Mister Zee’s

Mister Zee’s has only been opened for three days but I have been waiting months for this restaurant to open. We went last night for dinner and even though there was four of us, I proceeded to order almost half the menu.Chocolate baklava shake ($8.00). I must say this was one of the first things that caught my eye when I read the menu; I thought it was an odd combination but I definitely wanted to try it. It was a delicious chocolate milkshake and at first you couldn’t really sense any baklava but towards the last third you start to notice the filo pastry that has been blended through. I don’t know how well a milk shake goes with the amount of food we ordered, maybe this would be better if you were looking for something sweet after one menu item as opposed to half of the menu like we had ordered.Charcoal chicken served with Lebanese bread, toum (garlic dip), pickles (half $13.00). When the plate we put in front of us we were really underwhelmed as the chicken looked cold and dry but I was surprised to find it slightly warm. I ate a bit of the breast which was on the drier side but even when I ate around the thighs it was also dry. There was a nice flavour through the meat but all the deliciousness was in the skin. The salty charcoal flavours were delicious and the way it was cooked left the skin nice and crispy. I really wished the Lebanese bread would have been slightly warmed, it would have made a fabulous difference. The pickles were really strong, eye widening type of pickles but the flavours became refreshing as we were eating it between other dishes.

We didn’t know what this was but found out very quickly that it was garlic dip. It went really well with the chicken.The pickles were almost as intense as their colour!Lebanese nachos choice of chicken, lamb or falafel served with fried Lebanese bread, tomato, onion, parsley, cheese, hummus, labneh ($15.00). We chose chicken for the meat and we really enjoyed this. The fried Lebanese bread wasn’t oily and sickly but rather addictive and super crunchy, I was surprised it didn’t get soggy towards the end and it kept its crispness. I would easily order this again.Lamb kofte with spicy tomato sauce served with rice pilaf ($18.00). This was really nice at first but as the dish got colder, the meat got tighter and tougher; I would definitely recommend eating this while it is hot. I didn’t find the tomato sauce spicy at all and while we really enjoyed this dish when we first tried it, I found myself preferring the other menu items after all our order arrived.Hummus ($6.00). We didn’t really read the additions to every dish but I wish the server at the register pointed out that many of our dishes already came with hummus and we really didn’t need to order any more additionally. I was hoping for more of a garlic hit but it was rather mild and smooth.Babaganoush ($7.00). I don’t know if they had given this to us complimentary because we ordered so much but it was a lovely gesture. Babaganoush isn’t my first preference of dip as I find some versions have too strong of a burnt eggplant taste but I surprisingly enjoyed this dip.Shish choice of chicken, lamb or adana (minced lamb meat) served with salad, Turkish flatbread, hummus (triple $26.50). We had all started dipping our Lebanese bread from the charcoal chicken plate in dips but as soon as the warm Turkish flatbread hit our table we all happily swapped breads almost instantly. To have more choice we naturally ordered one of each type of shish and I was really surprised to find that chicken was my favourite with its delicious flavours while remaining succulent. The lamb pieces was a close second but the adana, just like the lamb kofte was nice while it was hot but it as it got colder, it too got tougher. I would love to eat a kebab made up of the chicken pieces wrapped in flatbread which was smeared in hummus. Mmmmmm…

While we were happily stuffing our faces, someone who we presumed to be the manager asked us what we thought of the meal. After our compliments on certain dishes, he was really interested to find out what we  didn’t enjoy as much. We went through things such as the dry charcoal chicken, cold Lebanese bread and the texture of the adana to which he all seemed to be aware and said he was working on getting the perfect balance of a succulent moist chicken while getting that crispy salty skin, the problems of heating Lebanese bread and still working on getting the perfect cooking time of the adana. I was really impressed about how he had taken the feed back on board and that he really wanted to better his product. I then quizzed him about his dessert menu and in particular why there was no Lebanese doughnuts available, he proceeded to then tell me how they are made fresh every day but the batter is only good for so long but they hope to make a batter (which takes 2-3 hours) ready for opening time and by the time it reached late afternoon, they would make another batch for night time.Something sweet~

