All You Can Eat

When you mention ‘all you can eat’, most people would think of the the dodgy looking Family Food Court upstairs in Dickson (which is now closed) or the Star Buffet down in Kambah, but there is more that Canberra can offer.

See below for more all you can eat options.

Kusina 

Monday Madness 5pm – 9pm ( $24.00 pp). Choose one of the platters or better still go with someone else to get a chance to eat a bit of everything, just finish your platter before ordering more. Monday Madness is served with unlimited papaya salad, rice and soft drink.

Grilled platter grilled pork belly marinated with sweet BBQ sauce + grilled chicken marinated lemongrass, ginger, garlic, soy

or

Fry up platter crispy chicken wings + crispy pork bellyUntitled.png


Park Hyatt Canberra Afternoon Tea ($59.00pp)

Enjoy the famous afternoon tea buffet during Friday (2:30pm to 5:00pm), Saturday and Sunday (11:00am to 1:30pm and 2:30pm to 5:00pm) at the Park Hyatt. They have an array of savouries, finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, a selection of tempting cakes and slices and includes a glass of Lerida Estate Zenzi sparkling wine.


The Promenade Cafe

This is one I’ve haven’t tried yet but they have a breakfast buffet, seafood buffet and a BBQ and roast buffet! This is the information I found on their website.

Breakfast
Daily Full Buffet ($39.00pp)

Lunch
Saturday Full Seafood Buffet with antipasto, hot and grand desserts ($75.00pp)

Sunday BBQ and Roast Buffet with bountiful seafood, soup of the day with fresh bread, live cooking stations, gourmet salads and selections of antipasto, hot buffet dishes, farmhouse cheeses and decadent desserts ($85.00pp for cuisine only or $115.00pp inclusive of unlimited beverages for 2 hours that includes Australian sparkling, white and red wine, draught beer & soft drink).

Dinner
Wednesday – Sunday  Full Seafood Buffet with antipasto, hot and grand dessert ($75.00pp)


Up 2 U ($25.00pp)

During the cold winter nights, you can warm up with a personal steam boat with your friends at Up 2 U in Belconnen. There is a large range of meat, noodles, vegetables, seafood options and condiments.

If ‘all you can eat’ hot pot isn’t for you, you can also order their delicious claypot rice or BBQed skewers.


Eightysix ($86.00pp)

That’s right, you can get all you can eat at a fancy pants trendy restaurant. Apparently no disclaimers, just let them know you’re ordering the all you can eat menu, order until your heart/stomach’s content and try and be out before the next seating (usually two hours). We greedily ordered all their desserts because we could!

Their pasta range is A-MA-ZING! Read my latest visit here.

 

There is a huge variety in the ‘all you can eat’ sector from sweets to Asian to modern Australian, all with a varying price tag. Which one will you be trying?

 

 

 

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Sanur’s Balinese Restaurant

My friend is a huge fan of Balinese food and since she had to use the Entertainment book, it was a winning combination to go to Sanur’s in Belconnen. We went late on a Friday night without a booking and easily got a table for two.

Starters~

Sanur’s deluxe platter for two a platter of mixed spring roll, chicken satay, sweet corn patties and battered prawns ($18.90). When we went to number the platter in order of preference, it varied a little but we agreed that the sweet corn patties were our least favourite (they were a little dry and not much flavour) and the chicken satay was the best thing on the plate (the satay sauce was nice and the chicken was succulent). I was pleasantly surprised that the spring roll had meat inside but my friend didn’t like it because it reminded her of a Chinese spring roll.Mains~Crispy Ayam battered marinated chicken thigh tossed with garlic and aromatic salt ($18.90). This dish was like addictive fried pop corn chicken. I would have preferred a little more garlic and aromatic salt but that didn’t stop us from devouring the whole basket.Gulai Bebek Balinese style yellow duck curry with lychee and Asian vegetables ($21.90). Not my usual go to curry but I really appreciated the curry sauce which had lots of depth to its flavour. Let’s face it, I just needed a good sauce to dip my roti into.Kangkung Pelencing (seasonal) stir fried water spinach with garlic and chilli ($15.90). I love water spinach but ooooh lordy, this was HOT! I’m not the best to gauge chilli heat as my tolerance is low (albiet getting better) but even my friend who loves hot food struggled. Needless to say that most of the dish was left as it was too hot for our palette. I ate a lot of rice after every mouthful.Roti pratha Indonesian style bread, cooked to order and good compliment for curries (2 pieces $5.00). The roti was hot and flaky and went perfectly with the curry just like the description promised.Food came out rather quite promptly and the service was friendly. I was last here almost a year ago for my birthday. I had a banquet with the 10+ people I was dining with and we all had different favourite dishes but we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Don’t forget to use your Entertainment book voucher!
Sanur's Balinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mrs Fields | Now Open!

