Yat Bun Tong re-run

I recently met up with a few fellow food bloggers (check out some of their awesome blogs here and here) for dinner at Yat Bun Tong (see my first post here). It is so nice to meet up with such like minded people and laugh about the same things we go through like- forever questioning ourselves of who is actually really ever reading our blog other than our number one fan (thanks for your support YummyLummy).

Serina from MsFrugralEars with her awesome mandarin skills took charge with ordering and conversing with the staff. It was refreshing not having to look at the menu or having the responsibility on deciding the whole table’s meal, which is the default mode that my friends usually put me in.

Shanghai steamed bun (10 pieces $13.80). It is still no Din Tai Fung, but I guess it is unfair to compare. The dumpling wrapper is the Goldilocks of thickness, not too thin and not too thick, it was just right. I’m still not completely sold on the soup interior but am still happy to have it there. They don’t always remember to give you a spoon but please do request one for easier eating.   Shallot pancake ($7.80). The pancake was crispy and flaky which reminded me of roti with flecks of shallot. I really enjoyed the texture but I think I would have liked more shallots and more salt throughout the pancake.Hot and sour soup ($5.80 per serve). My eyes widened when they lowered this bowl on the table. It was enormous! I asked Serina ‘I thought you only ordered two serves?’, she responded with ‘I did’. The waitress explained that the chef wanted to give us more but would only charge for two serves. I loved that the soup was full of lots of ingredients and most of us easily had two bowls. If it was a tad (chilli) hotter and you added a few drops of chinese vinegar like you’re supposed to, it would have been perfect.I took a photo of the serving bowl next to my bowl so you could see how big it was.Shanghai pan fried pork buns (10 pieces $14.80). This was the one dish I was determined to order after seeing photos from Michelle’s instagram who in turn saw it from Wita (#contagiousfood). The buns were light and fluffy with a good meat filling and a little bit of soup inside. It reminded me very much of Sydney food, which says a lot. I would happily return just to eat these.The filling inside the buns.BBQ duck spring rolls (2 pieces $6.80). We were told that this was a popular menu item and I can see why. A crispy hot spring roll filled exclusively with delicious duck meat complimented by the hoisin dipping sauce. These would make a good starter, maybe I’ll order these next time before I sit down and even look at the menu.Fried handmade noodles with black pepper beef ($15.80). People were starting to get full but insearchofgoldenpudding and I wanted to try their handmade noodles. I really like black pepper beef but usually with rice, it felt odd eating them with noodles especially when I’m used to eating my noodles with pork and vegetables. Some people might not like the fact that it came with no vegetables.

I really liked their handmade noodles, it wasn’t overly oily although it was a tad softer than I would usually have it.  I really like black pepper but even I  thought it was borderline overwhelming, next time I might try their handmade noodle with seafood in X.O sauce.I had a much better experience at Yat Bun Tong this time around because of the selection of food. I will definitely be back to eat more pork buns and eat more noodles.
Yat Bun Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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.

Patty’s Patisserie

With clear descriptions from SheisMelen and Wita, I was able to spot Patty’s Patisserie and their red top marquee located at the centre of the Epic markets pretty easily. I had never seem them before despite them attending the markets for the past three months, it must have been bad timing because up until now they had attended the Farmers markets every second week.

There wasn’t much left by the time I got there but it still took me a long time to decide what I wanted.They take much pride in their work and it was really nice that they stuck the cakes/sweets down into the box as it would have definitely been found upside down by the time I got around to eating them.Raspberry rose vanilla cake ($7.50). This was a delicate cake consisting of what seemed like raspberry mousse, vanilla bean panna cotta and a raspberry jelly layer. It was very easy to eat and reminded me of summer. I would want this cake in a bigger size.Raspberry and vanilla, a match made in heaven.Strawberry tiramisu ($7.50). There is no coffee component to this dessert at all, in fact the only thing it has in common with a tiramisu is the layers of sponge biscuit and cream. The custard cream component was thick and luscious which was really soaked up by the sponge and sweetened by a little strawberry sauce. With what started off as ‘just one bite’ turned into TimmyC almost finishing the whole thing to himself.Chocolate and caramel cake ($7.50). Sorry for the photo, it had spent a few hours in the box before I got around to eating the cake. I thought this would be an OTT really rich cake but all the textures and flavours were rather light and so you could eat a whole cake easily without feelings of regret and sickness. The caramel mousse-y layer was particularly good.Orange and chocolate eclair ($6.00). This was shared around between some friends who like the chocolate/orange combination. TimmyC who doesn’t like the combination, still appreciated the choux pastry texture and the creme patissiere. I wish we got there earlier to try their many other eclair flavours like: chocolate, vanilla & chocolate, pistachio and white chocolate, coffee and chocolate or their salted caramel.  
It is nice to know that when you rock up past 11am that there was still some choice of sweets (albiet limited), according to their cake menu there should be eight cakes available(?). My friend who had been to the markets on the same day but two hours earlier, was able to pick up a V8 cake that was originally recommended to me by my friends.

