Fun filled weekend – Stand By Me

I had ulterior motives when I told TimmyC that I would take him out to Stand by Me in Lyons for breakfast, what he didn’t know was that it was conveniently located close to my friend’s house who I wanted to drop by and quickly see, but to TimmyC he just thought we were going for a lovely breakfast before I went on my foodie adventure.

It was very busy as we stepped into the cafe but we were still greeted by a friendly face who seated us pretty quickly. Water and menus were promptly brought to the table and they were very efficient in getting our drink orders. The wait for food wasn’t very long and it was a fairly quick breakfast without being rushed, which was probably a good thing as when we woke up we were already running late.Breakfast~ 7:00 – 11:00 am weekdays/ all day weekends

Vanilla and honeycomb milkshake ($7.00). Even though it wasn’t a thickshake, I couldn’t help but order one of a few interesting milkshake flavours at Stand by Me. I liked the flavour of the milkshake, it was sweet enough for me that I could easily drink it without feeling like I was going to get sugar sweats or really full. Unfortunately TimmyC also really like the milkshake and I only got to drink half. And yes, I do realise the price attached is a little steep for a milkshake.Large flat white ($4.50). The coffee came pretty quickly, TimmyC said he really enjoyed it but he didn’t order another one as he was too busy drinking my beverage.Eggs your way  two free range eggs on toast (10.00) with a side of bacon ($4.00). TimmyC just wanted something simple for breakfast and that is exactly what he got. I was just grateful he gave me some of his bacon. 🙂Samurai mushrooms mixed mushrooms sautéed in ponzu and yuzu kosho – topped with two sous vide eggs, fried chilli and garlic and some loyal soldiers ($17.50). I thought that the eggs were cooked perfectly to my liking but when I went to try to eat the mushrooms by themselves I found them really salty and very overwhelming, it needed the bread and eggs mixed through it. It was so salty that I found that my bacon started to not taste like bacon when I went back to it. I think there was too much ponzu and I pushed all my breakfast away from the small puddle that started to develop in the middle of the bowl. I enjoyed the breakfast when eaten together and I like how the soldiers were lightly toasted.*swim away!* The ponzu was too intense for this girl so I tried to push everything away from it.Lots of people come and go in the cafe, they must have a high turn over of covers without rushing the patrons.I really liked their throw pillows and cute little flowers that they had on every table.The staff at Stand By Me were lovely and I could overhear some conversations of them welcoming back loyal customers and remembering their drink orders. They obviously have a good following for their interesting menu, awesome atmosphere and friendly service. I look forward to coming back again and trying more of their menu.

Venue: Stand By Me

Address: 1 Lyons Pl, Lyons, ACT

Phone: 0458 962 716

Opening hours:

Monday – Friday 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Stand By Me Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Bite to Eat

It probably wasn’t well planned going out for breakfast just before a brunch/grazing session, but my friends were just telling me about an awesome thick shake available south side and I sort of promised my stomach that I would have one at the first possible chance. I grabbed TimmyC and we headed to A Bite to Eat where I haven’t been to in years. We seated ourselves at the back outside area where I fell in love with the quirky miss matched furniture, it was well shaded and they had what looked like a dog friendly area with big outdoor cushions and a water bowl. 
Even the water and glasses were quirky and old school.We were a bit carried away and instead of just ordering a small breakfast for TimmyC and a thick shake to share we ordered something savoury, sweet as well as a chocolate thick shake.

 

Terricotta fresh ricotta doughnuts with roast banana custard, black berries and vanilla fro-yo ($19.30). I love the witty name and as soon as I saw this plate, I just had to have a bite. The doughnuts were nice and hot and while I didn’t really see a vanilla fro-yo everything wasn’t too sweet, but I think towards the end it got a bit too heavy and we couldn’t finish it.
Check out how crispy the doughnuts were! The ice cream tasted nutty even though at first we thought it was the vanilla fro-yo.
Even though they had a light texture, I wouldn’t be ordering a huge thick shake AND these doughnuts as it gets very filling.Toast sourdough served with condiments ($7.30). TimmyC really enjoyed the bread because he likes eating ‘Country split’ bread and this reminded him of that.
Chocolate thick shake ($6.60).This was very thick and borderline icy but an intense chocolate flavour just wasn’t there. It was still nice and very refreshing but after eating sweet ricotta doughnuts, what little sweetness there was had completely faded. I sent a photo of my thick shake to my friend and she said that her’s, albeit was a few months ago, didn’t look so icy.