I just saw this in my email and had to share! I had no idea that Mrs Fields was coming to Canberra! Check them out at Westfield Belconnen, level 2.


 

The best cookies in the world are now here! Mrs fields is an award winning cafe, known for their coffee and delicious mouth watering treats. Come in and relax or takeaway their large range of sweet treats. Mrs Fields is located on level 2 (opposite the glass elevator)ankseiq4yxm7it21i93o

2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Four foodies met up a month ago to have dinner; Michelle the foodie from HerCanberra, The Food Avenue, Food Porn Journal and myself. Where others would talk about world events, pointless gossip and the weather, it was no surprise that we just talked about food. Even after we ate dinner where we ordered so much that all the dishes took up every inch of the table and everyone but me said they were super full, we were still talking about food, especially what we were going to eat next.
Michelle had been to 2 Yummy twice before to do a suckling pig banquet. Yes you read that right, a suckling pig made into 6 courses that can have to share with at least 9 other friends. That was definitely the next place we were going to go. Fast forward a month, lots of messages and keen friends later, we had booked a table for 14 people, one suckling pig pre-ordered with a $50 deposit paid and a karaoke room booked next door to continue the fun all night long.

This is the menu of all the dishes that one suckling pig turns into.  Some of us made a face of doubt when we were presented with the suckling pig, how will this small pig feed all fourteen of us?First up were suckling pig pancakes. This is usually served with duck but the crispiness of the skin provided a perfect candidate for substitution. I would have preferred more meat underneath the skin but I assumed it was being used in another dish.

There were two servings on either side of the table and there were enough for two pancakes per person. Yum!Start with a pancake, smear on some hoisin sauce, choose a nice piece of meat and a slice of cucumber and you’re ready to roll.Next up was suckling pig with jelly fish. This is how Chinese people usually have suckling pig so my eyes lit up. For those who haven’t eaten jelly fish before, it is cold, chewy with a texture unlike anything else; it usually also has a bit of spice to it. Add a bit more of hoisin sauce and you’ve got an awesome mouthful between the chilli of the jelly fish, the crunch and fat from the pig and some sweetness from the sauce. There’s a bit of meat under the skin and this would have been ideal for the pancakes.   Deep fried suckling pig meat with lemon grass flavour. The courses had been staggered until now, once the two ‘entree’ portions were served, the rest of the banquet just flowed out from the kitchen and I found it very hard to keep up because I am a slow eater/was taking photos. This was deep fried but not oily, the lettuce served underneath it paired perfectly well to give a refreshing watery crunchy with the deep fried meat. It reminded me of peking steak with subtle hints of lemongrass.Stir fried suckling pig meat with house special sauce. The odd thing about this dish was the broccoli was stone cold and obviously pre-prepared around the plate while the meat was extremely hot (in both senses). I didn’t expect that the dish would be so chilli hot and it took me by surprise when I ate some and then I shoveled a lot more rice into my mouth. It was still tasty I just wish I had some warning.Suckling pig meat cooked with bean curd in a hot pot. It didn’t exactly come out in a hot pot but everything retained its heat really well still. Despite being a huge meat eater, I really enjoy bean curd and I found this particularly delicious because it soaked up all the sauce from this dish. I ate more of this than the suckling pig meat (but I guess I am also having pig in every other dish). Stir fried suckling pig with handmade noodle in OX sauce. This was one of the dishes that I was looking forward to the most. I love handmade noodles and I love suckling pig so this was a winning combination, but I found it one of the most oddest dishes I have ever eaten. The texture and the taste of the noodles reminded me more of pasta than noodles. OX sauce has a strong and distinctive taste that I didn’t feel that this dish had. Overall it was more bland in comparison to other dishes, so I ended up piling other dishes and sauces on top and mixed it through to help it a little.With 14 people at the table, I was the last one eating. I wasn’t crazy full like everyone else when I  stopped eating, I just got bored eating the few dishes were left. So basically if you’re anyone else you’ll leave being very satisfied and regretting your last two mouth fulls because it pushed you over the edge.

Despite having four more people that we needed for the banquet minimum, there was plenty of food to go around and it was all delicious and diverse. I would easily grab another 9 people and do it all over again very soon.

Venue: 2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Address: 3/114 Emu bank, Belconnen ACT 2617

Suckling pig banquet: $40.00 pp, you need to order a head and pay a $50 deposit and a minimum of 10 people to participate

Phone: 0262516622

Wonder meals re-run 

There are three types of Chinese restaurants: 1) the Westernised Chinese restaurant that can be found in most suburbia shops 2) the more traditional Chinese restaurants with Asian delicacies and then there is Wonder Meals.

