Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate 

We enjoyed our lunch at Pialligo Estate Farmhouse so much that before we left, we made a reservation for breakfast at the Garden Pavilions. They have gorgeous views and we thought it would be a great way to start the weekend.We were lucky to have beautiful blue skies and great weather during our visit.So picturesque, you would not think you were 10 minutes away from the city.Flat white coffee ($4.00) and a chai latte ($5.00).Breakfast set menu (2 courses $32.00 per person).

To start~I love their personalised cutlery.Selection of bakery goods with breads, rolls and croissant served with cultured butter and new season jams from the Estate’s orchard. I really enjoyed their bread and I won’t say how much butter I smeared on it but I will tell you that I moved the butter aside so I could also use it in my next course. I didn’t get much of the baked goods because I was busy eating my pancake but I thought the croissant was very flaky but not as buttery as I would have liked. This was my first choice until TimmyC decided he wanted it, I could see this as one of the more popular choices.TimmyC really enjoyed his galette while I was tempted to ask for more bread.Ricotta pancakes with a reduction of our Sangiovese grape juice, peppered peaches and whipped cream. When they wrote plural ‘pancakes’, I did expect more than one but by the time I finished this I was glad that there was only one because it was rather quite filling. I really enjoyed it because it was simple and sweetened by fruit so not OTT.To follow~ I must say, TimmyC and I were rather quite content after our first course, but I was very much looking forward to my savoury option.

Award winning Pialligo Smokehouse bacon, poached eggs,  and open-fire sour dough. A great classic breakfast made even better by the fact that they use their amazing bacon.Baked beans with our own chorizo and bacon, potatoes, poached egg and just harvested vine tomatoes. I was slightly taken back by the size of the bowl that this was served in; even if I skipped the first course I’m not sure I could have finished the whole dish. I dipped my fork in quickly to taste the baked beans and it reminded me of the filling of supreme pizza pocket with a chili hot aftertaste. Despite being full, I don’t know how much I could have eaten because I found the sauce so hot. I ended up picking out all the bacon and chorizo and ate it with buttered bread.A nice thick baked bean mixture with bacon and chorizo pieces mixed in.We really enjoyed the views and the food but I found the service that we experienced was a bit lacking. I’ve come to expect great service based on my previous visits from Pialligo Estate but I’m hoping it was a once off. Definitely worth going to visit for a casual breakfast, I just wish they had smaller breakfast options.

The view from within the pavilion.Venue: Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060
Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe

Welcome to the The Grounds of Alexandria, the most Instagrammable place on the planet. You could tell my level of excitement as I wasn’t even phased when they told us it would be a 45 – 1 hour wait for a table at The Grounds Cafe on a Sunday for brunch. We took a buzzer and went off exploring.Where to start? Pastries of course!
We went past the cute vintage carts selling nuts, freshly made doughnuts, cakes and slices, complete with an old school lemonade stand.How cute is this place?!img_3214
Doughnuts filled with Nutella and Raspberry jam. The area is rather quite big and very popular. There is a beautiful area called ‘The Garden bar’ where it appears to be more casual with no table service but an amazing outdoor area with lots of sun light shining through.TimmyC couldn’t wait 1 hour before having coffee, so he ordered one from The Garden Bar.
There is also a beautiful outdoor florist on-site as well as a local watering hole called ‘The Potting Shed’, I loved how all the venues have a common garden theme which ties them all together.
Even the menu is cute, this place is ridiculous!I could live here.
There is also the famous resident on site, Kevin Bacon and his little farm animal friends.
After what seemed like forever because I was getting hungry and was almost tempted to buy a cheeseburger from the Garden bar, our buzzer went off. We hurriedly moved our way through the crowds and waved our buzzer around like we had just won a game of bingo only to meet another line where there were other lucky ‘winners’ also with alarming buzzers, but we were all quickly seated and given a menu.
 