My friend and I were still eating dinner when the waitress came over and gave us complimentary dessert, I presumed it was because we had given feedback in addition to my enthusiasm for their desserts. I thought it was so nice of them.Baklava ice cream sandwich ($6.00). Before we even ordered, I was asking the girl at the front counter many questions which included: what is adana? Is everything on the menu available? Do you have baklava ice cream sandwiches? She then explained that the ice cream sandwich was a literally a piece of baklava cut in half with ice cream wedged in the middle. It isn’t as sweet and overwhelming as it sounds because the baklava isn’t that sweet and flavours and crispy texture went really well with the ice cream. I would eat this again, but it is definitely not a first date food as it gets messy very quickly.Knafeh ($6.00). We were told that this was made by a local couple and I was super excited to try this ever since I had it late last year when we had that pop up shop. It had a delicious subtle sweet flavours of rosewater and pistachios with a beautiful smooth texture. I would have loved this if it was served warm. *drool*I was surprised for a place that would do a lot of take- aways had such nice spacious seating, good heavy cutlery and crockery. It is nice to have something different to eat when there are so many cafe and Asian options in the area. I will definitely be back to try more and eat more of what I’ve already tried. Waiting times didn’t take long, the prices are reasonable and the staff were very friendly and efficient.

We spent just under $100 between the four of us ordering dinner and we were really full even before the desserts arrived but everyone knows that you have a separate stomach for dessert. I think you could easily be content with a single shish ($14.50) and leave enough room for something sweet.

Venue: Mister Zee’s

Address: 122 Bunda Street, Canberra, Civic, ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0306

Opening hours:

11:00am – 9:00pm Sunday – Thursday

11:00am – 10/10:30pm Friday and Saturday
Mister Zee's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fun filled weekend – The Big Smoque AAA BBQ festival

The Big Smoque AAA BBQ festival seemed like one of the most controversial Canberra events of the year. Even if you didn’t go, you would have heard by now the overwhelming bad reviews that drowned out the people who enjoyed themselves.

I didn’t experience a lot of the negativity that these people were angry about as I went to the earlier session but I think a lot of the anger stemmed from a multitude of things ranging from: 1) high expectations of the event because it was ticketed (i.e. “what does $12 get me?”) 2) the wait times for ordering and pickup 3) the limited amount of stalls that were selling food 4) prices 5) running out of food 6) and I also heard some complaints about the food.FNL-BBQ-logoI wonder how many times a year they bring out this giant cowboy boot.There wasn’t much clarity with how this event was going to run, I didn’t know if they were going to kick me out right on 3pm but they informed me I couldn’t leave the premises after 3pm without buying another time session to come back in, fair enough. I knew that there were going to be 12 competitors vying for ‘Grand Champion’ of the AAA BBQ festival but I didn’t know if they were going to be able to sell food while competing. It turns out that all the competitors were busy perfecting their BBQ before being judged by a panel and as a ticket holder I could only buy food from what looked like commercial vendors. I was a little saddened when I realised there were only 8 food stalls, 3 drinks stands and 1 selling hot sauce, but I only needed one good food stand to satisfy me.

I was excited to see so many tents until I realised less than half of them were selling food to ticket holders *sad face*We were given a wristbands and a bib and we were ready to eat.I grabbed my friend and we headed somewhere for ‘snacks’ straight away before we looked at all the stalls properly. First stop: Smoque stall, it was surprisingly the only stall selling chicken wings. Buffalo wings with blue cheese aioli (3 pieces for $5.00) and pountine ($10.00), not very ‘American BBQ’ but we were happy to try something new. I’ve always liked Smoque’s chicken wings and my friend who has never had them before also enjoyed them. I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheese but the sauce was a nice balance. The poutine was new to us both and we thought it was odd that there was no cutlery available to eat this, it isn’t a first date food but I liked how their left the potato skins on. It was messy to eat but pretty tasty for those who enjoy their chips drowned in gravy. After whetting our appetite and being able to think more clearly without becoming hangry, we decided a platter was the next thing we would purchase. My friend chose the $30.00 share platter from the Smoking Gun BBQ and we were disappointed to see the tiny portions with the most expensive menu item on site. It had bad potato salad, a bland slaw with some brisket, a sausage and a tiny helping of pulled pork but at least it had a tasty sweet pickle. After eating so much meat the crunchy slaw became a welcome palette cleanser and despite the small size the brisket and pulled pork was very moist and tasty. I still don’t understand what made this small portioned box so expensive.The heat was getting unbearable even though we had found a lovely spot under and umbrella so the next stop had to be a refreshing juice from Krave. Small juices were $5, my friend chose strawberry lemonade and I had pineapple lemonade, it was exactly what I needed and I couldn’t scull mine quick enough.We decided to eat one last thing before we headed to another food festival and I chose the Argentinian porky bites from Parrilla Argenchino, signs didn’t indicate how much they were but they ended up being $14.50 for a small portion. There was a line when we were first looking around but this time there was no one and we were served our food pretty much straight away. I liked how there were bones, fat and BBQed crispy edges, we had chosen a chimichurri sauce but it didn’t need anything because it was delicious on its own while it was hot. Definitely the favourite of the event for us.