The service was fast and friendly and the overall wait time for food was very short. I love when you walk into the cafe you get a sense of walking into someone’s living room, the vibe is very casual and homey. I think this would be a cute little quirky place to meet up with friends for brunch, if you’ve never been add it to your ‘to go’ list.

Venue: A Bite To Eat
Address: 8 Chifley Pl, Chifley ACT 2606
Phone: (02) 6260 3703

Opening hours:

Mon – Tues 8am–4pm
Wed 8am–9.30pm
Thurs-Fri 8am–10pm
Sat 8am–4pm
Sun 9am–8pm

A Bite To Eat, A Drink As Well Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Space re-run

TimmyC and I are not morning people, but everyone has a price so when TimmyC suggested that we wake up early and go to Space to have breakfast, I agreed although our early morning progress would be negated by said breakfast and we would just arrive to work at the time as we would normally.Polenta waffles lemon thyme sautéed mushrooms, goats cheese, poached eggs, corn puree, salsa verde and truffle oil ($18.90). I thought the addition of dry ice and truffle oil to create a ‘truffle cloud’ upon serving was more for showmanship rather than for taste, but it gives Space a more theatrics side of things setting them apart from their sister cafe Ricardo’s. The waffles themselves were rather crunchy with a soft centre and I loved it paired with the mushrooms and sweet corn puree but I found the goats cheese flavour too strong. I would easily order this again if I wanted a unique vegetarian option.The truffle cloud presentation.Space benedict pulled pork croquette with poached eggs, beetroot hollandaise, pork crackling brioche crumble and pea puree ($18.90). I loved the interesting presentation of this dish and I can’t resist a croquette. The crunchy croquette coating which encased the tender pulled pork was brilliant although I wasn’t a fan of the pea puree. I was surprised to see that I found the slightly sour beetroot hollandaise really addictive and kept dipping my fork into it. Definitely a breakfast classic with a twist that is worth trying.Served with beautiful violets and perfectly cooked eggs.
The dynamics and atmosphere of Space is really different to Ricardo’s, you can see that this cafe is more ‘mature’ and invites a different clientèle in that would be suited to the surrounding office buildings. I love the addition of this funky cafe to the south side and I would definitely recommend this to anyone for a great breakfast and lunch, although I am not sold on their cakes yet. I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu.

Read the blog post that my awesome guest blogger wrote here.

Space Explorer

I wasn’t able to make it to a breakfast at Space recently, so instead a fellow blogger kindly offered to write her experience. So here it is, Tales of a Confectionist’s first GUEST BLOGGER: the wonderful Serina from Ms Frugal Ears.  How exciting! Her photos are crystal clear, she writes well and she wrote this much faster than I ever would have. Hahahaha, maybe we can make this a regular thing.

Thank you Serina for sharing your experience and making us want to run to Space and check it out for ourselves!


 

I’m heading off to Space. For breakfast. Only I’m not heading to outer space, but rather to a car park. In Woden.

Space, a new café/restaurant by Rick de Marco of Ricardo’s fame, opened three weeks ago in the Skypark car park. Yes, in a carpark. A pretty modern and funky NEW carpark in Woden with 940 spaces and plans for a lightshow. It is an unusual place for a café, but not so unusual for someone used to working hard and taking risks.

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Rick opened Ricardos in Jamison Centre ten years ago when he was only 18. I remember Jamison Centre back then; I used to regularly forage at the Sunday morning Trash n’ Treasure market that the Rotary Club of Belconnen runs. Before the Jamison Centre refurbishment the area was a bit of a dive. I remember seeing Ricardos when it first opened and wondering if it would stay in business in such a drab environment.

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But Ricardos Jamison has flourished, so much so that on weekends you have to queue along the red carpet before one of the staff will grant you a pass in. It feels more like being an at exclusive nightclub than the family friendly and fun café that it is. Not that staff behave like brusque bouncers – everyone is utterly courteous and service is brisk. It is just extremely popular.

