Empire BBQ cafe

When our usual Chinese roast meat eatery in Dickson was closed, my friend and I found ourselves venturing to other establishments that offer a similar menu. We went upstairs to what used to be the Family Food Court, which was now the spacious restaurant of Empire BBQ cafe.When we were seated, we were given menus and hot tea. While my friend and I were deliberating what to order, she couldn’t find the dishes I was talking about and it turns out we were given different menus. Make sure when you go to look at both of them before deciding what to order.Combination chow mein ($14.80). A rather large serving of chow mein, which had my favourite crispy egg noodle underneath absorbing all that delicious sauce.Roast pork with noodles ($12.80). My friend didn’t know exactly what to expect when she ordered this dish, but she didn’t think that the noodles would be served separately to the roast pork. The noodles might seem a bit bland to some but they are a big staple in the Hong Kong cuisine served with a little bit of oyster sauce and sesame oil topped off with some greens. The pork was nice as it wasn’t really fatty and it had the quintessential crunchy crackling. I do prefer my roast meats with rice, so I will order that next time.The roast pork had a good fat to meat ratio, all topped off with that perfect crackling.The food is reasonably priced and the dishes came out rather quickly.

I liked how the menu has a bit of everything from the western Chinese food like chicken and cashew nuts and honey prawns to Chinese offal (beef tripe, pig stomach etc) and also foods you don’t usually see on a menu like congee. I would like go back to try their congee and eat more of their roast meats range.

 

Venue: Empire BBQ cafe

Address: 28 Woolley St, Dickson ACT 2602

Phone(02) 6247 2477

Empire BBQ cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Courgette

There is nothing more I can say about Courgette since I’ve blogged about it so many times; TimmyC and I always enjoy our visits here, even after all the restaurants that come and go in the Canberra dining scene.

Here is a collage of our last visit; even though it was in the middle of the week, it was a very busy night. We particularly enjoyed the Moreton bay bugs and surprisingly the venison.

Four course dinner ($88.00pp)~

– First course – 

In house smoked salmon, seared scallop, fennel sand, cauliflower puree, fermented black garlic

Sweetcorn croquette, heirloom tomato, bail pesto, green olive, toasted seeds

– Second course – 

Sauteed Moreton bay bugs, tomato, asparagus, cauliflower foam, chorizo crumb, petit herbs

Golden plains pork fillet and crispy jowl, miso mustard, celery fig salad, air dried black pudding

– Third course – 

Mandagery creek venison loin, truffled mash, baby spinach, red cabbage gel, port and thyme jus

Blue eyed cod and prawn sandwich, colcannon, bearnaise, salted baby capers, cornichons

– Four course – 

Baked hazelnut tart, coffee marscapone mousse, raspberry gel, dulce de leche, praline dust

Dropped cinnamon apple pie, vanilla bean custard, burnt apple ice cream, toasted oat crunch

Courgette also offer a 3 course lunch for $66.00pp, you should get there and see for yourselves why they keep winning awards.

Seriously, when did that happen?

A follow on from my previous post “What? When did that happen?“,  I am still finding myself uttering these words as my grip of the Canberra dining scene seems to slowly be slipping through my fingers.

1. Buttermilk and bourbon fried chicken with waffles is coming to Woden. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Okay that was just a menu item, their actual name is No. 10 restaurant and bar. According to their Instagram account, the first week of October is when they plan to open. There are plenty of things on the menu that have caught my eye, check them out here.

2. Turkish Pide House City has now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Apparently for ages! I drive past it all the time and always assumed it was there but now something new is taking its space. Hopefully not long to go.

3. Damian Brabender is finally opening his restaurant Otis . “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Technically this hasn’t happened yet for the public, but my friend was lucky enough to attend a soft launch and I cannot wait to eat one of everything from the menu. See a sneak peek from Michelle here.

4. Shannon’s BBQ is now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Or not paying their phone bill, I can’t tell since their phone line is disconnected. This was also on my ‘to eat list’ but I never got around to eating there and now it looks like I never will. Does anyone know what happened to this place?

5. Rockin’ Ribs has now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

I never made it to Rockin’ Ribs after Victor died but now the whole place is completely empty and available for lease. All the BBQ places seemed to have closed up shop in Canberra.

6. Fried Korean Chicken is coming to Dickson. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

I recently walked past and saw signs for Rogane Chimac opening next to Kingsland. I don’t know when it will open (or if it has already),  but it didn’t look like it was far off. They have more than fried chicken, but does it really matter?

7. Gus’ is now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Now this is starting to show how little I venture into Civic and I’m probably the last one to know about this, but Gus’ cafe has been closed since around June(?!?). Gus’ has been around for so long, I was shocked to hear that it closed.

8. Mills and Grills is providing ribs and pizza to Canberra. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

According to my friends Mills and Grills have been open for ‘a long time’, which really means I need new friends or a better radar. They are loving their pizza but I want to try out their ribs. Check out the menu at here.

9. There is a restaurant out near the airport. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

It is called Helix bar and dining and located inside the Vibe hotel and a lot of reviews say it is over priced and the service is sub par. It doesn’t sound like a place that I want to rush out and try.