No lines meant ordering straight away and being served straight away. You can judge from this photo how much pork was in one serve.I think the one thing I was disappointed with above all else was the lack of BBQed ribs, Rangers Texas BBQ might have had them but before 3pm they had sold out of everything with only pulled pork available after 6pm. Do not give me a rib bib if there are no ribs to eat people!

An overview of all the food vendors at the event, they had a mix of Argentinian, Vietnamese, Greek and Indian as well as those who specialise in American BBQ.There are many things they could learn from their inaugural event although I understand that it was their first year so I wasn’t too unhappy with the event overall but if I had come later with long wait times and more vendors running out of food, I would probably be singing a different tune. It did get expensive fast when between the both of us eating, drinking and buying some sauces we spent around $100.00!

 

Thickshakes at Gus’ Cafe

What is trending in my stomach this summer? Apparently thickshakes!

I love the sweet taste of whatever flavour I choose (I cannot decide between chocolate, lime, strawberry, malt, vanilla, caramel, basically all of them), the thick texture which makes me work really hard for it to move slowly up the straw and the cooling effect that it has on my body (and brain!). So when I heard that long standing Gus’ café made an awesome thickshake, we skipped dessert at AKIBA and headed straight down the road.

Thickshakes chocolate, strawberry, caramel, vanilla, dark choc fudge, vanilla chai ($9.00). My friend was daring enough to order the dark choc fudge thickshake (top). It reminded me a ‘stir in’ hot chocolate drink in a big thick shake form. It was crazy intense and made my thick shake taste less sweet when I got back to it. A community announcement, do not swap thick shakes mid drink! Especially from extra sweet back to not as sweet.I really enjoyed my regular good ol’ chocolate thick shake, served in an old school milkshake cup without all the bells and whistles. It had a nice chocolate flavour and the consistency of the whole drink was the same- THICK! I really wanted to try vanilla chai but I knew TimmyC wouldn’t want to share with me if I chose that flavour. The only downside if you can call it that was that it was so big, I definitely encourage sharing! My latest thickshake before this one was from A Bite to Eat.

Coffee Lab’s Free Coffee Day!

That’s right caffeine addicts, rejoice as Coffee Lab are giving away free coffee from 8am- 8pm TODAY!

Artistry will meet Science – at coffee lab located in the Canberra Centre, next to The Australian Tax Office on Narellan Street.

Get ready for the most exciting coffee event of the year. In the exploration for the perfect coffee, Canberra’s premier coffee lover’s destination will be serving out Canberra’s finest coffee for FREE all day until 8pm. Along with live music performances and free food tasting throughout the day.

Don’t miss out on your chance for Canberra’s best coffee for FREE!

 

Venue: Coffee Lab

Address: 26 Narellan Pl, Canberra ACT 2601

Event: FREE COFFEE  with live performances and free food tasting throughout the day

Time: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Facebook eventhttps://www.facebook.com/events/926012224139575/

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Chez Kimchi

When my friends wanted to know what I felt like eating for dinner Friday night, I knew exactly where I wanted to take them, to Chez Kimchi for some Korean fried chicken. I didn’t anticipate a line at the door and a 20 minute waiting period but we were there and I had already promised my stomach fried chicken, so I left my name on the wait list and browsed through the menu. Continually throughout the night people there were people waiting for a table, so you knew it was either A) really good and popular or B) new to Canberra, I was hoping a little from column A and a little from column B.