The new business is not simply a new Ricardos. “I consciously chose to give Space a new name, a new brand,” explained Rick de Marco. “I opened Ricardos when I was only 18. This is like an adult version of Ricardos. I want to be able to experiment with new dishes, rather than having people wonder why things weren’t exactly the same as Ricardos Jamison Centre.” Rick also expressed passion for heading the revitalization of Woden to mimic what he was part of at Jamison Centre.

Before you ask – yes Space still does amazing cakes including Rick’s signature Golden Gaytime and macarons. But the feel is slicker, more modern, with subtle references to the ‘car space’ theme throughout. And Rick is even more courageous with his food creations.

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My visit was hosted by Rick as part of a social media event to showcase some of Space’s signature all-day breakfast dishes. Space does make some standard style bacon & egg type dishes, and these are also popular – according to head chef Russell, although Space has only just opened it typically cooks around 1,200 eggs on a weekend.

We began with vegetable fritters ($18.90) This is kind of like traditional corn fritters your mum probably made only more upmarket and served on beetroot humus and corn cous cous with salad and poached eggs. Remove the cous cous and the dish is gluten free – chef Russell makes them with a flour made from chickpeas, amaranth, quinoa and arrowroot. He also said that during the week this is by far the most popular breakfast item.

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I wanted to try more of the hot smoked salmon breakfast (hot smoked salmon, smashed avocado, coconut roesti, poached eggs and puffed grains, $18.90), but it disappeared quickly amongst our group. There was a substantial salmon serving and if ordered as a breakfast you would not leave feeling unsatisfied. I liked the gentle tea-smoked flavour, which was distinctive yet not overdone.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI noticed owner Rick de Marco plating something up himself. “Does he interfere often?” I playfully asked. “We take a collaborative and cooperative approach,” answered head chef Russell tactfully. Rick is clearly a perfectionist, evidenced when he presented a plate of the most beautiful bircher muesli I have ever seen. Adorned by fresh fruit and flowers, the bircher muesli ($15.90) was surrounded by circles of yoghurt and blood orange curd and decorated with passionfruit caviar (perfect pearls made through a chemical emulsion process). And yes it tastes good as well, augmented with freshly grated apple.

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Then came the two spectacular dishes that have a creative wow factor that will likely put Space on the galaxy map. Space benedict ($18.90) incorporates the Golden Gaytime theme that Ricardos has become famous for as a dessert – but here it is a deep-fried savoury pulled pork croquette, served on a bed of beetroot coloured hollandaise sauce with avocado, poached eggs and pork crackling brioche crumble. I loved the crumble texture, liked the concept of the croquette but it is not my preferred choice for breakfast as it is a bit oily. Russell said that Space plans to make it with smoked trout in the future, which I think will be nicer.

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My favourite dish was, quite unexpectedly, waffles ($18.90). I am almost over waffles after consuming way too many while in Taiwan – usually they were overly adorned with fake cream and fake maple syrup and looked much nicer than they tasted. But these were savoury waffles made with polenta and cheese and served with a side of mushrooms sourced specially from a grower in Yass, with a liberal sprinkle of popcorn. And served with goats cheese, poached eggs, corn puree and salsa verde. Yet there is more – as they are served, the waiter (in our case Rick himself) poured diffused truffle oil over the top, which wafts out in a (safe) cloud of dry ice. Spectacular and fragrant.

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We were served soft cooked poached eggs, but Russell assured us you can order them well done or prepared a different way if you like.

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If you are hungry, I recommend the boysenberry hotcakes, with blood orange curd, freeze dried raspberry and white chocolate crumble with coconut mascarpone ($17.90).  These were pretty, and also pretty filling.  I would have struggled to finish an entire plate.  Or perhaps I would have been greedy and managed the task – the hotcakes were thick yet inviting and moreish.

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Venue: Space

Address: Ground floor, Skypark, Furzer Street, Woden

Phone: (02) 6281 6668

Opening hours:

Mon-Fri: 7:30 am-5:30 pm
Sat: 8:00 am-4:00 pm

Guest blogger details: Serina blogs about mindful frugality and low-cost recipes at www.msfrugalears.com and about Taiwanese food and Chinese postpartum confinement at www.taiwanxifu.com.  She is an avid tea drinker and loves brunching with friends. She participated in a breakfast tasting at Space at the invitation of the owner, Rick de Marco.