I was surprised to find the inside of the cafe so dark, especially when the outside was such a beautiful day. It made it a little harder to take photos (that might just be an Instagrammer problem).
Char-grilled steak sandwich pasture fed sirloin steak, cheddar cheese, tomato, grilled Spanish onion, horseradish aioli and rocket on a toasted vienna bread ($18.00). My jaw almost dropped when I saw the size of my plate in comparison to everyone else’s. The burgers were served with a side of chips but the length of their tray was the size of my sandwich. I really enjoyed how they had cut up the steak into pieces and covered the entire sandwich, it made it easier to eat and there is nothing more sad that a sandwich with uneven filling. I wish it came with a side of chips but my friends were nice enough to share with me.
Deconstructed iced coffee house blend coffee shot, cold brewed coffee ice, sugar syrup with milk ($8.00). Who likes a diluted warm iced coffee? Not really anyone, so the clever people at the Grounds have made their ice cubes for the iced coffee out of coffee. Not only that, but they also give you milk on the side so you can adjust the milkiness to your liking as well as provide you with a novelty syringe filled with sugar syrup.
I love how the bottle that has the coffee reads ‘poison’.     Super chocolate and hazelnut shake ($8.50).
Freshly squeezed juice pineapple, watermelon and passionfruit ($8.00).
Chicken schnitzel burger crispy free range chicken breast, slaw, vine ripened tomato, rocket and mustard aioli in a pretzel bun with crunchy beer battered chips ($21.00).
The ‘Ground’ burger Grounded beef brisket, cheese, lettuce, dill, cornichon and mayo on a toasted brioche bun, served with crunchy beer battered chips ($19.00).
Poached eggs on toast class poached eggs served on The Grounds signature sourdough ($12.00). TimmyC wanted a vegetarian option and so he chose this simple dish. He said it was nice but they sort of burnt the toast.
I was like an excited kid who couldn’t sit still. If we were waiting for the food or the bill, I’d be up taking photos of their gorgeous cake cabinet or waiting for my Instagram photos to print on their automatic printer.
I think I need one of these for home!
I really enjoyed that The Grounds have a really fantastic atmosphere and while they are extremely busy, the food still comes out at a fast pace and all the prices aren’t ridiculous. No real downside other than the wait times to get a table but there are many things on site to keep your eyes occupied.
Venue: The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe
Address: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015

Opening times:

Monday to Friday           7am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)

Saturday and Sunday    7:30am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3:30pm)

The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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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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

Westside Acton Park

Even though I went to Westside Acton Park for two things specifically (see Miss Van’s and La Crepe blog posts here), I was surprised to see so many other eateries there.

There’s O’So smoothie, Damn Fine Roasters (Canberra’s first drive thru coffee shop, you just honk your horn and someone will be with you shortly), The One (I look forward to their chicken wings!), Miss Van’s, La Crepe (which might be closed for a few weeks) and Habibz (authentic Middle Eastern BBQ). Also up the top of the shipping containers is Aviary, Canberra’s first rooftop bar, I haven’t been up there yet because the one time I tried they were closed for health and safety reasons.

If you haven’t checked out Westside Acton Park yet they have a Pop Up Market this Saturday!

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Marble and Grain

It was Monday night and although Marble and Grain wasn’t my first/second/third or even my fourth choice of places to eat, I had seen an influx of instagrammed photos recently and mainly because it was open, that I asked my friends meet me there for dinner.When we walked in, I didn’t expect the premises to be so big but it expands over several shop fronts and it is a bar on one side and restaurant with a big open kitchen on the other. It is the restaurant for the 5 star Avenue Hotel and it proceeded to become quite busy over the duration we were there considering it was a Monday night.     Complimentary bread and butter to start.Starters~

Truffle and parmesan arancini served with garlic mayo (5 for $10.00). These were delicious, the inside was cheesy (not that much truffle though), the outer coating was crispy and the sauce went really well with it.

