Kusina

It was just coincidental that I was able to get to Kusina‘s Monday Madness AND Boodle feast in the same week but I was one happy well fed girl!

Monday Madness~

All you can eat served with unlimited papaya salad, rice and soft drink ($24.00 pp) every Monday

I would definitely recommend booking; I booked for a table for four and we were seated on the last available table. When we ordered we said that two of us wanted the ‘fry up platter’ and the others would have the ‘grill platter’, which meant that we could try a bit of everything. Some of the pork pieces were really fatty but the grilled meats were marinated really well so that was our pick of the platters. The first platters were served with banana leaves underneath and were well presented, while the subsequent ‘refills’ were just meat on a plate. They were happy to give you more of anything when you had finished which minimises food wastage.

Fry up platter crispy chicken wings + crispy pork bellyGrill platter grilled pork belly marinated with sweet BBQ sauce + grilled chicken marinated in lemongrass, garlic, soy



Boodle Feast~

($36.00 pp – minimum of 4 people?) last Sunday of every month.Again I would definitely recommend booking, this feast only happens once a month and man, the restaurant was packed when we arrived. I didn’t know what to expect and no one really explained anything to us, I just knew that there wasn’t going to be any cutlery which meant I had to tie my hair up, clean my hands and wear something with lots of patterns so you couldn’t tell how much food I dropped on myself.

I told a waitress that we were ready to eat when all the guests had arrived and moments later, an impressive sized board was placed on our table. I didn’t catch all the names but the gist was (starting from the top left) potato salad, corn cobs, beef, grilled chicken wings, pork belly, fish balls, prawns and rice in the middle. Everything was really good, there was a vast difference in texture, flavours and meat. My pick of the platter would have to be the grilled chicken wings (regular readers would not be surprised) and the prawns (oh that sauce!). It was easy for me to get ‘handsy’ with most of the food but I really struggled to eat the rice without a spoon or chopsticks, especially since it wouldn’t clump in a ball for me as hard as I tried. I ended up with a lot of grains of rice in my hair (at the end of my plait, I didn’t just tip rice on my head) and down my dress, but it is a different way to experience food and I’d be happy to it eat again.

We didn’t understand if anymore was coming so we requested more chicken wings and rice, which we were happy to extra pay for. They came back with more rice and only two chicken wings but we weren’t charged more.

Leche flan ($9.80). A little thicker than I thought it would be, it had the texture more like New York cheesecake rather than an egg custard but it still tasted very nice.

The Public Place

My friend was coming from the north side of Canberra, so it seemed to her that she was driving to the other end of the earth (in Canberran speak) when I asked if we could have brunch at the very new The Public Place all the way down in Chisholm.We didn’t have a booking, we just rocked up and hoped for the best but we were able to get a table for three pretty easily on a Saturday.Mary had a little… burger slow cooked pulled lamb, aioli, rocket, fire roasted capsicum, crumbed (crumbled?)  Persian fetta and house tzatziki on a soft white roll with fries ($16.00).The first thing I noticed was the lack of fetta on the bun, I quickly enquired with a waitress who was very apologetic for the lack of fetta and pickle with the burger. I really enjoyed this burger more than I thought I would. I really liked the combination of the meaty lamb, saltiness of the fetta and the sweetness from the capsicum. No food regrets.