We were given condiments and bone bucket. We were ready to start!Gogi-gunmandu deep-fried Korean dumplings filled with pork mince and vegetables (4 pieces $6.80). These dumplings were crispy and cooked perfectly, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was inside the dumpling. I didn’t think these added much to our experience and I wouldn’t bother ordering any of the dumplings again.Saewu Jjinmandu steamed Korean dumplings filled with prawns and vegetables ($6.80). You could tell that these had prawn inside, but they weren’t particularly good; skip the dumplings and head straight for the fried chicken!Ginger iced tea and Lemon iced tea (around $4.50?). It is not your typical iced tea, think more preserved lemon and ginger. I think I preferred the ginger one more because it was more refreshing.Bulgogi Bokkeum beef stir-fried with vegetables in a Kimchi’s specials sauce served on a sizzling plate ($18.50) served with steamed rice. This is one of my favourite Korean dishes and I wasn’t going to pass it up. I don’t know if it was traditional or particularly good; I’ve never had a bulgogi that I haven’t liked.Japchae stir fried glass noodles (sweet potato noodles) with vegetables in a soy sauce ($15.80). I’ve always liked Korean sweet potato noodles (easy to cook at home too) and these were really nice but I wasn’t a huge fan of the cloud ear fungus.Now to why we really came here, fried chicken!

Spicy chilli chicken smoked chilli spicy sauce (half chicken $18.00). When we ordered this, the waitress stressed that it was spicy, yes that is why we were ordering it, then she stressed that it was really spicy and that made us a little worried but my friend was adamant that she wanted this fried chicken, so we ordered it anyway against our better judgement. I am not a good judge of spiciness because my tolerance for chilli is on the lower end, but man! For me it really spicy (and subtly smoky) but I made it through and even ate two pieces out of spite (yes waitress, we ate the whole thing!). So maybe for other people who LOVE spicy food, it might not be too bad.Soy sauce chicken perfect combination of garlic and soy sauce good with beer (half chicken $18.00). This by comparison seemed really sticky and sweet. Easy to eat and very messy (not a first date food) but I don’t know if they gave us the right one because I didn’t taste any garlic at all. I think next time I’d choose another flavour of chicken, one with a fried coating rather than a sticky marinade and one that won’t make me tear up and blow my nose.

Despite being very busy and borderline overwhelming for the staff, they were still very friendly and attentive. Chez Kimchi have 14 flavours of fried chicken and I am super keen to come back and try more! I imagine when they aren’t crazy busy that it would be a place to grab fast dinner before a movie.

Venue: Chez Kimchi

Address: 70 Bunda Street, Civic

Phone: (02) 6247 5525

Chez Kimchi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Italiano Vero sneak peek

I spy with my friend’s eye, something beginning with yum!

It is so lovely me that my friends think of me when they see a new eatery and they send me photos, it’s like the foodie version of Gossip Girl (xoxo). Haha!

Spotted: A new Italian eatery in Civic making big calls about being the “ONLY Italian in Canberra”, I hope Italiano Vero lives up to the expectations it is creating. Have you eaten here yet dear reader? The menu seems extensive and everything seems reasonably priced.
Thanks for the photos and heads up Thomas!

Milk Crate cafe

After their opening earlier this week, TimmyC has found himself going to the Milk Crate cafe every day and has decided he has finally found a coffee place in Civic he really enjoys. He said the coffee is nice, the menu is extensive and their daily made baked treats in the cabinet disappears very quickly. 

Case in point when they brought out their Nutella muffins ($4.50) on Wednesday and in a blink of an eye they were all gone. They made three times as much for the next day which allowed TimmyC to get one and bring it home to me.  TimmyC’s photos from one of his many visits to Milk Crate cafe. It doesn’t look like much because it has traveled in a lunch bag all the way home, but it was very sweet of TimmyC to think of me.The cold cupcake felt a bit heavy and gluggy with the hardened Nutella but when I microwaved it for several seconds, everything became soft, gooey and perfect.  Despite the competition of a being in a coffee shop dense area, I think the Milk Crafe cafe has stood out from the rest offering a variety of freshly made delicious food. They hope to eventually obtain a liquor license and extend their opening hours. 