I think as the word gets out about their producst, their popularity will grow and they would sell out much quicker. Hmmm, should I be telling people who wake up earlier than me about them then?

You’ll be happy to know that Patty’s Patisserie will now come every week to the Epic Farmers market and that they also sell jars of salted caramel.

Venue: Patty’s Patisserie
Address: 556 Olive Street, Albury, New South Wales, Australia
Email: patriciapastrychef@gmail.com
Canberra outlet: Epic Farmers market (every Saturday 7:30 – 11:30am)
Phone: (02) 6021 4662

Peppercress 

It might seem odd that I took TimmyC and some friends to the Southern Cross club in Tuggeranong to eat, especially when no one had heard of Peppercress. I however, have wanted to go to Peppercress for years ever since I saw FPJ‘s post about fine dining in Tuggeranong and now with its recent addition to the Entertainment book it was the best time to go.

We had arrived a bit late because I became a member (which allows me to go to several other clubs) but we were promptly seated, given table water and a menu with the specials. I was really surprised to find that each menu category came at a set price; all the entrées and desserts were $12 and all the mains were $25.00 which was really reasonable when you’re talking Waygu beef cheeks, Black Angus Sirloin steaks and lamb rump.

Entree~ (all $12.00)

Calamari and chorizo salad house specialty pan fried haloumi, baby salad leaves and orange dressing. I chose this entree because I like all the ingredients individually but I was curious to see how these flavours worked together. The calamari was extremely tender and easy to chew although its flavours were overpowered by the spice of the chorizo and the salt from the haloumi. I did like the addition of the sweet orange segments which gave it a real sweet and refreshing feel.

Scallop and cauliflower roasted cauliflower and hazelnut soup, seared scallops, coriander persillade. Scallops are often paired with a cauliflower purée but when I saw the words ‘hazelnut’ and ‘soup’, I was super confused. The scallops themselves were rather small and thin which sat in a pool of bland cauliflower soup with a strong hazelnut after taste. I think they needed to add more of the coriander seasoning or salt which might have helped with the flavours. I didn’t really enjoy this.

Bruschetta with chef’s choice of topping ($6.90). I was really puzzled not to see a single tomato/Spanish onion/balsamic vinegar on the plate but my friend pointed out that the menu did say ‘chef’s choice of topping’. The haloumi was over cooked which made it dry and crumbly like fetta and not soft and ‘squeaky’ like it should have been (the haloumi in my salad was fine). I think I would have disappointed if I ordered this without reading the menu properly.Mains~ (all $25.00)

Moroccan lamb rump house specialty slow cooked and served with rosemary and potato rosti, Madeira jus. It looked a little dry as I was cutting pieces but when I took a bite it was really moist and tender. I really liked lamb flavours mixed in with the seasoning but it was made better when I dipped it in the jus. I had to eat my rosti fast as it sat there in a pool of sauce it was quickly losing its crispiness.

Berkshire pork, baked apple and crackling celeriac puree, cider and caraway cream sauce. The baked apple was the smallest albeit cutest little apple I have ever seen. The pork was very lean and therefore made it really dry especially as you worked your way through the thicker part. The sauce was very nice but there wasn’t enough to go around to cover all the dry shreds which I told TimmyC to not bother finishing. It really needed layers of fat through or on top of to give it some sort of flavour and maybe help the meat to be a little more moist. I asked the waitress what cut of pork it was as it was very lean and became very dry, she agreed that what we had left on the plate looked very dry and she had never seen that on a customer’s plate before.Black Angus Sirloin char grilled sirloin of naturally grown grass-fed from Riverina region in NSW, served with horseradish and potato purée, watercress salad and cafe de Pars butter. My friend asked for the steak to be rare and although it did come out pretty red, she would have preferred it more uncooked as it was a little tough to cut through and a little chewy for her liking.48 hour braised Tajima Waygu beef cheek Parisian mash, button mushrooms, speck and rich thyme jus. My friend described this as ‘beef clouds’ and with that description I had to lean over and try some; I agree that it was a very accurate description. It was effortless to cut and the tender beef with all the rich flavours of the jus and creamy mash just screamed winter comfort food. This was my pick for the best main on the table, how is it that it is only $25?!