A simple breakfast at Fox and Bow

I was meeting a friend for a catch up breakfast at Fox and Bow; the sun wasn’t really shining but the cafe was lovely enough to provide blankets. My meal choice might have seemed odd but we were later heading to a market where I thought I’d be eating most of the time so I tried to go with a lighter brunch option.

 

The ginger short bread smiley face is a really cute addition to any hot beverage.El macho pineapple, pear, lemon, cinnamon, vanilla and nopal cactus ($7.90). Sour dough toast served with butter and Lynwood strawberry jam from Collector ($6.00) plus a side of bacon ($4.00?). For something so simple, I was surprised how delicious it was and I would happily order it again. The bread was super tasty, the jam was perfect and they served it with Pepe Saya butter which is incredible. I added bacon for a savoury finish.
Old mate Stephanie Alexander’s ricotta gnocchi recipe, slow cooked lamb shoulder and mushroom ragout ($16.90). I could not believe how soft these pieces of gnocchi were, although I felt that the ragout needed a bit more salt as it was on the bland side.
It is always lovely coming here, the service is friendly, the menu names make me giggle and the food is delicious.

Double Shot

It was a spur of the moment that we went to Double Shot in Deakin for brunch. At first I was going to go somewhere else in the south side region, but just before we got into the car I asked TimmyC if I changed our brunch area to Deakin would it be that much further away on our way to Fyshwick, when he answered ‘no’ we bee lined straight to the Deakin shops.

I have hardly been in the area, so when we were browsing the shops wondering where the cafe would be, we turned around to see a very very busy cafe with cool outdoor seating. I was dreading the waiting time but we were there already and made the trip out especially, so I was willing to wait. Looking around while waiting for a table, it seemed like babies and dogs are almost mandatory here with most people having one or the other.

There are basically four ‘sections’ to the cafe: out outside.Outside/coveredInside near the counterwhich is near this cake cabinet!Or their extended insideWith such a big capacity and still being very busy was a good sign that the food was worth waiting for.

I usually take note of timing in a venue, we were slightly dismayed by the length of the line to get in but after 15 minutes of waiting we were able to get a seat inside. We were given a menu straight away and ordered within 10 minutes. I was guessing we would get drinks in another 15 and food would take around another 15-20 minutes more considering how busy it was but after 10-15 minutes of ordering we were given drinks and food. I was super impressed!

I thought the upside down planters inside looked really cool. It must take a lot of time and care to water these plants.Make your own juice my go to juice is orange, pineapple and ginger ($7.00) and a flat white in a mug ($4.70). There was a lot of foam build up towards the end of my juice. It was very nice juice but it could have done with a tad more ginger. TimmyC really enjoyed his coffee. Eggs Benedict with bacon free range eggs, choice of bacon, salmon, baby spinach or gypsy ham topped with hollandaise sauce ($18.00). I didn’t start digging into the Benedict as I was busy with my two dishes but after three bites, TimmyC said he really liked his eggs Benedict and then in the breath of his fourth bite he exclaims they are “exceptional”, leading me to dip my fork in across the table. The hollandaise was nice and the eggs were cooked perfectly but I liked my choices of brunch better because they were different to the usual breakfast menus.Poached pear pistachio crumble, chai tea panna cotta, pomegranate and blonde agave nectar ($15.00). The pear was rather big and was poached perfectly. The sweet flavours of the fruit really balanced out the flavours of the subtle chai panna cotta and the coconut. A nice blend of spices and textures.Chicken breast, avocado, smoked cheddar and aioli toastie ($10.00). Simple ingredients but it was an awesome combination. I have a friend who loves chicken sandwiches and I think she would love this one too. I could not believe how delicious this simple toastie was! A close up of the toastie itselfI envisage lots of trips to Double Shot in the future and I know it’s early and a big call but Double Shot might quickly become one of my favourite places to eat if they keep their food standards and service up. I am super keen to try more of their breakfast menu as well as their lunch offerings.