Venue: Milk Crate cafe

Address: 12 Moore street, Civic ACT

Opening hours:  6:30am -4:00pm

Provini

I suffer from serious FOMO (fear of missing out), so when illness stopped me from all my pre-planned dinners/lunches/weekends away, I promised myself that I would postpone them all rather than missing out altogether. One of these planned outings was to go to Provini, the newly opened Italian restaurant run by the Cocu group in Civic (where La Scala used to be). I excitedly made my booking and not long after received a sms prompt about my reservation. A few hours after that, I received another sms to confirm my booking with a ‘YES’ reply, apparently I was not the only one over excited about my postponed dinner.

Not your typical front of a restaurant in the middle of the city, it definitely feels like you’re stepping into someone’s house.Pizza~The top pizza is the Provini ham, soppressa, peppers, chilli ($24.00) and bottom is Margherita tomato, basil, fior di latte ($21.00). When none of the entrees or antipasto options really excited us, we all naturally gravitated towards the pizza and shared that between us for starters instead. I really really enjoyed the pizza bases here and their fresh toppings really put it to the next level. I probably preferred the Provini over the margherita because it had more exciting flavours and I found the basil to be rather sparse.Pasta~

Spaghetti carbonara guanciale, pecorino, yolk ($24.00). The pasta looked underwhelming being dry with not many ingredients. My friend didn’t really enjoy it.Tagliatelle al nero di seppia squid ink tagliatelle, prawns, pippies, chilli, tomato ($29.00). My other friend had the same problem as the cabonara, when it arrived it was very aromatic but it felt really dry and underwhelming without a ‘sauce’. It also seemed like a very small serving of pasta for the price.
Fazzoletti al ragu pork, veal, white wine ragu ($26.00). The first thing I noticed was the fresh pasta cooked perfectly; I rather enjoyed the fazzoletti cut of pasta (pasta handkerchiefs). Unfortunately I found the wet sloppy consistency of the ragu reminded me of canned tuna but this was definitely my favourite choice between the pastas.Secondi~ 

600g dry age rib eye with roasted tomato and choice of two sides (designed to share $66.00). We chose wood roasted vegetables with rosemary salt and baked roman gnocchi for our sides to share.We found the rib eye to be okay, a little underseasoned which was easy to taste because there was no jus or sauce to hide behind. The vegetables with a nice choice for a side but I preferred the gnocchi because it was more cheesy and decadent. I personally and selfishly could finish this on my own but I guess it is nice to share the price tag.

Wood roasted vegetables with rosemary salt.
Baked Roman gnocchi.I was super excited about trying Provini because I love Italian food but I found the service to be inconsistent (some were friendly and some seemed arrogant) and the food overall to be disappointing that we didn’t want to stay for dessert; we were actually considering a second dinner somewhere else because we found the serving size a bit small. The pizzas/starters came out pretty fast but there was a long wait before our pastas and mains came out.  If I was to come back again, I would maybe try some antipasto and stick with the pizzas.

Venue: Provini

Address: 50 Bunda Street, Canberra ACT

Phone(02) 6154 9720
Click to add a blog post for Provini on Zomato

Bistro Nguyen’s

My friend and I have made a tradition out of meeting up for Friday lunches, usually we eat Asian food because it is cheaper, generally faster and sometimes we just crave noodles and rice. So when I heard a new Vietnamese restaurant had opened up in the city, we had to go immediately. Bistro Nguyen’s is located on the corner of the Melbourne building near Nourthbourne Avenue and Alinga street. The decor is a mixture of different chairs matched with different tables, I didn’t trust the durability of the plastic stools at our table so I swapped them out for a metal ones.IMG_9915It was very busy during the Friday lunch rush, it was completely full inside so we took a table outside.IMG_9917I don’t know how I feel having all the mouth side parts of the utensil facing up, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?IMG_9921It is an ‘order and pay at the counter’ situation but not only that, the food is only delivered to the table whenever it is ready and not in any particular order, which meant that we received our the pho first and the grilled pork rolls and drinks last with a pretty decent waiting gap in between.