Thick cut chips with lemon and rosemary flavoured sea salt ($6.90). They did give us more than in the photo, it was just my instinct to eat and it wasn’t until half way through the serve did I realise that I didn’t take a photo. They were served hot, crispy and well seasoned, all that you would want in a chip.Dessert~ ($12.00)

Noting that I was taking photos of all the food, the waitress had had a bet with the chef that I was going to instagram my meal. She asked me straight up if I used instagram and if I was going to put a photo up of my meal and when I said yes, she was extremely happy that she was right. She then said if we ordered dessert, the chef was going to make it extra pretty. TimmyC had already chosen his dessert before we ordered our meals so of course we were going to order desserts! Apparently everything but the ice-cream and edible flowers is made in-house.

We asked if the desserts were going to be prettier than usual, what happens if other people come in wanting the same level of prettiness? She said that they could ask for their desserts to be made just as pretty and the kitchen would do it. So I urge you dear reader if you ever happen to come to Peppercress, ask for your dessert to be extra pretty.

Soft centred warm chocolate pudding house specialty served with vanilla bean ice cream rolled in crushed pistachio (made to order and took 20 minutes). When I had taken a photo of this dessert from every angle, I wanted to dip a spoon in for a photo to show off the cake’s consistency. It was slightly gooey/moist but it had no chocolate sauce, which the waitress said that there usually was. It didn’t matter; it was still warm and decadent which was balanced out by the ice cream and nuts.

Braeburn apple and macadamia crumble with blackberries and cream. My friend really enjoyed his dessert. It had a nice mix of fruit with a nice spice blend, topped with crunchy crumble topping. It was made better by cream that it was served with.

Traditional crème brulee served with short bread. There were a lot of different desserts I wanted to try but I settled for crème brulee as everyone else on the table had my other options covered. It was served with the cutest little row of flowers and a beautiful caramelised sugar hard top. The custard itself was smooth but it had a very thick consistency. With all the over decorating they forgot the short bread. It was one of the biggest serves of brulee I have come across.Eton mess new season strawberries, raspberries, messed in whipped cream and meringue, served with vanilla bean ice cream. I was sad to see that the raspberries were not fresh and that there was only one strawberry but it didn’t stop this dessert being the best one on the table. The mix of berries with the ice cream and cream made for a refreshing summer dessert and the flavours complimented each other perfectly (think strawberries and cream).

We found the staff to be most friendly, patient and helpful. We were pleasantly surprised with the calibre of food here but I wouldn’t have described it as fine dining. It has a relaxed environment and would be perfect for large family get togethers. I would come back for the mains and desserts and skip out on the entrées unless they improve.

Venue: Peppercress

Address: Southern Cross Club, Pitman St, Tuggeranong, ACT

Phone: (02) 6293 7200

Opening hours: Dinner Wednesday – Saturday from 6pm

Entertainment book: yes! It’s in there, don’t forget to use it.
Click to add a blog post for Peppercress Restaurant And Bar on Zomato

Petra Palace restaurant

I’ve been wanting to go to Petra Palace restaurant since it opened late last year and when I finally organised a dinner there I got sick, but like I said, I was just postponing all my plans so I didn’t miss out. I was able to quickly book a table within the hour of our arrival but I think they are much busier on Saturdays with the added entertainment of belly dancers.

There were other people in the restaurant, I just avoided them in my shot; as the night went on the restaurant started to get very busy. I like the combinations of long and round tables.I arrived before all my friends so I was able to have some time to browse the menu before we got carried away with catching up. I was tempted by the banquet but we couldn’t get a general consensus so we all went our separate ways and only shared the starters.