The burger before adding the fetta.The burger after adding the fetta.The Big Block 300g beef burger, house aioli, lettuce, tomato, pineapple, bacon, egg, lager braised onion, cheddar cheese on a soft white roll with fries and pickle ($20.00). Man, that was one gigantic beef patty! I didn’t like the texture of such a thick patty, I think I would have preferred two thinner patties. I enjoyed that they were very generous with all the ingredients and that the patty extended to the perimeter of the bun, a very important factor to me when it comes to burgers.Publics House Benny 2 poached eggs (my friend asked for fried) on a toasted bagel, house made potato and 16 hr slow cooked smoked ham hock crispy rosti with a smokey charred corn puree, avocado smash and a house chipotle hollandaise ($19.00). I think this dish was a bit confusing. My friend was lured by the sound of the rosti but I don’t think it translated well on the plate; instead of being crispy, the texture reminded me of bad faux meat. Overall, my friend was left disappointed and helped me finish my sausage roll instead.Sausage roll ($5.00?). The greedy little girl in me wanted to try as much as possible and if that meant including a sausage roll in my order, so be it. The sausage roll was a decent size with golden flaky pastry and the filling tasted like sausage meat. I want to try their house made pies next time.Orange and ginger juice ($8.00). A bit steep for a juice but it was made fresh to order.Tea ($4.00). I was impressed with their selection of milk which included lactose free, almond, coconut and soy.Hot chocolate ($3.50). If I didn’t get a juice I would have definitely ordered one of their decadent sounding hot chocolates like salted caramel or coconut rough.You have to line up and order at the counter and I felt ordering took a little longer than anticipated but the speed at which the food came was phenomenal. The staff were friendly enough and I really liked how the pies and pastries were made in house. Not the best cafe in Canberra but it has potential, a happy welcome to the southside dining scene nonetheless.

Mmmmm so many pie options.Venue: The Public Place

Address: 42 Halley St, Chisholm ACT 2905

Phone(02) 6292 9952

Websitewww.thepublicplace.com.au/

 

Eightysix

I know this is a big call to make because we aren’t even close to the end of the year but my meal at Eightysix last week was definitely in the top 3 best meals I’ve had in Canberra this year. What was even better was that it was only $86pp and I say ‘only’ because for this price, it was all we could eat… And so we did.

Duck bun with hoisin and hot sauce. This was a nice soft bun that had a nice meaty filling but I think the pickles overpowered everything. Whoever was running this station was very efficient as every time we ordered them they came out super fast. Gnocco fritto. This is like a deep-fried pastry topped with prosciutto but I found the pastry a bit too oily for me.Heirloom carrot, hummus, mint and almonds. Who knew I could enjoy carrots so much? This was a perfect pairing of flavours and with all the pasta and meat, it was good to have a salad somewhere in there. I love the sweetness from the cranberries, apples and carrots.Four cheese risotto with radicchio and balsamic. Man I love a cheesy good risotto, it was a shame I had to share.

Don’t be fooled by the camera angle, this was a really small serve. Order three!Pappardelle with parmesan and local black truffle. I felt that the truffle didn’t have as much of an effect because it wasn’t infused in anything. It was a nice simple pasta and the perfectly cooked egg yolk bursts to make a rich sauce.Pumpkin and mascarpone tortellini with hazelnuts. This ladies and gentleman, was exquisite. I really do love things that involve a pumpkin parcel pasta with burnt butter sage combo and this has to be the BEST rendition I’ve ever had. Hands down! Before they change the menu you HAVE to try this. The filling is silky smooth, the pasta thickness is perfect and the sage is super crispy.Rag pasta with lamb and rosemary ragu. I loved the sauce, the pasta, the whole thing. This was a very close second pasta choice for the table. Ghetto beef with rocket and salsa verde. I had tried this before where the beef was really dry and the rocket leaves were limp, I couldn’t tell if this time was much better or I was just really hungry. Be aware that the beef is rather quite pink, one of my friends didn’t eat it which meant more for us!Whole lamb shoulder with sides. Wow! This was incredible! A wonderful lamb roast served with chimichurri sauce and a really smooth mash potato and jus. This was apparently a 1kg roast and we almost finished the whole thing.One of the downsides of being in a busy restaurant is the wait. Sometimes there was a 15-20 minute wait between dishes, which left us a little frustrated and hungry and in turn we ordered more food hoping that something would come to the table soon. Despite ordering so many things, we had very little wastage. I knew we were testing the time constraints of our sitting (2 hours) but we asked if we could have dessert with a hopeful look in our eye. The waiter checked to see if there was someone waiting for our table but he came back happy to report we could squeeze in our dessert first.