 

Has there been anything happening around the Canberra dining scene that has got you asking “seriously, when did that happen?”

 

 

 

 

Kusina

It was just coincidental that I was able to get to Kusina‘s Monday Madness AND Boodle feast in the same week but I was one happy well fed girl!

Monday Madness~

All you can eat served with unlimited papaya salad, rice and soft drink ($24.00 pp) every Monday

I would definitely recommend booking; I booked for a table for four and we were seated on the last available table. When we ordered we said that two of us wanted the ‘fry up platter’ and the others would have the ‘grill platter’, which meant that we could try a bit of everything. Some of the pork pieces were really fatty but the grilled meats were marinated really well so that was our pick of the platters. The first platters were served with banana leaves underneath and were well presented, while the subsequent ‘refills’ were just meat on a plate. They were happy to give you more of anything when you had finished which minimises food wastage.

Fry up platter crispy chicken wings + crispy pork bellyGrill platter grilled pork belly marinated with sweet BBQ sauce + grilled chicken marinated in lemongrass, garlic, soy



Boodle Feast~

($36.00 pp – minimum of 4 people?) last Sunday of every month.Again I would definitely recommend booking, this feast only happens once a month and man, the restaurant was packed when we arrived. I didn’t know what to expect and no one really explained anything to us, I just knew that there wasn’t going to be any cutlery which meant I had to tie my hair up, clean my hands and wear something with lots of patterns so you couldn’t tell how much food I dropped on myself.

I told a waitress that we were ready to eat when all the guests had arrived and moments later, an impressive sized board was placed on our table. I didn’t catch all the names but the gist was (starting from the top left) potato salad, corn cobs, beef, grilled chicken wings, pork belly, fish balls, prawns and rice in the middle. Everything was really good, there was a vast difference in texture, flavours and meat. My pick of the platter would have to be the grilled chicken wings (regular readers would not be surprised) and the prawns (oh that sauce!). It was easy for me to get ‘handsy’ with most of the food but I really struggled to eat the rice without a spoon or chopsticks, especially since it wouldn’t clump in a ball for me as hard as I tried. I ended up with a lot of grains of rice in my hair (at the end of my plait, I didn’t just tip rice on my head) and down my dress, but it is a different way to experience food and I’d be happy to it eat again.

We didn’t understand if anymore was coming so we requested more chicken wings and rice, which we were happy to extra pay for. They came back with more rice and only two chicken wings but we weren’t charged more.

Leche flan ($9.80). A little thicker than I thought it would be, it had the texture more like New York cheesecake rather than an egg custard but it still tasted very nice.

The Public Place

My friend was coming from the north side of Canberra, so it seemed to her that she was driving to the other end of the earth (in Canberran speak) when I asked if we could have brunch at the very new The Public Place all the way down in Chisholm.We didn’t have a booking, we just rocked up and hoped for the best but we were able to get a table for three pretty easily on a Saturday.Mary had a little… burger slow cooked pulled lamb, aioli, rocket, fire roasted capsicum, crumbed (crumbled?)  Persian fetta and house tzatziki on a soft white roll with fries ($16.00).The first thing I noticed was the lack of fetta on the bun, I quickly enquired with a waitress who was very apologetic for the lack of fetta and pickle with the burger. I really enjoyed this burger more than I thought I would. I really liked the combination of the meaty lamb, saltiness of the fetta and the sweetness from the capsicum. No food regrets.

The burger before adding the fetta.The burger after adding the fetta.The Big Block 300g beef burger, house aioli, lettuce, tomato, pineapple, bacon, egg, lager braised onion, cheddar cheese on a soft white roll with fries and pickle ($20.00). Man, that was one gigantic beef patty! I didn’t like the texture of such a thick patty, I think I would have preferred two thinner patties. I enjoyed that they were very generous with all the ingredients and that the patty extended to the perimeter of the bun, a very important factor to me when it comes to burgers.Publics House Benny 2 poached eggs (my friend asked for fried) on a toasted bagel, house made potato and 16 hr slow cooked smoked ham hock crispy rosti with a smokey charred corn puree, avocado smash and a house chipotle hollandaise ($19.00). I think this dish was a bit confusing. My friend was lured by the sound of the rosti but I don’t think it translated well on the plate; instead of being crispy, the texture reminded me of bad faux meat. Overall, my friend was left disappointed and helped me finish my sausage roll instead.Sausage roll ($5.00?). The greedy little girl in me wanted to try as much as possible and if that meant including a sausage roll in my order, so be it. The sausage roll was a decent size with golden flaky pastry and the filling tasted like sausage meat. I want to try their house made pies next time.Orange and ginger juice ($8.00). A bit steep for a juice but it was made fresh to order.Tea ($4.00). I was impressed with their selection of milk which included lactose free, almond, coconut and soy.Hot chocolate ($3.50). If I didn’t get a juice I would have definitely ordered one of their decadent sounding hot chocolates like salted caramel or coconut rough.You have to line up and order at the counter and I felt ordering took a little longer than anticipated but the speed at which the food came was phenomenal. The staff were friendly enough and I really liked how the pies and pastries were made in house. Not the best cafe in Canberra but it has potential, a happy welcome to the southside dining scene nonetheless.