I have always found Wonder Meals very bizarre; everything from the name, the strange decor down to the menu, which had changed since I had last been. I can’t fully describe it. Menu items include poached tripe with duck blood curd, cold dressed pigs ears and pungent and chilli chicken gizzards just to name a few. I was trying to warn my food companion that things on the menu are a bit strange but we will stick to the ‘safe’ side of things which may or may not be to our detriment.

Set up with chair covers, linen napkins that you will never get to use and surrounded by fake flowers, just another day at Wonder Meals.Steamed and fried bread ($10.80). This was the first thing to arrive within minutes of ordering and I was pleasantly surprised to see it served with condensed milk but it meant that we were eating sweet first. Obviously the fried version tasted better than the steamed but the steamed buns make for good sauce moppers, so we left them for when the main dishes arrived.Fried beef fillets with abalone mushrooms ($20.80). This was very garlic-ky and salty which was balanced out by the boiled rice. It was a fairly big serve because it felt like we kept eating the same thing over and over again; I got a bit bored of it towards the end.Fried garlic shoots with shredded pork ($15.80). I had ordered this previously and it wasn’t as nice this time around. I thought the garlic shoots weren’t at their best which made the whole dish very mediocre.Pan fried dumplings (guotie) ($12.80). After getting fairly full from the previous dishes and being over an hour after we had initially ordered, I just assumed that they had forgotten about these but apparently they didn’t. I tasted the first one and it was very (temperature) hot but left a bitter vegetable taste in my mouth, I then asked for soy sauce and it made it much more tolerable.I was surprised that the restaurant was so busy on Friday night but I did sense the feeling that a lot of tables started to get frustrated with the service after being ignored several times and having to wait a long time between dishes. You really have to come here yourself and order some ‘out of the box’ items to decide if you like it or not. Maybe I’ll be more adventurous next time.

See my first post about Wonder meals here.

Pho hub

I convinced a close friend of mine to move our weekly lunch to a new location, not only was I hazy on the details like where it was exactly, but I had no idea where the best place to park was either.

Pho hub is a new a Vietnamese restaurant in the Belconnen area located across the mall on Benjamin Way near Remedy (by Lonsdale St Roasters). We both ended up parking in the Westfield mall and so did everyone else it seemed because it was nearly impossible to get a park Friday lunch time. Despite being very busy, we were seated straight away and given menus.Fresh rice paper rolls with duck goi cuon vit served with hoisin sauce (x2 $7.00). My friend was keen to order the lemongrass chicken in a fresh paper roll but they had accidentally given us the duck version but we were too hungry to care. We both found it very underwhelming as it was packed with noodles and lettuce but only had tiny torn scraps of mint, I expected much more herbs than that. I don’t think these were worth ordering.Hello, herbs? Anyone home?Garlic chicken wings canh ga chien toi (x4 $6.00). I really really like chicken wings and so I ordered the these; they sounded really delicious in theory but what we ended up getting was really just pan-fried chicken wings which might have had a sprinkle of garlic powder (?). The accompanying soy sauce was pretty sweet and despite all the little chunks of garlic in the sauce, it didn’t taste very garlicky but it did make the chicken wing taste better than without it. I still prefer the pan friend chicken wings at Tu do.Beef rice noodle soup (pho tai) sliced rare beef with rice noodle soup ($12.50 regular). One of us had to order the pho when the restaurant is called Pho hub! My friend ended up ordering this when I saw pork chops on the menu, I only tasted a spoonful of my friends pho and found the broth was very peppery and oily; not the best broth I’ve had at a restaurant (once you’ve tasted homemade you really cant’ go back) but the serve was a decent size.

Grilled pork chop with tomato rice (approx $12.50). I had high hopes for their pork chops being a Vietnamese restaurant. The pork chop itself, even in the thicker cut areas was very tender and moist although but not much flavour. The rice was okay, it was had a subtle tomato flavour that I doused in the fish sauce but I didn’t eat the cucumbers and tomatoes as they appeared to be cut a while ago and had a dry dehydrated look to them. I was a bit puzzled by the pickled vegetables but they were addictive despite being chilli hot.

My favourite pork chop it still from Can Tho (Michelle you must go!).     It was exciting to eat somewhere new and different and while the busy patronage gave us high hopes, we won’t be rushing back to Pho hub again. We are still in search of a decent authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Canberra.