There was a little pause in the conversation when the waiter asked us what we wanted for dessert and without hesitation while not joking I replied ‘all of them’.Strawberry cheesecake. I loved the soft creamy textures with strawberries. I didn’t realise that there was granola at the bottom for the ‘base’ until I dug a little deeper but there was a strong saltiness to it that I didn’t enjoy.

It might not look like much but I promise you there is a lot going on under that snow.Choc mint fudge sundae. If you love the choc mint combo then this is definitely for you, it was like an after dinner mint on the palette. There was a really good brownie somewhere in all that.Caramel popcorn sundae. I felt that the signature dish of the restaurant was superseded by the other desserts. It is a nice combination but this wasn’t our favourite this time.Banoffee pie. That caramel wasn’t too sweet which meant that this wasn’t OTT. A great way to finish the meal.Frozen margarita. The description didn’t give much away but this tasted like lemon meringue. It was very delicate and was the pick of the desserts. You have to try this!Even though there was a wait from the kitchen, the front of house service was fantastic, efficient and attentive. I keep telling everyone about my experience and it excited me so much I pushed it up my backlog of posts to write about because I wanted you all to know about it too.

Venue: Eightysix

Address: Elouera St, Mode 3 Building, Braddon,ACT

Phone: (02) 6161 8686
Eightysix Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Truffle Hunt & Cook

The truffle season is almost over and if you haven’t been on a truffle hunt yet, I have one to recommend to you. Sure, it comes with a price tag but one of the main reasons why I signed up was because Damian Brabender was the chef who was going to be cooking us a 6 course truffle lunch.

Truffle Hunt & Cook Lunch ($180.00 pp) includes truffle hunt with farm owner Jayson and his team of highly trained truffle dogs as well as a six course truffle lunch menu created by Chef Damian Brabender with matching local winesEven though I was mainly interested in the food component, it didn’t stop me from immensely enjoying myself watching Simba the truffle dog do his thing so skillfully and listening to Jayson’s amusing story about how he came to training dogs and eventually owning the truffle farm.Simba sniffed out the truffle, now it was our job to carefully dig it out.We (well Simba) found a hefty truffle nugget worth approximately $500 within minutes of starting our hunt. After a few successful harvests, we headed back to the kitchen where Damian had started cooking up a storm.We were swiftly given beverages and a hot cauliflower and truffle soup to warm us up. This was so smooth and creamy, the perfect winter warmer.
Bread and truffle butter.Truffle risotto with an egg. I love how creamy and rich this dish was, I really wanted five more.I love truffle butter and it goes so well with scallops.Damian (along with volunteers) showed us how easy it was to ‘whip up’ truffle mayonnaise.We all swooned over the steak topped with truffle infused jus.One of the greatest ways of having truffles is having truffle brie!TimmyC asked if I would like some crackers with my cheese… Cheeky.We ended our lovely experience with a chocolate ‘truffle’ a truffle ice cream encased in chocolate and cocoa.The food in short was fantastic, I’ve always been a fan of Damian’s work. Not only did we get a 6 course lunch, we got something better than that- an appreciation of truffles, dismissing the price tag associated with truffles because you don’t need much to make a big impact and knowledge of how to get the most out of your truffle.

I really enjoyed the whole experience; I found Damian and Jayson really charming and funny, they really get you to join in on the conversation and the experience.

See their other events like breakfast and truffle hunts on their website.

Venue: The Truffle Farm Canberra

Address: 23 Mount Majura Road, Canberra, ACT 2609

Phone:  0400 483 082

Websitehttp://www.thetrufflefarm.com.au/

Opening datesJune – August 

9:00am – 5:00pm Saturday – Sunday

 

 

 

 

Chocolate fondant deal at Mövenpick Kingston Foreshore

Today marks The Swiss National day and to celebrate all things Swiss during our cold Canberra winter, Mövenpick – Kingston Foreshore have kindly offered readers a special deal on their amazing chocolate fondant cake with a hot drink for only $14.95 when you show them this post and like either their Instagram or Facebook page! That is a sweet (get it?) deal! See the details below.