Venue: Double Shot

Address: 7/18 Duff Pl, Deakin ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6162 2027

Sundays: 10% surcharge on Sundays
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Lazy May’s

Whilst in Europe, I was reading Canberra Foodie’s adventures back at home and I had complete food envy. I knew instantly that when I came back to Canberra that I wanted to go to Lazy May’s immediately. Tuggeranong has NEEDED a good coffee shop serving breakfast and lunch for a very long time and I think this cafe is the answer to that.I love this wall.

I love their little salt shakers.Tim got a little greedy as he wanted the sweet sliders AND eggs his way and because I didn’t really have a preference I just went a long with it, as long as I got a good a photo (hahaha!) but I insisted I wanted bacon and a hash brown with his eggs and garlic mushrooms. We did have a stipulation that we would only order the hash brown if it wasn’t the frozen store-bought stuff and actually made in-house. After the waitress went to check they were indeed made in-house, we were all set with our breakfast order.
Build your own eggs on toast your choice of scrambled, poached or sunny side up served on artisan sourdough bread ($9.50) with optional sides ($3.00 each) bacon, baby roma vine tomatoes, hash brown, garlic mushrooms, avocado smash, baby spinach. After we ordered ‘eggs our way’ and everything else, at $3 a pop (which is pretty reasonable) it ended up being a double the original price. We really enjoyed the mushrooms but I wouldn’t bother with the hash brown again. It was cold and floury like a pancake with some grated potato, we informed the waitress as we paid for the bill and she was apologetic but we said that it wasn’t her fault and that the rest of the meal was lovely.We ordered the eggs over easy and they were cooked perfectly, look at that yolk.The cold potato pancake supposed hash brown wasn’t so great.
Brioche sweet French sliders mini brioche slider buns with salted caramelised banana and strawberry filling served with vanilla bean ice cream ($11.50). I didn’t think that the banana was caramelised at all or that there was enough vanilla ice-cream, but that didn’t make it any less amazing than it was. It isn’t too strange of a concept, think brioche French toast with delicious butterscotch sauce that you can keep drowning the bread into. It is a pretty messy breakfast but thankfully it wasn’t our first date.Eat now, wipe your hands later. I used a spoon to constantly douse my brioche in sauce.
Flat white coffee (large). TimmyC really really enjoyed his coffee; he said it was smooth and easy to drink. I think he felt relieved that he is able to get good coffee close to home.
 Lazy May’s milkshakes salted caramel and popcorn ($6.00). It isn’t as intense and rich as it sounds. The milk is slightly sweetened but to get that salted caramel and popcorn flavour you need to lick the rim of the glass. I think that the milk shake needs a little tweaking, but I do like how it is not OTT. I am loving awesome cafes that are tucked away in the suburbs; south side is slowly catching up to north side with places like Fox and Bow (Farrer), Red Brick espresso (Curtin), Common Grounds (Garran) and A bite to eat (Chifley). Now I can add Lazy May’s to the list as I really enjoyed their atmosphere, service and food. I will be back soon to try their lunch menu because whatever Food Porn Journal ordered looked awesome.
Venue: Lazy May’s
Address: 41/1 Colishaw Street, Greenway ACT 2900
Phone: 02 6174 1594
Opening hoursMonday – Saturday 7:00am–4:00pm

 

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Ricardo’s re-run

I was having a complete brain fart moment over the weekend.

I guess you could categorize me as a foodie and after my experience of being one of the 101 humans, you’d think I would know how to show off Canberra but I felt the pressure build when my Mum informed me that she was coming down to visit with some family friends for a day trip and I should choose somewhere for lunch.

Her specifications were not too fancy, not Brodburger (my sister and I always drag her there) and it had to be in a convenient location as we drove around taking them to Canberra’s landmarks and iconic buildings. I also didn’t want to take them to an Asian restaurant, after all they are from Hong Kong and Sydney, I don’t think Canberra could ever compare on price and quality. My brain froze, it just couldn’t cope with choosing somewhere and I delayed making a decision until the morning of their arrival, a dangerous move considering I wanted no waiting time or a reservation. That morning, my sister and her cute little family decided to also tag along which meant adding a pram into consideration, then a light bulb went off and I knew exactly where to go.

Not only does Ricardo’s in Jamison cook up fabulous lunch options and breakfast (I’m not the keenest on their cakes though *gasp* shock horror) but prams and children almost seem mandatory. They are ridiculously family friendly and when I rang that morning to book a table for 7 adults and a pram, they were happy to oblige.