Cold mezza~ served with hot and fresh Lebanese bread

Baba ganoush chargrilled eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, yoghurt and fresh lemon juice ($10.00). You could really taste the smokey flavour from the chargrilled eggplant, I don’t usually love baba ganoush but it had a stronger flavour than the hummus so I preferred this dip. I really enjoyed the hot Lebanese bread that it was served with, it was very hot and crispy, I was very tempted to order more if I didn’t have a rice dish as a main.Piping hot bread for the table.
I wanted to save my pocket to stuff with rice and meat later on but I ended up eating the whole thing and then some before the mains arrived.Lebanese coffee ($4.00). Being the end of the week, some girls need a pick-me-up before the beginning of the meal. It isn’t as thick and strong as a Turkish coffee but it definitely had added spices to it to make it rather ‘fruity’ despite being a strong shot of caffeine.Hot mezza~ served with hot and fresh Lebanese bread

Hummus bil lahmah diced lamb on a bed of hummus and pine nuts ($15.00). I love a good hummus but unfortunately this wasn’t one of them. Despite the incredibly smooth texture of the dip, it was rather bland and even the diced lamb didn’t add much flavour at all. All of those at the table who ordered some lamb in their mains were starting to get worried that it wouldn’t be good.Grilled halloumi cheese (4 pieces $13.00). Grilled halloumi is delicious and this was grilled perfectly and added a good hit of salt and flavour that the hummus lacked. I thought it was a bit expensive but still very much enjoyed by the table.Mains~

Bandora kafta baked lamb and beef topped with sliced potato and a tomato, garlic and green chilli sauce ($25.00). My friend was worried that the green chilli would be too intense in this dish but I wouldn’t have known it was in the sauce. Although the kafta was blanketed by a rich tomato sauce, you could still taste the delicious lamb and beef and the meat was very succulent. I found the sauce complimented the meaty flavours rather than overpower it which was really nice and the potato was perfectly cooked; I’m surprised that it didn’t overcooked under the sauce and disintegrate.Mixed grill one skewer of each: chargrilled lamb kebab, shishtawook (chicken kebab) and kafta (ground lamb and beef) kebabs served with hot chips and grilled vegetables ($25.00). I was really tempted by this menu choice but I ended up choosing something different. This is a good way to try a bit of all the skewers. I really like the garlic dip that it came with, it was really garlicky without the strong aftertaste. I thought the chicken looked a bit dry but it was still a little moist, although it was my least favourite of the three skewers. I found the lamb a little tough and the kafta was by far my favourite. If I had kafta skewers with rice, garlic dip and yoghurt, I think it would be the perfect meal.I love chips as much as the next girl but I think it would have been nicer to serve all this meat with some rice.Shishtawook diced chicken kebabs marinated and chargrilled, served with a garlic dip on a bed of couscous (3 skewers $25.00). With no actual ‘sauce’ and the chicken being on the dry side served alongside dry couscous, it made for a lot of chewing and water sculling.Be alert not alarmed, that is a roasted onion with its skin on at the top of the plate, not an overly burnt piece of chicken.Chicken fatteh delicious casserole of marinated chicken, crispy Lebanese bread, spiced rice, garlic, mint and yoghurt topped with pine nuts ($25.00). When I was telling the waitress I was trying to decide between the mixed grill and the chicken casserole, she went to explain that it wasn’t exactly a chicken casserole but rather a layered dish where the bread was on the bottom, layered with marinated chicken which was then topped with yoghurt and mint and nuts; I was intrigued and chose the fatteh as my main dish. The bread became all soggy and almost felt like a pasta sheet at the bottom of the dish. I could easily grab a spoonful and have a bit of every layer in every mouthful. The mint in the yoghurt was really refreshing and there was something in the rice that made it feel like Christmas in my mouth. The pine nuts stayed crunchy which added to the texture and gave it a really nice nutty aftertaste. I really enjoyed this dish and it is something different that I wouldn’t usually be able to find on a menu.Despite the restaurant getting more and more busy throughout the night, we were never forgotten; our dishes came in a timely manner, the water was constantly replenished and they were happy to answer any of our questions regarding the menu. There were new staff members starting that night so we had to wait for experienced staff members to become available to use our Entertainment book voucher and get the bill. I would definitely come here again, eat lots of bread, kafta and rice, although there are plenty of other things I want to try on their menu too.

Venue: Petra Palace Restaurant

Address51 Colbee Court, Phillip, Woden 2606, ACT, Australia

Phone: (02) 6281 3009

Opening hours
Tuesday – Saturday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Belly Dancing every Saturday night

Dine-in & Take Away Available

Website: www.petrapalace.com.au/

Entertainment book: Yes! Don’t forget to use it.

Provini

I suffer from serious FOMO (fear of missing out), so when illness stopped me from all my pre-planned dinners/lunches/weekends away, I promised myself that I would postpone them all rather than missing out altogether. One of these planned outings was to go to Provini, the newly opened Italian restaurant run by the Cocu group in Civic (where La Scala used to be). I excitedly made my booking and not long after received a sms prompt about my reservation. A few hours after that, I received another sms to confirm my booking with a ‘YES’ reply, apparently I was not the only one over excited about my postponed dinner.