 

Venue: Pho Hub

Address: 39 Benjamin Way, Belconnen ACT 2617

Phone02 6251 0367

Opening hours: Lunch 10am – 3pm daily

Dinner Sunday – Wednesday 5pm – 10pm

Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 10:30pm

Pho Hub on Urbanspoon

Bharat International re-run

It has been a while since I’ve blogged about Bharat International, but I have been going there on and off for years. Although, I felt that the food and cleanliness of the area was going downhill during my last visit and so I’ve held off on going back until a work colleague mentioned that when he went to get some sweets before Diwali that there were new owners and that the place looked a little different.

I had hoped the change was for the better as Bharat International was my window into traditional Indian food and sweets that you wouldn’t usually find in Indian restaurants that have made all their dishes more mild and creamy to suit the Australian palette.IMG_9562The differences are subtle but the place looked a lot cleaner, they have shuffled things around and most importantly they still serve choley bhature! It is still an ‘order and pay’ at the front counter situation but they don’t have the flashing number in the dining area and instead they yell out the ticket number which can be sometimes missed if you’re talking excitedly amongst friends.

I went with my friend who has an Indian background and I had many questions to ask him as I read the menu. Besides the usual lunch menu, the new owners have expanded and added a list of chef specials of curries and specialty items. Additionally they have also added ‘thali‘ options, so someone could taste an array of different things with the added bonus of a discounted price.

Pani puri ($4.99). I have never seen this in my life! It was handy to have a friend who knew what he was doing. He quickly put spoonfuls of the centre liquid in each delicate crunchy ‘basket’ and we quickly put the whole thing in our mouths. It was unexpectedly really cold on my teeth but eventually my teeth got used to the temperature and I started to explore the taste sensation of tamarind sweet and sour water balanced out by potatoes and onions with a crunchy texture. The second ‘shot’ of pani puri, I was more prepared for the temperature against my teeth and it was much nicer.

Have you seen anything like this? If I wasn’t with my friend, I wouldn’t know how to eat this.IMG_9582Chat papri ($5.99). This is a little harder to share but in my mind it was like adding the shards of pastry from a samosa to a pool of yoghurt, tamarind chutney and hint of mint. These delicious mouthfuls was like eating a broken vegetarian samosa with lashings of sauce added on top and I would definitely get this again; I just have to remember what it is called. :/

Chat papri is pictured on the right next to the choley (chickpea curry).IMG_9574Choley Bhature. I still love this dish, the bread is a little oily but it goes really well with the chick pea curry, onions and pickles. We are all familiar with naan, roti and other Indian breads but I’ve never come across bhature until I went to Bharat International.IMG_9572Malai kofta ($13.99). Okay I’ve fallen in love with the ‘Westernised’ version of this from another restaurant so when this didn’t taste exactly the same, I wasn’t the keenest on it although my friends tasted my sauce and absolutely loved it. The little patties were very potato-ey but I found the sauce to be a whole lot of cream and very bland. My friend proceeded to eat the rest of my dish as I moved onto something else.IMG_9579IMG_9581Rice ($2.50). This was a mountain of rice for $2.50, although it felt a little dry even for basmati rice.IMG_9576Mango lassi ($4.00?). Your average mango lassi, I had it in anticipation of coming across something hot. I thought it was a small serve.IMG_9575Goat curry. I couldn’t remember which one my friend ordered but she liked her curry a lot.IMG_9570Masala dosa ($9.50). This was the crispiest crepe I’ve ever had and I loved it. The filling consisted of strong curried potato flavours with mustard seeds and served with a side of something made mixed in with desiccated coconut. The accompanying sambar was nice but being a heavy meat eater I probably would have preferred a meat component but I loved the crepe.IMG_9586A peek inside the masala dosa.IMG_9588An assortment of sweets. I’m not quite sure what any of these are called as my friend snuck off and surprised us with a plate of sweets to share but when he describes the process of making each sweet, it is elaborate! That clear looking one on the right is apparently made from pumpkin; it had a really interesting texture that was really syrupy.IMG_9591The shop is much more tidy and although differences were subtle, it makes a huge difference to the atmosphere and sets the new owners apart.IMG_9564They have moved the freezer section and added more freezers. It looks much better and more organised nowIMG_9569Not much difference in the dining area except for the TV screens showing Bollywood movies.IMG_9594I like coming here because when my friend describes the cooking and preparation of these Indian dishes, it sounds tedious and very laborious; it is much nicer to go somewhere and buy everything you want from savoury items and complex sweets. I would recommend not coming here just before Diwali as the line can be very long and slow as it seems like everyone in town is in there.

