Casey Jones

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

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

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

Breakfast~ starting from top left- clockwise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venue: Casey Jones

Address: 15 Kingsland Parade, Casey, 2913

Phone: (02) 6253 8961

Bookings: They have a handy booking system on their website

Websitehttp://caseyjones.pub/

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

Steak nights at Ducks Nuts

Tuesday nights are steak nights at the new Ducks Nuts bar and grill in Dickson, $15 bucks will get you a butler steak with green leaf salad and your choice of gravy (chips are $5.00 extra).I asked mine to be medium rare and that’s what I got.  It’s not an overly big piece of steak but it was still delicious and succulent piece of meat.A useful condiment caddy with all the favourites.For those who want something else other than steak will find many options on their menu. Fried buttermilk chicken burger with house slaw and chipotle mayo served with shoe string fries ($19.00).My friend really enjoyed his burger.

Ducks Nuts specials calendar

Sunday Roast all day with all the trimmings ($20.00).

Monday SchnitzelHaus ($15.00).

Tuesday Steak night ($15.00).

Wednesday Burger night with craft beer ($15.00).

 

 

Venue: Ducks Nuts

Address: 30 Woolley St, Dickson ACT 2602 (where O’Neill’s Irish Pub used to be)

Phone(02) 6230 7675

Websitehttp://ducksnuts.net.au/

Opening hours: 7 days a week 11:00am – late

Dessert at Joe’s bar

When we didn’t stay for dessert at Temporada, I found it the perfect opportunity to go try the gelato sandwich at Joe’s bar that I have wanted to sample since it opened. When we arrived inside the bar, without seeing the menu we asked if they still served the gelato sandwich and when they said that they did, we had told two of the waitstaff that we wanted the gelato sandwich before we sat ourselves down on one of the lounges. After a little while, one of previous waitstaff asked if we had our order taken, it was a bit confusing as we thought we already had ordered, so we re-ordered with her and she convinced us to also order the cannoli with her description of chocolate ricotta and candied pistachios.The order took longer than expected as the large tables were also on the same course as us, but when we received our dessert I was a little underwhelmed to say the least.Gelato tramezzino ($12.00). This was two pieces of short bread sandwiching choc chip ice-cream (? we were told it would be vanilla but it had chocolate flecks through it). If you are wondering if short bread goes well with ice-cream, it doesn’t. The crumbly nature of the short bread meant that the whole dessert collapsed into a messy pile after the first bite. I was really disappointed with this.

The messy heap that was left before I gave up.
IMG_0280Cannoli pistachio ($16.00). As soon as I took the first bite, I started to wonder how we would finish all four cannolis. The shell was too thick, really brittle and borderline stale and the ricotta filling wasn’t much better. I didn’t get the sense of ‘chocolate ricotta’ or ‘candied pistachio’ that was in the description that the waitress told us about. The only reason why we took the rest of the cannolis home was because I saw how much that we paid for it.
Small flat white ($4.00). TimmyC said that his coffee tasted bitter, ashy and really bad. 
We didn’t see a single menu so we were a bit surprised at some of the prices when we got the bill. It was definitely not worth it at all. It is a shame that we didn’t enjoy any of the desserts that we ordered; maybe their savoury options are better?

 

Have you been to Joe’s bar? I would love to hear your experience.
Venue: Joe’s bar
Address: 69 Canberra Avenue, Griffith, ACT
Phone: (02) 6178 0050

 

 Joe's Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

 

Degustation at Benchmark wine bar

——-27/10/2012——-

Another recommendation from Katie! 

Away from most of the hustle and bustle of civic, Benchmark wine bar sits on the corner of Northbourne Ave and Rudd St. It was hard to choose what to order with so many things catching my eye, so I knew the degustation was the only way to go to try a bit of everything.

With wines to match each course $155 per person and without wines $105 per person.

I’m all set for my 8 course degustation! Let the munching begin!

I can’t remember which dessert wine they chose for me, but it was magnificent! Mmmmmmm.

First course~

Freshly shucked oysters with salmon pearls and diced cucumber. Fresh tasty oysters with cleverly added roe and cucumber to add flavour and a lot more different textures.

Second course~

Lightly tempura zucchini flowers stuffed with Persian fetta, roast pepper and mint. I was amazed by how hot and crispy this came out without being soggy and oily. The perfect amount of batter leaving the zucchini flowers crispy without compromising its shape.

Third course~

Sashimi plate with white pickled ginger, ponzu, japanese seaweed and wasabi. I liked it all but preferred the seared tuna over the salmon.

Fourth course~

Crispy skin pork belly with apple and walnut salad, apple puree and balsamic. Crispy delicious heaven! Mmmmm so good. I also really enjoyed the side salad.

Fifth course~

Black angus eye fillet with crisp potato, horseradish beetroot and sautéed beans. It was a nice piece of steak cooked perfectly to medium rare. The potato soaked up all the sauce wasn’t as crispy as it could have been. The beetroot was surprisingly not overwhelming.

Sixth course~

Sorbet of the day with Persian fairy floss. I wasn’t sure if this was a palette cleanser or an actual course because it didn’t come with any Persian fairy floss (and it was also very small). This was passion fruit sorbet, not overly intense or sour but enough to refresh the palette.

Seventh course~

Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée with orange and cardamon biscotti – Mr. fussy pants Timmy didn’t want to have the cheese course so he asked to have it replaced with another dessert. He was so happy that they gave him a crème brûlée. Lovely toffee hard hat with a great thick custard underneath.

Fine white mould cheese – cow’s milk -delice de bourgogne, bourgogne – France. I’m not too adventurous with soft cheeses but this was divine and creamy.

Eighth course~

Forest berries bavarois with strawberry and citrus tea. This had a very yoghurty texture. The basil (?) on top really brought out the contrasting flavours of the berries and citrus.

Because we aren’t avid wine drinkers, I never thought to go to Benchmark but the food and service was really great. I’m surprised they don’t have a higher urbanspoon rating.

Venue: Benchmark Wine Bar

Address: 65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra City, ACT 2600 (next to Novotel Hotel Entrance)

Phone: (02) 6262 6522

Opening hours:

Lunch: Midday – 3 pm Mon – Fri

Dinner: 5pm – 10pm Mon – Sat

Closed on Sundays

(advance large bookings accepted to open on Sundays)

TAPAS: Available All Day & Night

Benchmark Wine Bar on Urbanspoon