Not your typical front of a restaurant in the middle of the city, it definitely feels like you’re stepping into someone’s house.Pizza~The top pizza is the Provini ham, soppressa, peppers, chilli ($24.00) and bottom is Margherita tomato, basil, fior di latte ($21.00). When none of the entrees or antipasto options really excited us, we all naturally gravitated towards the pizza and shared that between us for starters instead. I really really enjoyed the pizza bases here and their fresh toppings really put it to the next level. I probably preferred the Provini over the margherita because it had more exciting flavours and I found the basil to be rather sparse.Pasta~

Spaghetti carbonara guanciale, pecorino, yolk ($24.00). The pasta looked underwhelming being dry with not many ingredients. My friend didn’t really enjoy it.Tagliatelle al nero di seppia squid ink tagliatelle, prawns, pippies, chilli, tomato ($29.00). My other friend had the same problem as the cabonara, when it arrived it was very aromatic but it felt really dry and underwhelming without a ‘sauce’. It also seemed like a very small serving of pasta for the price.
Fazzoletti al ragu pork, veal, white wine ragu ($26.00). The first thing I noticed was the fresh pasta cooked perfectly; I rather enjoyed the fazzoletti cut of pasta (pasta handkerchiefs). Unfortunately I found the wet sloppy consistency of the ragu reminded me of canned tuna but this was definitely my favourite choice between the pastas.Secondi~ 

600g dry age rib eye with roasted tomato and choice of two sides (designed to share $66.00). We chose wood roasted vegetables with rosemary salt and baked roman gnocchi for our sides to share.We found the rib eye to be okay, a little underseasoned which was easy to taste because there was no jus or sauce to hide behind. The vegetables with a nice choice for a side but I preferred the gnocchi because it was more cheesy and decadent. I personally and selfishly could finish this on my own but I guess it is nice to share the price tag.

Wood roasted vegetables with rosemary salt.
Baked Roman gnocchi.I was super excited about trying Provini because I love Italian food but I found the service to be inconsistent (some were friendly and some seemed arrogant) and the food overall to be disappointing that we didn’t want to stay for dessert; we were actually considering a second dinner somewhere else because we found the serving size a bit small. The pizzas/starters came out pretty fast but there was a long wait before our pastas and mains came out.  If I was to come back again, I would maybe try some antipasto and stick with the pizzas.

Venue: Provini

Address: 50 Bunda Street, Canberra ACT

Phone(02) 6154 9720
Click to add a blog post for Provini on Zomato

2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Four foodies met up a month ago to have dinner; Michelle the foodie from HerCanberra, The Food Avenue, Food Porn Journal and myself. Where others would talk about world events, pointless gossip and the weather, it was no surprise that we just talked about food. Even after we ate dinner where we ordered so much that all the dishes took up every inch of the table and everyone but me said they were super full, we were still talking about food, especially what we were going to eat next.
Michelle had been to 2 Yummy twice before to do a suckling pig banquet. Yes you read that right, a suckling pig made into 6 courses that can have to share with at least 9 other friends. That was definitely the next place we were going to go. Fast forward a month, lots of messages and keen friends later, we had booked a table for 14 people, one suckling pig pre-ordered with a $50 deposit paid and a karaoke room booked next door to continue the fun all night long.

This is the menu of all the dishes that one suckling pig turns into.  Some of us made a face of doubt when we were presented with the suckling pig, how will this small pig feed all fourteen of us?First up were suckling pig pancakes. This is usually served with duck but the crispiness of the skin provided a perfect candidate for substitution. I would have preferred more meat underneath the skin but I assumed it was being used in another dish.