Mmmmm so many pie options.Venue: The Public Place

Address: 42 Halley St, Chisholm ACT 2905

Phone(02) 6292 9952

Websitewww.thepublicplace.com.au/

 

Eightysix

I know this is a big call to make because we aren’t even close to the end of the year but my meal at Eightysix last week was definitely in the top 3 best meals I’ve had in Canberra this year. What was even better was that it was only $86pp and I say ‘only’ because for this price, it was all we could eat… And so we did.

Duck bun with hoisin and hot sauce. This was a nice soft bun that had a nice meaty filling but I think the pickles overpowered everything. Whoever was running this station was very efficient as every time we ordered them they came out super fast. Gnocco fritto. This is like a deep-fried pastry topped with prosciutto but I found the pastry a bit too oily for me.Heirloom carrot, hummus, mint and almonds. Who knew I could enjoy carrots so much? This was a perfect pairing of flavours and with all the pasta and meat, it was good to have a salad somewhere in there. I love the sweetness from the cranberries, apples and carrots.Four cheese risotto with radicchio and balsamic. Man I love a cheesy good risotto, it was a shame I had to share.

Don’t be fooled by the camera angle, this was a really small serve. Order three!Pappardelle with parmesan and local black truffle. I felt that the truffle didn’t have as much of an effect because it wasn’t infused in anything. It was a nice simple pasta and the perfectly cooked egg yolk bursts to make a rich sauce.Pumpkin and mascarpone tortellini with hazelnuts. This ladies and gentleman, was exquisite. I really do love things that involve a pumpkin parcel pasta with burnt butter sage combo and this has to be the BEST rendition I’ve ever had. Hands down! Before they change the menu you HAVE to try this. The filling is silky smooth, the pasta thickness is perfect and the sage is super crispy.Rag pasta with lamb and rosemary ragu. I loved the sauce, the pasta, the whole thing. This was a very close second pasta choice for the table. Ghetto beef with rocket and salsa verde. I had tried this before where the beef was really dry and the rocket leaves were limp, I couldn’t tell if this time was much better or I was just really hungry. Be aware that the beef is rather quite pink, one of my friends didn’t eat it which meant more for us!Whole lamb shoulder with sides. Wow! This was incredible! A wonderful lamb roast served with chimichurri sauce and a really smooth mash potato and jus. This was apparently a 1kg roast and we almost finished the whole thing.One of the downsides of being in a busy restaurant is the wait. Sometimes there was a 15-20 minute wait between dishes, which left us a little frustrated and hungry and in turn we ordered more food hoping that something would come to the table soon. Despite ordering so many things, we had very little wastage. I knew we were testing the time constraints of our sitting (2 hours) but we asked if we could have dessert with a hopeful look in our eye. The waiter checked to see if there was someone waiting for our table but he came back happy to report we could squeeze in our dessert first.

There was a little pause in the conversation when the waiter asked us what we wanted for dessert and without hesitation while not joking I replied ‘all of them’.Strawberry cheesecake. I loved the soft creamy textures with strawberries. I didn’t realise that there was granola at the bottom for the ‘base’ until I dug a little deeper but there was a strong saltiness to it that I didn’t enjoy.

It might not look like much but I promise you there is a lot going on under that snow.Choc mint fudge sundae. If you love the choc mint combo then this is definitely for you, it was like an after dinner mint on the palette. There was a really good brownie somewhere in all that.Caramel popcorn sundae. I felt that the signature dish of the restaurant was superseded by the other desserts. It is a nice combination but this wasn’t our favourite this time.Banoffee pie. That caramel wasn’t too sweet which meant that this wasn’t OTT. A great way to finish the meal.Frozen margarita. The description didn’t give much away but this tasted like lemon meringue. It was very delicate and was the pick of the desserts. You have to try this!Even though there was a wait from the kitchen, the front of house service was fantastic, efficient and attentive. I keep telling everyone about my experience and it excited me so much I pushed it up my backlog of posts to write about because I wanted you all to know about it too.

Venue: Eightysix

Address: Elouera St, Mode 3 Building, Braddon,ACT

Phone: (02) 6161 8686
Eightysix Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Truffle Hunt & Cook

The truffle season is almost over and if you haven’t been on a truffle hunt yet, I have one to recommend to you. Sure, it comes with a price tag but one of the main reasons why I signed up was because Damian Brabender was the chef who was going to be cooking us a 6 course truffle lunch.