Clockwise starting from top left.
Specials board~ Cauliflower, parmesan and potato soup ($15.90). A warming soup with all my favourite things. I’m not the biggest fan of focaccia and wasn’t going to eat the bread but it was reeeeeally nice all smothered in butter.
Fish and chips ($19.90). I rolled my eyes when TimmyC told me he was going to order this but then a waitress went past with a plate in her hand, we both then agreed he was to order fish and chips.
Hotcakes with passionfruit curd and maple syrup ($16.90).
Mushroom Bruschetta Harrisa spiced roast field mushroom with creamed fetta, beetroot, rouqette and za’atar on grilled focaccia ($16.90). I’ve never seen my Mum eat beetroot before so I was surprised she ordered this. She really enjoyed it and in true Asian Mum fashion gave half her meal away to everyone and they also agreed it was really nice.
We all chose different things because the menu was diverse and something suited all of us. Everyone had a lovely time, the food was fantastic and my guests were really surprised how busy the place was, even after 2:30pm people were still streaming in.
I look forward to Ricardo De Marco expanding to Woden later on this year, it is going to be quite different I hear.

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Table 1 Espresso

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

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

Venue: Table 1 Espresso

Address: 89 – 93 City Road, Merewether NSW 2291

Phone: (02) 4963 3796

Websitewww.table1espresso.com

Table 1 Espresso on Urbanspoon

Red brick Espresso re-run

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

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

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

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

Milkbar – Port Macquarie

We wanted to choose a good breakfast place before we left Port Macquarie and apparently that task was placed upon myself being the more passionate foodie of the pair. I had read through Port Macquarie’s tourist pamphlets called ‘eat see do’ which had made me want to come back and be here during their food festivals etc but it didn’t really help me in the way of breakfast so I turned to Urbanspoon.IMG_8275.JPGMilkbar near town beach was amongst the top choices for breakfast in the area so that’s where we headed despite being quite busy. We were luckily enough to get a table quickly and from there we browsed the menu chalkboard. It is a very popular place amongst the locals as a lot of the patrons knew the waitresses by name, which I thought was a good sign.

Ordering and paying at the counter really helps as a fast streamline process.IMG_8270.JPGThe menu at the Milkbar has something for everyone. I love how the sign states that all the bread comes with buttered *real butter!*IMG_8273.JPGLarge flat white ($4.30). TimmyC said he really enjoyed his coffee here.IMG_8280.JPGMango and macadamia smoothie ($6.50). This was mainly compromised of ice cream which is probably why TimmyC liked it so much. It only had hints of mango flavour but I liked how in every few mouthfuls there was a crunch of macadamia.IMG_8278.JPGEggs, Gruyère, baby spinach and citrus ricotta tart with prosciutto and roast chilli tomato sauce ($14.50). I couldn’t really taste the Gruyère despite having stringy cheesy bits when I cut bite sized pieces, the prosciutto added a nice salty touch to the light eggy citrus flavours and I think it was worth adding the roast chilli tomato sauce.IMG_8286.JPGLayers of spinach in the tart encased in delicious flaky pastry.IMG_8287.JPGMilkbar baked eggs and sourdough with mushroom, basil, cherry tomatoes and spinach($13.00) we added extra bacon ($3.00). I like how they gave you lots of bacon (4 pieces) and it was only $3 extra, you never usually get that much let alone for that price. The baked eggs were nice enough but for me I fell in love with the sourdough bread smothered in real butter *drool*IMG_8282.JPGI love how they have unique breakfast menu items, everything is reasonably priced (nothing over $14.50) and the food and coffee came out at a fast pace. The staff were also very friendly, fast to clean and clear tables as well as thorough with the ordering process. I definitely will return when I’m in the area!IMG_8276.JPGVenue: The Milkbar

Address2/38 William St Port Macquarie, NSW

Phone: (02) 6583 2700IMG_8274.JPG

Milkbar on Urbanspoon

Penny University

Over the weekend I had brunch at Penny University, I don’t know if brunch was particularly superb because of the fine company I was with or if the food was just amazing. May a little from column A and a little from column B.