There were two servings on either side of the table and there were enough for two pancakes per person. Yum!Start with a pancake, smear on some hoisin sauce, choose a nice piece of meat and a slice of cucumber and you’re ready to roll.Next up was suckling pig with jelly fish. This is how Chinese people usually have suckling pig so my eyes lit up. For those who haven’t eaten jelly fish before, it is cold, chewy with a texture unlike anything else; it usually also has a bit of spice to it. Add a bit more of hoisin sauce and you’ve got an awesome mouthful between the chilli of the jelly fish, the crunch and fat from the pig and some sweetness from the sauce. There’s a bit of meat under the skin and this would have been ideal for the pancakes.   Deep fried suckling pig meat with lemon grass flavour. The courses had been staggered until now, once the two ‘entree’ portions were served, the rest of the banquet just flowed out from the kitchen and I found it very hard to keep up because I am a slow eater/was taking photos. This was deep fried but not oily, the lettuce served underneath it paired perfectly well to give a refreshing watery crunchy with the deep fried meat. It reminded me of peking steak with subtle hints of lemongrass.Stir fried suckling pig meat with house special sauce. The odd thing about this dish was the broccoli was stone cold and obviously pre-prepared around the plate while the meat was extremely hot (in both senses). I didn’t expect that the dish would be so chilli hot and it took me by surprise when I ate some and then I shoveled a lot more rice into my mouth. It was still tasty I just wish I had some warning.Suckling pig meat cooked with bean curd in a hot pot. It didn’t exactly come out in a hot pot but everything retained its heat really well still. Despite being a huge meat eater, I really enjoy bean curd and I found this particularly delicious because it soaked up all the sauce from this dish. I ate more of this than the suckling pig meat (but I guess I am also having pig in every other dish). Stir fried suckling pig with handmade noodle in OX sauce. This was one of the dishes that I was looking forward to the most. I love handmade noodles and I love suckling pig so this was a winning combination, but I found it one of the most oddest dishes I have ever eaten. The texture and the taste of the noodles reminded me more of pasta than noodles. OX sauce has a strong and distinctive taste that I didn’t feel that this dish had. Overall it was more bland in comparison to other dishes, so I ended up piling other dishes and sauces on top and mixed it through to help it a little.With 14 people at the table, I was the last one eating. I wasn’t crazy full like everyone else when I  stopped eating, I just got bored eating the few dishes were left. So basically if you’re anyone else you’ll leave being very satisfied and regretting your last two mouth fulls because it pushed you over the edge.

Despite having four more people that we needed for the banquet minimum, there was plenty of food to go around and it was all delicious and diverse. I would easily grab another 9 people and do it all over again very soon.

Venue: 2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Address: 3/114 Emu bank, Belconnen ACT 2617

Suckling pig banquet: $40.00 pp, you need to order a head and pay a $50 deposit and a minimum of 10 people to participate

Phone: 0262516622

Lahori Gate

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

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

Appetisers~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venue: Lahori Gate

Address: 2 Antis St, Phillip, ACT

Phone(02) 6101 5896

Opening hours:

Mon Closed

Tuesday – Friday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Star Buffet

When Michelle from HerCanberra told me that she had heard there was an all you can eat buffet in Kambah out of all places, we were keen to go ASAP. The Star Buffet is a new addition to the Burns Club which seats around 650 patrons, I didn’t believe it until I saw it, but the area is massive!

They were a bit funny about us taking photos so I only took a few (before we were confronted) and then the rest of the photos were of our plates at the table.   I don’t know if this includes the frozen Coke machine that they have but it is pretty good value if you drink soft drinks.  The selection of sushi isn’t so great but I was amused that they had a sushi train here.  I’m not saying that all the food here is fabulous, because it would be hard to deliver this amount of variety and for everything to be good, but there is an extensive amount of things to choose from and we were quite surprised with some of the food quality.

The selection includes roast meats (the pork has really crunchy crackling!), roast vegetables, different types of gravy, grilled meats (steaks were nice when they were just cooked), Asian BBQ, Asian stir fries, the cutest bamboo steamers with dim sims and BBQ pork buns, cold seafood and salads, sushi train, lamb shanks (which were surprisingly decent), fish, American pork ribs, the usual deep-fried foods, deep friend BBQ pork bun (yes you heard me right), pastas, pizza, waffles from a waffle iron, a cheese platter, chocolate fountain, fresh fruit, a large cake selection, creme brulees (yum!), panna cotta (I wouldn’t bother), tarts, profiteroles, Portuguese tarts (they were good), jelly, pudding and last but not least a soft serve machine.

I think the good thing about this buffet is the casual environment, the all you can eat aspect if your friends and family can really eat and the crazy amount of variety they have, I’ve never seen anything like it.The tables were getting cleared pretty consistently throughout our meal, they did close promptly at the end of the lunch sitting though so just keep that in mind if you come in for a late seating. The food was being replenished so variety of choice was always there, but I think if lots of people went you would have the added advantage of high turn over and more freshly cooked food.

You might have heard of Star Buffet because they are in a lot of clubs across NSW.

Venue: Star Buffet

Address: 8 Kett Street, Kambah ACT 2902

Phone: (02) 6296 3045

Website: http://www.starbuffet.com.au/locations/burns-club/

Opening times and prices:


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