Truffle Hunt & Cook Lunch ($180.00 pp) includes truffle hunt with farm owner Jayson and his team of highly trained truffle dogs as well as a six course truffle lunch menu created by Chef Damian Brabender with matching local winesEven though I was mainly interested in the food component, it didn’t stop me from immensely enjoying myself watching Simba the truffle dog do his thing so skillfully and listening to Jayson’s amusing story about how he came to training dogs and eventually owning the truffle farm.Simba sniffed out the truffle, now it was our job to carefully dig it out.We (well Simba) found a hefty truffle nugget worth approximately $500 within minutes of starting our hunt. After a few successful harvests, we headed back to the kitchen where Damian had started cooking up a storm.We were swiftly given beverages and a hot cauliflower and truffle soup to warm us up. This was so smooth and creamy, the perfect winter warmer.
Bread and truffle butter.Truffle risotto with an egg. I love how creamy and rich this dish was, I really wanted five more.I love truffle butter and it goes so well with scallops.Damian (along with volunteers) showed us how easy it was to ‘whip up’ truffle mayonnaise.We all swooned over the steak topped with truffle infused jus.One of the greatest ways of having truffles is having truffle brie!TimmyC asked if I would like some crackers with my cheese… Cheeky.We ended our lovely experience with a chocolate ‘truffle’ a truffle ice cream encased in chocolate and cocoa.The food in short was fantastic, I’ve always been a fan of Damian’s work. Not only did we get a 6 course lunch, we got something better than that- an appreciation of truffles, dismissing the price tag associated with truffles because you don’t need much to make a big impact and knowledge of how to get the most out of your truffle.

I really enjoyed the whole experience; I found Damian and Jayson really charming and funny, they really get you to join in on the conversation and the experience.

See their other events like breakfast and truffle hunts on their website.

Venue: The Truffle Farm Canberra

Address: 23 Mount Majura Road, Canberra, ACT 2609

Phone:  0400 483 082

Websitehttp://www.thetrufflefarm.com.au/

Opening datesJune – August 

9:00am – 5:00pm Saturday – Sunday

 

 

 

 

Valley Grill

Some people found it odd that I went from Biota and Tetsuya’s to eating at my local Southern Cross Club at the Valley Grill with my family for my birthday, but what they didn’t know was that I was trying out their new menu to eat a beef cheek that I had been craving since Peppercress shut their doors.

Since the closure of Peppercress, some of the menu has been adopted down stairs at the casual dining area of Valley Grill. It is family friendly (it even has a kid’s gaming area), has decent prices and can cater for big numbers.

Mains~

Char Grilled Camden Valley Chicken Breast succulent corn fed chicken breast, marinated with oregano and garlic and served with Tassie thick cut chips, tossed green salad and a creamy mushroom and brandy sauce ($24.00).
48 Hour Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek rosemary and thyme marinated Wagyu beef cheeks gently braised in red wine and served with Parisian mash, sautéed mushrooms, smoked bacon and a red wine jus ($27.00).It is still the tender ‘meat cloud’ that I remembered it to be. I was worried that there was be a slight variation between transferring this cuisine downstairs but they didn’t disappoint. Yum, yum, yum!
Vegetarian Mediterranean Strudel char grilled farm fresh vegetables, halloumi cheese and baby rocket pesto in a filo strudel, served with tossed salad leaves and tomato couli ($20.00).
Porcini mushroom risotto porcini mushroom risotto served with crispy sage leaves, toasted pine nuts and freshly shaved grana padano cheese ($20.00). I almost got food envy when I got to try this. It is a creamy, rich and cheesy risotto that is definitely a winter warmer.
Chicken schnitzel premium chicken breast schnitzel rolled in Panko breadcrumbs and served with Tassie thick cut chips, tossed salad leaves and fresh coleslaw ($19.00). We were shocked to see that the schnitzel didn’t come with gravy (!!!), so we had to ask for some before we started eating. It was a nice succulent piece of chicken but I prefer traditional breadcrumbs on my schnitzel and a thicker gravy.
Chicken Parmigiana premium chicken breast schnitzel rolled in Panko breadcrumbs, topped with Napoli sauce and cheese. Served with Tassie thick cut chips and tossed salad leaves ($21.00).
Even though I was eating from the new menu, it seemed like everyone else chose their meal from the more traditional club menu. Everyone generally enjoyed their dinner but I preferred the new additions to the menu over the club favourites.

Seriously, the plating was a bit OTT, I found the ridiculous pots holding the salad and chips almost as useless as a deconstructed coffee (see more ridiculous plating here). It made the mains look very small in comparison and they were very hard to eat out of.

Sure, this isn’t fine dining on the south side but there are food good options for those who are dining with large numbers or lots of children and no one wants to do the dishes.

Venue: Valley Grill

Address: Southern Cross Club

Access: A member needs to sign you in

Phone:  (02) 6293 7200

Valley Grille Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Casey Jones

It might seem like an odd statement to make considering I live on the other side of town but I have been waiting for Casey’s gastropub Casey Jones to open since before they started building the shops. I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview event and they showed us everything! A kitchen tour, the fit out of the whole funky place, a sneak peek and taste of their breakfast menu, mains, snacks, dessert as well as their wicked cocktail and mocktail menu. If the preview is anything to go by, Canberra hold onto your metaphorical hats, you’re in for a real treat!I really like the set up; it is really spacious, the tables which are made from old railroad sleepers are gorgeous and in the summer time there is opportunity to extend dining and perhaps a beer garden outside. I think open area near the bar is going to be versatile for functions and large groups.Next up: the staff. We had an opportunity to catch up with all the staff including owner Josh, maître d’ Sorrel, head chef Abel and head barman/mixologist Jamie. Each and every one of them were all very passionate about what they are doing and what they want to achieve here at Casey Jones. Their commitment and talents are showcased through their fabulous service, delectable food, awesome drinks and amazing atmosphere.