 
Chorizo corn dogs with smokey tomato relish (4 for $9.00). I would have thought these would have been waaaay more cute if that had sticks piercing through them but I just stabbed my fork through them and dealt with it. The battered coating didn’t do much but the chorizo was full of flavour and made up for it and it definitely needed the tomato relish.
Entree~

Seared scallops cauliflower, water cress and smoked chorizo oil ($19.00). While I shared two smaller plates which were the price equivalent of this one entrée, the boys didn’t regret their choice at all and I barely sampled any of this dish but TimmyC did give me a bit of the scallops. It was naturally sweet, had a good sear and paired perfectly with the little pieces of chorizo that came with it.

 
Mains~

12hr braised beef short rib 500g smoked carrots, cavolo netro and herb jus ($35.00).I’ve had a really good short rib from Temporada and so I had high hopes for this dish, but I found that the sticky glaze felt like it coated the inside of my mouth and proceeded keep going down my throat. The meat itself was very tender and the puree helped to cut through that sticky feeling. Despite being 500g, I found some of that dead weight to be in the big bone that was attached and I was still hungry after my main, lucky for me Timmy couldn’t finish his and I helped him out.

The Grill~ all served with paris mash, sautéed spinach, bone marrow and herb jus.

Scotch fillet grass fed 300g ($36.00). Although I have found Chifley’s has ruined me for steak at other restaurants, this was really nice and I found it to be the best tasting steak on the table; I probably ate just a little over half of TimmyC’s dish. I’m not the biggest fan of bone marrow, I find it too rich even for me, it is like eating really wobbly fat which I don’t mind on a steak if it is seared well.

Rib eye steak special 500g ($40.00). My friend was really disappointed about the way his steak was cooked, although he wouldn’t let the wait staff know and just complained as he cut through pieces of his steak that was definitely cooked beyond rare as he had ordered.Sirloin steak Travale pasture fed angus 250g ($36.00). My other friend was also less than impressed with his steak, something between the taste of the meat and way it was cooked just couldn’t be compared to the steaks that we had a Chifley’s.Sides~

Roast sweet corn with bacon salt ($9.00). I know I am constantly disappointed with corn at restaurants but a juicy sweet corn goes so well with so much meat. There was a slight delay with my corn and when I brought it up with my waitress, she said that she would check on it (it was probably forgotten). When she returned she said that she was sorry for the hold up and that the corn would be taken off the bill which I thought was really nice. The corn itself was sweet and was covered in a salt that I wouldn’t identify as bacon but was nice nonetheless.Desserts~

White chocolate brulee berries, basil and roasted hazelnuts ($14.00). TimmyC pushed his dessert forward and asked me and a friend to taste it, without hesitation I dug my spoon in tasted it and spat it out immediately. After confirmation that it wasn’t just TimmyC’s taste buds and that there was something definitely wrong with this dessert, I called the very polite waitress over and told her that this dessert was utterly salty. She made a puzzled face and was very apologetic, we suggested to get the chefs to taste and we all peered over from afar to see the chef’s reaction was similar to ours. They had mistakenly caramelised the top with salt rather than sugar, an easy mistake to do when comparing the ingredients but it had devastating effects in our mouths and I expected an establishment like this not to make that type of mistake. The waitress apologised a lot but we knew it wasn’t her fault personally, TimmyC was able to either wait for another brulee to be made or choose another dessert and his dessert and coffee were taken off the bill.This looked like a ‘berry’ big mess, I later on found photos of other people’s brulee on Instagram it was plated out much nicer than this.

Banoffee cheesecake banana, chocolate shavings and dulce de leche ($14.00). After the debacle of his first dessert, TimmyC had tasted his friend’s dessert and decided that this would be his replacement dessert, although after it was given to him I pointed out that the first dessert had vanilla bean ice cream and his had mango which didn’t really tie in with his caramelised banana and dulce de leche. I called the waitress over again who was scared something else went wrong, I just told her about the flavours of ice cream and she said that it wouldn’t be a problem to give him vanilla bean ice cream and that it was rather delicious and he had to try it. The third plate of dessert was brought to him and TimmyC just wanted it to be good so he could just enjoy his dessert. The caramelised banana and looked beautiful and went very well with the ice cream and dulce de leche, but I found the cheesecake itself a bit bland and out-of-place. TimmyC really liked the pop rocks.