King of Curries

Going to the King of Curries was the back up plan after our initial lunch plans fell through, but we were hungry and happy to go where there was a friendly face. Situated on the back streets of Belconnen, I did not know that this place existed and drove there under guidance of a North sider local.IMG_4643.JPGAfter ordering entrees, my eyes starting stinging because my sensitive eyes could sense the strong presence of onion from the kitchen. It was unpleasant for a little while but subsided after the entrees were served.

A simple set up within the restaurant but very neat and tidy.IMG_4658.JPGComplimentary pappadums while we wait for our meal.IMG_4659.JPGVegetarian platter for two assorted vegetable platter – samosa, vegetable pakora, spring rolls ($13.90). Although this was for two people, we split it amongst four people after having ordered four curries with rice and naan for mains, they were nice enough to cut the samosas in half. I found the pakoras really interesting as I had never seen them in patties before. They had an addictive and surprising chilli factor about it, luckily for me the sauce was sweet and complemented the assorted entrees but I did have to suck on my lassi afterwards. The samosas were made well and there was nothing special about the spring rolls other than the fact that they were being served in an Indian restaurant (in their defense it wasn’t like a Chinese /Thai/Vietnamese spring roll).IMG_4662-0.JPGA close up of the pakoras.IMG_4661.JPGMango lassi cooling yoghurt drink made with mango pulp ($4.00). I had to get something to brace myself of what was to come after our entree so I ordered a lassi. It was more yoghurt-y and runny rather than thick, mango-y and sweet, but it did the trick and cooled my mouth down.IMG_4663.JPGAn insanely bright rice to match the colour of my lassi.IMG_4664.JPGWhen asked how we wanted our curries, my friends were lovely enough to allow them to be all mild but one. I’m the worst Asian ever.

Lamb rogan josh (mild) authentic lamb curry from the foothills of Kashmir ($16.95). Distinct lamb flavours with tender lamb pieces.IMG_4665-0.JPGBeef Vindaloo (hot) an ever popular dish for spicy lovers; boneless meat cooked in home ground spices and herbs in tangy sauce ($16.95). I only had a bit of this. I didn’t think it was too hot at first but the spice hits you at the back of the throat later on.IMG_4666-0.JPGGarlic naan ($3.00) and plain naan ($2.50). These came out ridiculously hot and delicious. I’ve had a lot of naans in my lifetime (which by no means makes me an expert) and I really liked the naan here.IMG_4670.JPGPrawn Goan style King prawns cooked with rich coconut gravy, curry leaves and muted (mustard?) seed and finish with fresh coriander ($19.95). Something a little different, although all the curries seem to be mild, rich and creamy, they all had distinct flavours that are hard to describe.IMG_4669-0.JPGPeanut chicken (mild) boneless chicken cooked in homemade peanut sauce, lemongrass, herbs and mild spices ($17.95). It is always tempting to go the ‘usual’ during Indian dining despite the venue, but one my foodie friends insisted we get the peanut chicken rather than the butter chicken. I know what you’re thinking, ‘how could you not get a butter chicken?!’, but this ended up being my most favourite dish of the meal and I didn’t think about the missed butter chicken after my first bite. The surprising thing is that I’m not a huge fan of peanut sauces outside of desserts. It was very mild and creamy with tender chunks of chicken.IMG_4667-0.JPGThere are a lot of Indian restaurants in Canberra, there is nothing really stand out-ish about this one, but it does make me want to branch out try other dishes from my usual ‘go to’ list or at least come back to get more peanut chicken with some naan. They also have a variety of lunch specials that start from $10.00, bargain!

Venue: King of Curries

Address3/31-35 Nettlefold Street Belconnen, ACT

Phone: (02) 6251 0140

Opening hours:

Wednesday – Friday lunch from 12pm – 2pm

7 days dinner 5pm – 10pm

King of Curries on Urbanspoon

Outback Jacks re-run

I didn’t think I would be back here in a hurry and it puzzled me that another franchise of Outback Jacks was opening in Civic but due to over shopping on my part, we thought we’d stay within the Belconnen mall to get dinner rather than venturing out to the suburbs which was the original plan. It also really helped having the Entertainment book voucher which provides a ‘complimentary main meal’ when another main meal is purchased.

They were nice enough to accommodate for my friend who can’t eat pork (very sad I know) and replaced the pork ribs from the Steak and Ribs combo with lamb ribs 100 day grain feed 300g rump and out meaty Jack Daniels basted pork ribs, served with chips and salad ($39.95). My friend really really enjoyed her ribs! I have never had lamb ribs before but now I’m curious to try. Her steak which she ordered ‘rare’ was bordering towards medium but I think the deliciousness of the lamb ribs made up for it.IMG_4682.JPGPrime rib on the bone (400g) served bone in to maximise tenderness and improve flavour. Our champion steak! ($39.95). My other friend and I ordered the same steak but she got hers with a ‘surf & turf topper’ ($10.00) while I opted for mushroom sauce on the side (2.95). I was much more impressed with my steak than last time I was here (last time I had the steak and ribs combo). The steak was cooked to medium rare which was how I ordered it and prefer it. You could taste the meat which what I like in the steak but I did like the creamy richness that the mushroom sauce provided.