Chocolate fondant deal at Movenpick Kingston foreshore

Dates: Monday – Thursday during the month of August 2016
Deal: chocolate fondant cake (which comes with a scoop of ice cream) + hot drink
Price: $14.95 (rrp $19.95) 
Redemption: ‘follow’ Mövenpick – Kingston Foreshore’s  Instagram or ‘like’ their Facebook page and show them this post when paying.

 

Chocolate fondant rich, molten chocolate fondant served with decadent hot fudge sauce and a scoop of Mövenpick ice cream and finished with a fresh strawberryimg_7232-3
I chose the chocolate fondant as my pick of their winter dessert range as it was indulgent but not overly sweet and the perfect winter warmer.So if you’re in the area and you want to warm up with a gooey chocolate fondant cake and hot drink, don’t forget about this deal!

Venue: Mövenpick Kingston Foreshore

Address: Element, Kingston Foreshore, 154/43 Eastlake parade, Kingston ACT 2601

Phone(02) 6112 8725

Opening times: 11:00am–10:00pm 7 day a week

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

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

The Butcher, the Baker, the Merrymaker

I’m baaack!!

My friend jokingly asked  if I’m ever in Canberra. It is true that I have been travelling here and there for my birthday celebrations; everywhere from Bowral, Sydney and more recently Melbourne and Cairns. Besides heading back to Sydney occasionally, I do plan to be around for all the winter events that Canberra has to offer during my favourite season.

The fresh brisk air begs for wood fires, eating more rich hearty foods and trying to infuse everything and anything with local truffles. One of my favourite restaurants in Canberra, Pialligo Estate is getting amongst it and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek into their winter event series 2016 – The Butcher, the Baker and the Merrymaker.

31 days days, eleven amazing events, one location.

July


Friday 1st Saturday 2nd Sunday 3rd
Midwinter Christmas Feast  7:00-11:00pm     ($150.00 pp) Kirsty’s pudding making day       1:00-4:00pm ($150.00 pp)
Thursday 7th Friday 8th Saturday 9th Sunday 10th
Sunset drinks 
5:00-7:00pm ($40.00 pp)
Feather and bone Masterclass       1:00-4:00pm  ($120.00 pp) A Feast of the beast from feather and bone                    1:00-4:00pm
($145.00 pp)
Thursday 14th Friday 15th Saturday 16th Sunday 17th
Bastille Day truffle dinner
7:00-11:00pm ($150.00 pp)
Cape Grim and Flinders Island age of meaty innocence  1:00-4:30pm ($145.00 pp)
Thursday 21st Friday 22nd Saturday 23rd Sunday 24th
Smoked, cured and grilled  1:00-4:30pm
($145.00 pp)
Pact full of surprises           2:00-5:00pm
($110.00 pp)
Thursday 28th Friday 29th Saturday 30th Sunday 31st
Wildbrumby Schnapps Banquet   7:00-11pm  ($145.00 pp) Family Market Day 10:00-4:00pm free

The Christmas
Sunday Roast
   1:00-4:00pm ($110.00 pp)

During our sneak peek we got to experience schnapps and gin from Wildbrumby, Pact beer, a bit of Christmas cheer (man that ham was exquisite) and a beautiful Christmas pudding topped with fabulous custard. Not only did it make me excited for the events happening in Canberra, it also made it very hard to choose what event to go to.To find out more information, check out their website.

Da Bronx

The smell was so intoxicating from Da Bronx as we left Frankies at Forde, that all company involved didn’t mind skipping out on a fancy restaurant to stay in for a delicious pizza gorge session at home.

Finding the menu took a bit of googling and Facebook stalking but we were surprised to see that there was no garlic bread/pizza option. When I rang on a Saturday night, I was asked if I wanted fish and chips or pizza and after confirming I was ordering pizza, I was warned that ordering more than one pizza was going to take 1 hour. We were willing to wait.

Taken from their Facebook Page.All 18 inch jumbo pizza ($19.90)~ I didn’t know how big 18 inches really was (#gometric) but when TimmyC brought the pizzas into the house, the pizza boxes barely cleared the doorways.