Despite the heavy rain, everyone wanted to be at Penny University.IMG_7373.JPGI was torn between two menu items (P.U. Rarebit and McPenny) as I always am, but the waitress said that the bagel was a new menu item and had been very popular.

The breakfast menu at Penny University, what would you have chosen?IMG_7361.JPGP.U Rarebit Gratined Guinnes, leek and cheddar bagel finished with sauteed spinach and a poached egg and chilli jam ($17.00) added ‘Pialligo’ bacon ($4.00). This won’t be for everyone, it is very cheesy, rich and heavy but that is the sort of breakfast that I like. I like how both halves of the bagel had melted cheese on it, which one its own was nice but add a little of the chilli jam and it transforms into a heavenly bite. The Pialligo bacon is a thicker cut but not overly salty and compliments the rest of the dish.IMG_7367.JPGIMG_7366.JPGJuice of the day Pineapple, cucumber and … I want to say mint. I asked the waitress to repeat the juice of the day combinations and I still can’t remember what the third ingredient was, I just couldn’t get over the fact that there was cucumber in this drink, but oh my, it was a perfect combination! A wonderful mix of cold juice with refreshing flavours.IMG_7359.JPGEveryone really wanted their coffee ASAP, it was a little slow to come out but it arrived before the food.  IMG_7362.JPG

Avo dish avocado on toasted dark, charred corn and quinoa tabouleh, chevre, chilli oil and a 65/65 egg ($19.00). My super fit yummy Mummy friend ordered this, I didn’t ask her how it was, but she ate everything so I assumed it was nice.IMG_7365.JPG

IMG_7364.JPGCronut Maple and thyme ($6.00). The texture was brilliant, although it made the bag transparent the actual cronut itself didn’t seem that oily. I couldn’t have really establish it was a maple and thyme flavour it was just sweet with the perfect amount of icing and sugar.IMG_7374.JPGNot as pretty when all icing smeared onto the bag.IMG_7381.JPGCheck out those sexy layers.IMG_7385.JPGI didn’t know if it took long to get a seat because I sadly arrived fashionably late but while we were seated the wait staff were very friendly and attentive, it was just a bit of a bother to split the bill at a busy counter when there was card fees and Sunday surcharges.

I enjoyed the diverse menu options, the food, the decor and the staff attentiveness; I can’t wait to go back again.

Venue: Penny University Coffee Roasters

Address15 Kennedy St Kingston, ACT

Phone: (02) 6162 1500
Penny University Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Human flyer – Ricardo’s

We started off the day with brunch and after browsing Instagram as part of my morning ritual, I knew that Ricardo’s was open that day so off we went!

When we arrived, it was very busy inside and out which was to be expected but we were able to grab a table outside for three people with no hassle. I must admit, we weren’t impressed with having to flag down the waitress and ask for menus after several minutes of being ignored at an empty table after being seated. After finally deciding what to order, we sat and waited again… Hmmm seems like you have to be more forward with your approach as a customer to get noticed around here. I get the waitress’ attention again saying that we were ready to order and she informs us that ‘you have to order and pay at the counter’, well it would have been informative if you had told us that when you eventually gave us menus I thought to myself.IMG_5742.JPGThe beverages arrive fairly fast and the food not long after, so obviously efficiency the problem isn’t with the kitchen.

Salted Caramel milkshake and Peppermint and Oreo thickshake. I must say that the new range of milkshakes looked much better when Ricardo’s took a photo for their Instagram account but the taste clearly made up for that. My friend fell in love with his so much, he was going to order a second one but he instead ordered some macarons. I was fearful that mine was going to be really sweet and OTT like some of the cakes that they have in their cabinet, but it was perfect. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! IMG_5757.JPGThe other milkshake flavours that are available, try not to get too distracted with what’s underneath the sign.IMG_5744.JPGCroque Madame Gruyere cheese, double smoked leg ham, Dijon mustard sour cream grilled sour dough topped with a fried egg ($14.90). I love a good Croque Madame but they replaced bechamel sauce with the Dijon mustard sour cream which didn’t really work for me. It was still tasty but I wouldn’t call it a Croque Madame.IMG_5767.JPG