Prime rib on  the bone with a surf and turf topper. Best of both words if you like steak and seafood.IMG_4675.JPGMy simple steak with the sauce on the side so I could control how much I had per mouthful or ditch it if it tasted horrible, but luckily it wasn’t!IMG_4677.JPGA cross-section of my medium rare steak.IMG_4679.JPGThe service has really improved, the giggling unhelpful girls were either not rostered on or have been replaced with more efficient staff. We ended up going somewhere else for dessert and I was partially not ready to relive that experience again. The Civic store has some hope if they have good service, tasty food and family friendliness. It is really close to Hogs Breath though, so we’ll see.

Read my previous visit here.

Up 2 U Chinese restaurant

I love eating at new and exciting places, I love staying up late and I love myself some steam boat, so when my friend said that she wanted to celebrate her birthday at the Up 2 U restaurant in Belconnen, I was super excited! She asked if would I wanted to eat at a 9:30pm or midnight, I opted for the earlier time slot as I thought everyone else would fall asleep in their food if we went at midnight. 😛

I never knew that there was a whole other world behind the Boardwalk in Belconnen facing towards the lake, luckily I had read the review from In the Taratory about this place, otherwise I would have thought my friends were taking me to a quiet dark place to ditch my body by the lake. The signs for the restaurants were sketchy and hand written but I assure you that there is a restaurant behind that fogged up glass.

This restaurant could easily be mistaken for a European bath house as all the steam condenses on the cold glass doors.20140716-192525-69925521.jpgVery dodgy looking signage around the place but they all point you to the right direction of the restaurant that is tucked away at the end of the Boardwalk.20140716-192526-69926984.jpg20140716-192529-69929995.jpgI was really excited about eating here and couldn’t help but eat from the three categories that this restaurant offers: BBQ, hot pot and clay pot rice. I ordered chicken skewers immediately upon arriving as we wait for the birthday girl so I wasn’t tempted to start eating my friends.

BBQ~

It should be no surprise that I ordered this. The chicken wings were met with lots of enthusiasm between being hungry at such a late time and feeling the cool draft blowing from the doors, although the waitress didn’t quite understand me as I wanted 4 serves but she only gave us 4 skewers (2 per serve for $5). The chicken wings had slits cut into them to ensure thorough cooking. They were served hot and crispy (maybe marinated with curry powder?), I didn’t leave any meat to waste. It was very tasty and we ordered more when the birthday girl arrived. 20140716-192613-69973808.jpgCantonese Clay Pot Rice~ “The making of clay pot rice is quite simple. Put the rice into the clay pot after washing it. Add appropriate (amount) of water and close the lid; cook the rice until it is 70% done; add in all the ingredients and simmer the clay pot with a slow fire”.

I love clay pot rice, it was one of my ‘must eats’ before I left Hong Kong during my last trip. I was tempted to order three of the same thing but I thought variety is the spice of life so I chose another two flavours that generally appeal to everyone’s taste buds. I enjoyed all of them overall, this restaurant is the best (and only?) place to get a clay pot rice around in Canberra. They take around 20-30 minutes to cook which we were happy to wait for.

Spare rib with black bean sauces with Cantonese clay pot rice ($13.80). This is always my number one pick when I eat clay pot rice and was probably my favourite pick of the night if I had to choose. All the meat juices flowed through the rice and each clay pot had the crunchy rice stuck around to the sides and bottom which is my favourite part to eat.20140716-192620-69980354.jpgSteamed chicken and mushroom with Cantonese clay pot rice ($13.80).20140716-192615-69975180.jpgSteamed beef with oyster sauce with Cantonese clay pot rice ($13.80).20140716-192616-69976832.jpgHotpot~ 