Jamie gave a few cocktail making demonstrations and even though I don’t drink, even I was tempted and sampled some of his champagne cocktails, affogatos, cocktails and a large range of his non-alcoholic spritzers.

That is a lot of beer on tap!How pretty are the champagne cocktails!I would be tempted to order the affogato instead of dessert! This was incredible.You should try one of their signature cocktails Casey Jones smoked maple bacon and cherry infused old fashioned ($24.00). It will sure to impress with the added theatrics when it is served, plus it comes with  a strip of delicious maple bacon. YUM!
Salted caramel espresso martini with vanilla foam ($18.00).Their espresso martini smelled so so so good.Mocktails: I had had my fill of alcohol for the night and wanted to test Jamie’s skills with non-alcoholic beverages. We got a large variety and it was hard to choose a favourite between the raspberry + basil, lemon + pineapple spritzer and virgin passionfruit mojito. They were really really really good (I’ve had a fair few non-alcoholic beverages in my time). Blood orange spritzer was our least favourite because it wasn’t as sweet as the others which might suit some.Now onto more important things: the food. We naturally started with breakfast and progressed our way through the menu. I am very much a savoury girl but even I swooned over the pretty sweet options. We were lucky enough to try these with compliments of the establishment but I have included prices for your reference.

Breakfast~ starting from top left- clockwise.

Chia seeds, organic quinoa, almond milk bircher, compressed and fresh fruit, seeds ($14.00). A healthy start to the day begins with this bowl of superfood which is sweetened only with fruit.

Sourdough, local poached eggs, Pialligo award winning bacon or smoked rainbow trout, pickled red cabbage, aerated hollandaise ($18.00). These were bang on perfectly poached eggs and I’ve never had Pialligo’s smoked rainbow trout but now I’m wondering where has it been all my life. This was my pick of the breakfast dishes that we sampled but I have my eye on their egg and bacon roll (milk bun, award winning Pialligo bacon, fried eggs, ranchero relish, Iberico cheese $14.00).

Ancient grain sourdough, local poached eggs, avocado, fennel, garden kale, dukka, grana padano ($18.00). Between running around taking photos and trying to eat as much rainbow trout as I could, I completely forgot to sample this one. Ooopsie!

Citrus hotcake, pickled rhubarb, compressed honeydew, organic maple syrup, macadamias, pistachio ($16.50). I had to double take on the hotcake as I thought there were multiple, no this was one thick fluffy hotcake with a delicious crusty exterior. Upon reading the description, I wasn’t sure how this one was going to taste. Call me a traditionalist, but I like my pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup but I am glad I tried this because the Pepe Saya’s mascarpone cheese with the compressed honeydew made this my very close second breakfast choice during the preview event.Snacks~ starting from top left- clockwise.

Cherry Cola chicken wings, scallions, sriracha aioli, celery (8 pieces $15.90). Okay, confession time. I had read their menu well before the preview event and my heart skipped a beat when I read about this dish. Don’t be put off by the name, despite having Cola, housemade cherry jam and also cherry Cola, this dish isn’t sweet at all; instead they are sticky, moreish and definitely not for sharing. Order a plate each. 🙂

Chorizo, onions, kiss peppers, garlic, chilli ($14.00). A nice flavoursome chorizo balanced out by the onions and peppers.

Homeleigh Grove olives, orange, thyme, assorted petite bread ($10.90). The olives were great and the bread was served piping hot, but I felt that the bread either needed a good EVOO or butter.

Crispy spiced okra, smetana, dukkah, lemon ($12.00). This was a surprising favourite. We don’t get much exposure to okra except for overcooked ones in curries but this reminded me of zucchini flowers but with a different texture.Mains~

Belly of pork, fennel, apple, watermelon, mustard fruit, watercress ($23.90). I really enjoyed the pork belly which had the right amount of meat to fat ratio, but I don’t think this portion would have filled me as my main. I prefer my pork belly with a side of cauliflower puree but the fruit keeps the whole dish light and refreshing.‘Po Boy’ charcoaled brioche, crispy soft shell crab, sriracha aioli, pickled sesame slaw, coriander, hand cut potatoes ($22.90). Everything was perfect about this Po Boy. The brioche was soft and had a striking appearance, the crab was crispy without being oily and the sauce and slaw was the perfect accompaniment on the bun. This was a very close second pick from the mains.Gumbo, prawns, vongole, calamaretti, pork sausage, chilli, okra, black barley ($24.90). I haven’t had many gumbos in my life and it isn’t a dish I usually gravitate towards but the smell was intoxicating and the broth had lots of depth. We should have saved some bread to mop up the bowl.Salad of burrata cheese, romesco emulsion, heirloom carrots, beets, radish, black salt ($20.90). A very picturesque plate with beautiful root vegetables on showcase but the star for me was that cheese.Wagyu rump, onions, cauliflower, mojo verde, aioli, smoked butter ($31.90). We almost broke out into a fight at the table as I was willing to duel anyone for this dish. The wagyu meat was so tender and so flavoursome, it didn’t really need anything else at on the plate, although I did love watching the generous amount of butter melt all over. I would happily come back and order this again and again and again. This would be awesome with a side of fries.Dessert~

