All You Can Eat

When you mention ‘all you can eat’, most people would think of the the dodgy looking Family Food Court upstairs in Dickson (which is now closed) or the Star Buffet down in Kambah, but there is more that Canberra can offer.

See below for more all you can eat options.

Kusina 

Monday Madness 5pm – 9pm ( $24.00 pp). Choose one of the platters or better still go with someone else to get a chance to eat a bit of everything, just finish your platter before ordering more. Monday Madness is served with unlimited papaya salad, rice and soft drink.

Grilled platter grilled pork belly marinated with sweet BBQ sauce + grilled chicken marinated lemongrass, ginger, garlic, soy

or

Fry up platter crispy chicken wings + crispy pork bellyUntitled.png


Park Hyatt Canberra Afternoon Tea ($59.00pp)

Enjoy the famous afternoon tea buffet during Friday (2:30pm to 5:00pm), Saturday and Sunday (11:00am to 1:30pm and 2:30pm to 5:00pm) at the Park Hyatt. They have an array of savouries, finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, a selection of tempting cakes and slices and includes a glass of Lerida Estate Zenzi sparkling wine.


The Promenade Cafe

This is one I’ve haven’t tried yet but they have a breakfast buffet, seafood buffet and a BBQ and roast buffet! This is the information I found on their website.

Breakfast
Daily Full Buffet ($39.00pp)

Lunch
Saturday Full Seafood Buffet with antipasto, hot and grand desserts ($75.00pp)

Sunday BBQ and Roast Buffet with bountiful seafood, soup of the day with fresh bread, live cooking stations, gourmet salads and selections of antipasto, hot buffet dishes, farmhouse cheeses and decadent desserts ($85.00pp for cuisine only or $115.00pp inclusive of unlimited beverages for 2 hours that includes Australian sparkling, white and red wine, draught beer & soft drink).

Dinner
Wednesday – Sunday  Full Seafood Buffet with antipasto, hot and grand dessert ($75.00pp)


Up 2 U ($25.00pp)

During the cold winter nights, you can warm up with a personal steam boat with your friends at Up 2 U in Belconnen. There is a large range of meat, noodles, vegetables, seafood options and condiments.

If ‘all you can eat’ hot pot isn’t for you, you can also order their delicious claypot rice or BBQed skewers.


Eightysix ($86.00pp)

That’s right, you can get all you can eat at a fancy pants trendy restaurant. Apparently no disclaimers, just let them know you’re ordering the all you can eat menu, order until your heart/stomach’s content and try and be out before the next seating (usually two hours). We greedily ordered all their desserts because we could!

Their pasta range is A-MA-ZING! Read my latest visit here.

 

There is a huge variety in the ‘all you can eat’ sector from sweets to Asian to modern Australian, all with a varying price tag. Which one will you be trying?

 

 

 

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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

Centennial Vineyards re-run

It had been years since my last visit to Centennial Vineyards and yet I vividly remember the beautiful surrounds, the amazing food presentation and the lovely company I was with. I wanted to share this experience with TimmyC and some very close friends, so when we found ourselves booking a weekend away in Bowral, it was definitely one of the first places that I booked.

The menu had many crowd pleasers and that made it difficult to decide what to order, but TimmyC chose all three of his courses within two minutes of looking at the menu. I adjusted my order knowing that TimmyC was a light weight and I would get to try his meals as well.

Amuse Bouche~

Curried parsnip soup. A nice way to start the meal. It reminded me of the curry pasta from Continental range, but it was very smooth and silky.Grazing~

Pulled lamb shoulder, flat bread, yoghurt and mint jelly (2 pieces $15.00).Entree~

The Centennial tasting slate salmon, pork terrine, goats cheese tart, cauliflower soup, rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto, chicken pate with a crouton ($24.00). An option for the indecisive, so I obviously chose it as my entree as it had a nice range of things to taste. I can sense that my taste buds are changing and now I’m more open to pate and the like but still my favourite was the tart or the terrine, while my friend really enjoyed the rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto.

Seared scallops, bacon relish, apple and radish salad ($24.00). A perfect combination of juicy scallops and bacon with a little bit of sweetness from the apple. Definitely my pick of entrees if I didn’t want to try a bit of everything.Pasta~

Rotolo pasta of braised lamb, feta, olives and eggplant, romesco sauce ($29.00). I have never seen a pasta served like this and from afar it almost looked like lamb served with a big bone in. My friend enjoyed his pasta but the serve was on the smaller side.Main~

Cider braised pork belly, caramelised applies, sage and onion puree, smoked ham hock crouqette, crispy crackling ($38.00). The crackling was super crispy as promised and it provided a good contrasting texture to the ridiculously tender fall apart pork. This was definitely a winter warmer dish with all the rich components and very filling portion.Butchers weekly choice cut (Sirloin) cooked to your liking served with watercress, cafe de Paris butter and onion rings ($40.00). I would have much rather a lightly dressed salad if they insisted on greenery but instead they chose watercress and a lot of it. I really enjoyed the onion rings, they were well crumbed and crunchy without being overly oily. The steak was okay, I didn’t think it was well seasoned but that’s where handfuls of chips between each bite came in handy. I think I had food envy from the people who ordered the pork belly.Slow cooked duck leg, Centennial Pinot Noir sauce, crumbed beetroot gnocchi, Tuscan cabbage and bacon ($37.00)Sides~

Cauliflower and cheese gratin ($9.00). A nice cheesy cauliflower gratin, what’s there not to like?

Fries with Dijon mustard mayonnaise ($9.00). Came out hot and fresh from the kitchen and definitely went well with my steak.Desserts~

Banoffee ice cream sundae ($16.00). This was a delicious dessert with generous portions but I would not have called it a banoffee anything. With all the different ice creams and caramel sauce, it really just reminded us of a sundae.Trio of chocolate mousse ($16.00). I felt that the milk chocolate mousse was so light and silky, it quickly became my favourite amongst the trio, although the dessert as a whole was visually stunning. It isn’t a large dessert for the price but my friend and I still had to share since the entree and main sizes were ample.Everyone really enjoyed all of their courses but for me it didn’t live up to what I remembered it a few years ago. I don’t know if they have changed chefs, but the food wasn’t as good even though it still stands for a stunning backdrop for a wedding (the main dining area is always set up for a wedding as it is a popular choice for a venue). The service was very attentive and friendly. Though they made several mistakes on the bill, they were more than happy to adjust it.

Centennial Vineyards Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

 

 

Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

I was lucky enough to win Good Food Month’s #jointhefeast competition and my prize was a Let’s do lunch event at none other than Pialligo Estate Farmhouse. I was ecstatic when I found out where the lunch was going to be and took TimmyC to make up for all the time he has to wait for his food (#husbandsofinstagram) when we go out to eat.Let’s do lunch two courses with a glass of their wine ($55.00 per person). Choosing only two courses is like choosing your favourite child; I couldn’t do it. Instead TimmyC and I shared a starter, had a main each and then shared a dessert.

Mocktail~ I loved the ombré colours in the glass. It wasn’t too sweet and not too fizzy; in my opinion- the perfect mocktail.I loved the colours of this from every angle.Complimentary bread and butter~Amuse Bouche~ I don’t remember exactly what this was, it was like a jelly that tasted a little saltier than I expected. I really enjoyed the very large juicy roe on top though.Starter~

Cipollini onions, garden fig, cured wagyu sirloin, hazelnut and truffle dressing. I really liked how the hazelnuts really complimented the cured wagyu but my favourite part was dipping everything into that delicious truffle dressing (I even got the bread to mop the rest up).I went to the bathroom and I was pleasantly greeted by this bunny napkin origami when I came back.Main course~

Mayfield Park Berkshire pork, nashi pear, late-summer onions and spiced jamon fat. Nashi pears are one my favourite fruits, so I had no doubt that this was the main I was choosing. I loved the fact that the nashis are from their orchard!  The pork was very succulent and all the jamon pieces and fat really leant itself towards a nice salty flavour.Dessert~

Classically-inspired rum baba, orchard peach and violet. Rum babas are usually a very strong and pungent dessert that I love to eat but this one was really syrupy, not alcoholic and ‘in your face’ which meant I really had to fight TimmyC for half. All the flavours melded well together and not overly sweet. It was a wonderful way to finish a long lunch.The porous nature of the cake meant it really absorbed all that delicious peach glaze.Petit four~ Just when you don’t want the experience to end, it doesn’t. The waitress then set up five gorgeous little  bowls, each with a different sweet- macarons, nutmeg fudge, tonka bean doughnuts, chocolate, and marshmallows. Everything was so special but my favourite was the fudge while TimmyC ate most of the doughnuts.I didn’t think there was anything better than a hot sugared doughnut, until I tried their nutmeg fudge…They have a small shop front where you can buy wine, their award-winning bacon, chorizo, tomatoes and also nashi pears! I of course left with a bag of nashis in hand, they are small but so juicy and refreshing.Good Food Month is now over in Canberra but I still insist you go to Pialligo Estate Farmhouse and try it out for yourself.

Venue: Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060

Opening times:

Lunch Thursday – Sunday 12pm – 2:30pm 

Dinner Wednesday – Saturday 6pm- 8:30pm
Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wood and Coal – express lunch menu

After being met with disappointment with an unopened Pepper Lunch (they were supposed to be opened on the 15th April), my brain quickly scanned for a plan B. Hmmm what did I want to eat in Civic? ‘I had not had a baco before’ I thought to myself, so off we went to Wood and Coal.

I was surprised to see that during Sunday lunch the North Quarter of Canberra Centre area seemed a bit of a ghost town and I was even more surprised to see that we were the only patrons in Wood and Coal during our meal. I was hoping that meant we would get our meal faster because I was getting hungry fast!

 

Yoghurt flat bread BACO~ The B-A-C-O sandwich originated from a restaurant called Baco Mercat in Los Angeles. The Baco is a combination of bao + taco, essentially making it like a soft bread taco.

Slow cooked pork shoulder BACO sriracha mayo, parmesan cheese, quoinoa salad, chicharon ($13.00). I really liked everything in the filling but the bottom of my baco became soggy fast and it quickly turned into a knife and fork meal. I think this would have been nicer served in a bowl with the bread served on the side, albeit it wouldn’t be a baco but it sure would be easier to eat. Definitely not a first date food.Crispy fish BACO caper mayo, coleslaw, fried egg, scallion ($13.00). It wasn’t until I wrote this blog post did we realise that there was no fried egg in the baco. There was too much coleslaw which was over powering to the other ingredients and made the bottom of the baco very soggy.Golden brown spit chicken thigh BACO smoky aioli, parmesan cheese, green slaw ($12.00). I got food envy smelling my friend’s baco, the chicken looked really succulent. My friend really enjoyed his baco and finished it all (with a knife and fork of course).Spit roasted honey chicken wings house-made pickles, yoghurt flat bread ($16.00). We probably didn’t need more bread on the table but I really wanted to try their chicken wings. I am so glad that I ordered these because the chicken wings were meaty, juicy and I can’t believe their gave us 8 in a serve! The pickles were also really good and I would easily order this again.It was served with a whole jar of pickled vegetables! They pickles were tangy and gave a nice balance to all the meat and heavy bread.Sides~

Chips with garlic and feta ($9.00). It was suggested by our waiter that we order a serve of chips with garlic and feta rather than the plain chips you could get on the side with a baco ($2.00). I might have seemed like an up sell but it was well worth it! They were moreish and I think it went well with all the meat. They were served really hot and crispy.Dessert~

Snickers on a plate peanut butter parfait, burnt marshmallows, pecan praline, salted peanut caramel sauce, dark chocolate sauce, dark chocolate ice cream ($13.00). There were a lot of things going on on the plate but essentially it reminded me of a snickers crossed with a s’more because of all the marshmallows. I found the dessert a bit OTT and too sweet.Cookie Monster milk chocolate chip cookie, dark chocolate chip cookie, salted caramel, lemon vanilla and chocolate ice creams and dark chocolate sauce ($14.00). This was essentially a cookie stack and it was hard to eat all of them in one go because the cookies were hard. It was eventually dismantled and eaten separately. I can’t say that they do dessert well but I would definitely come back to Wood and Coal for their lunch specials. We found the service to be friendly and attentive but that might have been because we were the only people in the restaurant.

Sundays have a 10% surcharge.

Les Bistronomes Saturday degustations

I had seen on my Facebook feed that Les Bistronomes was doing a 5 course degustation for only $50.00 per person on Saturdays and I promised my stomach that we would go. And so we went.

Complimentary bread and butter.5 course degustation ($50.00 per person)

Escargot and pork rillettes. Quintessentially French. The escargot was in an intense herb and garlic sauce, which was easy to dig out from the shell. I really enjoyed the rillettes as the pickle gave the right amount of tang with the meat and the crouton was perfectly crunchy.Escargot anyone?Beetroot and goat curd. I found this visually stunning dish simple with a great balance of flavours. The goat curd itself wasn’t really strong and I liked how they used an array of coloured beets which were subtly sweet.Alternative dish mushroom delight. TimmyC dislikes beetroot and goat dairy products, so he requested an alternative dish for his second course. This was on the saltier side but very moreish and amazing if they had to just make something on the spot.Duck breast with foie gras salad. This was a very light salad with good balance of acidity and salt. The foie gras was delicately shaved and was enjoyed by everyone including me who doesn’t usually eat it.

Pork with nectarine. I was expecting a big piece of meat but the slices of pork were very tender and succulent. I did find the other edges of my portion were fatty and inedible but not everyone had that. The dressing was on the sweeter side but it paired nicely with the meat.

Crème brûlée. It is always a grand theatrical conversation stopper when Les Bistronomes serve up their crème brûlée complete with flames. The custard itself is cold but very smooth and silky. It is a generous serve to say the least, especially when you’re finishing off a degustation, but I managed to squeeze it all in *pats belly*.One just for me? I wasn’t feeling full at this point but I had a feeling I was about to be after this course.Over the 5 courses, it covered an array of meats and flavours while not being was overly heavy. The degustation is a steal for $50 bucks especially when the crème brûlée alone is usually $16.00.

Venue: Les Bistronomes

Degustation details: Saturdays, 5 courses for $50.00, bookings recommended

Phone(02) 6248 8119

Dimmi: yes, you can book through the app and earn points.

Courgette 

It has been a while since I’ve last dined at Courgette but a spontaneous lunch was booked with wonderful company, it was an offer too good to refuse.

I’ve always loved their cutlery.Three course lunch ($66.00 per person).

Complimentary bread with smoked butter. This had a magical crunchy exterior with a soft bready interior served warm with amazing butter. This was just bread and butter so I was excited for what was still to come.Entree~ (yes all of us chose the same entree)

In house smoked salmon, seared scallop, fennel sand, cauliflower puree, fermented black garlic. The salmon wasn’t overly smoked or salty which kept the palette rather clean throughout this course. I haven’t had a good scallop for a while and there were two big juicy plump ones on my plate. I was so happy!Main~

Flaked ocean trout, king prawn, baby squid, pea puree, squid ink crumb, pernod beurre blanc.Sous vide Angus beef tenderloin, baby spinach, red cabbage gel, artichoke, thyme and port jus. It might appear too rare for some (inside was quite pink), but the beef was tender and I cut through it effortlessly. A great pairing of flavours on the plate and with a few spoonfuls of the Paris mash, this was the ultimate lunch.Maple glazed muscovy duck breast, couscous, kale, celeriac puree, tomato eggplant relish, prune gel.Sides~

Paris mash ($7.00). Not as buttery and rich as I remember it used to be but still ridiculously smooth and paired perfectly with the beef.

Asparagus, pine nuts, sunflower seeds ($7.00). Cooked perfectly and a great addition to any main meal.Dessert~

Dropped cinnamon apple pie, vanilla bean custard, burnt apple ice cream, toasted oat crumb. The presentation reminds me of Massimo’s dropped pie from Osteria Francescana. It is a classic dessert given a beautiful modern face lift and I loved every mouthful. The perfect winter warmer dessert.Cheese and bickies Guilloteau Buche d’Affinois triple cream Brie, Reypenaer VSOP aged Gouda, Wyngaard Chevre Affine. When my friend said to try some of cheese board, I didn’t envisage myself eating almost half of it, but I found all three cheese delicious and very moreish.This is one of the best meals that I’ve had in Canberra in a long time, one wonders why it took me so long to come back.

Let’s do lunch! Bicicletta 

It is still March (only just!), which means that it is still Good Food Month in Canberra. I had completely forgotten that Bicicletta was doing a Let’s Do Lunch special, so I was pleasantly surprised when we were given another menu.

A great-priced set lunch with a matched drink from $38.00 per person. Two courses from the uniquely Italian inspired menu with a glass of Yalumba wine or Coopers pale ale beer.Entree~

Arancini roasted tomato and pecorino cheese risotto balls with garlic aioli. These were really crunchy and gooey inside. I really liked the how the cheese was all stringy when you cut them in half.Scottata marinated seared beef tenderloin thinly sliced with mixed Italian herbs served with rucola, parmigiano and olive oil. I found the beef full on little holes which gave it a weird texture, the rucola was limp and the flavours were not very strong. I enjoyed the arancini much more than this entrée.Mains~

Spaghetti al frutti mare fresh pipis, King prawns, scallops and baby squid , sauteed with chilli, garlic, cherry tomato and bisque. My friend’s pasta had more sauce than mine, so I found my pasta to be a bit dry. Even though  I would have preferred more chilli taste, I really enjoyed the seafood and the perfectly al dente pasta.Dessert~ It was only a two course lunch but we couldn’t help but order a dessert to share between us.

Tiramisu traditional cake with coffee infused savoiardi biscuits, mascarpone, eggs, cream and cacao ($12.00). I found the bottom layer of biscuits had soaked up a lot of coffee which made my eyes instantly widen. I stuck to the less intense biscuit layers with the cream and mascarpone and thoroughly enjoyed myself.Coffee and tea are included in the menu but we didn’t have any.

Bspoke cafe and bar

It would be by complete luck and nerdy reasons that I found Bspoke cafe and bar out in Fyshwick.

TimmyC had rushed into MSY for computer parts, leaving me in the car (with the air con on) to reply to messages but after I was done I turned my head to notice a cute cafe that I had never seen before and in true foodie fashion, I locked the car and went straight in to explore.If you’re somehow not tempted by their extensive cabinet, there is a small menu to choose from.Bspoke is actually inside the Pushys bike store. They have a cute small bar to one side, an open cafe next to it and plenty of seating which extended to an outside courtyard. It looked like there was  limited menu and not a single piece of bacon in sight but it still intrigued me. I wasn’t really hungry as I just ate my weight in popcorn but my eyes lit up when I saw home-made pies in the cabinet. I messaged TimmyC to come next door to meet me.

Smoothie of the day mango honey and coconut ($8.00). This was really light in texture, not all foam but frothed into light fluffy texture which made this very easy to drink. It didn’t have a strong flavour overall but you could still taste the mango, honey and coconut.Flat white medium coffee ($4.00). TimmyC said it was a decent coffee but it wasn’t good enough to just come just for their coffee.Homemade pepper steak pie ($9.00). I am the first to admit that 9 bucks for a small pie is a bit steep but I loved the outer pattern of the pie and I’m a sucker for pepper steak. The pastry was golden brown which encased big chunky pieces of tender steak with a good dousing of pepper. It was served with a side of delicious sweet tangy chutney but it could have done with some simple green leaves to make the plate more complete.I really liked the huge tender chunks of steak inside the pie.If my friend or partner wanted to shop for bike bits, I would definitely appreciate this oasis with a laid back atmosphere as they shopped on the other side of the store. I found the service to be very friendly and efficient.

Venue: Bspoke cafe and bar

Address: 79 Collie street, Fyshwick, ACT

Phone: (02) 6280 4984

Opening hours:

Monday – Friday 6:30am – 5:30pm

Saturday 8:30am – 4:00pm

Sunday 10:00am – 3:00pm

BSpoke Cafe and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch at The District

For those who know me know I’m really indecisive, especially when it comes to food. I have FOMO, I don’t want to have food regrets and I also don’t want to be that table that orders 5 of the same thing. So going to The District out in Crace was no different and possibly even worse as I always crave a steak AND a schnitzel at the same time when in a pub style cafe.

 

As it turns out, it didn’t matter what I ordered everything was delicious at The District! Between the three of us we ordered two burgers and I opted for the ‘weekday lunch special’ of a Porterhouse steak at the very last minute (I changed my mind at the counter after deliberating at the table for at least 15 minutes on what to order). My friends were sweet enough to share a part of their lunch and I would have happily ordered any of them.

Burgers from the main menu ~all burgers served with beer battered fries

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Burger with bacon, cheese, baby cos & sweet chilli mayo ($22.00). When you feel like a schnitzel or a burger this would be the winning combination and I almost ordered this before I realised I really want beef. It is all my favourite things on a burger and the chicken itself was really moist despite the thicker cut.
My friend helping me get a cross section photo of her lunch before I let her eat it, hahahaha.
American Cheese Burger with 180g beef patty, bacon, sliced pickle,ketchup and American mustard ($22.00). I’m not one for pickles but when my friend said that it really makes it, I couldn’t help but agree. It was a nice juicy patty and definitely hit the spot if you were after a beefy meaty burger.
Weekday special~ a choice of chicken schnitzel, calamari or a Porterhouse steak all served with chips, salad and a beer/wine ($20.00). I exchanged my alcoholic beverage for a lemon lime bitters and thoroughly enjoyed my lunch. The steak was surprising really juicy and easy to cut (I’ve come across many chewy, gristle filled steaks in my time). I ordered my steak with a diane sauce and I’ve never had a more delicious sauce with my steak. It became our communal dipping sauce for our chips at the table as it was a generous serve and everyone loved it.
There is always a nice relaxed atmosphere at The District and it has always been family friendly. If you’re in the area and you want a nice simple meal without the pretentiousness at hard to park areas, come to Crace. The service is friendly, the warmer weather lets people enjoy the outdoor seating and the food is tasty.

District Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flint in the Vines

My friends and I had been wanting to go to Flint in the Vines for a long time, but between lack of planning and untimely renovations we hadn’t gone out there until recently. It was lovely sunny day and it really didn’t take that long to drive out there even with the road works.

I had literally thrown on a(nother) dress after eating waffles and bacon for breakfast and started driving to Murrumbateman, so when my friends suggested to share some entrees and starters I had no particular objection.Starters~

Wood fired Camembert apple compote, red wine reduction, warmed ciabatta ($22.00). This ingredients make for a winning combination, the only downside was that the Camembert was not gooey enough, if it had a tad longer in the oven it would have heavenly. It wouldn’t have really have needed more than a minute or two to become perfection.Entrees~

Lamb roulade carrot and parsnip puree, plum jam, mint verde, truffled sweet potato chips ($17.00). I had let everyone else choose our entrees and starters that we were sharing and concentrated on choosing my own main therefore I wasn’t quite sure what we ordered. When I took a mouthful of this I was so surprised about how much flavour there was. The lamb flavours were robust and complimented by the sweet condiments, if I ordered this again, I would not share.
Butter poached prawns anchovy mousse egg-lasagna sheet, sage butter, baby herbs ($19.00). This looked really small and simple in contrast to the lamb but the flavours were just as pronounced. It was absolutely divine! It was to be expected though, who doesn’t love sage in butter *licks lips*. This looked a lot smaller than the other dish.Four dainty prawns hidden under a blanket of pasta.
Pizza~
Caprese basil pesto, sun-dried tomato, cherry tomato, bocconcini, balsamic glaze, fresh basil ($25.00). I must have been a pain to dine with, like a little child I couldn’t help myself but play with the mini lazy Susan that it came on. My friend liked the pizza base and the pizza itself, but towards the end it tasted like it was really tomato heavy and was starting to become an antipasto plate in her mouth.
Mains~
Confit Duck Maryland braised red cabbage, confit fennel, candied nashi pear, orange and anise jus ($34.00). The duck could have been a tad crispier but it was still really good and paired perfectly with all the sweet fruit and vegetables.
Honey brined pork loin romesco, sauteed cabbage, mushroom and sweet peppers, pesto ($33.00). The brine kept the whole piece of loin really juicy and delicious.
Chargrilled eye fillet potato and leek vichyssoise, sauteed baby winter veg, chilli jam ($35.00). As much as I love beef, I really mainly ordered this for the potato and leek vichyssoise. I didn’t know what it was exactly, I just guessed it was going to be a lovely rich white sauce made like one of my favourite soups! The eye fillet was cooked perfectly, it was juicy all over and it dish itself was stunning as it showed off an array of colour of baby winter vegetables.
 When uploading this photo, I got instantly hungry again. 
Sides~ all sides $9.00

Sautéed Dutch carrots almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes. The carrots were slightly harder than I would have liked but I couldn’t get over how amazing the combination of almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes was! People need to know about this.Roasted pumpkin & spinach salad fetta, toasted walnuts, honey & rosemary vinaigrette. So I might have rolled my eyes when the girls I was dining with suggested a salad to share but this was simplicity at its best. I loved this so much that later on in the week I made my own version at home. The rosemary flavour was subtle but vital to the salad’s amazingness (is that a word, probably not). Dessert~ all desserts were $16.00

Vanilla and nashi pear tapioca pudding stewed rhubarb Persian fairy floss, ginger and lemon biscuit. I was excited to taste this because I love nashi pears but I couldn’t really taste it despite chunks of it throughout the whole pudding. This reminded me of a vanilla rice pudding, not the sweetest dessert also not the easiest to share.
 
Lamington fondant (allow 15 minutes) dark chocolate fondant, raspberry jam, coconut ice cream, toasted coconut. This could have been one rich dessert but I was pleasantly surprised that the middle wasn’t runny lava made up of OTT molten cocoa, it was just moist and bitter enough to enhance the sweetness of the jam. When it was paired with all the coconut aspects, it created a perfect balance of flavours and you could eat the whole dish without feeling sick afterwards.                                                    
The food was absolutely wonderful set in an unpretentious, family friendly atmosphere and the waitresses were friendly, helpful and attentive. I haven’t been wowed by a Canberra restaurant (and surrounds) for a while, but this restaurant unexpectedly surprised me with its food quality. I am very keen to go back out again soon.

Venue: Flint in the Vines
Address: 34 Isabel Drive Murrumbateman NSW 2582
Phone: (02) 6227 5144 *
* Please note this phone line is answered between Wednesday and Sunday.
Business Hours:
Lunch – Thursday to Sunday
Dinner – Wednesday to Saturday
Entertainment book card: Yes! Don’t forget to use it
2% Surcharge for Amex
10% Surcharge Sundays
15% Surcharge Public Holidays

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Human brochure – Parlour Wine Room

My first food experience leading into the weekend was without my interstate guests (they were not arriving until later that evening), but I’ve taken my role as a 101 local human to guide not only interstate guests but local ones as well to good eateries with a great atmosphere.

I grabbed a bunch of lunching friends and took them to the Parlour Wine Room to try more of their lunch time special (see my other post here). Now by default because I’m the ‘foodie’, most people just give the ordering responsibilities to me despite my constant plea of ‘I haven’t eaten here/from this menu before’. It’s nice to know that they have so much trust in me.

That day, I did insist that everyone choose a dish and we will dabble in a bit of each, plus if it was up to me I’d just order four serves of popcorn squid legs.

I’ve always loved the decor and feel of the Parlour RoomIMG_7440.JPGComplimentary bread and dipping oil~ (the bread is of course from their neighbour A. baker)IMG_6379.JPGLunch menu special ~ Something from the lunch menu and a drink -glass of wine, beer or soft drink ($16.00).IMG_6373.JPG

Rodriguez chorizo, ham hock, puy lentils, piquin chilli, 62C egg. I felt that this dish was a little watery and it was hard to grab a little bit of each element when sharing with friends, but it had a beautiful chorizo sausage. I must say that this was my least favourite dish of the day.IMG_6392.JPG

IMG_6391.JPGFree range 62C egg, piquillo peppers, jamon, smoked paprika. This was almost like a stir fry topped with eggs. What really stood out the most for me was the jamon, it went well with the sweetness of the onions and there were plenty of onions, unfortunately not enough jamon. IMG_6398.JPGBraised spinach, chickpeas, garlic, cumin, golden raisins, yoghurt. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. I didn’t think I would like it but the juicy raisins went beautifully with the chickpeas, spinach, tomato based sauce and the yoghurt gave it a Middle Eastern feel.IMG_6393.JPGPopcorn squid legs, ancient grains, aioli, pickled cucumber. This was my favourite dish. The squid was crispy and salty, it had delicious aioli to dip with and the fried textures were balanced out by the ‘ancient grains’. I would order this again in a heart beat but unfortunately I don’t think it would fill me on its own. IMG_6408.JPGIMG_6407.JPGCroque Monsieur toasted sandwich of serrano jamon, maffra cheddar (Vic), smoked potato foam ($9.00). Okay, so I threw in a few extra things because I was intrigued by them. The element that made me curious was the smoke potato foam, plus I love a good Croque Monsieur. Again I feel that they were a bit heavy handed with the smoked paprika  (someone in the kitchen must love this stuff), there wasn’t anything too special about this exotic sandwich which sounded good on paper, I was a bit disappointed. The bread was also really hard to chew.IMG_6411.JPGTwice cooked crispy pork belly, px glaze, fried onion, hazelnut ($18.00). I’m finding myself ordering pork belly whenever I can, it is just so delicious when cooked properly and this is one of those times. The skin was super crispy and the glaze gave just enough sweetness to compliment the meat and hazelnut flavours. Pork and hazelnut go well together, who knew! I also loved the unique plate that it came on.IMG_6388.JPGIMG_6385.JPGI was surprised that there wasn’t more patrons at the Parlour Room that day but that made it easier to talk and catch up with friends and the timing from the kitchen and wait staff was perfect.IMG_6405.JPG

Sculpture Garden Pop Up Summer Cafe

I had been kindly invited by The National Gallery of Australia to attend the Media Event with iconic Australian Chef Stephanie Alexander and Director Gerard Vaughan. The Sculpture Garden was opening their Pop Up Summer Cafe in conjunction with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation with $1 being donated to the foundation from every meal (another reason to come here!).IMG_7050.JPGI thought I was running late but  apparently I was right on time as Stephanie Alexander as well as the glitterati showed up and everyone started taking photos.IMG_7053.JPGI took the opportunity to take a proper photo as the sea of people parted (L-R Gerard Vaughan, Chyka Keebaugh, Stephanie Alexander and Bruce Keebaugh).IMG_7054.JPGIMG_7084.JPGThe lunch menu complete with our favourite Frugii ice-cream for dessert. I don’t understand why the kids should get all the fun!IMG_7061.JPGThey had gorgeous little canapes floating around.

Ham hock terrine with a mango salsa. I love the bamboo boats and the terrine was delightful!IMG_7066.JPG

IMG_7065.JPGI was trying to juggle my drink, my bag and my phone at the same time when these came around. I don’t remember much except that it was some sort of fish on top of a crouton and that it was tasty.IMG_7064.JPGRefreshing lemonade in cutesy jars topped off with a ridiculous cute straw and a wedge of lemon.IMG_7071.JPGThe waiter happily obliged to hold a heavy tray of lemonade still while we all took photos. What do you expect from a foodie crowd?IMG_7067.JPG

IMG_7074.JPGThe staff from the Big Group Catering company who does the catering for the National Gallery planted all the herb boxes in and around the cafe. We are encouraged to utilise the herbs to enhance our meal to our liking. I love mint during summer, don’t mind if I do!IMG_7062.JPGEveryone crowded around as speeches are being made. I stay at the back eating my canapes and drinking my lemonade in true foodie fashion.IMG_7081.JPGThis looks wonderfully colourful. I take a glimpse of the platters going past as our buffet style lunch is being prepared.IMG_7083.JPGLunch is served!IMG_7086.JPGStalker shots of Stephanie Alexander chatting with the gorgeous Amanda Whitley from HerCanberra.IMG_7093.JPGStephanie Alexander doing an interview with Natasha Rudra from The Canberra Times.IMG_7092.JPGThe lunch is a combination of cold meats, fresh colourful vegetables and damper bread.IMG_7097.JPGA close up of my plate, I’m in love with all the colours and whatever they did with that eggplant is fantastic. Everything was fresh and crunchy but I wasn’t a fan of the damper which reminded me more of a scone. The damper I’m used to back at home is fluffy and light.IMG_7099.JPGI didn’t want to be the girl who ate the whole buffet during the Media Event so I was a little conservative, but everyone else went for seconds and by the time this slow eater had finished, most people (and food) had gone. Lucky for me, there were more substantial canapes going around and they were so good!

Semolina gnocchi. I was pleasantly surprised by this as vegetarian options aren’t my forte. I could easily eat a whole bowl of this.

Pulled pork. A beautiful pulled pork with all the juices flowing onto a bed of mashed potato. A comforting style of food that I didn’t expect at a summer pop up cafe but am happy they made it.

Passionfruit mousse with a spearmint consommé  and a vanilla meringue. The vanilla meringue was awesome! I found the passionfruit mousse was sweet with sharp acidic notes that the consommé  helped balance out but once I finished that, I picked some fresh mint leaves to help with the rest. It was ridiculously smooth.

Apple tart. I really liked this; the crunchy parts with the soft apple were spot on.

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Venue: Pop Up Summer Cafe Sculpture Garden Restaurant

Address: National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden Parkes Place, Parkes Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6240 6660

Opening hours:

Breakfast Weekends 8 – 11am

Lunch Wed – Sun 12 – 3pm

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Jamie’s Italian re-run

Nothing annoys me more than wasting a voucher, not a discount voucher but a prepaid voucher card with an expiry date. Luckily for us Jamie’s Italian gift vouchers don’t have an expiry but we were using up a Dendy voucher before it expired so we thought we’d continue on downstairs with our voucher run.

For once we were able to get a seat inside and considering it was 38 degrees outside, it was a happy change of scenery. The menu looked like it had changed since I had last been (I didn’t blog the last three visits), but TimmyC just made sure that they still had his good ol’ favourite tagliatelle pasta and he was set.

Can you spot your favourites in the new menu layout?IMG_7187.JPGCrispy prawns wrapped in angel hair pasta with tomato, basil and chilli sauce ($14.50). I chose this as a last-minute impulse even though I agreed with TimmyC that all we needed was one entree and two main sized pastas because we weren’t that hungry after popcorn consumption and it was so hot outside. I should have stuck with that decision as I felt that this dish was disappointing. Sure the pasta gave the prawns a crunch but the prawns weren’t particular big or sweet. Don’t be put off by the black squid ink looking sauce, it was a really creamy mayo and was the only saving grace of the dish.IMG_7196.JPGBaked mushroom swiss browns with crispy music bread and smoked buffalo mozzarella ($15.50). This is one of TimmyC’s favourite entrees but we both had split opinions that day; I thought it was better than usual and TimmyC didn’t really enjoy it. I really like mild flavours of the mushrooms and mozzarella against the crispy textures of the bread.IMG_7200.JPGTagliatelle bolognese ragu of beef, pork, herbs, Chianti and parmesan with crunchy herby breadcrumbs ($19.50). This is our ‘go to’ dish when we go to Jamie’s Italian, it isn’t because it is the best bolognese we’ve had but it’s one of the better things that we have tried and I really enjoy the crunchy herby breadcrumbs.IMG_7202.JPGI think TimmyC enjoys this more than me, as a personal preference I enjoy my bolognese with more meat.IMG_7203.JPGPolpetta spaghetti beef and pork meatballs, tomatoes, garlic and red wine ($18.00). Why oh why do I stray from the usual, I guess the food blogger inside of me wishes to make a new found discovery of something else that is delicious on the menu but I really didn’t enjoy this. As soon as I put a bite in my mouth, I knew the pasta was too under cooked for me, it was even a tad before al dente. The meatballs were a tad dry and bland but I enjoyed how they gave me a big spoonful of the herby crunchy stuff. I was too hot and bothered to complain and I didn’t finish my plate (which usually never happens).IMG_7205.JPGIt looked so promising before I had a taste.IMG_7207.JPGA dissection of the beef and pork meatball.IMG_7210.JPGI’m surprised that Jamie’s Italian is open during this window period but maybe it is to cash in on the holidays when most things won’t be open. I remember the days where you just eat yourself silly and spend time with friends and family  at home because nothing was open but now boxing day sales start early and even the cinemas are open!IMG_7191.JPGI find it puzzling about where this place goes wrong; the menu looks good, the staff are friendly and attentive, I guess it is mainly the execution of the food. The weird thing is that it isn’t the worst Italian I’ve ever eaten, would I have been this critical if Jamie Oliver’s name wasn’t attached to the restaurant? I guess that’s the problem with trusting another chef with your name branded over a restaurant, it is situations like this that have stopped famous chefs like Adrianno Zumbo from opening a store in Canberra, they need someone who they can trust to consistently create a product of high calibre that they would be happily be associated with.