Dark chocolate tart chocolate mousse, honeycomb and vanilla bean gelato ($14.00).Petit fours homemade delicacies ($8.00). After having one and a half meals, I thought I would be conservative and order the petit fours while also gauging TimmyC’s dessert if it wasn’t enough. Tonight’s petit fours consisted of a chocolate bonbon it was dark chocolate and therefore was really intense and left a slightly bitter cocoa aftertaste in my mouth; chocolate brownie this wasn’t decadent at all regardless of its small size, which I found as a refreshing surprise; Turkish delight I don’t usually like Turkish delight but I found myself eating most of this morsel and a raspberry in chantilly cream mini tart I saved this for my last bite because of the fresh raspberry which I adore, berries pair perfectly with cream so it was a match made in heaven.What turned out to be a complimentary flat white coffee.

Despite the sour, or should I say salty note that the meal ended on, I didn’t love Marble and Grain because there wasn’t anything that made them unique. If you were doing things that were heavily on the meaty side, I expect it to be done really well. The service was wonderful and attentive, the mains are okay but the starters and entrée were the star of the night which only meant the rest of the night went down hill from there. It would probably be a nice place to go for after work drinks and nibbles.

Venue: Marble and Grain

Address: Avenue Hotel 25 Mort Street, Braddon, Canberra ACT 2606

Phone02 6246 9555

Opening hoursMonday – Sunday  6:00AM – 12:00AM

Websitewww.marbleandgrain.com.au/
Marble & Grain on Urbanspoon

Table 1 Espresso

I wasn’t going to blog about my brunch while I was in Newcastle over the weekend, I was just going to catch up with a dear friend of mine who had heard good things about Table 1 Espresso, but when our drinks came I couldn’t NOT blog about it.IMG_0899I thought it was odd that this popular cafe was right next door to a car wash in the middle of nowhere, although there was no surprise that there was a queue forming near the front, luckily I had booked a table earlier.

At first we were surprised that the menu was mainly savoury items without a single pancake or waffle in sight, but when TimmyC went to order and pay at the counter, he spotted waffles on the specials board and his first choice was quickly replaced. I didn’t take a photo of the menu (because I didn’t think I was going to blog about it) and TimmyC has a terrible memory for details so the descriptions and prices are based from my memory.IMG_0901Oreo and Snickers milkshakes. TimmyC knew me well when he chose Snickers from a list of popular chocolate bar flavours. I looooove snickers and this milkshake tasted exactly like it! Not only did it look absolutely fabulous (and sparked my need to blog about this place) but they both tasted great too; Canberra cafes should take heed.IMG_0904IMG_0892IMG_0893Flat white Campos coffee. TimmyC didn’t think that there was anything special about his coffee and kept on sneaking sips of my milkshake instead. I like how it comes with a little love heart short bread that he didn’t even offer me a nibble of *cough*.IMG_0889Waffles with banana, vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. TimmyC specifically asked if the waffles were made in-house and the person at the counter said ‘yes’. When he started to eat them he had his doubts because of the texture was thick and hard like at Max Brenner, he was less than satisfied but I surprisingly finished off his waffles between mouthfuls of mine.IMG_0896Scrambled eggs 3 scrambled eggs with spinach, fetta, chorizo and toasted sourdough ($18.00). I liked the flavour combination, I just think that the toasted needed some melted butter and it would have made it easier to eat. I liked how the eggs were moist and that the chorizo was crispy.IMG_0897I must highly commend the wait staff, despite being really busy, they were always polite and efficient. I was surprised at the minimal wait time, the cafe was particularly full when we sat down but the drinks and food all came in a timely manner. The menu is a bit simple but I wouldn’t hesitate to come back and grab a milkshake!

Venue: Table 1 Espresso

Address: 89 – 93 City Road, Merewether NSW 2291

Phone: (02) 4963 3796

Websitewww.table1espresso.com

Table 1 Espresso on Urbanspoon

Red brick Espresso re-run

I wanted to take my visiting friend somewhere local and awesome for brunch with good coffee and Red Brick Espresso had something that appealed to each of us. We were lucky enough to get a big spacious table inside and we excitedly browsed through the menu.

Coffee. Everyone really enjoyed their coffee and TimmyC went back to get a second one.IMG_0394Salted caramel milkshake ($6.00). This didn’t have a strong salted caramel taste and I’ve had better at other cafes.IMG_0398Hot pressed rolls~

Tandoori chicken, cucumber raita, fresh tomato, baby spinach and mango chutney ($10.90).IMG_0402Red Brick Phylli Cheese Steak with pulled beef steak, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onion, swiss cheese and Dijon mayo ($12.90). This sounded like all my favourite things on a roll but when I received my order, it looked like it was majorly burnt. I was going to complain but I thought I would taste it first and despite its black charcoal surface, it did not taste burnt. It did however lack some salt and I found the whole dish underwhelming.IMG_0406When I saw this burnt looking sandwich, I didn’t have high hopes.IMG_0405Pulled pork and apple slaw burger on a brioche bun with a dressed leaves side salad ($15.90). I felt bad for TimmyC when Red Brick no longer had waffles available, as that was the dish I lured him here with. He chose this as his second choice and they informed him at our table that there is no brioche and that they were substituting it with sour dough. The pulled pork was nice enough but they drowned it with a lot of BBQ sauce.IMG_0401

IMG_0400I was pretty disappointed with this brunch and felt bad that I chose it. Red Brick Espresso has an extremely limited kitchen facility and I guess I shouldn’t expect so much from them but then again they have chosen to put these dishes on their menu. I think this is a place for good coffee, I’m hoping the food will improve because I’ve liked their brunches previously.

Brunch at Me and Mrs. Jones

This was a spontaneous brunch but Me and Mrs. Jones had the perfect dishes that suited the both of us. In true Canberra fashion, everywhere that was serving brunch on a Sunday morning was packed which wasn’t a good sign for people who didn’t book but because there was only two of us, they slipped us on a table fairly quickly.

They were a little late with our beverages because there was a huge queue for take away coffee but they were very apologetic and after that they kept asking if we needed anything else.IMG_4397.JPGI love how their pyramid tea bag is condensed in this cute little cube.IMG_4398.JPGBanana bread french toast with maple glazed bacon and cinnamon mascarpone ($16.00). What I look for a in a breakfast item is something unique/has bacon/French toast or a banana bread, so you could imagine my eyes widening when I saw everything I like in a breakfast on one plate! It is pretty hard to screw up bacon, the banana bread french toast really just tasted like a  toasted banana bread, but what made it for me was the supposed cinnamon mascarpone, I thought it was just a delicious whipped butter. It was incredible and I dipped everything into it, even when I ran out of banana bread, I just started eating it by itself like a gluttonous piggy. *blush* A perfect balance of salt and sweet for me. IMG_4396.JPGEggs benedict with bacon ($16.00) and garlic mushrooms (TimmyC couldn’t remember how much extra they were). The perfect hollandaise blanketed a touch over done poached eggs, yummy bacon and the mushrooms are worth getting as an extra addition.IMG_4392.JPGI seem to have a lot of brunch here and not many dinners, I must rectify that!

Espresso Room

I’m glad that with fancy coffee places popping up left right and centre in Braddon, Civic and Belconnen that Tuggeranong was not left out. My Mummy wanted a coffee so an idea sparked from my head and I wanted to take her to the Espresso Room in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome.

A simple set up with a few seats but there are a lot of take aways going on.20140802-125953-46793068.jpgWritten on their website: “The concept of Espresso Room is one of a company owned and operated by its own Baristas. This assures a high level of passion and quality goes into the making of every cup of coffee. Baristas are trained in the use of many different brewing methods and techniques.”20140802-125951-46791756.jpgI’m glad that they participate in Project Origin where they develop long business relationships with growers for a sustainable future.20140802-125950-46790411.jpgWell this is lovely and thoughtful. 🙂20140802-130015-46815311.jpgSmall latte ($3.50). Mummy really enjoyed her coffee and her latte art made me smile, I thought it was super cute.20140802-130013-46813841.jpgI must admit I had an ulterior motive when I took Mum here for a coffee but she doesn’t need to know, let’s call it a silent “win win” situation. Kronuts were $4.50 each, I couldn’t decide on a flavour so I chose both vanilla cinnamon and chocolate raspberry. 20140802-130016-46816873.jpgThings were disappearing fast from the boards, I thought I’d bet buy them now as they might sell out when I come back.20140802-130018-46818298.jpgChocolate and raspberry kronut ($4.50). They both didn’t look attractive by the time we got home with the oil penetrating through the brown paper bags but I did like how them the vanilla cinnamon had a custard filling. I didn’t really get a ‘kronut’ feel about these pastries, they weren’t very crispy like a croissant and it was more like a cross between a krispy kreme donut and a jam/custard filled donut. I forgot to ask where they source their pastries from.20140802-170059-61259288.jpgIt looks like this chain of stores are over taking Canberra with two other locations already in Woden and Belconnen and a store in Civic to open soon. Go check out the Belconnen store (located across from Fernwood Belconnen, right next to Outback Jacks.) this 6th Aug 2014 for their free coffee day between 7:00am – 5:30pm!

Venue: Espresso Room

Address: Shop 1-178 Tuggeranong Shopping Centre, Greenway, Canberra (near the Target entrance)

Website: http://espressoroom.com.au/

Store Opening Times:
Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Friday 9:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm

On the Grind Canberra

TimmyC and I were looking to get some late breakfast and try somewhere new, we decided to go to On the Grind Canberra which had opened a few months before hand at the Drakeford drive shops in Kambah. I was excited to see a modern day essential added to this set of businesses.20140706-171617-62177339.jpgWe were disappointed to see that they didn’t really have much food on offer with only cakes and a few basic sandwiches and croissants with fillings but we made the best of the situation and ordered a few light things which could be heated. A really basic set up with only a coffee machine, small oven for pies and sausage rolls and a cake display cabinet.20140706-171621-62181512.jpgI like how they tell you what the roast of the week is.20140707-232645-84405638.jpgChai latte (small $3.90). It tasted like really well heated milk with a hint of chai spice. I was a bit disappointed but Tim liked it. There was also no pattern or dusting of nutmeg on top, I almost thought it was the flat white and TimmyC’s big mug was the chai.

Flat white (large $4.80). Nothing too special with the coffee but we saw plenty of people walk in and out with takeaways. It is clearly a happy addition to the Drakeford drive shops.20140706-171622-62182995.jpgSize difference between the small and large.20140706-171646-62206563.jpg I love their funky wall clock.20140706-171618-62178851.jpgI thought the couch area had shallow seats and unusually high in comparison to the table. I think it would be more comfortable to sit on the plastic seats or the couches.20140706-171620-62180157.jpgA nice wide open space with plenty of seats.20140706-171651-62211106.jpgThey have funky light fittings.20140706-171652-62212486.jpgBanana bread ($3.50?). I asked for this toasted and it came out really nicely. The butter melted really well and it was a decent sized thick slice.20140706-171648-62208065.jpgScones with jam and cream ($3.20). We eventually ran out of the whipped cream and they kindly gave us another serve. The scones were served warm but between canned whipped cream and Kraft jam it wasn’t too appetizing.20140706-171649-62209616.jpgIt was nice to see that soy milks and other such ‘special’ milks are available and also at no extra charge, you rarely see that these days.20140706-171710-62230084.jpgIt is nice to see the local shops all supporting each other after seeing several people in uniform come in and grab some coffee. The staff were very friendly and despite its simple set up, it has the basics – coffee, good location, friendly staff and something for if you get hungry.

Venue: On the Grind Canberra

Address: 5/9 Jenke cct, Kambah ACT 2902

Phone: (02) 6162 1005

 

On the Grind Canberra on Urbanspoon

The Cupping Room: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

I get super excited when I go somewhere new and there has been a ‘must go there’ list building up for Canberra during the time I’ve been traveling interstate and overseas. Coincidentally during our ‘day of food and wine’, I was taken to four new places and a much-loved eatery so I was buzzing with excitement and anticipation even if we did meet at 7:40am in the morning on the other side of town. *yawn*

Coffee tasting was the first item on the agenda and with such an early start, it was definitely needed. Most people are shocked (and maybe somewhat alarmed) when I tell them I don’t drink coffee. I don’t need it to wake up, I don’t get a headache if I don’t drink it and I probably add too much milk and sugar for it to still be called coffee but I do adore the smell. Thankfully I was not the only foodie who doesn’t usually consume coffee, there were four of us but we were happy to participate and see what the fuss is all about.

We were taken to The Cupping Room in Civic and we were in for a real treat with half the venue booked out especially for our coffee tasting. Our tables were carefully set with a dash of mineral water in a cup and also cutlery (oh thank goodness there will be food!). The founder of Ona coffee Mr. Sasa Sestic who is very passionate about coffee, welcomed us and gave us a lesson on the coffee growing, sourcing and tasting while the friendly staff served us all cappuccinos.

Who knew the sun and also quite a few people were up during this time of day and on a weekend no less! 20140603-221405-80045966.jpgBeautiful latte art.20140603-221414-80054748.jpgOna Coffee founder: Sasa Sestic talking about his passion for coffee, the projects he has developed, the unconventional way they pick their coffee based on the coffee tree matrix and supplying the essential nutrients using natural products like bananas and crushed volcanic rock. His passion extends beyond the coffee bean and incorporates the farmer; through creating Project Origin he ensures quality, sustainability and fairness for the producer.This guy knows his coffee!20140603-221417-80057809.jpgOur coffees were decorated with beautiful latte art which varied between cups. I looked for sugar on the table but there wasn’t any and I convince myself, just like when I eat pasta, to taste it before adding to it. It was a beautiful creamy coffee that really surprised me and my fellow non coffee drinker that we liked it. There was no bitter aftertaste and no feeling of just having eaten a mouthful of cigarette ash.20140603-221413-80053335.jpgFor once I’m not the only person taking photos of the food at the table. I can get used to hanging with this foodie crowd!20140603-221915-80355672.jpgOur second tastings arrived and to get the full flavour we were encouraged to ‘slurp’ the coffee from out spoons. This was washed vs unwashed beans. The ‘washed’ was almost like a beautiful strong rich tea but the second ‘unwashedl’ coffee was almost unbearable for me as a non coffee drinker. When asked which style we preferred, it was no surprise that the non coffee drinkers took a liking to the washed while caffeine addicts liked the other. 20140603-221419-80059293.jpgI’m going in for my big ‘slurp’, I’ve had plenty of ramen practise leading up to this moment.20140603-221420-80060960.jpgUp next was what I am much better at tasting- food!

Cured salmon with beetroot jelly, ribbons of fennel and creme fraiche topped with some croutons and micro herbs. The salmon was so tender it required minimal chewing and the saltiness was balanced out by the subtle sweetness from the delicate beetroot jelly. I thought the croutons gave it a great crunch which gave the dish an extra dimension of texture. Not your typical breakfast, but all the flavours were light and complimentary to each other.photo (21) 20140603-221917-80357040.jpgGluten free and vegetarian option of quinoa,  fennel and beetroot jelly.20140603-221919-80359872.jpgSome local humans getting their photo taken for Canberra Times (read the article here).20140603-221921-80361323.jpgThe other side was filling up fast, The Cupping Room proves to be a popular coffee spot on Saturday mornings.20140603-221931-80371596.jpgThird coffee tasting: filtered vs natural. The difference in taste was surprising and the tastes changed again when you had a sip of sparkling water afterwards. The natural tasted stronger but was still very delicate on the palette.20140603-221922-80362657.jpgCocoa avocado – avocado, banana, honey and cocoa topped with strawberries and served with a biscuit oat crumb. A beautifully simple and tasty sweet way to end our meal at The Cupping Room. The mousse was incredibly smooth with flavours of cocoa, banana and honey. A breakfast dessert is not for everyone before 9am but we stopped just short from licking our plates before we left, I should try to replicate this.20140603-221928-80368501.jpgLast but not least, they shared one of the drinks that they had created during a competition, a raspberry creaming soda iced coffee which consisted of raspberry reduction, dry ice and of course coffee. It was a unique take on familiar flavours as well as theatrics.

After the raspberry and dry ice was added to the espresso, the vase was cupped over the glass to allow the drink to carbonate and cool down. After a few minutes we were able to lift the ‘lid’ and capture the sweet scent of raspberries that was emitted.20140603-221924-80364123.jpgBrew my pretty, brew…20140603-221927-80367046.jpgWhat you’re left with is a dark carbonated coffee with sweet raspberry notes and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The raspberry creaming soda is served in a wine glass, a cute way to end our coffee tasting at The Cupping Room.20140603-221930-80370123.jpgThe Cupping Room hasn’t started a coffee addiction within me, but it has opened my eyes to the amount of flavour difference there is even between picking beans on different branches and how far away the fruit is from the trunk (which determines how much nutrients they get), how to ‘slurp’ my way through a coffee tasting and how many different projects including ‘Jammin Da House‘ that Sasa is involved in.

I’m excited to come back and try more food.

Venue: The Cupping Room

Address: 1/13 University Av Canberra City, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

Phone: (02) 6257 6412

Opening hoursMon – Fri7:00 am – 4:00 pm Sat8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.

The Cupping Room on Urbanspoon

Jammin Da House

I received this email from Westfield Woden, unfortunately I won’t be in the area to check this out. I can imagine the area smelling amazing!

Hello there,

What are you doing after work on Friday night?
Join us to watch Canberra’s top baristas battle it out to be crowned the
Jammin Da House Latte Art Champion.

WHEN: Friday 23 May 2014
TIME: 6:00pm to 8:30pm
WHERE: Centre Court, Westfield Woden

Enjoy the aroma of coffee, taste the competition lattes, sip on wine and bid on auction items to raise money for Project Origin all whilst you cheer on your favourite barista.

If you are a barista (or know of one) wanting to compete, please pre-register now by emailing Dien@espressoroom.com.au or leave your details at Espresso Room.
There is no fee to enter!

Make a Friday night of Jammin Da House,
Westfield Woden

Caffe Cherry Beans

I know my way around Westfield Woden, Canberra centre, hell even Westfield Belconnen, but throw me in Tuggeranong Hyperdome and I have to think twice before I know where I’m headed… Add a new cafe though and you’ve got my attention.

It seems like Caffe Cherry Beans coffee stores are popping up everywhere like the new ‘Starbucks’. On our way to getting a stash of Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams, we stopped by and grabbed a coffee.20140315-231350.jpg20140315-231359.jpgFlat White (takeaway small cup $3.70). Timmy said he didn’t mind it, the cup did look extremely small though. Caffe Cherry Beans pride themselves in using ‘fresh’ coffee beans having a freshness guarantee by not keeping any coffee for sale beyond 21 days.20140315-231440.jpg

Nice wide open space inside.20140315-231408.jpg

I thought the piggy cupcake was soooo adorable!20140315-231417.jpg

Opening hours:20140315-231428.jpg

There aren’t too many cafes like this in Tuggeranong so it’s good to see that the Hyperdome is expanding.

Venue: Caffe Cherry Beans

Address: Tuggeranong Hyperdome, across from Coles

Website: http://www.cherrybeans.com.au/