Citrus panna cotta with a berry sauce and chocolate soil. I really enjoyed the texture of the panna cotta, it passed the jiggle test and it was perfectly smooth. I found it disappointing though that the sweetness only came from the compote and the soil. We gave feedback that the panna cotta needed to be sweeter.Cakes~

One of the first things to catch my eye was that gorgeous cake cabinet. My pick would be that mango/orange cake on the bottom left hand side.I thinkI think it is incredible with what they have done with the space, menu and drinks out in the suburbs. I really enjoyed their food and them using Pepe Saya, Pialligo Estate products, Three Mills Bakery bread and Gunning Bumnut eggs is just a bonus!

They will open tomorrow morning at 7am for breakfast and with their highly anticipated opening, I hear they are booked out this Saturday and Sunday. 

Venue: Casey Jones

Address: 15 Kingsland Parade, Casey, 2913

Phone: (02) 6253 8961

Bookings: They have a handy booking system on their website

Websitehttp://caseyjones.pub/

Opening hours: 7 days a week starting from 7am
Casey Jones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New Star Charcoal Chicken

The body wants what the body wants, there is no logic to it. So when I was craving chicken, I found myself in Dickson shops looking for something chicken-y. I came across New Star Charcoal Chicken which opened up about a month ago.1/2 chicken, chips, garlic, soft drink can ($12.90). The chips were freshly fried, topped with chicken salt (by request) and were very addictive. The garlic was so good I wanted to put it on everything. Unfortunately, the chicken wasn’t freshly cooked (it had been sitting under heat lamps), the breast was dry and the limbs were a bit overcooked. It is a shame because the place smelt really good. Maybe I’ll have to go back during a peak period and get a fresh chicken.Have you been to this place?

Venue: New Star Charcoal Chicken

Address: Shop 1/4-20 Dickson place, Dickson, ACT

The Butcher, the Baker, the Merrymaker

I’m baaack!!

My friend jokingly asked  if I’m ever in Canberra. It is true that I have been travelling here and there for my birthday celebrations; everywhere from Bowral, Sydney and more recently Melbourne and Cairns. Besides heading back to Sydney occasionally, I do plan to be around for all the winter events that Canberra has to offer during my favourite season.

The fresh brisk air begs for wood fires, eating more rich hearty foods and trying to infuse everything and anything with local truffles. One of my favourite restaurants in Canberra, Pialligo Estate is getting amongst it and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek into their winter event series 2016 – The Butcher, the Baker and the Merrymaker.

31 days days, eleven amazing events, one location.

July


Friday 1st Saturday 2nd Sunday 3rd
Midwinter Christmas Feast  7:00-11:00pm     ($150.00 pp) Kirsty’s pudding making day       1:00-4:00pm ($150.00 pp)
Thursday 7th Friday 8th Saturday 9th Sunday 10th
Sunset drinks 
5:00-7:00pm ($40.00 pp)
Feather and bone Masterclass       1:00-4:00pm  ($120.00 pp) A Feast of the beast from feather and bone                    1:00-4:00pm
($145.00 pp)
Thursday 14th Friday 15th Saturday 16th Sunday 17th
Bastille Day truffle dinner
7:00-11:00pm ($150.00 pp)
Cape Grim and Flinders Island age of meaty innocence  1:00-4:30pm ($145.00 pp)
Thursday 21st Friday 22nd Saturday 23rd Sunday 24th
Smoked, cured and grilled  1:00-4:30pm
($145.00 pp)
Pact full of surprises           2:00-5:00pm
($110.00 pp)
Thursday 28th Friday 29th Saturday 30th Sunday 31st
Wildbrumby Schnapps Banquet   7:00-11pm  ($145.00 pp) Family Market Day 10:00-4:00pm free

The Christmas
Sunday Roast
   1:00-4:00pm ($110.00 pp)

During our sneak peek we got to experience schnapps and gin from Wildbrumby, Pact beer, a bit of Christmas cheer (man that ham was exquisite) and a beautiful Christmas pudding topped with fabulous custard. Not only did it make me excited for the events happening in Canberra, it also made it very hard to choose what event to go to.To find out more information, check out their website.

Polo – The Polish White Eagle Club

It has been a few years since I had last been to The Polish White Eagle Club in Turner. Back then, the restaurant was called Kopernik and it was run by an older European couple. Fast forward a few years and the restaurant inside The Polish club is now Polo, the menu is more extensive and the dining room is much busier.