IMG_5766.JPGBreakfast mushroom bruschetta sauteed mushrooms with smashed peas, mint and ricotta on grilled sourdough ($16.90). My friend really enjoyed his breakfast, he loved the medley of mushrooms that was used and he thought the smashed peas really made this dish.IMG_5762.JPG

IMG_5761.JPGEggs Benedict poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, baby spinach and bacon on toast ($17.90). I’m not a fan of Turkish bread in breakfast dishes, I find it too filling comparatively to a lot of the breakfast items but other than that, everything else was made well and they were generous with their serving of bacon.IMG_5764.JPG

IMG_5763.JPGSalted caramel cronut. We couldn’t resist to order one these since the first one we got from Ricardo’s months ago was really nice. Unfortunately, this was really oily and was not like a croissant nor a doughnut, it was soggy pastry doused in oil and covered in instant diabetes. Not good.IMG_5760.JPGWe tried to finish it, but we couldn’t. It was easy to see from the plate why.

Nothing left on the plate but sugar and grease.IMG_5768.JPGThe delicious food made us quickly forget about the inefficiencies with some wait staff. It was a shame about the cronut, the first one I had from here was amazing but now their cronuts like many of their cakes are just OTT and too sugary to differentiate between different flavours and layers that they try to achieve in complex cakes. Pretty to look at but that’s it.

Breakfast and lunch menu items are good though and I don’t think there was a surcharge for the public holiday (double win!).

You can find my previous Ricardo’s post here.

Ricardo's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Brunch at Poachers Pantry

I was very keen to head out to Hall and make a return visit to Poachers Pantry not long after my two 101 local human experiences. Brunch is served from 10am – 11:30am and it was very easy to book a table on the website for 10:30am and it was noted that we would have to vacate our table at 11:45am in time for the lunch time service. Instantly I receive a text and an email confirming my booking, I couldn’t help but feel that Poachers Pantry had been burned before as they also then sent me another text which I had to confirm my table the day before but it gave me peace of mind that I had a table after I drove to the other side of town.IMG_4275.JPGIt was filling up fast inside for the brunch service.IMG_4280.JPGSides~

Parmesan and chive hash brown ($5.00). After being housebound for a few weeks, I might have been a wee bit over excited and ordered two breakfast choices as well as a side but this sounded really interesting. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, I don’t know what they made the hash brown out of but it looked very orange. I think it needed more salt despite supposedly having parmesan cheese in the mix.IMG_4293-0.JPGIMG_4304.JPGBaked farmhouse eggs served with bacon, roast vine tomatoes and potato roesti ($21.00). TimmyC didn’t really go out of his way to share his dish, but I guess I was busy with my two plates of food. He really enjoyed the eggs which had a herby creamy sauce that he could spread over the bread and went very well with everything else on the plate.IMG_4283.JPGA close up of the baked eggs.IMG_4286.JPGButter croissant with Poachers ham and Swiss cheese ($9.00)IMG_4289.JPGHuevos rancheros with smoked lamb, fried egg and an avocado chipotle sauce ($22.00).IMG_4290.JPG

IMG_4291.JPGPumpkin and ricotta hotcakes with maple bacon and cinnamon sugar ($21.00). I thought the pumpkin would be pureed and used to create a moist dense hotcake but there were actual chunks of pumpkin giving sweet pockets within every few bites. Not the most ‘normal’ sounding breakfast but the sweet and salty flavours went really well together despite the fact that it looked like someone went a bit crazy with the cinnamon sugar. IMG_4295-1.JPG

Injectable doughnuts with salted dulce de leche ($17.00). My failed attempt of injecting the doughnuts left TimmyC commenting that my filling only went ‘pimple deep’ :/ The filling was more liquid-y than I thought it would be, so it really just soaked into the doughnut rather than being a thick sweet paste. I think it would  have worked better if the doughnuts were slightly smaller and there was more filling.IMG_4298.JPG

IMG_4302.JPGWe weren’t rushed out after our meal even though my slow eating caused us to go a little over the time limit. People were very happy with their brunch choices and I left feeling overly full and greedy, maybe next time I’ll stick to just one menu item.

It doesn’t really feel that you’re in Canberra any more when you drive out to where the air feels cleaner but conveniently it isn’t that far away from the city as long as you don’t drive past the turn off.