This is what my friend’s have dubbed ‘Asian fondue’. A little easier not to lose your food with individual hot pots and is an easy quirky way to have dinner with friends. Firstly you choose a soup base, then a variety of thinly sliced meat, noodles, protein balls and seafood with an ‘all you can eat’ vegetable table and cook it all in the pot. When the meat is done it will change colour, the protein balls are done when they have expanded and floated to the top and the vegetables and noodles can be cooked to your liking. There is a lot of control of how your meal is done and that is probably why they have named the restaurant ‘Up 2 U’. The lunchtime specials menu stipulates ‘please don’t waste food. Extra change will be applied!’.20140716-192553-69953924.jpgIndividual pots also mean that people don’t take all the food I put in which is what usually happens when I’m at home with my family.20140716-192555-69955303.jpgWhen the birthday girl arrived she happily said that she would have the steam boat with me while the other guys were just happy to gorge on the clay pots. We both order pork bones as our soup broth and choose a combination of meat, noodles and seafood. They informed us that they were packing away the ‘all you can eat’ vegetables that is on offer for the steam boat but will bring us a selection of greens and vegetables on a plate. I thought it was odd considering they weren’t theoretically due to close for hours to come but we agreed.

Hot pot for one $25.00 pp or $30.00 pp with free soft drink refills but there is a lunch time special between 11am – 2pm for $15.00 pp.

The hot pot is bubbling away, it is time to start filling it up!20140716-192716-70036001.jpgThere was something wrong with the burner I was sitting at, it only had one setting ‘full ball’ so usually when a hotpot is bubbling away and on the verge of over flowing, you would just turn down the heat but I had to eat as fast as I could or add more things to the pot. Intermittently our pots were refilled with more broth and a the end the soup becomes thicker and full of flavour from all the food you have cooked and I couldn’t help but drink it. It left me feeling very full, warm and content.

A combination of thinly sliced beef, beef balls, fish balls, lobster balls, ox tongue (not for me) and pork balls.20140716-192744-70064587.jpgWe ordered more food, this time with pork, squid and fish. I found the pork meat too fatty so I left it out.20140716-192713-70033120.jpgThe meat is frozen but don’t worry, it quickly defrosts in the hot cauldron.20140716-192710-70030489.jpgA combination of noodles and tofu.20140716-192745-70065888.jpgA random mix of greens and vegetables, I think it would have been better if we could have chosen our own. Maybe next time we’ll come earlier.20140716-192747-70067343.jpgThe restaurant is spacious with seating extended to upstairs but there are drafts coming through the doors which make it very cold at night and the glass is constantly fogged up. I could see how you could lose hours giggling and chatting over a hot pot with friends with a unique dining experience. I would definitely come back soon as I have developed a craving for the clay pot rice as I write this post.20140716-192801-70081180.jpg

20140716-192759-70079827.jpgI love their opening hours. Very handy for those who want something different and with convenient opening hours. We left just before midnight and they had packed up all the vegetables just before we started our hot pots so I don’t know if they closed up for the night after we had left.20140716-192528-69928407.jpgThe staff said that we should feel free to ring ahead for the clay pot rice next time to reduce waiting periods, something I will heavily consider doing.

Venue: Up to You Restaurant

Address: Unit 5, The Boardwalk 114 Emu Bank, Belconnen 2617

Phone: (02) 6253 0440

 

Up 2 U Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Viva La Portuguese Fiesta

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Celebrate Portugal Day with Nando’s

Hello there,

Join us at Nando’s for an afternoon Fiesta to celebrate Portugal Day.

Enjoy live entertainment, fun activities and complimentary food.

To confirm your attendance please email us at belconnenmarketing@au.westfield.com

When: Tuesday, June 10th 4pm – 6pm

Where: Nando’s Restaurant, Dining Precinct at Lathlain Street, Belconnen

From the team,
Westfield Belconnen
p.s. it is also being celebrated at the Woden store.

Sushi Bay

While hanging out with friends that had particular food allergies but loved eating seafood, Sushi Bay seemed like the logical place to quickly grab a bite to eat before the movies and it is a much easier way to split the bill.

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If you’re like my friend and haven’t been to a sushi train before, the concept is simple: plates whiz by on a conveyor belt and you grab what you want and whatever else is on the menu that you can’t find on the sushi train can be made especially for you. Each plate is colour coded so you know how much it is worth and at the end, someone takes your plate total and it gets tallied at the front counter.

It is probably easier to grab what you want to eat rather than base your decision on the plate colour/price.20140316-123424.jpgWe grabbed a whole selection of dishes.