Eating with foodie friends means ordering half the menu- tee hee!Pierogi – Polish dumplings in bacon and caramelised cabbage ($13.00). We chose ‘pork and chicken’ and ‘cheese and potato’ dumplings. I loved the added touch bacon and the caramelised cabbage but a dollop of sour cream would have been awesome. I preferred the pork and chicken between the two dumplings flavours.Crunchy kale new season kale crisps with slivered beetroot, crumbled goat cheese and plum dressing ($13.00). Technically it was described as ‘crispy kale’and crispy it was but it was cooked beyond being edible. As soon as I saw this, I knew the kale was over done and would be terrible and I suggested that my friend take it back but he just ate some of the goats cheese and avoided the kale leaves.Blintz and mushrooms mushroom ragout with re-fried potato blintz and sour cream ($13.00). I found the blintz a bit bland by itself and it definitely needed the sour cream and the delicious mushrooms. It was nice to share this with others but I wouldn’t order just this for my main.Veal schnitzel Polish style pan-fried, crumbed in sourdough rye, served with mashed potato and beetroot salad ($17.00). I didn’t mind the schnitzel but in comparison to other dishes, I probably wouldn’t order this again.Pork knuckle mash, baked apple, caramelised cabbage and salad ($24.00). Don’t be put off by its size, it is mainly bone; most people should be able to finish it easily. I liked the tender meat and the baked apple was a nice pairing. It is definitely a hearty meal during the colder months.Ricotta fritters cinnamon tossed ricotta dumplings with chocolate soil and mulberry sauce. yum ($10.00). We all decided that we had enough room to squeeze in one dumpling each (conveniently there were 5 doughnuts and there were 5 of us). I was really surprised how light and fluffy they were and probably could have had the whole plate to myself. It wasn’t until after we finished eating the dumplings did we notice that there wasn’t any chocolate soil but it didn’t need it. These were definitely worth ordering!Served hot and fresh, I think you could convince anyone to stay for dessert with you.The next time I come back, I would order the pierogi, pork knuckle and ricotta fritters.

Don’t forget that Polo does Pierogi and Polish pint deal on Wednesdays. Full menu available Thursday to SaturdayVenue: Polo Restaurant

Address: 38 David Street, Turner, ACT 2612

Phone: 0422 898 617

Opening times (from the website): The Polish White Eagle Club (Polo Restaurant and Polish Club bar) is now open Wednesday –  Saturday evenings from 18.00. We’re also open every second Saturday for lunch from 11.00 on Continental Deli days or by appointment.

 

Molto Italian 

I was lucky enough to dine as guest at a food blogger ‘Lunch by the lake’ at Molto Italian thanks to a lovely friend Serina (go check out her awesome blog here) and the very generous owners of Molto Italian. They offered us an Italian feast and although our meals were complimentary, all opinions are my own.

If anyone was a sceptic of Molto Italian, it would be me. My friends and I went to Tosolini’s many times and if it wasn’t the mediocre food, it was the very poor service which lead us to leave and eat dessert elsewhere . I was not a fan. So to hear that Carlo Tosolini had a new venture and it was another Italian restaurant, I was torn between my love of Italian food and being burned so badly before. Anyway, fast forward to present day- it is a new restaurant, new venture, new chefs and new beginnings; I was willing to give Molto Italian a chance. First came the ‘stuzzichini’ or finger food and then the food never stopped coming. It was truly an Italian feast.Stuzzichini

Mixed olives marinated in thyme, orange zest, garlic and extra virgin olive oil ($8.00). Delicious olives but the green ones were my favourite. Assortment of bread rosemary or garlic Tuscan flatbread sea salt schiacciatina with Sicilian extra virgin olive oil ($9.00). This was beautiful bread served warm. There was enough flavour on the bread already but I really enjoyed dipping my pieces into the EVOO.Zucchini flower stuffed with buffalo ricotta and served on a pea puree ($6.00). The zucchini flower was cooked perfectly leaving a crisp delicate batter over the flower encased with a well seasoned ricotta filling, all without bring oily.Suppli stuffed with asparagus and tallegio cheese ($16.00). During my first bite, I thought the filling was a bit bland and I wished it came with more sauce but the second bite- BAM! I got hit with a strong taste of cheese. Tallegio is a stronger cheese than I’m used to with a sharp taste and I’m not sure everyone would like it.Beef carpaccio truffle oil, testun barolo cheese and micro herbs($19.00). I love a good beef carpaccio; it is a fine line to balance the flavours of the beef, oil and cheese. There was a lovely flavour from the oil but it almost over powered the beef and the cheese.Swordfish carpaccio with pomegranate and fennel. The first thing I could taste was the delicious oil and then it had a subtle dish aftertaste. I liked that it was paired with the sweetness of pomegranate but I found all the flavours were too subtle for me and I preferred the beef.Pizza ~ are currently only available on weekendsSan daniele tomato, fior di latte, proscuitto crudo, rocket, shaved parmesan, and cherry tomato ($26.00). This was the first pizza that I tried and I fell in love. I really liked the base, the way it was cooked and the mozzarella was perfecto.Capriciossa tomato, fior di latte, ham, artichoke, olive and mushroom ($25.00). I loved the flavour combination but I think I preferred the saltier notes in the San daniele with the proscuitto and parmesan.Regina margherita tomato, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan and basil ($20.00). Just when I thought the San danielle was the best, I then tried the classic marghertia; the most simple pizza and this was my absolute favourite hands down. Every ingredient had to be at its premium because there wasn’t much to hide behind. I would have loved a little more even basil placement though.Pasta