A hand posing as a size reference.Roast vegetable supreme roasted peppers, zucchini, chargrilled eggplant, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella. I didn’t think I would enjoy this because I usually want something greasy, meaty and cheesy on my pizza. So I was surprised when I enjoyed the refreshing flavours of the vegetables, in particular the zucchini.Tomato and basil fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella. This is usually my pick of topping, it is a great combination of flavours and when done well, it is perfection. Unfortunately I thought the basil was over cooked and lost all its strong flavour. I think this would have been brilliant with buffalo mozzarella.The Bronx special mild pepperoni, cabanossi, beef sausage, shredded beef, mozzarella. Not only did I want to try their signature pizza (that they named after themselves), it also had everything I like on a pizza. As expected, I enjoyed this pizza but nothing really wowed me.BBQ Chicken oven roasted chicken breast, onion, mozzarella with BBQ sauce. I’m not usually a fan of chicken on pizza, but the chicken pieces were shredded small enough that they weren’t dry. For some reason I was really drawn to this pizza between all the different toppings.In no way is this authentic Italian pizza, this is Australianised take away thin crust pizza done really well and I think there is a novelty to the enormous size. It’s a shame it is so far away from my house.

Venue: Da Bronx

Address: 21 Francis Forde Blvd, Forde ACT 2914

Phone: (02) 6162 2933

Current opening hours: 12:00pm – 8:30pm Tuesday to Sunday
Da Bronx Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A bite to eat re-run

TimmyC asked me where I would like to go for brunch on a lazy Sunday morning, I rattled off half a dozen south side options and he narrowed it down to three; it was my turn to pick. I chose A Bite to Eat because I didn’t eat as much as I wanted to last time (see my previous post here) and I had a craving for a thickshake.

We walked to the counter and asked if there was a table for two available, the waitress said that the whole top area was reserved but there was a cute table by the window available. We were given two menus and headed over to our table.

We grabbed a table by the window and cute cushions.Flat white (I don’t remember the price) and Caramel thickshake ($6.60). I didn’t have the greatest thickshake experience the first time, especially when it came highly recommended by a close friend but I was willing to give it another shot. It came in a tall old school metal cup which kept it cold throughout our meal. Smooth, thick and sweet just like a good thickshake should be. Even though we were both full, TimmyC and I drank every last drop because we didn’t want to waste it. YUM! When I get thickshake cravings, I know where I’m going to go!Breakfast served all day~Sriracha should be at every cafe.Pig pocket tortilla pocket filled with scrambled eggs, mozzarella cheese and a bacon ($8.40). I know small things amuse small minds but I loved the fact that the house made baked beans version of this dish was called a bean bag. SQUEEEEEEE! So cute. This might not seem very complex or interesting, but it was exactly what I felt like eating. There are a combination of sauces on the table to help make it to your liking.Standard two free range eggs (scrambled, poached or fried) with bacon on sourdough toast *with butter on request ($14.00). It is funny  that this is called ‘standard’ because this is one of TimmyC’s standards for breakfast at a cafe. He asked for fried eggs and also requested butter.

TimmyC should just point to his shirt when he orders breakfast. I love the decor here, everything is laid back and very relaxed. I thought their prices were also very reasonable. Despite being busy, the service was friendly and attentive; I was actually surprised about how fast the food came out.

I didn’t need edible flowers all over my plate, a doughnut sitting on top of my thickshake or quinoa on every dish, I just wanted a simple breakfast with my sweetheart in a cute cafe and A Bite to Eat delivered on every level. I’m so glad that this cafe is on the south side.
A Bite To Eat, A Drink As Well Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Pepper Lunch launch

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Food Blogger Pepper Lunch launch thanks to a lovely friend Fran (go check out her awesome blog here) and the generous owners of Pepper Lunch Canberra. They offered each blogger and their guest a main, a side, a drink and a dessert, although our meals were complimentary all opinions are our own.Pepper Lunch is bringing Japanese DIY Teppan to Canberra! Meals come out on a 260C hot plate and you cook the meat to your liking. Here is their ‘how to guide’:When we received our meal, the polite staff apologised for the wait when in fact we barely waited at all. I hope it is always this fast!

Classic beef pepper rice (a la carte $9.90). I couldn’t go to Pepper Lunch and not try their signature dish. The beef cooked really fast and was tasty but I felt the rice needed more sauce. Luckily there are two sauces on the table which included a sweet sauce and a garlic sauce (shake before use) that I added to my liking.Edit  Curry chicken pepper rice (a la carte $11.20). I really loved the curry sauce and I’ve decided that the next time I go, I’m getting something with that sauce!Shimofuri ‘porterhouse’ pepper steak (a la carte $16.90). The Food Marshall said that it was seasoned to perfection but it had a bit of gristle through it. She found TimmyC’s dish had better marbling.Giant rib eye steak (a la carte $24.90). This steak was noticeably bigger than the porterhouse but it was in the ‘giant’ section of the menu. I found this steak really delicious and ‘melt in your mouth’. It is on the more expensive end when compared with other menu items especially if you make it into a meal. You can make any a la carte menu item into a meal which includes one regular drink and one regular side for $4.90.

Regular sides: rice/chips/miso soup/shake shake salad.

Premium sides: onion rings/sweet potato wedges.All the sundaes have the same ice cream base but they are covered in different toppings. There are four flavours: chocolate nut crush, caramel swirl, green tea delight and black seasame; they  currently don’t have the black sesame flavour yet but they ensure me it is coming. I really enjoyed the caramel swirl and I really wanted to love the green tea delight but the flavour was so subtle, it was almost non existent. I hoping they adjust it and it will be better in the future.It was getting toasty warm inside the restaurant between all the people and 260C plates, so I imagine the restaurant will be a popular place to be this winter.

They have a loyalty card, the more you eat the better the reward!They are really trying to ensure that things run smoothly with the restaurant having a soft opening for the next few days to train staff and slowly ease their way in before trading normal hours (see below).

Venue:Pepper Lunch (Canberra)

Address: Shop 3 (next to Oliver Brown) 88-96, Bunda Street, Opposite Canberra Centre, Civic,  ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0565

Opening hours: The next few days Pepper Lunch will have a soft opening, so hours will vary but they will roughly be lunch 12pm – 3pm dinner 6pm – 9pm

Sunday – Thursday 11:30am – 9:30pm

Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 10:30pm

Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate 

We enjoyed our lunch at Pialligo Estate Farmhouse so much that before we left, we made a reservation for breakfast at the Garden Pavilions. They have gorgeous views and we thought it would be a great way to start the weekend.We were lucky to have beautiful blue skies and great weather during our visit.So picturesque, you would not think you were 10 minutes away from the city.Flat white coffee ($4.00) and a chai latte ($5.00).Breakfast set menu (2 courses $32.00 per person).

To start~I love their personalised cutlery.Selection of bakery goods with breads, rolls and croissant served with cultured butter and new season jams from the Estate’s orchard. I really enjoyed their bread and I won’t say how much butter I smeared on it but I will tell you that I moved the butter aside so I could also use it in my next course. I didn’t get much of the baked goods because I was busy eating my pancake but I thought the croissant was very flaky but not as buttery as I would have liked. This was my first choice until TimmyC decided he wanted it, I could see this as one of the more popular choices.TimmyC really enjoyed his galette while I was tempted to ask for more bread.Ricotta pancakes with a reduction of our Sangiovese grape juice, peppered peaches and whipped cream. When they wrote plural ‘pancakes’, I did expect more than one but by the time I finished this I was glad that there was only one because it was rather quite filling. I really enjoyed it because it was simple and sweetened by fruit so not OTT.To follow~ I must say, TimmyC and I were rather quite content after our first course, but I was very much looking forward to my savoury option.