Grilled pork rolls Nguyen’s special grilled pork rice paper rolls with herbs and special dipping sauce (3 pieces $7.50). These were very disappointing rice paper rolls. There was no taste of herbs, you could barely taste the pork and the dipping sauce didn’t help either. The pork looked like processed brown meat that did not look grilled. I will not be ordering this again.IMG_9949IMG_9948Rare beef pho traditional  beef noodle soup slow cooked with the heart and soul of Nguyen’s secret family recipe. A quintessential Vietnamese dish! ($12.50). I tasted my friend’s pho, it is sweeter than all the other broths that I’ve tried but still very flavoursome. At first my ‘very picky broth taster’ friend liked it, but towards the end she said that she could taste a lot of MSG and that she would not be ordering it again. I rather enjoyed the spoonful I had (being a less picky broth taster) and I would consider trying it next time.IMG_9933Pho served with all the garnishes.IMG_9938Saigon pork roll made fresh daily by our master baker. Saigon roll filled with pork belly, Vietnamese ham, home-made pate, mayo, pickled carrot, cucumber, coriander and a dash of soy sauce ($7.50). I would have usually gone straight for the pho but it was crazy hot out so I grabbed something more temperature appropriate. I’m surprised they let me order this considering I asked for the home-made pate to be omitted *gasp!* but even then they asked to clarify that I wanted to take the most ‘essential’ ingredient. All the meat looked processed and there was barely any in the roll, I liked the taste of the pickled carrot which was good because that was the only thing I could taste besides the crusty bread roll. I don’t know if they forgot the mayo because the whole thing felt pretty dry in my mouth, although I don’t know if this would have been any better if I had left the pate inside.IMG_9943I did consider picking out the chillis but they had no taste to them what so ever. Can you squint and see the meat inside the roll?IMG_9947Vietnamese black iced coffee ($4.00). It was definitely needed on this hot day. They didn’t have any smoothies available so I just stuck with water.IMG_9942We had a pretty cheap lunch but it wasn’t completely impressive. I don’t want to judge this place yet because I’ve eaten such a limited portion of what they offer. I would come back and have their pho and I’d also be interested to see how their stir fried/rice dishes are. Their menu covers a large range of Vietnamese dishes including pho, vermicelli, rice dishes, Saigon rolls and stir fries.

Venue: Bistro Nguyen’s

Address78-80 Alinga St Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6262 6888

Bistro Nguyen's on Urbanspoon

Around the world in 5 hours

Now that Friday incorporates more food at the Multicultural festival, I use it as a scouting mission for the next big full day.
Tonight I tried lots of new things that I’ve never eaten before and there is definitely more to try on Saturday.
Clockwise starting at 12:

Pan rolls from Sri Lanka ($2.50 each)– they taste like a spicy crispy croquette!

African cigars ($9 for 4 pieces)– I really wanted Kpuff Kpuff but they aren’t available until Saturday. This had a spring roll pastry feel but the filling reminded me of an ethiopian meat samosa. Mmmm

African feelings ginger beer ($5.00)– an intense ginger taste that left a mild burning at the back of the throat. Absolutely delicious (for ginger lovers)

Churros ($10 for three churros and dipping sauce) – well this isn’t new but it’s what we wanted at 10:45 pm complete with caramel sauce

Aegean platter BBQ octopus, tzatziki, Greek salad, olives, fetta and pita bread ($15.00) – for the first time I didn’t dive straight into the Greek doughnuts (tomorrow!). I loved everything on this plate

Lokma ($5.00) – I’ve never had a turkish doughnut. They are small, super syrupy and juicy inside. Eat it in one bite or your clothes will get messy

Plantain chips ($6.00) – I would have liked more salt but they came out super hot and fresh

Bhutanese beef momo ($2 each) – one of the better momos I’ve had at this festival. Yum!

Gozleme ($10.00) – I’ve never had one at the multicultural before but it still wasn’t anything special

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On Saturday I want to eat: Iranian, Eygptian, Hungarian, Tongan, more Bhutanese and more from the African van.

 

Choose your own adventure

It is insane how much stuff is coming up in the Nation’s capital! The Pop Up Village opening on Canberra Day which will have businesses including a pop-up cafe, rooftop bar, Vietnamese restaurant, BMX bike shop, French creperie, and gym; Enlighten festival which will have the highly anticipated Night Noodle Markets for the first time (insert crazy excited squeals here); and Canberra Good Food Month which has a fabulous restaurant line up.

First things first though: this weekend.

I don’t know if it was coincidental that so many things are happening this weekend, I would have liked to have had these events spaced a part to give me a chance to get to all of them but I guess there’s always next time.