Spaghetti cacio e pepe (made at the table ($28.00). I felt sorry for Carlos as he served all 11 of us at the table really slowly so we could take photos; it looked like a huge wheel that would have been heavy to hold. After eating more pizza than expected (damn that was good), I had to have smaller amounts of pasta so I could taste all three, while also saving room for dessert.Now I love cheese more than the next person but man this was intense. I’m glad that I only had a small portion because the cheese flavour almost became monotonous and I am most surprised that I’m saying that (TimmyC would be shocked). I think I would have loved it if it had pieces of speck or some cured meat to go with it. These wheels of cheese are replaced every 3-7 days.House made ravioli with spinach and buffalo milk ricotta in burnt butter and sage ($28.00). I am usually sold on anything in a burnt butter sauce with sage and I would easily order this next time I’m here.I wish there was a tad more sauce to this pasta but I loved the crispy sage leaves.Squid ink seafood pasta. The chef had been working on new dishes for the upcoming winter menu (to be released soon) and this was one of them. After all the heavy rich cheese dishes, this had a refreshing chilli bite and I really enjoyed the crunchy texture on the top. They import what they think is the best squid ink pasta from Italy but I think the star of the dish was the accompanying seafood.Dolci

Nonna’s tiramisu ($15.00). I can never say no to a tiramisu and it is sad to say I’ve had more disappointments than good ones. This was nice but not the best I’ve had, it tasted more like whipped cream rather than a rich mascarpone mixture.The two ‘gripes’ that I’ve heard from others about Molto Italian were about the prices and about the noise. I know that Canberra’s dining scene can seem more expensive on an international scale as well as interstate, but all along the Kingston foreshore it seems to be next level. I had written my impression of each dish before including the prices from the menu in my blog, but I felt that the prices were fair considering their import the best produce in their opinion to ensure quality authentic ingredients. We were lucky enough to have an early start before a busy lunch period but I didn’t notice a noise problem. This might be at night when the foreshore gets crazy busy.I would not have enjoyed as many dishes if I was coming with friends unless I invited 5+ people. Through this invitation, we were able to taste a large variety of the menu as well as preview some upcoming dishes from the winter menu and I am able to say that I enjoyed almost all the food that we were lucky enough to experience. I am excited to go back and try their upcoming winter menu.

Venue: Molto Italian

Address: Element Building, Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore

Phone: (02) 6140 7039
Molto Italian  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

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

A bite to eat re-run

TimmyC asked me where I would like to go for brunch on a lazy Sunday morning, I rattled off half a dozen south side options and he narrowed it down to three; it was my turn to pick. I chose A Bite to Eat because I didn’t eat as much as I wanted to last time (see my previous post here) and I had a craving for a thickshake.

We walked to the counter and asked if there was a table for two available, the waitress said that the whole top area was reserved but there was a cute table by the window available. We were given two menus and headed over to our table.

We grabbed a table by the window and cute cushions.Flat white (I don’t remember the price) and Caramel thickshake ($6.60). I didn’t have the greatest thickshake experience the first time, especially when it came highly recommended by a close friend but I was willing to give it another shot. It came in a tall old school metal cup which kept it cold throughout our meal. Smooth, thick and sweet just like a good thickshake should be. Even though we were both full, TimmyC and I drank every last drop because we didn’t want to waste it. YUM! When I get thickshake cravings, I know where I’m going to go!Breakfast served all day~Sriracha should be at every cafe.Pig pocket tortilla pocket filled with scrambled eggs, mozzarella cheese and a bacon ($8.40). I know small things amuse small minds but I loved the fact that the house made baked beans version of this dish was called a bean bag. SQUEEEEEEE! So cute. This might not seem very complex or interesting, but it was exactly what I felt like eating. There are a combination of sauces on the table to help make it to your liking.Standard two free range eggs (scrambled, poached or fried) with bacon on sourdough toast *with butter on request ($14.00). It is funny  that this is called ‘standard’ because this is one of TimmyC’s standards for breakfast at a cafe. He asked for fried eggs and also requested butter.

TimmyC should just point to his shirt when he orders breakfast. I love the decor here, everything is laid back and very relaxed. I thought their prices were also very reasonable. Despite being busy, the service was friendly and attentive; I was actually surprised about how fast the food came out.

I didn’t need edible flowers all over my plate, a doughnut sitting on top of my thickshake or quinoa on every dish, I just wanted a simple breakfast with my sweetheart in a cute cafe and A Bite to Eat delivered on every level. I’m so glad that this cafe is on the south side.
A Bite To Eat, A Drink As Well Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato