Human Brochure – Tea time at A. Baker

While trying to explore the most out of our surrounds, my friends and I opted to go next door to A. baker for some sweet treats after our lunch at the Parlour Room.

Everyone knew their drink orders well, but what to choose from the cake cabinet?IMG_6416.JPGThe boy of the group suggested we only needed three sweets between the four of us, but unfortunately majority rules and he was out voted by the other three women.IMG_6417.JPGCake cabinet~ All sweets were about $5.00 – 6.00 from memory.

Salted caramel Definitely one of the sweeter treats of the day but I did expect a lot sweeter based on the thickness of the caramel. It would have went nicely with a beverage but I prefer variety over having just one thing. Bring friends along so you can share and try more!IMG_6423.JPGChoc orange ricotta I know this combination isn’t for everyone but all the flavours work perfectly together.IMG_6425.JPGPumpkin and maple Ever since my American friend introduced me to pumpkin pies, I must say I’m a big fan! This might have contributed to the fact that this was my pick of the bunch!IMG_6418.JPGLemon meringue a humble classic! The lemon component could have been more tart but still executed well.IMG_6420.JPGYes we almost ordered one of everything…IMG_6427.JPGIt was a lovely way to end a wonderful long lunch, it was just a shame that some of us needed to return to work.

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

Human brochure weekend

Sometimes I look at my drafts and sigh (actually I do that a lot).

So much stuff happened during the Human brochure weekend, I almost feel overwhelmed looking at the list but there was so much to see and do (and eat!) in our wonderful city, I tried to squeeze in as much as I could in one weekend. Despite my many drafts I have to bite the bullet and start somewhere. My Mum and sister really enjoyed their trip here and were spoilt by the Human brochure team with their accommodation and our ‘Human experience’.


Not just any weekend, it’s the #humanbrochure weekend! All of our #101localhuman training has come down to this one weekend where we can show off #canberra (or the more trendy hashtag #cbr) to our interstate guests as well as our social media fan base (hello, is anybody out there?).

My guests and I have been lucky enough to be chosen to participate in a master class on curing and smoking meats at Poachers Pantry (#Poachersway) followed by a Poachers Platter of smoked meats, accompanied by the vineyards Wily Trout wines. I will try to squeeze in as much as possible with them but with so much to see (and eat) and such little time, let’s see if they can keep up! I will be clogging your #instagram and #FB feeds more than usual this weekend, just a heads up!


p.s. it was not deliberate to see how many hastags I could fit into post, just a happy coincidence.

Human Flyer

With the weeks leading up to the Human Brochure weekend, I’ve taken my role of showing interstate guests around Canberra much more seriously. There have been coincidental visits, Floriade trips and other Canberra events that have brought visitors to the Nation’s capital in recent weeks and as a proud local, I was eager to show them the best of what Canberra had to offer.

This was just a glimpse of one day that I could show one of these friends around and drawing inspiration from the Human Brochure, I’ve named this series the ‘Human Flyer’. It was a little inconvenient that this one particular day happened to be Labour day and a lot of the spots that I wanted to take him were closed, but because there is so much choice around here, I was able to find a substitution solution pretty quickly.

I hope you guys can find this series helpful for when you have interstate visitors and you want to show them around Canberra.

Three eateries in 3.5 hrs – Monster

Well this is a first! I’m writing a blog post the night of going to the restaurant. This is probably partly due to eating at three eateries in 3.5 hours like my heading suggests and I’m still digesting and also partly because of my excitement of serendipitously finding a new food venue without looking for one.

We start the night off at Monster. I had been here before when it was still just serving salads and simple sandwiches but now they have officially opened the bar and restaurant under the new name with awesome opening hours that sees the kitchen serving food til 1am, so now you have an option of a meal/snack/drink after a late check in at Hotel Hotel or after a movie at Palace Electric. Upon reading the menu, the aspect of the dishes did remind me of Mocan and Green Grout but that’s because the chef Sean McConnell used to work there.

Quick picture of the busy kitchen.20140626-223339-81219154.jpg

20140626-223333-81213880.jpgI love that big fire-place!20140626-223335-81215235.jpgUnique light fittings, a big fireplace, colourful tables and the cement urban jungle surroundings give lots of different atmospheres at Monster depending on whether you sit at the bar, the middle of the restaurant, cosied up near the fire-place or in the casual dimly lit perimeter.20140626-223337-81217864.jpgFunky Goodspeed bikes for Hotel hotel guests to borrow free of charge.20140626-223336-81216565.jpgThe salt bowl reminded me of broken pottery, the water glasses looked like glass bottles with the top cut off and the water jugs were unusual too. All this adds to the funky setting which is Monster.20140626-223340-81220447.jpgOrganic cola ($5.00). Hipster places don’t sell mass produced big corporation soft drinks but organic cola. It tasted like gummy cola lollies.20140626-223612-81372440.jpgLemon and lime bitters (back) and a Rose and orange drink (front) $5.00 each. The rose and orange drink had a strong rosewater aftertaste. A bit too overwhelming for me.20140626-223610-81370972.jpgBar menu~ 12pm to 1am

Yabby jaffle, creme fraiche, horseradish ($16.00). The humble jaffle is transformed into a culinary delight with lemony creamy flavours in the filling. It probably could have done with a smidgen of salt somewhere to help bring out the flavours of the yabby.20140626-223613-81373845.jpgA close up of that yummy filling.20140626-223615-81375255.jpg38 hour pork neck bao, cucumber kimchi ($18.00 for 2). The bun isn’t as soft and smooth as Ippudo but it is a good attempt with the bun having a slight sweet taste with a fluffy chewy texture. The pork next was extremely tender with a perfect crispy exterior. I’m not a fan of kimchi but I did like their cucumber kimchi which provided a bit of sauce that gave it a slight hint of chilli. I would order this again, even with the steep price tag.20140626-223616-81376607.jpgNot as white, soft and smooth as other pork buns that I’ve eaten.20140626-223717-81437947.jpgIt fits nicely in the hand.20140626-223716-81436427.jpgA close up of the tender pork neck filling.20140626-223719-81439678.jpgHand cut chips, house made ketchup ($10.00). I was impressed that it was just like the description had said, hand cut with the skin left on for a more homemade feel. I like my chips on the crunchier side so for me these chips were too potato-y with their thick cut nature. My friend and I weren’t particularly fond of the homemade ketchup, it was like a really strong pasta sauce but the boys really enjoyed it.20140626-224104-81664278.jpg20140626-224102-81662919.jpgShared plates~ 12pm to 10pm

Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18.00). My mouth was confused by this dish. The Asian elements of nori, katsuobushi and the Thai herb didn’t seem to fit in with the goat’s curd. I’m not usually a fan of goat dairy products but this was mild enough to eat on its own without the strong aftertaste.20140626-224027-81627230.jpg

20140626-224025-81625814.jpgWagyu flank, baby leek, soubise, ash ($29.00). All the elements of this dish took a back seat to the soubise. The sauce had an almost chunky puree texture and tasted like caramelised eshallots with a hint of garlic. The Wagyu itself was a bit disappointing having no real taste but was slightly better when dipped into the jus that had pooled to the side of the plate.20140626-224154-81714610.jpgSlow cooked pork cheek, caramelized onion, kale and kohlrabi ($26 .00). I preferred the pork over the beef because of the amount of flavour that they pork had. My piece of pork was 50% fat, 35% crispy skin and 15% meat. It was very flavoursome but I had to cut some of the fat off because it was just too much (that never happens!). The crispy kale, what looked like crackle and kohlrabi all contrasted against the soft caramelised onion and tender pork.20140626-224413-81853231.jpg

20140626-224429-81869203.jpg The funky sleeve that the bill comes in.20140626-224432-81872002.jpgIt ended up being $150.00 for four people without dessert. Nothing particularly caught our eye on the dessert menu and we had plans of trying out Dessert Castle anyway so we paid the bill and went to our next destination down the road.

The waiters were friendly and always wanted to know how our meal was going, while the food came out consistently allowing time to eat each share plate. No particular dish was ‘OMG outstanding’ but I would be happy enough to come back here to take advantage of their location and convenient opening hours.


Venue:  Monster kitchen and bar

Address: Nishi building, 25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra, ACT 

Phone: (02) 6287 6287

Monster Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Polit bar: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

There are a lot of cute cocktail places scattered throughout our great city so I didn’t bother trying to guess whereabouts we were headed to for cocktails and entertainment to finish our spectacular day of food and wine.
20140614-231402-83642196.jpgIt turns out Polit bar was where we were headed, I didn’t know much about the bar except that its name (and owners?) kept on changing. We head up a dark set of stairs which teleported us back into the 1920s. It almost reminded me of the prohibition days where locations of secret underground bars existed, the girls were there to entertain, a piano man playing old school tunes followed by more live music complete with a magician in the corner and a tarot card reader and of course alcohol was free-flowing.
An absinthe fountain was set up for all those who were interested in seeing the green fairy, although there was a green fairy walking around and you didn’t need the absinthe to see her.20140614-231407-83647834.jpgOld school beautiful chandeliers and beaded curtains for that intimate feel without feeling boxed in.20140614-231403-83643675.jpgThe comical cheesy “French” presenter who’s accent came in and out all night.20140614-231409-83649273.jpgDrinks menu and the selection of tapas that will be offered which was made by Flint in the Vines.20140614-231405-83645110.jpgYou can’t really see but this was a yummy mix of olives and nuts, you’ll have to take my word on this one. There was also delicious zucchini cigars and lamb tartlets while the vegetarian gluten free option was a variety of dips and vegetables. We all finished on a sweet note with an amazing chocolate morsel.

20140614-235051-85851914.jpgFunky light fittings at the bar.20140614-231622-83782347.jpgThe lovely staff from Polit bar busy at work getting everyone their beverages.20140614-231621-83781055.jpgA range of alcohol available.20140614-231619-83779709.jpgI was dubious about my drink choice when the bartender had to ask for help to make virgin piña coladas but they ended up being really really nice. I would definitely have this again.20140614-231625-83785237.jpgAfter we were all hydrated, fed and entertained, the finale of the night before we were to leave such a spectacular venue was a Burlesque show. Nothing bonds people together like watching the seductive art of burlesque, right?

Taking the stairs down and out, leaving the portal from another world to go back to reality.20140614-231701-83821651.jpg

20140614-231703-83823092.jpgI didn’t take many photos, my iPhone isn’t great with dim lighting (see fabulous photos here and here though) but I was really transported to another place and got lost in atmosphere and waiting for the platters of fabulous food to come by because for some reason I could still fit more food in.

Polit bar is a place like no other. They frequently have events and shows to set themselves a part from the rest. Check their website for trivia nights, live music, tarot card readings, open mic comedy and much more.

Venue: Polit bar

Address: 8 Franklin street, Manuka, ACT

Phone: (02) 61622947

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


Clonakilla: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

When we turned into Clonakilla winery which was just a short bus trip away from Four Winds vineyard, foodies who knew their wine got really excited. To be honest, I had never heard of Clonakilla but nor do I indulge in the art of wine tasting. I was out of my element as there was only wine tasting at this venue because who else wants more food straight away after lunch except for me apparently but I did ask several people what they thought of the wine.

These vines get progressively older as you look from left to right of the vineyard, some of their fruit also comes from down the road.20140612-230726-83246704.jpgWho is ready for some wine tasting?20140612-230729-83249605.jpgSampling and note taking, we humans are good are multitasking!20140612-230731-83251022.jpgThere were multiple tastings and it turns out that everyone liked something different but their reds were particularly sort after. We (and by ‘we’ I mean the other humans) started with white wines like Viognier and Chardonnay and progressed through to the rich reds like Pinot Noir and the highly anticipated Shiraz Viognier. I was contemplating buying a bottle for my friend who loves good red and endorses buying locally but after guesstimations with fellow humans that the bottle I was looking at could be $100+, I was just going to settle for just telling her about coming out here and buying the wine (sorry Tanya!).

A close up of the beautiful colour of the wine, sorry I forget which one this was.20140612-230734-83254079.jpgThe brand is rich in history with the family’s roots extending from Ireland being translated through their wine label art work and even the name ‘Clonakilla’ means Meadow of the Church in Gaelic. It all started when John Kirk moved out to Australia after accepting a job in scientific research at CSIRO Plant Industry and planted vines in 1971. Later on in 1985, he was the first in the country to plant Viognier after some encouragement from his son. Since then the business has been kept mainly in the family having all the brothers sitting on the board with Tim Kirk as CEO and chief winemaker who has won Winemaker of the Year in 2013.20140612-230735-83255398.jpgWho knew this very successful vineyard was just on our front door step! Clonakilla are in the process of expanding their cellar door and hope it will be completed in a years time. 20140612-230724-83244061.jpgVenue: Clonakilla

Address: 3 Crisps Lane, Murrumbateman, NSW 2582

Phone: (02) 6227 5877

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

Four Winds Vineyard: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

The next stop during our day of food and wine tour was at the Four Winds Vineyard, I was truly lost after I had my head down instagramming and looked up and saw nothing but green lush grass and picturesque scenery. I know this is technically in NSW and not Canberra but I figure it’s like what Australia does when a New Zealander becomes really famous, they are close enough so we claim them as our own.20140610-222433-80673254.jpgWe were greeted by Bill Crowe the winemaker and his sister-in-law and business manager of the vineyard, Sarah Collingwood. We were told that this was a family run business consisting of only six people, it was founded by the parents Suzanne and Graeme Lunney and both their daughters and their husbands got involved with the winery too.

We start piling into Four Winds vineyard’s cellar door.20140610-222427-80667611.jpg

20140610-222431-80671710.jpgWe then took a stroll through the vineyard, past the free roaming chickens to where they house their stainless steel vats. We all half joked that would wouldn’t mind one of these vats in our homes, but I’m pretty sure some of us heavily considered rolling one back to the bus. We all took a sample of their Riesling which was yet to be filtered and scheduled to be bottled next week but we before all started sipping away, Bill taught us all how to properly taste wine in several steps.

Wine has a lot of volatile aroma compounds and to capture all this, you have to stick your nose in the glass and smell the wine. After this, you swirl the wine in the glass to create a thin coating around the inside of the glass and then smell it again, the scent was completely different and I was really astounded. I thought pompous people just swirled it to look fancy, who knew that there was an actual logic to it. Following all the smelling, you’re supposed to sip some wine and hold it in your mouth, that was the fourth step while the fifth step was to suck in some air at the same time as the wine passes through your mouth but even Bill admits that it is a bit OTT and hates it when people do it.

Just strolling through the vineyard, life is hard.

20140610-222421-80661874.jpgThe old school contraption they use for ‘pressing’.20140610-222654-80814690.jpgFour Winds vineyard uses stainless steel vats for their fermentation process.20140610-222650-80810380.jpgI didn’t say ‘when’.20140610-222651-80811835.jpgShowing off their Riesling paired with my nails.20140610-222656-80816515.jpgFollowing our lesson in wine tasting, our senses were then really put to the test when we went through a ‘blind sniff test’ where we had to pair different scents in numbered bottles to familiar foods and flowers. I didn’t do too badly but I didn’t get around to smelling all the bottles before we started marking. The different kind of berries definitely confused my nose.

Ready, set, sniff! 20140610-222656-80816125.jpgThe local humans putting their nose to the test.20140610-222657-80817810.jpgAfter Emelia took the prize for having the best sense of smell (full marks!), we all headed back down to the winery where we found Graeme cooking up wood fired pizzas with a variety of toppings: BBQ chicken; potato and gorgonzola;  and salami and black olive. I was trying to create a facade that I can’t eat a whole pizza to myself with ease by I only take two of the three flavours of pizza and a bit of salad. The pizza bases that are made on the premises was so good and really brought out the flavours of the toppings, they were simple but yet so tasty. They brought out so many pizzas and I had to go for seconds! The pizzas were also served with a side of two salads and all the ingredients were really fresh and delicious. Our non gluten vegetarian friend was taken care of with her very own gluten-free pizza base with potato and gorgonzola. The toppings weren’t too ‘busy’ so the natural flavours of the ingredients had to stand alone without a heavy cheese blanket to hide under.20140610-222659-80819136.jpg20140610-222758-80878083.jpgFirst plate!20140610-222759-80879417.jpgOnly on the third stop and some of our fellow humans started to run out of battery, desperate times calls for desperate measures.20140610-222755-80875262.jpgFour Winds vineyard’s cellar door is ready for your tasting.20140610-222756-80876786.jpgI found their cellar door simple and stunning (just like their food!). The building was made from as much recycled products as possible, which I am a very big fan of. The red bricks were recycled, their gorgeous lights are upcycled wine barrels, their unique windows are old wine bottles and part of the building was made with old picking bins and a shipping container.20140610-222423-80663277.jpg

20140610-222434-80674604.jpgI love their funky windows.20140610-222424-80664828.jpgI thought these cards on each table were adorable!20140610-222900-80940654.jpg

Bottles of wine were purchased amongst the happy and full food and wine group and we jumped back on the bus after thanking the Four Winds vineyards for their hospitality.

Venue: Four Winds Vineyard

Address: 9 Patemans Lane Murrumbateman NSW 2582

Phone: 0432 060 903

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

Poachers Pantry: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

During a bus ride full of caffeinated “humans” giggling and talking, I didn’t take much notice of which way we were going until we pulled off the Barton highway and took the turn towards Poachers Pantry. I had not been out here in years but I occasionally dabble in some smoked meats at the more convenient location of Fyshwick markets. I was excited to see what the place looked like and if it had changed much.

A bus full of happy local humans.20140605-212347-77027426.jpgIt is picture perfect out here. A zooming action shot taken from the bus.20140605-212346-77026112.jpgSince my last visit, Poachers pantry have successfully expanded their product nation wide as well as on an international level. They have also established a brand of Wily Trout wines from their vineyard that they planted in the late 90s. 20140605-212348-77028925.jpgWe were greeted by Susan Bruce one of the owners of Poachers pantry as well as one of her children, his name escapes me right now, so lets call him baby Bruce who runs the vineyard side of things.

She explained to us that this was all started in 1991 not knowing where it was going to go and if it was going to succeed. Well we all know how that story ends with Poachers Pantry being a very popular place to visit and the success that they’ve had with their products. They lucked out on location having the benefits of country living while being so close to Canberra and coincidentally it had the best conditions for smoking meats using Nothern European techniques and growing a vineyard.20140605-212352-77032114.jpgThe local humans taking in all the sights, sounds and soon to be tastes of Poachers pantry.20140605-212353-77033555.jpgWe all head inside and gather around to see what Poachers pantry has to offer.20140605-212904-77344287.jpgSue preparing samples for us and explaining their smoking preparations.20140605-212905-77345609.jpgWe were wine tasting at 10:30am in the morning which didn’t seem to phase anyone.20140605-212911-77351422.jpg(Not so) Baby Bruce introducing each wine before giving everyone a taste.20140605-212907-77347039.jpgWould you like a taste? Yes please!20140605-212909-77349959.jpgA great selection of smoked meats ranging from chicken, duck, kangaroo prosciutto, pork and beef.20140605-212912-77352715.jpgThey paired these delicious hot and cold smoked meats with sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot noir. You can really taste the difference between preparations and it’s easy to compare as they are usually from the same cut of meat, it is amazing how vast the difference is. I particularly liked the chicken breast with tarragon and lemon, traditional ham, peppered beef sirloin and Thai chicken thigh.20140605-213043-77443114.jpg

20140605-213041-77441682.jpgSo much flavour in a tiny morsel.20140605-213038-77438779.jpg

20140605-213044-77444437.jpgI didn’t dabble in their wine but I heard the other “humans” say that they don’t usually drink a particular type of wine but when they were given a sample they were pleasantly surprised. It goes to show that a good wine or chef can make you change your perception of what you think you may or may not like. 20140605-213040-77440222.jpgThey also house gourmet condiments that would compliment their products.20140605-212356-77036498.jpgWhen I expressed interest in purchasing some items, Sue said she would organise an esky so we could take things on the bus (how sweet!). Upon hearing this, several of us beelined straight to the cold room. I am actually writing this as I happily snacking upon their traditional ham! I also bought their chicken thigh with Thai spices. Sue suggested to fry up some onion, garlic and ginger, then warm through some coconut milk and adding in the chicken for a simple meal. They really endorse the use of their product to make simple enjoyable meals at home.20140605-213047-77447639.jpgDon’t miss the turn off as it is easy to drive past. 20140605-212908-77348503.jpgI really enjoyed Sue’s enthusiasm to show off produce and wine from Canberra’s district to the rest of the nation and even the world. Poachers pantry are also creating a new wedding space as they also do a lot of weddings out here, I’m looking forward to seeing it when it is completed.

As we were leaving, the sun was hitting the front terrace perfectly and I was envious of the happy people I walked past who were enjoying beautifully presented food. I must come back and try the injectable donuts that the waiters kept walking past with *drool*

Venue: Poachers Pantry and Wily trout wines

Address:  431 Nanima Rd, Hall NSW 2618

Phone: (02) 6230 2487

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure but we bought our own smoked goods.

Opening hours:

Smokehouse Café
Trading Hours
Brunch Sat & Sun 10am – 11:30am
Lunch Fri – Sun 12pm – 3pm

Cellar door and retail sales
7 Days 10am – 5pm

Poachers Pantry 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 (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

First day of school

It feels like the night before school starts, I know I should get an early nights sleep for tomorrow’s big exciting day but I’m still awake with nerves and excitement. I have to catch the bus tomorrow early in the morning and make new friends but luckily I don’t have to pack a lunch.

Tomorrow begins my adventure with the 101 Local Humans, it is my ‘Day of Food and Wine‘. We start off with some coffee tasting, followed by some local food and wine and the ending the day with some entertainment and cocktails. I have no idea where we are going. I just know I’m up for some fun and delicious food! Stay tuned readers!