Lifeline EPIC Book fair Budawang Building, Exhibition Park

Friday 13 February 2015 • 9am – 6pm
Saturday 14 February 2015 • 9am – 5pm (Family Day)
Sunday 15 February 2015 • 10am – 4pm

 

Pialligo Estate Pialligo Estate, 18 Kallaroo Rd, Pialligo ACT 2609

Opening 13th February for dinner

National Multicultural Festival Canberra City

Friday 13 February – Sunday 15 February

 

Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema Patrick White Lawns, Parkes

Sunday 18th January – Sunday 22 February 2015

 

Night Market Canberra Realm Park, Burbury Close, Barton

Friday 13 February 2015 from 4pm – 9pm

 
Let’s just hope the rain stays away long enough for me to get a Hungarian deep-fried bread.

Akiba- good things come in threes

Yes, I did go back to AKIBA for the third time in a short time span but in my defense, it was my friends’ first time so really I went for their sake.

Despite having been so many times, I did notice several new things about the place and menu since their official launch last week: the outdoor seating is now completed, AKIBA now serves breakfast and to my dismay the steak tartare and smoked potato have both been taken off the menu.

Excuse the photo lighting, we were in the booth right underneath that fluorescent sign.

The new roomy outside area at AKIBA.IMG_8037.JPGWe all started off with an AKIPOP ($7.00) all without the ‘boom’, the flavours include: pineapple, coconut and chilli; sour cherry and vanilla and strawberry mint. They were all carbonated when I was expecting mixed fruit juices for some reason. The prominent taste in my AKIPOP was the pineapple, I couldn’t taste the coconut and the chilli was a nice burn at the back of the throat after every sip.IMG_8046.JPGThe new menu after AKIBA’s official launch. Why oh why did they take the potato and steak tartare off the menu?!IMG_8042.JPG

After having tried most of the menu, we of course were going to come across things that we have eaten before and recommend it to our friends, but there were still 6 menu items that we hadn’t tried but one of them wasn’t available that night.

The items we couldn’t resist ordering again included dumplings, sashimi, pancakes, baos and the beef short rib. We ordered the J.F.C again but for me it was still just fried chicken and nothing special.IMG_8146.JPGOyster, black vinegar, ginger wine (4 pieces $10.00). I warned my friend that you would have to set your oyster ‘free’ before trying to one shot it. I found this topping much nicer than the ume mignonette.IMG_8069.JPGShiitake and water chestnut dumplings, red vinegar, black pepper (4 pieces $10.00). I found the red vinegar over powering in comparison to the dumpling. Out of the three dumpling choices, this is my least favourite.IMG_8054.JPGRoast broccoli, miso blue cheese, sesame seeds ($9.00- we were given this as a complimentary dish). Having mentioned to Jed a waiter who sees us every time we dine, that there was only several items left to try, he said that he would let us try the broccoli free of charge. TimmyC looked sceptical, he DOES NOT like blue cheese, I mean I’m not a fan but I’m more tolerant than he is. TimmyC flat out did not like it so a friend and I ended up finishing it. The blue cheese itself is still a strong bold flavour but it is dulled out by the al dente broccoli. The flavours of this dish won’t be for everyone.IMG_8072.JPG I asked to see the breakfast menu because I was keen to see what was on offer.

The breakfast menu of AKIBA, not many options but hopefully they do this small selection well.IMG_8044.JPG

Food came out at a fast and steady pace, we didn’t book a table we just walked on in and as always the service was really helpful, attentive and friendly. Just in case you didn’t know their opening hours, I’ve attached their flyer underneath.IMG_8056.JPGI promise I won’t go again… For the rest of the year. 😉

 

Akiba re-run

I did intend on returning to Akiba but not this soon, this was all TimmyC’s doing, he was super keen! Despite the bad weather, we head in with enthusiasm and we giggle when we are seated in our previous seats with the same server from our first visit (see my previous blog post here).

Here is the menu, this time complete with prices.IMG_7690.JPGNatural oyster, ume mignonette (4 pieces $10.00). All of the oysters were still anchored down in the shell so when I tried to one shot my oyster, I ended up sucking all the mignonette and then having to go back and set my oyster free, which by then was then just an oyster. Bits of the shell did break off so I had to spit them out after eventually getting to the oysters. Instead of four quick shots of oysters, it ended up being a little bit more effort than I thought it would be and the flavours weren’t particularly amazing.IMG_7692.JPGKingfish sashimi, coconut, nam jim, coriander ($12.00). We loved this dish during our first visit but this time it was much hotter and it caught TimmyC off guard. I still really liked it but TimmyC couldn’t eat much more after his first bite.IMG_7693.JPGYellowfin tuna, organic Japanese soy, wasabi panna cotta ($14.00). I had forgotten that there was supposed to be a wasabi panna cotta until I re-read the menu just now. I didn’t notice this component and to me this was just a really nice sashimi.IMG_7699.JPG

IMG_7698.JPGSteamed prawn and chicken dumpling, chilli oil, black vinegar dressing (4 pieces $10.00). I thought this was a really nice dumpling and I really enjoyed the black vinegar, but I didn’t think there was anything special about this dish.IMG_7696.JPGPork belly bao, char sui, asian slaw ($8.00). Wow, what a turn around in almost every aspect. The cut of pork was much more suited to fill the bao, the bao itself was much nicer but still not perfect; they are now made in-house rather than brought in from Sydney. There was definitely a bit of everything within each bite which makes it easier to stomach the steep price attached (Ippudo buns are $4 a pop).IMG_7694.JPGThe bun is brimming with excitement and it can barely contain itself.IMG_7705.JPGIMG_7710.JPGSweet corn pancake, chilli caramel, togarashi ($4.00).

Kimchi and angasi pancake, kewpie mayo, sirracha, ittogaki (4.00). I liked how you can just order one pancake as this allowed us to explore more of the options. Both were really nice but I think we liked the kimchi and angasi pancake more comparatively because it had more bold flavours.IMG_7703.JPGIMG_7704.JPGSmokey roast potato, pecorino custard, smoked eel teriyaki ($5.00). “Here’s your one potato”, I giggled at the introduction of our dish. I’m surprised that TimmyC ate and liked this because he isn’t a big fan of cheese. The potato was super super crispy, the pecorino custard wasn’t over powering and a unique concept and the eel helped bring everything together. I really liked this and was very tempted to order another.IMG_7701.JPGWe had ordered 8 items that we requested not to be staggered out, I wanted to see how fast the service could be and TimmyC was very hungry. Between ordering and receiving our last dish it was definitely super fast; I’m going to guesstimate under 10 minutes, but my stomach, mouth and photography couldn’t keep up and I probably wouldn’t do this again unless there was a whole group of us and we were all really hungry.

Caribbean chicken bao,  charred pineapple, kewpie mayo ($8.00). We got greedy. We wanted to try a little bit more; TimmyC wanted another pork bao and I wanted something that we hadn’t tried before, so we compromised and chose this. Although the chicken was super moist and tender, I didn’t think that the pineapple was charred but more importantly I didn’t see how these flavours in the bao work together. I didn’t like it.IMG_7713.JPG

IMG_7711.JPGCharred asparagus, uni butter, seaweed powder ($14.00). The asparagus itself was nicely cooked and the butter tasted lemony and almost had a cheesey flavour. This was cooked in their very big fancy oven (which was very $$$) but I don’t see how it is any better than me cooking it at home in a pan with butter, salt and pepper.IMG_7714.JPGTea smoked duck ham, gruyere custard, umeboshi and rosemary ($7.00). This was almost unrecognisable as a duck flavour, it was more familiar in my mouth as a cured pork product that has a really nice smokey flavour. I’m not completely sold on all the flavours and compared to other menu items, I probably wouldn’t order this again but TimmyC liked it.IMG_7720.JPGTo give you a size comparison, I took a wider shot against my water glass.IMG_7722.JPGChocolate tart, pickled strawberry ($9.00). It wasn’t as great as the first time that we had it; I felt that the soft chocolate tart component had more coffee flavours with harsh bitter after taste.IMG_7724.JPG

IMG_7726.JPGHand crafted pottery is slowly coming in as the training wheels are coming off.IMG_7723.JPGAfter having eaten most of the menu, I still really enjoy Akiba but I definitely have ‘go to’ dishes and other ones that I probably won’t bother with. I cannot wait to see their breakfast menu!