wrap and was looking for something a little sweet. It was the perfect time to try a churro (and someone was actually running the cart that night). TimmyC chose a chocolate dipped one; the only down side is that the sauce is really only on one end, fortunately the churro had a subtle sugar coating so even without the sauce it was still a little sweet. I like the star-shaped churros as opposed to the kit kat like bars from Oliver Brown for the crunchy texture. The batter is squirted straight into the deep fryer, fried until its crispy and then dipped into your choice of sauce. I like the ‘fresh and hot’ aspect but it did mean it was a tad oily. I definitely want to go back and try the caramel sauce.

Not the greatest photo in the world, but know that an impatient hungry boy was holding the churro and I was holding a pork roll in one hand and try to focus the camera with the other

Venue: Churros King

Address: The Hamlet, 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, Canberra, 2612

Hamlet opening hours:

Wednesday – Saturday 12:00pm | 9:00pm

Sunday 12:00pm | 3:00pm
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Fillos Souvlaki

Gone is BurraBerkshires free range food van from the Hamlet and up popped Canberra’s newest Greek eatery: Fillo Souvlaki, which opened less than 3 weeks ago. I hadn’t been to the Hamlet in ages (in my mind) and while I was tempted to go to good ol’ faithfuls like Broddogs and Mr. Papa, but I couldn’t help but try something new.

The menu from Fillos Souvlaki, what would you order?Souvlaki pita lamb souvlaki wrapped in traditional pita bread with tomato, lettuce, onion, tzatziki and chips ($12.50). I wanted something easy to eat not knowing if I was going to get a seat or not so I opted for a pita bread wrap that had my favourite things in it: Greek lamb, tzatziki all wrapped together with chips inside. It was a nice mix of ingredients, between the refreshing flavours between the fresh salad and the sauce, it meant that it wasn’t too meat heavy, but I did expected the lamb to be a little more tender and less chewy.I didn’t have to wait long at all for my order, I was trying to instagram a photo but they were just too quick. I don’t know if I’ll have cravings for souvlaki pita like I do for a chanchito or a roast meat roll from the Spit Shack but the addition of a new unique food van is always welcome to increase food choices at the Hamlet.

Venue: Fillos Souvlaki

Address: The Hamlet, 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, Canberra, 2612

Opening hours:

Wednesday – Thursday 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm | 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Friday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm | 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Sunday 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

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Tuesday eats, Sunday treats

I have had this idea when I first started my blog however many years ago and I have finally gotten around to writing it.

When I stayed with TimmyC’s family for a few years, his Mum thought it was ridiculous that there were so many able bodied people in the house yet she was cooking every night of the week. That’s when the concept of designated cooking was born.

We were all to choose one night of the week and cook dinner for the family. TimmyC and I chose Tuesdays as we were most likely to be home, his Dad chose Sundays, his brother flipped somewhere between Thursdays and Saturdays but we were never home to try his cooking and his Mum filled in the gaps. Fast forward a few years later, TimmyC and I had moved out but we kept with the tradition of Tuesday night dinners, his family would come over for dinner and they would bring dessert and we would go over on Sunday nights and it would be our turn to bring dessert. Hence the name: Tuesday eats, Sunday treats.

We have been cooking Tuesday dinners for over 7 years now and we attempt to mix it up a little, trying new things when we feel adventurous but now if I’m documenting Tuesday and Sundays maybe I’ll up the ante a bit more. It feels like we are on one of those cooking shows where they cook a meal in a time limit, TimmyC and I both work full time so dinner has to be made with less than 1.5hrs prep for 6-8 people (one could argue I could prep things the night before but we just aren’t that organised), two of which are vegetarian. I’m not vegetarian myself but I feel that just ‘omitting the meat’ doesn’t make the best vegetarian meal so I usually go out of my way to make another dish which is vegetarian friendly. When we come home, it looks like an Ajax commercial where we are frantically trying to prepare the meal, clear the dining table and set it for dinner guests.

When we first started cooking together, I remember yelling at TimmyC a lot. His cooking experience was limited and he would do silly things like walk around with a sieve full of icing sugar without anything underneath. Seven years later, we have both found our groove and work cohesively in the kitchen, cleaning up as we go (it’s the easiest way to do it) but I am still ‘head chef’ as TimmyC usually doesn’t know what we cooking until on the night, where as I have thought about the weather, what is in season, what vegetarian option would be equivalent and the most efficient order to do things in.


Tuesday eats

What better way to start than with last night’s Tuesday’s dinner (yes I’m posting this late). I’m still not feeling 100% so I chose the easy option of pasta bake as I had ample pasta, cheese and vegetables. Even at the age of 30 I have to ‘hide’ extra vegetables in my meal so I won’t notice it and this is definitely one meal that you can do that with. I usually make my own sauce but while I was at the shops buying a roast chicken I grabbed some pre-made pasta bake sauces as well *gasp*.

I sautéed some diced carrots, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red capsicum corn kernels off the cob (basically all the vegetables I had) and garlic. I just wanted to soften the vegetables, cook the pasta, stir the sauce and vegetables through, throw it in a baking dish and top with ample cheese and throw it in the oven. That way all the oven has to do is melt the cheese because everything is already cooked and ready to go.

I would usually make another vegetarian dish but this was easy to substitute the meat for something else. I spooned enough mixture to fill a loaf dish into a bowl and threw in some diced grilled haloumi so there was a salty aspect to the dish and for the rest of the pot of pasta I stirred through some roast chicken pieces (all cooked and ready to go, all I had to do was shred the meat and eat the limbs as a perk of being in the kitchen, another aspect to make this dish ‘easy’).

The more colour the better! I also tossed in handfuls on basil that I had in the fridge, I should really stop buying it unless I have an intended use for it.Bread leaves the table as quickly as it is placed down so I usually have some sort of bread as a side. To contrast against so much carbs and heavy food, I wanted to serve dinner with a side of crispy refreshing salad. I looked up a recipe for apple and celery salad and came across one that had a tangy dressing to go with sweet apples. I also changed the dice of the apple and celery so it was matchsticks rather chunky like the pasta bake.

When we first made this dressing, I thought we would need more of it but it is rather quite strong so it only needs a light coating.I love a good golden brown cheesy top! I also added some sesame seeds for extra calcium.Dinner is served! The pasta bake sauce I used was a bit spicy and really lifted the flavours of vegetables and cheese.
Sunday treats

I get random cravings for sweet things and this week I wanted an apple tea cake with a crumble topping. It might sound really specific but I haven’t had cake like this before but it made it easy and specific to google. I used taste.com‘s recipe and accidentally whipped cold-ish butter with sugar and eggs rather than beating the eggs and sugar first and adding melted butter in. Silly me, I was multi-tasking and also making a chicken stock. It still turned out alright, I would have preferred a more moist cake but maybe it was the way I mis-read the instructions. I think I would make this again and maybe substitute some of the butter for apple sauce for a healthier option (and it might make it more moist?) and also change the crumble recipe for a more crunchy version. The apple tea cake with crumble topping was a little dry for my liking but I served it with TimmyC’s freshly made and still warm custard so you couldn’t tell.

Chris’ patisserie and bakehouse

I like a bit of variety in my shopping so when I went to Weston Creek and drove out of the car park, I had a double take on a shop front when I had a glimpse of ‘patisserie’ in the name. I started messaging locals to see if they had been to Chris’s patisserie and bakehouse which had apparently opened three months ago. My friend who was intrigued went there and bought a large tart ($29.00) to take to a dinner party and she said it was really tasty which prompted me to take TimmyC at the first chance we got.It was a busy morning but we were greeted with smiling faces at the counter. When I asked who ‘Chris’ was, a young polite handsome man smiled and put up his hand, it appears to be a family business where they assured me that all the bread, pastries, tarts, cakes etc were all made in-house.

A large selection of cakes, tarts, slices and biscuits to choose from.They also have pastries and muffins.And a selection of quiches and croissants with fillings.I was a bit hazy with the prices, not everything was labelled and I was too busy choosing something to eat but the thick shake, pie, croissant and large coffee came to $17.00.

Vanilla thick shake. I sat there waiting like patient bear as multiple coffees, table water and toasted sandwiches were served to other customers. All our food had been served and half eaten while my thick shake was no where in sight; just as I was about to enquire about my missing beverage it appears and I stir it around with the straw, it didn’t feel very thick. I had a sip and it tasted like a milkshake and nothing more. It was served at the same time as a child’s milkshake, maybe they had gotten the order wrong and I just got what that kid got. When we were served a vanilla creme brulee which we ordered later, we asked if the drink was really a thick shake, when the answer was yes and I said it felt very runny, the owner quickly ran to the kitchen and returned with a replacement thick shake moments later. The second one was much thicker (still not crazy thick) and had a lovely subtle sweet vanilla flavour.Cheese and bacon pie ($5.00). A meaty pie with a little bit more bacon than your average cheese and bacon pie, but nothing particularly exciting.

Croissant. It has a lovely pastry network inside but it wasn’t buttery and flaky. It felt more like a squishy bread roll.

Large flat white. TimmyC said it was mediocre coffee.Vanilla creme brulee ($5.90). I felt that I didn’t try enough of their menu so I told TimmyC to go choose another sweet from the cabinet, he got the creme brulee which I thought was odd to have in a bakery (it is served in a ramekin so I presume you can only have it when dining in?). They pre-prepare the base and store it in the cabinet and sugar is caramelized on top before serving. The toffee ‘hat’ broke beautifully under the knock of my spoon which revealed a velvety smooth custard. I didn’t understand that since there was a toffee layer, how there were still some granules underneath the sugar top that didn’t caramelize, it didn’t do anything to the taste it just took away from the smooth custard texture.I didn’t have an overall amazing bakery/patisserie experience here but I’m not convinced it is a bad bakery, maybe I just didn’t choose their specialty items, which the website suggests is their cakes and bread. I don’t know how much their bread costs but I thought the large tarts and cakes had a hefty price tag (tarts $29.00 cakes $50.00) but I’m determined to try one soon, maybe not this week though.Venue: Chris’s patisserie and bakehouse

Address: Unit 1, 27 Brierly Street, Weston ACT 2611

Phone: (02) 62880587

Websitehttp://www.chrispatisserie.com.au/

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 7:00am | 4:00pm

Saturday – Sunday 8:00 | 3:00pm
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Lazy Sunday start

Who said only the early bird gets a good breakfast. I lazed around in bed for hours before deciding to listen to my grumbling tummy. The poached pear from Double Shot is fantastic. #sofranksocial #cbr #breakfast #lazysundays #canberraeats #canberrafood #localscan #food #foodie #brunch