Salmon sashimi.20140316-003925.jpgI have never seen this before, it was supposedly ‘black ricewith crumbed chicken and avocado, it looked more like coloured rice mashed with red beans.20140316-004701.jpgChicken and lettuce.20140316-004714.jpgTuna salad.20140316-004640.jpgCalifornia roll.20140316-013538.jpgLion King‘ appears to be a tuna salad roll with avocado topped with cooked salmon and roe.20140316-004651.jpgPlates zooming past, there is no hesitation in sushi trains or you’re left waiting for it to do a whole loop before it comes back to you (and that is assuming someone else hasn’t taken it by then).20140316-004617.jpgTakoyaki octopus balls were barely warm and I would have liked more bonito flakes too. They were okay, next time I would request that they be made fresh.20140316-013617.jpgCrumbed Ebi tempura served with mustard, does anyone else find that weird?20140316-013600.jpgTuna salad with cucumber and avocado.20140316-013633.jpgSushi made to order~

Unagi marinated eel. This is always one of my favourite things to eat at a sushi restaurant. It is really nice here, don’t be put off by the eel, it really just tastes like a grilled fish.20140316-013717.jpgSeasoned seaweed. The seaweed has a nice chilli kick to it.20140316-013706.jpg

Inari fried bean curd pouch stuffed with sushi rice.20140316-013650.jpgThe resulting plate stacks. My total was $15.50.20140316-013732.jpg

Towards then end, my friend (who hadn’t been to a sushi train before) and I were both astonished and amused. She loved watching all the dishes whiz by and the excitement that she could pick anything off the train whenever she wanted. I sat there with my mouth opened in shock that the staff was opening up packets of cream cheese and cutting them into small blocks, my eyes frantically darted back and forth to see which sushi roll it ended up in. I feel it is really westernized sushi adapted to suit Australian palettes and the toppings that made me raise my eyebrow might be someone else’s favourite. Each to their own I say. Not the worst place I’ve eaten at in a mall but I would recommend getting fried and grilled selections made to order.

Venue: Sushi Bay

Address: Shop 328 L3 Benjamin Way, Belconnen, ACT 2617

Phone: (02) 6251 8833

Sushi Bay on Urbanspoon

Wonder meals

They say the best Chinese restaurants are the ones that look dingy and tacky. If this was the case, I was going to one of the best Chinese restaurants in Canberra, complete with plastic flower decorations, weird never to be used napkins (they take them away as soon as you sit down like they are only for decorative purposes) and even with a crazy guy muttering to himself sitting near the entrance.

I had been here previously when it was attempting to be a yum cha place tucked away at the back of Belconnen with dirty carpets, oily food and limited menu, but now the place has had a makeover including new owners (apparently they are the same people who ran the yum cha at the Deakin club), new menu and a new name: Wonder meals.

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Fried potato slice with chilli pepper ($12.80). What looks like noodles, tastes like vinegary and crunchy? Apparently fried potato slice. It was truly unlike anything I’ve had before and a preview of what unusual dishes were yet to come.

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Leek pie ($6.80 per serve). It was like a leek/shallot/noodle/egg dumpling but I believed it lacked salt and definitely needed soy sauce.

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Stir fried shredded meat with garlic stem ($15.80). Perfectly cooked garlic stems with tasty shredded pork. Yum!

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Lotus seed puree buns ($6.80/3 pieces). This is one of my favourite bun fillings. When I broke it in two (to get rid of the yolk centre), I noticed that the colour of the filling wasn’t as dark as I’m used to and it didn’t taste very strong, so with the addition of the yolk contamination, I didn’t bother finishing it.

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Fried noodles with shredded meat ($10.80). I don’t know if I didn’t like the noodle texture or I was just surprised by the dish as it was not what I expected. The noodles were extremely starchy and instead of being chewy, it gets stuck in your teeth, but despite not being a fan of the texture, I found it oddly addictive.

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Steamed bread stuffed with meat ($4.80 per bread). Tasted great but it would have been better with a hint of sriracha. The bread absorbed a lot of the sauce but even then, the juices still drip when you take a bite.

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Peek-a-boo!

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Steamed spare rib with glutinous rice ($25.80). I’ve had lots of glutinous rice but nothing like this before. It was so incredibly sticky.

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Pan fried pancake with egg and salted paste ($3.80 per serve). A crispy fried pastry with chili paste folded into the layers.

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Menu taken from their website. We really wanted to try their marinated Chinese yam with blueberry jam ($13.80) for its vivid purple colour as well as strange combination of foods, but it was for some reason unavailable which was a shame.

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There are three sections to the menu: the unusual mains menu complete with handy pictures; yum cha options and BBQed skewers, which covers a lot of palette preferences.

There weren’t many people during lunch service and I don’t know how busy they are during dinner but I think people should definitely come here to explore a cuisine that is so diverse beyond chow mein, stir fries and curries.

Venue: Wonder Meals

Address: 2 Cohen Street, Belconnen, ACT

Phone: (02) 6162 0074

Wesbitehttp://wondermeals.com.au/

Opening hours: 10:30AM to 2:30PM, 4:30PM to 10:30PM Monday to Sunday

Wonder Meals on Urbanspoon