The Commons Street Feast

Friday night was the opening night of The Commons Street Feast and where were you Canberra? Perhaps you were busy with Christmas parties or perhaps the other half of you was oblivious to the fact that these awesome food trucks have set up a home in Canberra for the next 7 days. Either way, I was taken by surprise about how quiet the event was, especially on opening night.

We arrived 30 minutes before our butler service started so we could scout the area, checking out all the food vendors. This is essential to see what’s on offer and knowing what to promise your stomach later on. I was surprised to see the set up was so spread out. A lot of the vendors had barricades to zig zag a long line in anticipation of large crowds, there is a large funky pyramid in the middle (with different artworks on each side) pumping out music to the crowd and lots of picnic tables set up all over.

The Butlers

TimmyC is not a fan of lining up (in fact, who is?) and it is hard to time food well when you have dispersed to take on different lines. So I had preemptively booked a butler for my party of three in anticipation of the usual large crowds that flock to foodie events like this.We met our friendly butler Ben who was to look after us for the next two hours. The butler service had reserved tables under the shade of trees just right of the entrance but I explained to Ben that that would be no good for photos, especially with the sun setting soon. We found ourselves on a table next to the pyramid, in the centre of all that is happening and Ben asked if we wanted to walk around and browse the area and he could recommend things, but we explained that we had scouted the area and we knew what we wanted already, so let’s begin.

We had ordered dishes from three different vendors on his tablet (if it was a little busier it would have been quicker to order from one vendor at a time), we tapped our card and paid right there on the spot on his device and off he went. While we casually sat there and took in the atmosphere, Ben raced back with dishes from one vendor at a time in quick succession. For people who just wanted to sit, eat and take photos, this butler service was really working out for us!

Handy little contraption took our orders, printed receipts and allowed us to pay there at our table.

Our butler was super friendly and enthusiastic the entire time and when I asked him questions about vendors that only a food blogger would, he would race off and find the answer for me. At first I thought maybe 1 hour of the butler service would have been enough, but I’m a slow eater so I was definitely not rushed with 2 hours. Ben mentioned a lot of tables who have booked one hour didn’t get to try as much as they wanted.

Bao Stop

The first thing I wanted to eat was the Peking Duck fries that I wanted to pair eventually with TimmyC’s Mary’s burger. With the butler service this was able to happen, if two people were to line up in each line, you might have ended up with cold fries and a hot burger.

Peking Duck fries ($15.00). This was loaded with sauce and duck on top of crispy shoe string fries. I really enjoyed the pairing of the hoisin sauce to the chips and even when all the duck was eaten, I still liked eating the chips with shallots (maybe it’s the Asian in me).

Thai in a Box

Chicken pad thai ($13.00). This was definitely not my choice but my Mum said she wanted noodles that this was the only choice on site. She found it too sweet and didn’t finish it although it was served very hot and fast.

Mary’s

This was an exciting highlight for me when I read the vendors who were coming. Not knowing what to try first, we just chose the classic cheeseburger.Mary’s cheeseburger ($14.00). Mary’s had the longest lines but our butler came back pretty quickly with our order. I really enjoyed their soft buns, delicious beef patty and cheese but TimmyC found their patty a little small and that they were a little heavy handed with their sauces. I agreed but I still really liked it. TimmyC also mentioned that it reminded him of Grease Monkey. I wonder what their fried chicken tastes like…

Smokin’ Grill

After being intoxicated by the smell from their smokers, I sent Ben off to get me beef short ribs with slaw and corn chips ($20.00). He came with a with a blackened, pepper encrusted tender beef rib served with undressed slaw that cut through the pepper and meatiness of the rib. The meat was really nice but I thought that it was a little steep for the tiny serve that we got.

The Grace caravan

Mumsy was freezing by this point when the sun had set and it was unusually cold for this time of year. I sent Ben off on a mission to find her some hot tea, even if it was just to hold and gather some warmth. He found an assortment of teas from Grace caravan and Mumsy chose a lemongrass and ginger tea ($4.00) and while he was there he may as well grab that caramel slice that she had been eyeing off for $5.

Happy as Larry

I was starting to wonder if our butler was judging the amount of food that we were eating but that didn’t really stop us from ordering more. I was impressed with Happy as Larry’s split level set up carrying one massing looking wood fired oven and had to try one.Margherita San Marzano tomatoes, basil, fior di latte, extra virgin olive oil ($16.00). The pizza smelt really good but this was so hard to eat because everything other than the crust had no stable structural integrity. As soon as you went to pick up a slice, the topping would slide right off. Definitely not a first date food. I really enjoyed their ingredients, maybe if they had slightly thicker bases it wouldn’t be so sloppy.

De Wafel

De Traditional speculoos + whipped cream ($9.50). TimmyC could not help himself and had to order waffles while we were there. They had an ever so slight crunch to the exterior while being fairly soft and pancakey in the centre. I really liked the combination of toppings and will definitely be trying  crumbled speculoos at home.

Messina

Now this was the big reason why TimmyC wanted to go to The Commons. Messina has cleverly done a novelty take on an International Soup Kitchen with cute homage to Campbell’s canned soup packing to match. What was also very smart of them was everything was pre-made and frozen. All the server had to do was pop the lid and give you a spoon. I imagine lines for this place to be long in the coming days but it should be a quick run through as you’re given your can and spoon.Faux Pho salted coconut sorbet, kaffir lime marshmallow, lychee meringue, chilli cashew crunch ($9.00). At first I was confused if they had forgotten to add anything other than the coconut sorbet in my can as that was all I could taste, but if you delve deep in the depths of the can, on the very bottom was all the other goodies. I loved the heat from the crunch which was off set by the cooling coconut and I loved the kaffir lime mixed through it all. I chose this because I loved all these flavours (again perhaps it is the Asian from within) but I don’t know if I came across any lychee meringue in my spoonfuls.

American chow down peanut butter gelato, cream cheese gelato, oreo cookie crumbs, pretzel crunch ($9.00). TimmyC’s stronger affinity to sweetness meant he enjoyed this tin a lot more than I did, I found it a little OTT. They definitely had American flavours in there, it tasted very peanut buttery and chocolatey with crunchy textures.

Other stalls

It may come as a surprise to you that I didn’t get around to eating from all the vendors, but here are some photos of the other places. You might have also noticed that there are stalls missing (Fritto + co, Urban pasta etc) but apparently there will be around  7 food trucks that will be swapping over from around Wednesday. Ribbies barbecue weren’t able to open on the first night but were hoping to be ready for the weekend.

Yalla Yalla!

Vutu

Pact beer – Canberra represent!

Capital Brewing co. – Canberra represent!Pialligo Estate – Canberra represent!Sakura on wheelz

MeetThe One – Canberra represent!

Rolling schnitzel

Kransky Brothers – Canberra represent!

A special mention to these guys, they let me try some of their kransky it is sooooooooo good and reasonably priced. I’m going to get this next time.

Mantooth’s place

Keep your eye out on their events calendar, there are plenty of things to do like random karaoke, table tennis and Christmas carols. Also check out my previous post to see the opening hours and what you need to know.

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Keep Calm and Curry On

Get your diary and cross out whatever you thought you were doing this weekend and write ‘CURRY FESTIVAL’ all in caps.
 
The World Curry Festival will kick off this Friday 8th from 5:00PM with free entry. There will be curries (obviously) from around the world, curried beer and spiced cider, entertainment and of course you will have to check out what unusual ice cream flavours Frugii has concocted for this event.
Inline image 1
 
VenueWorld Curry Festival
Address: City Walk, Civic
Dates and times
8th July 5:00PM – 8:00PM
9th July 11:00AM – 8:00PM
10th July 11:00AM – 6:00PM
 
In the case of bad weather the event may be postponed, please click attending on the Facebook event for all the latest event updates.

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

Lahori Gate

Canberra has had such restaurant boom in the last few years, I cannot keep up but at least I’ve heard of most of the places even if I haven’t been yet. So when a work colleague asked me if I had been to a Pakistani restaurant in Phillip, I gave him a look of deep concentration as I scanned through my mental restaurant library and came up blank. What was he talking about, how was there a restaurant south side out of all places that I haven’t heard about!?

Lahori Gate has been open for the past 8 months and are looking to expand all without registering on the foodie radar, but it has obviously made waves in the Pakistani community. Even the ambassador went there to eat and was so impressed that Lahori Gate now caters for some embassy events. We were all curious about this restaurant so a group of us from work went later that week. When we were all seated the waiter/owner clarified with us that they are a Pakistani restaurant not an Indian restaurant, all the food is home style cooking, his wife and sister-in-law run the kitchen and do not to expect cream and sweeteners to be added to the curries. ‘Perfect’ I said smiling, ‘that’s exactly what we’re here for’.

Appetisers~

Chicken pakora deep-fried chicken fritters, cooked with light spices served with raita and tamarind sauce ($9.50). These were served to us piping hot from the fryer although they weren’t oily. I was surprised how many were in one serve (or have I just adjusted to Canberra ‘normal’ dining now?) and they were addictive to eat. I think they forgot to give us tamarind sauce but we still had lemon and raita, which wasn’t sweet but rather herby and tangy.Shami kebab beef and lentil patties served with raita and salad ($9.50). These patties had a ‘wet flaky consistency’ like tuna from a can; I couldn’t tell there were lentils in there. It tasted very meaty with herbs although it did leave a bit of a chilli aftertaste at the back of my throat. I’ve never eaten anything like this before.A closer look inside the shami kebab.The raita here is not sweet like we’re used to in Indian restaurants and conveniently pairs well with everything from entrees through to mains.Mains~

Achari chicken marinated boneless chicken cooked with pickles and special spice and herbs ($15.50). I didn’t get any pieces of pickles in my spoonfuls but that didn’t worry me. The chicken had a beautiful flavour to it, it is hard to describe when I’ve never had anything like this before but we all really enjoyed it went back for more.Bhuna Gosht tender pieces of beef (it usually comes in lamb but we got this in beef) marinated in garlic, ginger and spices cooked with tomato, onion in a thick bottom pan to seal all the natural juice ($15.00). My work colleague was disappointed with this dish because for him, it is usually ‘dry’ with not much sauce but for those who didn’t know any better (i.e. most people on the table), we mopped up all the sauce with our naan.Chicken Biryani chicken and rice cooked with aromatic spice, herbs served with raita ($15.50). Yes we ordered chicken for entree and then chicken on top of more chicken, hahaha. The rice was really nice, although the chicken pieces were so sporadic I don’t know if it made much of a difference, luckily for me, I just topped it off with more achari chicken.Sides~

Rice ($4.00 serve we had two serves between the 8 of us).

Garlic naan ($3.00 each we ordered 4 between 8 of us). My first piece was pretty burnt on one half but luckily for the table (unlucky for me), it was pretty much the only burnt one that was served. These had herbs as well as garlic on them which was a nice touch, but they were very handy to have at the table to mop up every bit of the sauces from the curries.Desserts~
Rice pudding
(Kheer $8.00). I’m a sucker for rice pudding so while everyone choosing ras malai, I was shouting out for rice pudding, in the end we got two of everything so there was enough for everyone to sample a bit of everything. This was subtle sweet but was mixed with nice spices.Ras malai ($8.00). I have eaten my fair share of ras malai (although I still wouldn’t be an expert) and this would have been one of the nicer ones I’ve had. My work colleague was not as impressed and said that they can make it better at home, unfortunately not all of us are that lucky.

Carrot pudding ($8.00). This was not on the menu but the waiter/husband/brother-in-law was saying that he made this dish himself and if we would like to try some, so we ordered this as well. It looked very unusual but it tasted very balanced between the sweetness, spices and the natural sweetness of the carrots.The dining area is very small and might not fit more than 40-50 people comfortably and although patrons were sporadic during our meal I would still suggest to book to avoid disappointment.

I quickly took a photo before the restaurant became fairly busy.I really enjoyed the food here, it offers a menu unlike any other I’ve seen in Canberra. It is nestled away in the apartment blocks near Woden CIT and I wouldn’t have known that this place existed if my work colleague hadn’t seen a flyer in a grocery store.

Apparently they have ‘brunch’ buffet once a month on a Sunday, it is not on a set day every month so check out their Facebook page for upcoming events and brunch dates. For $18.50(?) you have a choice between 8 varieties of curries and it is very popular that the line is always out the door.

Venue: Lahori Gate

Address: 2 Antis St, Phillip, ACT

Phone(02) 6101 5896

Opening hours:

Mon Closed

Tuesday – Friday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Click to add a blog post for Lahori Gate on Zomato

 

 

Laziza house

I remember asking a fellow blogger (you must check out her blog at mumchic) if I couldn’t get a home cooked Pakistani meal, where could I go out and eat Pakistani food? She suggested Laziza house in Melba, I had remembered seeing the name in the Entertainment book so off I went with some friends to try some Pakistani food.

We arrived around 7pm-ish and we were only one of two tables with 6 patrons all up, it seemed very quiet for a Friday night. The room was exotically decorated with lots of staff on hand to give efficient service.I was a bit nervous about ordering, I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew I wanted to try Pakistani food and avoid the typical Indian dishes. Conveniently, there were ‘Pakistani specials’ and ‘Afghan specials’ headings and underneath was several menu items; we just stuck to that list.

The menu has spelling errors consistently throughout the pages but we knew what they were saying when they had ‘Laziza Charcoal Owen Specials’. We were keen to try things from the oven and ordered the Lahori Tandoori Murghah chicken marinated in yoghurt, spices, grilled in charcoal oven ($19.50 full). It didn’t taste great and some pieces were a bit dry, we should have only ordered the half serve.

Pakistani Specials~

LAZIZA Nihair (Pakistani traditional dish) Shinbone of the beef used for this curry. Very tasty and delicious ($15.50). I thought that the bowl was particularly shallow but I later found that the spoon kept on hitting a piece of bone with a slither of bone marrow that my friend’s happily enjoyed amongst themselves. The curry itself was very flavoursome with very tender beef, I would happily have this again. It had lots of fennel seeds in it and green chillis but it wasn’t too hot if you had lassi on hand with lots of rice.Afghan Specials~

Kabuli Pulao a mound of basmati rice topped with cooked carrot strips and raisins ($15.50). I had had this dish from Koochi when it used to be open and I thought this would be just as good but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t recommend ordering this rice dish, it was very dry and bland by comparison.

Mango lassi ($4.50). I could make this better at home but it did relieve some of the chilli that was building up in my mouth from the curry.Garlic naan plain flour bread with crushed garlic ($3.20). I didn’t like how the crushed garlic was from a bottle, you could taste the sweetness from the garlic.I didn’t listen to my own advice and ended up ordering outside of the Pakistani menu realm. The dishes and the sides that were Afghan and Indian were very underwhelming but I really did enjoy that shinbone curry. I wouldn’t rush back to try this restaurant but if I was to go with someone who knew what they were ordering it would really help a lot.

Venue: Laziza house

Address: 12 Chinner Crescent, Melba ACT 2615

Phone(02) 6259 8033

Entertainment book: yes, don’t forget your voucher!

Laziza House on Urbanspoon

 

Bharat International re-run

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

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

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

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

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

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

King of Curries

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

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

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

Venue: King of Curries

Address3/31-35 Nettlefold Street Belconnen, ACT

Phone: (02) 6251 0140

Opening hours:

Wednesday – Friday lunch from 12pm – 2pm

7 days dinner 5pm – 10pm

King of Curries on Urbanspoon

Ming’s Restaurant

Several people have mentioned Ming’s restaurant to me but I didn’t get around to going there until we needed a family friendly restaurant in the Woden area. A larger sized group meant that we got to try a variety of dishes.20140712-201909-73149415.jpgSpring rolls with beef mince ($3.60 for 2 pieces). Nothing really special, I didn’t really get much meat in mine, just lots of air pockets and cabbage although they were deep-fried well, being crispy but not overly oily.20140712-200558-72358219.jpgPan-fried roti (4.00). Pieces were cut up into quarters, my piece was crispy and warm while my friend who got a piece before me had a cold soggy piece. I don’t think one piece of roti should be this expensive unless they are made fresh.20140712-200559-72359539.jpgBelacan beans ($14.80). It’s hard to describe the taste but it wasn’t for my palette, I’m used to having these beans in a different way.20140712-200936-72576489.jpgShantung chicken ($15.80). So I only had blurry photos of the shangtung chicken which didn’t make the cut so there are no photos. I thought they did this really well, the chicken was super tasty with plenty of pickled cucumbers underneath. I would definitely order this again and it was a real crowd pleaser.

Honey King prawns ($18.80). Made really well with big prawns but then again I’ve never had a honey prawn that I didn’t like.20140712-200939-72579279.jpgBeef Rendang ($16.80). I loved this! Hands down the best dish of the night. It has a bit of a chilli kick to it and it was borderline too hot for me but I couldn’t help smothering my rice in the delicious rich sauce anyway.20140712-200937-72577983.jpgRock salt squid tentacle (Australia produce) ($17.80). A bit daunting to look at if you’re not used to eating this type of thing but it was tasty. I would have wanted it to be saltier with a bit more garlic, shallots and chilli but at least the pieces were easy to chew.20140712-201258-72778768.jpgSpecials board~ I am always so self-conscious when I take photos in a Chinese restaurant, I always feel eyes on me like I’m trying to steal secrets back to my parents Chinese restaurant even though both my parents are retired. For this reason, I decided not to walk to the specials board in the centre of the long wall and take photos of the description of the dish and the price, so sorry this is what I can remember to the best of my ability.

Fish in two ways, ginger and snowpeas and chilli sauce. I didn’t mind this dish but my preference is for steamed fish with ginger and snowpeas. Seafood dishes are more expensive obviously, I think this was around the $30 mark.20140712-200601-72361117.jpgGolden pork chops. I expected a more juicier and salty pork chop and a bit more ‘wow’ but I didn’t get it from this dish.20140712-201257-72777430.jpgI think Ming’s do some Asian dishes really well but they don’t have signature dishes that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Their advantage is their extensive menu ranging from Chinese, Malaysian to Nyonya style clay pots and their location. I would love to come back and try more dishes like noodles and dry chilli beef, it would be nice to have a place that does these dishes well in the south side area.20140712-201910-73150813.jpgThe venue is really spacious and because it is away from the mall area, it is really easy to find a park. The place is family friendly and has a large range or dishes to suit everyone.20140712-201912-73152399.jpgVenue: Ming’s Restaurant

Address7-11 Botany St Phillip, ACT

Phone: (02) 6282 9799

Website: www.mingschinese.com.au   << I just checked out their website and it has a really good layout with a great online ordering system which I did not expect from this little restaurant. I am very impressed!

 

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Mirchi Indian Cuisine

We hadn’t gotten far with our overseas planning for April before we felt that we deserved a break and go somewhere close by for dinner. I had quizzed Indian co-workers to find out which Indian restaurant was the best in Canberra and they had suggested Mirchi in Ngunnawal. Not only had I not heard of the restaurant, I was excited to go where Indians go (like how it’s a good sign if an Asian restaurant is full of Asians). The discussion came up that the butter chicken I’ve been eating all my life was one big lie, one big… delicious… sweet lie. Butter chicken is not supposed to have all the cream and sweetness that we have been getting fed but rather more spicy, they give it to us because that’s what we really like.

Mango lassi ($4.00 each). It has a thick yoghurt texture but it isn’t like every other restaurant as they use a hint of cardamom that we found very addictive.

20140209-202546.jpgEveryone had a ‘go to’ dish so instead of ordering four dishes between the five of us, we ordered five mains and an entree. 

Entree~

Samosa Chaat crispy samosa topped with sweet and sour yoghurt, topped with tangy tamarind and mint sauce ($8.90 for 2 pieces/$22.25 for 5 pieces). It wasn’t until I wrote this description did I notice all the lacking condiments, we all agreed that these were very nice but it would have went better with the usual yoghurt sauce rather than just the tamarind sauce that were given. I feel a bit jipped now. I couldn’t necessarily tell that there was meat inside these samosas but it didn’t matter because there was a lovely filling encased in crispy pastry.

20140209-202559.jpgAll it needed was a hint of mint yoghurt to balance out the sweet tamarind sauce.20140209-202609.jpgMains~ My phone didn’t really capture all the different rich colours of each curry but to me they were all very distinct looking despite my friends being confused about which curry was which.

Lamb Rogan Josh traditional Kashmiri styled lamb curry with fennel and garam masala (medium $16.90). This wouldn’t usually be a curry I would order and I definitely wouldn’t push the envelope and order it with ‘medium heat’ either but this was surprisingly the best dish of the night. It has a really strong lamb taste, the meat was soft and tender and there is only enough heat to let you know it is there.

20140209-202632.jpgButter chicken tender pieces of boneless chicken cooked in the tandoor, then pan finished in a rich, creamy tomato sauce (mild $16.50). Still creamy but a lot less sweeter than most butter chickens which gave it more in-depth flavour.20140209-202712.jpgBeef Korma tender pieces of beef cubes delicately spiced with cardamom, yoghurt in ground cashew nuts based gravy (mild $16.50). A very nice nutty based sauce with tender beef, this might have been better if we upped the spices too.20140209-202654.jpgAloo Gobi a Punjabi favourite of cauliflower, and potatoes cooked in the wok with onions, tumeric and fresh herbs and spices ($14.90). This had a very rich onion/tomato flavour, the only disappointing thing was that there seemed like there was a lot more potato than cauliflower in the dish.20140209-202703.jpgPalak paneer a classic vegetarian dish of fresh ground spinach and cheese cubes cooked with onions, garlic and mild spices ($15.50). The spinach was blended beyond recognition only lending itself to the colour and not the texture but the disappointing thing was it didn’t have much spinach flavour either. The paneer was surprisingly super soft but seemed like it didn’t have much of a saltiness to it leaving the dish overall a bit bland.20140209-202620.jpgThe paneer was super soft that some of us had mistaken it for tofu.20140209-202744.jpgGarlic Naan leavened bread with garlic freshly baked in the Tandoor and smeared with butter (4 pieces between the 5 of us was just enough $3.50/naan). The naan came out piping hot emitting a powerful garlic scent. Definitely one of the better naans I have eaten.20140209-202726.jpgAromatic basmati rice steamed basmati rice with cumin and saffron colour (4 serves between the 5 of us $3.00 per serve).20140209-202736.jpgYou can taste the love and care that has been placed into the preparation of the food. The meat in the curries were tender and flavoursome, the curry bases all had distinct flavours, weren’t oily and didn’t make you feel overwhelmed at the end of the meal (if you controlled yourself *looks at the boys*). I would have been keen to try desserts but we were waaay to full; there was just enough food for one of us to pack a lunch with an assortment of curries. Maybe we’ll be less greedy with our ordering next time.

Not just your average Indian take out but a proper Indian restaurant that has food you can really enjoy. I’m keen to go back and ask for a ‘traditional style’ butter chicken.

Venue: Mirchi Indian Cuisine

Address: Platypus Centre, 4 Riley Close, corner of Paul Coe Cres and Mirrabel Dr, Ngunnawal ACt 2913

Phone: (02) 6241 0011

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