The service was polite and efficient; just be mindful that they only make pizzas during certain times. I’m definitely going to be back to try more of their vast menu.
Oliver Brown – Manuka
It seems like chocolate cafes are popping up faster than frozen yoghurt stalls (remember them? Where did they all go?) and the latest ones to open their franchising doors in Canberra are Oliver Brown now in three locations: Civic, Dickson and Manuka.
This is more a post so I remember the opening hours and not winging it like I did the other night when we drove here and weren’t sure if they’d still be open. Being a cold night most people opted for hot chocolates (starting from $5.50) which were apparently very tasty but I was swayed by their gelato thick shake ($8.00); I’m always on the look out for something resembling the thickness of the squishee from The Simpsons. I chose salted caramel as my gelato flavour and although it was thick, it didn’t have much of a salt flavour to enhance the caramel. I think they don’t store their gelato well and it is left with a sticky skin on the outside, when you see it you’ll know what I’m talking about. I think I’ll just stick with the hot chocolates.
Baked churros for two freshly baked upon order, sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar served with premium Belgium chocolate ($12.50). These take a little longer than the beverages but worth the wait because they are hot and slightly crispy. I wish whoever was serving us that night didn’t have such a heavy hand with the cinnamon though.
There is a lot of seating inside and out, you have to order and pay at the counter but the staff are super friendly and will bring your order to your table.Just remember they are opened 7 days and close at 11pm!
Venue: Oliver Brown (Manuka)
Address: 6a/1-18 Flinders Way, Manuka, ACT 2680
Phone: (02) 6181 8493
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 7am to 11pm
Saturday – Sunday 8am to 11pm
Baan Latsamy Thai Restaurant re-run
My friend was leaving Canberra to move to Sydney and we saw the weeks leading up to her final day as an eating check list that needed to be completed and satisfied before she left. One of those checkboxes was a laksa from Baan Latsamy Thai.
Crunchy Eggplant with Chicken and Prawn deep fried sliced eggplant wrapped with minced chicken and prawn served with chilli sauce. I wanted to order something outside of the norm, not spring rolls, fish cakes or (my norm) chicken wings, so I suggested this option. Unfortunately it didn’t have much taste outside of the accompanying sweet chilli sauce other than a deep-fried oily batter. You couldn’t taste the much of the eggplant or any chicken and prawn which was really disappointing. I wouldn’t recommend this entree.Yes there was only two of us but we needed to get more dishes so it allowed my friend to get a takeaway for lunch the next day.
Prawn Laksa Soup mild laksa soup with rice noodles, hokkien noodles and green vegetables topped with fried onion. I tried a bit of her soup, it was really rich and had different depths of flavour as the broth passed through my mouth. They were rather generous with the amount of prawns but my favourite is the tofu puffs that soak up all the soup. Crispy pork belly, mushrooms, wedges of onion and chilli. Instead of fat cubes of crispy pork belly, it was more like thin strips which meant the skin was more crispy but the meat was a little dry. This dish had my favourite combinations of flavours but I couldn’t just eat this one dish with rice as it was oily and could get rather salty.Duck & Lychee Red Curry with bamboo shoots, beans, peas and basil leaves cooked in coconut milk. This curry had spice to it! I used the sauce sparingly on my rice and enjoyed the duck and basil leaves. It was a really nice curry if you like spicy curries.The staff were super friendly although not the most attentive to water on the table (I happen to be the third person to ask for some more water in a space of 5 minutes). I don’t know how consistent the food is here because the last time my friends and I came here, the laksa was not as good as their previous visit.
Don’t forget it is in your Entertainment book! See my previous blog post here.
Polit bar: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure
There are a lot of cute cocktail places scattered throughout our great city so I didn’t bother trying to guess whereabouts we were headed to for cocktails and entertainment to finish our spectacular day of food and wine.
It turns out Polit bar was where we were headed, I didn’t know much about the bar except that its name (and owners?) kept on changing. We head up a dark set of stairs which teleported us back into the 1920s. It almost reminded me of the prohibition days where locations of secret underground bars existed, the girls were there to entertain, a piano man playing old school tunes followed by more live music complete with a magician in the corner and a tarot card reader and of course alcohol was free-flowing.
An absinthe fountain was set up for all those who were interested in seeing the green fairy, although there was a green fairy walking around and you didn’t need the absinthe to see her.Old school beautiful chandeliers and beaded curtains for that intimate feel without feeling boxed in.The comical cheesy “French” presenter who’s accent came in and out all night.Drinks menu and the selection of tapas that will be offered which was made by Flint in the Vines.You can’t really see but this was a yummy mix of olives and nuts, you’ll have to take my word on this one. There was also delicious zucchini cigars and lamb tartlets while the vegetarian gluten free option was a variety of dips and vegetables. We all finished on a sweet note with an amazing chocolate morsel.
Funky light fittings at the bar.The lovely staff from Polit bar busy at work getting everyone their beverages.A range of alcohol available.I was dubious about my drink choice when the bartender had to ask for help to make virgin piña coladas but they ended up being really really nice. I would definitely have this again.After we were all hydrated, fed and entertained, the finale of the night before we were to leave such a spectacular venue was a Burlesque show. Nothing bonds people together like watching the seductive art of burlesque, right?
Taking the stairs down and out, leaving the portal from another world to go back to reality.
I didn’t take many photos, my iPhone isn’t great with dim lighting (see fabulous photos here and here though) but I was really transported to another place and got lost in atmosphere and waiting for the platters of fabulous food to come by because for some reason I could still fit more food in.
Polit bar is a place like no other. They frequently have events and shows to set themselves a part from the rest. Check their website for trivia nights, live music, tarot card readings, open mic comedy and much more.
Venue: Polit bar
Address: 8 Franklin street, Manuka, ACT
Phone: (02) 61622947
Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.
Polit bar – a day of food and wine
Baan Latsamy Thai Restaurant
A group of my friends have come here several times without me. They just assumed I had eaten at Baan Latsamy before and they accused me of always being busy eating with other friends, so this particular Friday I made sure I was available and off we headed to eat Thai in Manuka.
Spring rolls deep fried spring rolls containing minced chicken, vermicelli noodles and vegetables served with chilli sauce ($8.90). Nothing particularly special although I was disappointed that the sauce was just a sweet chilli sauce.
Rice paper rolls fresh rice paper rolls with chicken and prawns, lettuce, cucumber, carrot and mint served with special dipping sauce ($9.90). The fresh paper rolls could have done with a bit more herbs but it was moist and packed with lots of ingredients.
Massaman curry with potato and roast peanuts, cooked in a thick curry, coconut milk sauce ($19.90). I usually use pad thai as my measuring stick between Thai restaurants but because we were getting rice accompaniments, I thought getting the beef massaman would go better.
The curry had big chunks of tender beef, just the way I like it but the sauce itself, even though it was very mild as expected, was extremely nutty. It was nice enough but I didn’t drown my rice in it as I usually would with less nutty sauces.Very tender pieces of beef.
Hot wok stir fry Thai basil with capsicum, onions, beans, bamboo shoots, fresh chilli and basil leaves in the chef’s special sauce ($22.90).The prawns had a slight hint of chilli although the overwhelming flavour to this dish was bamboo. I’m not the biggest fan of bamboo so I just ate the prawns and a bit of the vegetables but I didn’t go out of my way to get the bamboo or the sauce.
We didn’t order anything that my friends had tried before. My friends were more disappointed than I was with the overall food. Everything that they had ordered previously like other stir fries and laksa had been so great that they had big cravings and that’s why they came back with me so quickly since their previous visit. I wouldn’t completely write* this place off, I’ll come back and try what they had previously ordered and definitely a pad thai too.
** Thomas reads my blog!!
Venue: Baan Latsamy Thai Restaurant
Address: Flinders Way, Manuka, ACT 2603
Phone: (02) 6295 0426
Entertainment book: yes don’t forget to use your card!
I just pulled into the garage, my phone was going off like mad as I was driving home. Hmmmm 6 missed calls, who could want me so badly? Did they see me stuff my face with a slice of cheese pizza the size of my face at every traffic light? How embarrassing. No, it was just friends who wanted to go out for impromptu dinner, ‘where?’ I asked, apparently that’s where I come in.
My mind flickered and went blank, not long ago I was on the road travelling between Sydney, Port Macquarie and the Gold Coast. Where in Canberra did I want to go? ‘Is Sri Lankan ok with everyone?’, after a few loud ‘yes” in the background I quickly made a booking to the newly opened Camellia restaurant in Manuka for 30 minutes later. Back out on the road I go, minus one slice of pizza.
We were each individually welcomed by the host, he shook all of our hands and led us to our table. Very friendly staff, I thought to myself.
We were a bit confused with the menu, I noticed half way down the page that the dishes changed from Sri Lankan to a modern Australian featuring chicken, risotto, lamb, beef etc. It is almost like finding steak and chips at the back of a Chinese menu in country towns. I encouraged everyone to choose from the more Asian inspired side of the menu.
Fish pan roll thin crepes with aromatic herb and peppered fish potato filling, crumbed and deep fried. Served with tomato chutney, pickle vegetable salad ($14.90 comes with two pieces). These are like a very crispy croquette. The fish filling wasn’t too over powering so it would be fine for those who don’t like foods with a strong ‘fishy’ taste. The pickled salad was interesting and the table was really divided on the verdict on the vinegary taste of the vegetables; the Chinese have something similar with cabbage and carrots so I didn’t mind it.
Vegetable pan roll thin crepes with curried vegetable potato filling, crumbed and deep fried. Served with tomato chutney, pickle vegetable salad ($13.90 comes with two pieces). They both looked the same so I’m glad he knew which one was fish and which one was vegetarian.
The tomato chutney really just tomato sauce but it worked well together.
Prawns prawn onion confit, sweet pineapple curry and warm roti bread ($16.90). I was surprised to find how sweet the ‘sweet pineapple curry’ really was. The prawns were nice in the curry sauce and went really well with the crispy warm roti.
A close up of the delicious roti bread and sweet curry.
Juicy prawns in a mild curry sauce, there were approximately 5 prawns in this serve.
Kottu roti roti bread strips, onion, leek, carrot and exotic spices and egg sauteed and mixed with curry gravy. Served with your choice of fish/chicken/beef or vegetable curry and accompaniments ($24.90). We all collectively agreed that this tasted like a char kway teow with tomatoes and the bread strips had the consistency felt like rice noodles. I asked why there was shredded cheese on the plate and he said that isn’t typical Sri Lankan but people often requested it so they have it on there.
String hoppers fine rice flour strings squeezed through a sieve, curled to a cane mat and steamed. Your choice of fish/chicken/beef, assortment of vegetable curries and accompaniments (we chose chicken curry $26.90). I was expecting a different kind of hoppers without reading the menu properly. These come in a serve of 7 and tasted like vermicelli in little patties. They ‘mop’ up the curries really well.
Curries with rice. Your choice of traditional fish/chicken or beef mild curry with assortment of vegetable curries, authentic Sri Lankan accompaniments and steamed Basmati rice (we chose beef curry and chicken curry $25.90). These dishes look like they are made for individuals but they were easy to share and that way we got to try everything. We stuck with beef and chicken curries due to dietary requirements but that way there was enough to try some of each. The chicken curry had more of a bite but both had very tender meat. The yellow lentils were really soft and tender with great hints of chilli.
Watalappam steamed jaggery pudding ($9.90). The host explained that this was a very traditional Sri Lankan dessert consisting of coconut, honey, cashew nuts mixed with egg and then steamed. It has a very ‘steamed egg’ consistency with a very mild sweet flavour but I couldn’t pick a dominating taste overall.
Dark truffle cake served with berry compote ($9.90). This was the table’s favourite dessert, a not overly sweet cake (I thought it would be diabetes in a cake), it has the texture of rich chocolate mousse on top of a cake base. The berry compote tasted medicinal but others enjoyed it very much with their ice-cream.
Steamed coconut wandu steamed treacle cake with vanilla ice-cream ($9.90). The Asian version of a moist sticky date pudding without the butterscotch sauce. There was a very faint ‘fridge stale’ after taste though but not everyone noticed it.
A great ‘different’ type of Asian meal. The curries were flavoursome, there were unique menu options and the staff were attentive. I would recommend people try this restaurant for something a little different.
Venue: Camellia Restaurant
Address: Shop 8, Capitol Theatre centre, Franklin St, Manuka 2603
Phone: (02) 6295 2756
Entertainment book: Yes, bring your card along.
Lunch 11:30am to 2:00pm (Monday – Saturday)
Dinner 5:30pm onwards