Award winning Pialligo Smokehouse bacon, poached eggs,  and open-fire sour dough. A great classic breakfast made even better by the fact that they use their amazing bacon.Baked beans with our own chorizo and bacon, potatoes, poached egg and just harvested vine tomatoes. I was slightly taken back by the size of the bowl that this was served in; even if I skipped the first course I’m not sure I could have finished the whole dish. I dipped my fork in quickly to taste the baked beans and it reminded me of the filling of supreme pizza pocket with a chili hot aftertaste. Despite being full, I don’t know how much I could have eaten because I found the sauce so hot. I ended up picking out all the bacon and chorizo and ate it with buttered bread.A nice thick baked bean mixture with bacon and chorizo pieces mixed in.We really enjoyed the views and the food but I found the service that we experienced was a bit lacking. I’ve come to expect great service based on my previous visits from Pialligo Estate but I’m hoping it was a once off. Definitely worth going to visit for a casual breakfast, I just wish they had smaller breakfast options.

The view from within the pavilion.Venue: Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060
Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

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

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

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

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

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

Venue: Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060

Opening times:

Lunch Thursday – Sunday 12pm – 2:30pm 

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

Petit Feast – Buvette

I tagged along to the launch of Buvette‘s Petit Feast as a guest of fellow blogger The Food Avenue (go check out her awesome site here). I had been to Buvette before and didn’t love their dinner but after reading FoodPornJournal’s blog (see her dinner experience here), I saw that within a few months there were stark differences between our visits and I was excited to give Buvette another chance.

We were quickly seated and asked what we wanted for drinks. There was complimentary rosé on arrival but the waitress said I could substitute it for a soft drink or a juice so I chose an apple juice. They also offer mimosas which are bottomless sparkling and orange juice topped up all afternoon for only $15.00 per person.

Petit Feast includes one glass of rosé on arrival ($65.00 pp). The Petit Feast is anything but petite. For me, it was essentially a unisex high tea served on slates that encourages all day grazing. The feast is served in two ‘courses’, starting off with savoury and then followed by sweets.

Chef’s selection of charcuterie, duck liver parfait, oysters, quiches, mini sandwiches, olives and cheese. I was impressed with the serving size. We each got a plate with two finger sandwiches, a vegetarian quiche, a delicious slice of marinated eggplant, a natural oyster, a medley of marinated olives, two wedges of cheese and a hot beef pie. And that was just the beginning. We then were given the most delicious bread and butter to share (even though I was full at the end, I was still tempted to order more bread and butter) as well as a charcuterie board consisting of salami, lavosh bread, prosciutto, rillettes and a duck liver parfait. Although I pretty much loved everything and finished all my cheese, my favourite shout outs would have to be: the eggplant (it looks simple but the flavours were oh so good), the cheese, the humble bread and butter, the salami, the proscuitto and I surprisingly didn’t mind the duck liver parfait. Mini tartlets, profiteroles, tiramisu, friands and macarons. Half way through our savoury, the slate of sweets arrive at our table and we are blown away. Not only was it visually stunning, it was BIG! There was one of everything for the both of us, which meant that Miss Avenue didn’t have to miss out. 😉 There was tiramisu, a profiterole, chocolate brownie, pistachio and raspberry friands, lemon meringue tartlet, a chocolate macaron and a very decadent chocolate tart topped with salted caramel popcorn (I couldn’t finish it all because it was so rich). My absolute favourites would include the tiramisu, lemon meringue tartlet and the moist friands.I loved that the sweets came out half way through the savoury course because it meant that I could flick back and forth between the two and I usually like ending on savoury. Seriously, even though it is technically not a ‘high tea’, it has got to be one of the best high tea like objects in Canberra (and I’ve eaten a wide range). This all day grazing style food in addition to fabulous company really makes for a great day. I would happily encourage everyone to go and try it out for yourselves. I know I’ll be going back.

Venue: Buvette

Event: Petit Feast every Saturdays between 11:30am – 2:30am

$65.00 per person

Address: 18 National Circuit, Barton ACT

Phone: (02) 6163 1818
Buvette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato