Kokomos

I know I am late to the game. Kokomos have been open for a few months now but I have never gotten around to trying it until last night. I had heard that it was ‘pricey but tasty’ so when we spotted their island banquet option, it was a good excuse to try it out.

Island banquet 8 most popular dishes ($49.00) you can add a key lime pie to the banquet and at $1.00 pp, why wouldn’t you?

Salt and vinegar taro chips. The taste of vinegar isn’t too strong; nice and crispy but there were more interesting things to eat.

Mullaway ceviche coconut, ginger, cherry tomato, Thai basil, tostadas.

Fried chicken bun bread and butter pickles, hot sauce. Succulent crispy hot chicken with all the right trimmings. I was really sad when I finished the bun and had none left.

Prawn toast lime and sweet corn, smoked chilli mayo.

Lamb ribs sweet and sour glaze, puffed wheat. This was so tender and had a really nice glaze.

Udon noodles seared beef rump cap, egg yolk, crispy eschalot, kombu butter. I might be biased because I really love udon noodles, but this dish with its egg yolk creaminess reminded me of a creamy pasta dish without the heaviness. So delicious!

Iceberg salad pickled red onion, sunflower seeds, creme fraiche, dill. I thought it sounded boring because it had iceberg lettuce, but surprisingly this dish works!

Smoked beef rib molasses glaze, puffed rice, roast eggplant puree. Another really tender protein.

Rotisserie Huli Huli chicken lemon butter gravy. I loved the flavours of this chicken; the meat was juicy and the lemon butter provides just the right amount of tangy flavours.

Dishes were coming thick and fast, it was almost a shuffle game to fit everything on the table. Just as we adjusted plates and cups to move out of the way for one dish, another dish would appear almost straight away. We were served all the savoury dishes within the hour, but I would have liked a slower pace.

We really enjoyed everything and it was hard to choose a favourite but the pick of the night would have been between the fried chicken bun or the lamb ribs, but the udon noodles were a close second.Key lime pie – this was a pretty decent serve per person and I did enjoy the unusual green colour. The base by itself wasn’t very nice but the pie with cream altogether had a nice balance of sweetness, creaminess and tart flavours.Added on top Yes, my greedy eyes couldn’t help but order a few more items that weren’t included in the banquet.

Lobster lollipops kombu, sesame bonito mayo ($18.00 4 pcs). This was disappointing and fell really flat. You couldn’t really tell it was lobster and as tasty as the mayo was, it didn’t save this dish at all. I wouldn’t bother ordering this again.Pecan pie burnt butter ice cream ($10.00). I didn’t think this was sweet enough and instead, I was getting bursts of salty flavours. The ice cream reminded me of a creme brulee with the torched sugar crust. I would not order this again.It was a shame that the extras we ordered were a disappointment but if you stick with the Island banquet and it has those dishes, you can’t go wrong.

The staff were friendly and attentive, although there was some confusion with the dishes as one of us had dietary requirements but it was eventually clarified. I can imagine this place getting loud as the nightlife and bar begins to take over, but on a weekday we were not rushed, could talk comfortably and enjoyed our food.

Venue: Kokomo’s

Address: 1 Genge St, Canberra ACT 2601

Phone(02) 6171 2092

Yes, I ate there last night and wrote this post quickly out of spite because TimmyC didn’t think I could get it done.

Sultan’s Turkish Pide

I found myself going empty handed to a friend’s house for cheese and nibbles and I thought you could never go wrong with a pide. A work colleague who is a Gungahlin local, recommended Sultan’s Turkish Pide restaurant.

Heading there around 5:30pm on a Thursday afternoon, it appears that everyone but me knew about this place because it was packed and also very busy with takeaways. There was a short wait while my pide was being made fresh, but I didn’t mind because I thought it was fascinating to watch the workers generously pile the fresh kebab fillings mile high and effortlessly roll it into kebabs.

Entering the store, the aroma of grilled lamb, freshly fried chips and salads fill the air. It was hard to concentrate on what I was there for, especially when there was so much on the menu to choose from.Tavuklu roasted chicken, parsley and cheese ($18.00). I didn’t see any parsley so it was just really chicken and cheese; a little boring and not usually the flavour I would go for. Next time I would try lamb or even the tandoori chicken pide but I really want to come back and try their kebabs or halal snack pack (oh I’ve been craving one because of cbr foodie) !

Delivery is available for selected suburbs  (Amaroo, Bonner, Casey, Crace, Forde, Franklin, Harrison, Jacka, Kaleeen, Moncrieff, Ngunnawal, Nicholls and Palmerston between 5-9pm) for orders over $39.00.

Venue: Sultan’s Turkish Pide

Address: Shop 9/30 Hibberson Street Gungahlin ACT

Phone(02) 6156 5617

Website: www.sultansturkishpide.com.au/

Opening hours: 7 days 9:00am – 10:00pm

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.

New Star Charcoal Chicken

The body wants what the body wants, there is no logic to it. So when I was craving chicken, I found myself in Dickson shops looking for something chicken-y. I came across New Star Charcoal Chicken which opened up about a month ago.1/2 chicken, chips, garlic, soft drink can ($12.90). The chips were freshly fried, topped with chicken salt (by request) and were very addictive. The garlic was so good I wanted to put it on everything. Unfortunately, the chicken wasn’t freshly cooked (it had been sitting under heat lamps), the breast was dry and the limbs were a bit overcooked. It is a shame because the place smelt really good. Maybe I’ll have to go back during a peak period and get a fresh chicken.Have you been to this place?

Venue: New Star Charcoal Chicken

Address: Shop 1/4-20 Dickson place, Dickson, ACT

Progressive dinner – Sydney edition 

When I’m in Sydney, I try to eat what I can’t get in Canberra, foods like ramen, fresh sushi, good Thai and of course dumplings. So when I had limited time in Sydney and had only eaten ramen and sushi so far, there was nothing else to do but drag my friends for a progressive dinner to tick more boxes from my ‘to eat’ list.


To go to somewhere new, where over half the menu really excites you but you know you can’t order that much was really hard. My friend was telling me about Petaling Street, an awesome hawker restaurant and I was keen to make it the first stop during our progressive dinner in Sydney.

A few key dishes (and drinks) were chosen and enjoyed by everyone but my favourite dish was the roti canai with curry chicken. The roti was nice and flaky while the curry had lots of flavour with tender chicken.

Progressive dinner stop: #1

Venue: Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food

Address: 760 George Street, Haymarket, Chinatown, Sydney,NSW

Amount per person: $10.00

Cheong fun, roti canai with chicken curry, char kway teow and Hainanese chicken rice.
Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


This was an unexpected stop as a fellow foodie pointed out that we were in close proximity to a Thai place, which did cheap small bowls of noodles. It sounded like a perfect addition to the progressive dinner and I was keen for some Thai food anyway.

Do Dee Paidang have tom yum soups, all with different meats, a choice of noodle and different levels of chilli. I along with the other non-chilli eaters stuck with the tom yum soup with tender pork rib and fresh noodles. We enjoyed the sour taste of the tom yum with the delicious meatiness of the pork ribs, while the hardcore chilli eaters went with the level 3 soup (out of 7). Watching one of the chilli eaters sweat and struggle with the heat of the soup made me curious about how hot their bowl was. I coated my spoon in a little bit of soup (I’m not crazy enough to actually drink any of the soup) and licked it, immediately I could feel the heat on my tongue which quickly spread to the back of my throat. Whoa, that was intense, I wonder who actually eats level 7!

Feeling bad that we were taking up a table even though we just wanted noodle soup, I order entrée of chicken satay skewers ($8.90), which were more expensive than our noodles ($6.00) but were really really delicious and I don’t usually eat satay.

Progressive dinner stop: #2

Venue: Do Dee Paidang Thai Noodle Bar & Cafe

Address: 9, 37 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket NSW 2000

Amount per person: $4.20Do Dee Paidang Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


We were told that they were no longer selling Papa roti for the day and my smile quickly turned into a frown. I was really looking forward to eating a coffee bun with a delicious buttery aroma.

Progressive dinner stop: #3

Venue: Papa Roti

Address: 663 George St, Haymarket NSW 2000

Amount per person: five sad faces 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦


Din Tai Fung was along the way of our progressive dinner and it would have been ridiculous not to stop. The hard part was not ordering any fried rice, although my friend couldn’t help but order a pork bun too.

We ordered 24 dumplings (and drinks) between the 5 of us and savoured each and every bite.

Progressive dinner stop: #3

Venue: Din Tai Fung

Address: 644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $13.00Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


You are wondering how we were able to eat more after 3 stops already, but remember we were sharing one delicious original Hot Star chicken ($8.50) between the 5 of us. We tore it into 5 pieces while it was still really hot and it was a few bites of heaven.

Progressive dinner stop: #4

Venue: Hot Star

Address: 96 Liverpool Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $1.70Hot Star Large Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


TimmyC and I were all Aqua S-ed out as we had been there for the past two nights and had already eaten all the flavour combinations but it didn’t stop everyone else from enjoying it. I was surprised TimmyC preferred the pandan ice cream over the lychee (dairy free) but I think it was because of the creamy ice cream texture.

Aqua S change their flavours every Thursday.

Progressive dinner stop: #5

Venue: Aqua S

Address: 27/501 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $5.00Aqua S Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


A friend of ours popped into Black Star Pastry’s pop up store in the Kinokuniya earlier in the day and got some goodies to share. He got their famous strawberry water melon cake ($7.50/slice) and a caramel panna cotta ($9.00).

Progressive dinner stop: #6

Venue: Black Star Pastry (pop up)

Address: The Galleries, 2/500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Amount per person: $4.80Black Star Pastry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I had promised to take TimmyC to Messina and a promise is a promise. Everyone else had returned to their hotels and while TimmyC and I light railed our way straight to The Star.

We had chosen ‘Gay ol’ time’ which didn’t taste anything like a gaytime but TimmyC still really enjoyed it.

Progressive dinner stop: #7

Venue: Messina

AddressCafe Court, Level G, 80 Pyrmont StreetPyrmont NSW 2009

Amount per TimmyC: $4.80Gelato Messina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


I was really impressed with the amount of stops we were able to make without being ridiculously full. We got to eat a lot of variety and the best of what every venue had to offer. Tell me dear reader, have you had a progressive dinner?

 

Creamy chicken pie recipe

I went to buy a creamy chicken pie the other day but they were sold out, so I had no choice but to make myself some as I had already promised my stomach. I like to be efficient when I can (or some people would call me lazy) so I bought a roast chicken so 1) I wouldn’t have to pre-cook the chicken for the pies 2) to have delicious chicken sandwiches for lunch and 3) I could just roast chicken for general snacking.

I also used this opportunity to use or random bits and pieces in my fridge like slices of cooked haloumi, vegetables that were looking a bit sad and also use up some of those frozen vegetables that I thought I’d eat to create a healthier meal or curry puffs.

So here we go…

Creamy chicken pie recipe

(serves approximately 16 smallish pies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cooked chicken breast shredded (use haloumi as a vegetarian alternative)
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh vegetables chopped into little pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1.5-2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 6 sheets of puff pastry
  • spray oil
  • egg wash

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Wok or a big fry pan
  • Texas muffin tin *see tips
  • Pastry brush

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and spray oil onto your muffin tin
  2. Heat some olive oil in the wok on med-high heat and then cook the garlic for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the onions and sauté until translucent
  4. Mix in your vegetables
  5. Add a dash of water and cover until all the vegetables are relatively soft
  6. Pour in your cream and let it simmer (take out your puff pastry to defrost)
  7. Add in your flour and stir in until the mixture has thickened (add more flour if it is still too runny)
  8. Remove off heat and season to taste
  9. Cut 4 defrosted puff pastry sheets into quarters for pie bases
  10. Cut the remaining 2 sheets of pastry into 9 equal squares for pie lids and cut two small slits in the centre of each square
  11. Mould the pie bases into the muffin tin and fill with pie filling
  12. Delicately stretch the pie lids over each pie and tuck in the edges for a neater look
  13. Brush on egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown

Tips

I really like the Texas (6x) muffin tin size but you can use a normal 12x muffin tin, which will mean smaller pies

You can make the mixture a few days ahead of time and just spoon the filling into defrosted pastry on the day. I have never had a pie left over for freezing but I’m sure you’re able to.

I served 1-2 pies per person with a side of salad for a meal

Enjoy!

Mister Zee’s

Mister Zee’s has only been opened for three days but I have been waiting months for this restaurant to open. We went last night for dinner and even though there was four of us, I proceeded to order almost half the menu.Chocolate baklava shake ($8.00). I must say this was one of the first things that caught my eye when I read the menu; I thought it was an odd combination but I definitely wanted to try it. It was a delicious chocolate milkshake and at first you couldn’t really sense any baklava but towards the last third you start to notice the filo pastry that has been blended through. I don’t know how well a milk shake goes with the amount of food we ordered, maybe this would be better if you were looking for something sweet after one menu item as opposed to half of the menu like we had ordered.Charcoal chicken served with Lebanese bread, toum (garlic dip), pickles (half $13.00). When the plate we put in front of us we were really underwhelmed as the chicken looked cold and dry but I was surprised to find it slightly warm. I ate a bit of the breast which was on the drier side but even when I ate around the thighs it was also dry. There was a nice flavour through the meat but all the deliciousness was in the skin. The salty charcoal flavours were delicious and the way it was cooked left the skin nice and crispy. I really wished the Lebanese bread would have been slightly warmed, it would have made a fabulous difference. The pickles were really strong, eye widening type of pickles but the flavours became refreshing as we were eating it between other dishes.

We didn’t know what this was but found out very quickly that it was garlic dip. It went really well with the chicken.The pickles were almost as intense as their colour!Lebanese nachos choice of chicken, lamb or falafel served with fried Lebanese bread, tomato, onion, parsley, cheese, hummus, labneh ($15.00). We chose chicken for the meat and we really enjoyed this. The fried Lebanese bread wasn’t oily and sickly but rather addictive and super crunchy, I was surprised it didn’t get soggy towards the end and it kept its crispness. I would easily order this again.Lamb kofte with spicy tomato sauce served with rice pilaf ($18.00). This was really nice at first but as the dish got colder, the meat got tighter and tougher; I would definitely recommend eating this while it is hot. I didn’t find the tomato sauce spicy at all and while we really enjoyed this dish when we first tried it, I found myself preferring the other menu items after all our order arrived.Hummus ($6.00). We didn’t really read the additions to every dish but I wish the server at the register pointed out that many of our dishes already came with hummus and we really didn’t need to order any more additionally. I was hoping for more of a garlic hit but it was rather mild and smooth.Babaganoush ($7.00). I don’t know if they had given this to us complimentary because we ordered so much but it was a lovely gesture. Babaganoush isn’t my first preference of dip as I find some versions have too strong of a burnt eggplant taste but I surprisingly enjoyed this dip.Shish choice of chicken, lamb or adana (minced lamb meat) served with salad, Turkish flatbread, hummus (triple $26.50). We had all started dipping our Lebanese bread from the charcoal chicken plate in dips but as soon as the warm Turkish flatbread hit our table we all happily swapped breads almost instantly. To have more choice we naturally ordered one of each type of shish and I was really surprised to find that chicken was my favourite with its delicious flavours while remaining succulent. The lamb pieces was a close second but the adana, just like the lamb kofte was nice while it was hot but it as it got colder, it too got tougher. I would love to eat a kebab made up of the chicken pieces wrapped in flatbread which was smeared in hummus. Mmmmmm…

While we were happily stuffing our faces, someone who we presumed to be the manager asked us what we thought of the meal. After our compliments on certain dishes, he was really interested to find out what we  didn’t enjoy as much. We went through things such as the dry charcoal chicken, cold Lebanese bread and the texture of the adana to which he all seemed to be aware and said he was working on getting the perfect balance of a succulent moist chicken while getting that crispy salty skin, the problems of heating Lebanese bread and still working on getting the perfect cooking time of the adana. I was really impressed about how he had taken the feed back on board and that he really wanted to better his product. I then quizzed him about his dessert menu and in particular why there was no Lebanese doughnuts available, he proceeded to then tell me how they are made fresh every day but the batter is only good for so long but they hope to make a batter (which takes 2-3 hours) ready for opening time and by the time it reached late afternoon, they would make another batch for night time.Something sweet~

My friend and I were still eating dinner when the waitress came over and gave us complimentary dessert, I presumed it was because we had given feedback in addition to my enthusiasm for their desserts. I thought it was so nice of them.Baklava ice cream sandwich ($6.00). Before we even ordered, I was asking the girl at the front counter many questions which included: what is adana? Is everything on the menu available? Do you have baklava ice cream sandwiches? She then explained that the ice cream sandwich was a literally a piece of baklava cut in half with ice cream wedged in the middle. It isn’t as sweet and overwhelming as it sounds because the baklava isn’t that sweet and flavours and crispy texture went really well with the ice cream. I would eat this again, but it is definitely not a first date food as it gets messy very quickly.Knafeh ($6.00). We were told that this was made by a local couple and I was super excited to try this ever since I had it late last year when we had that pop up shop. It had a delicious subtle sweet flavours of rosewater and pistachios with a beautiful smooth texture. I would have loved this if it was served warm. *drool*I was surprised for a place that would do a lot of take- aways had such nice spacious seating, good heavy cutlery and crockery. It is nice to have something different to eat when there are so many cafe and Asian options in the area. I will definitely be back to try more and eat more of what I’ve already tried. Waiting times didn’t take long, the prices are reasonable and the staff were very friendly and efficient.

We spent just under $100 between the four of us ordering dinner and we were really full even before the desserts arrived but everyone knows that you have a separate stomach for dessert. I think you could easily be content with a single shish ($14.50) and leave enough room for something sweet.

Venue: Mister Zee’s

Address: 122 Bunda Street, Canberra, Civic, ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0306

Opening hours:

11:00am – 9:00pm Sunday – Thursday

11:00am – 10/10:30pm Friday and Saturday
Mister Zee's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chez Kimchi

When my friends wanted to know what I felt like eating for dinner Friday night, I knew exactly where I wanted to take them, to Chez Kimchi for some Korean fried chicken. I didn’t anticipate a line at the door and a 20 minute waiting period but we were there and I had already promised my stomach fried chicken, so I left my name on the wait list and browsed through the menu. Continually throughout the night people there were people waiting for a table, so you knew it was either A) really good and popular or B) new to Canberra, I was hoping a little from column A and a little from column B.

We were given condiments and bone bucket. We were ready to start!Gogi-gunmandu deep-fried Korean dumplings filled with pork mince and vegetables (4 pieces $6.80). These dumplings were crispy and cooked perfectly, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was inside the dumpling. I didn’t think these added much to our experience and I wouldn’t bother ordering any of the dumplings again.Saewu Jjinmandu steamed Korean dumplings filled with prawns and vegetables ($6.80). You could tell that these had prawn inside, but they weren’t particularly good; skip the dumplings and head straight for the fried chicken!Ginger iced tea and Lemon iced tea (around $4.50?). It is not your typical iced tea, think more preserved lemon and ginger. I think I preferred the ginger one more because it was more refreshing.Bulgogi Bokkeum beef stir-fried with vegetables in a Kimchi’s specials sauce served on a sizzling plate ($18.50) served with steamed rice. This is one of my favourite Korean dishes and I wasn’t going to pass it up. I don’t know if it was traditional or particularly good; I’ve never had a bulgogi that I haven’t liked.Japchae stir fried glass noodles (sweet potato noodles) with vegetables in a soy sauce ($15.80). I’ve always liked Korean sweet potato noodles (easy to cook at home too) and these were really nice but I wasn’t a huge fan of the cloud ear fungus.Now to why we really came here, fried chicken!

Spicy chilli chicken smoked chilli spicy sauce (half chicken $18.00). When we ordered this, the waitress stressed that it was spicy, yes that is why we were ordering it, then she stressed that it was really spicy and that made us a little worried but my friend was adamant that she wanted this fried chicken, so we ordered it anyway against our better judgement. I am not a good judge of spiciness because my tolerance for chilli is on the lower end, but man! For me it really spicy (and subtly smoky) but I made it through and even ate two pieces out of spite (yes waitress, we ate the whole thing!). So maybe for other people who LOVE spicy food, it might not be too bad.Soy sauce chicken perfect combination of garlic and soy sauce good with beer (half chicken $18.00). This by comparison seemed really sticky and sweet. Easy to eat and very messy (not a first date food) but I don’t know if they gave us the right one because I didn’t taste any garlic at all. I think next time I’d choose another flavour of chicken, one with a fried coating rather than a sticky marinade and one that won’t make me tear up and blow my nose.

Despite being very busy and borderline overwhelming for the staff, they were still very friendly and attentive. Chez Kimchi have 14 flavours of fried chicken and I am super keen to come back and try more! I imagine when they aren’t crazy busy that it would be a place to grab fast dinner before a movie.

Venue: Chez Kimchi

Address: 70 Bunda Street, Civic

Phone: (02) 6247 5525

Chez Kimchi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Outback Jacks bar and grill

—–15 Dec 2013—–

I drag this one friend of mine along to all the steak and seafood places in Canberra because that’s what we both love, so when we were celebrating her belated birthday, it was a no brainer that I had to take her to Outback Jacks bar and grill in Belconnen so we could both try it out.

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If you don’t notice the big sign, I’m sure you’ll notice the very big crocodile that is situated on the ceiling at the entrance.

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A great selection of steaks all on display. I got very excited and hungry- fast!

IMG_7408I had booked several days ahead so that was one less thing I had to think about leading up to Christmas, she repeated my booking date, name and number and it was all correct and we were ready to go… Well so I thought. When we arrived, they seemed to a bit puzzled and couldn’t find my booking, when I insisted that I had booked they took me to a vacant table because the restaurant wasn’t too busy.
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A unique menu cover, I was excited to see what I could order that could incorporate everything I loved eating, steak and ribs!

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That’s not a knife, this is a knife!

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This place had a great family friendly atmosphere and the staff sing a unique ‘Happy Birthday’ song to those who are celebrating their birthday (seriously, I think someone should fake their birthday so you can hear the song).

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I wish I had this when I was growing up! A kids area with consoles, TV with the latest movies playing and toys. I could imagine it would be hard for kids to break away from playing to go and eat.

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Entrees~

Chook wingsmild. Seasoned chook wings, tossed in Jacks own firecracker sauce (serve of 5 $9.95). For those who know me, you would know I would push you over for a chicken wing so I couldn’t help myself but to order a serve despite knowing a lot of food was coming my way. The chicken wings were nothing special or particularly temperature hot, all the chilli heat comes from the sauce and you could definitely taste it even though we ordered mild.

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Mains~

Big Jacks RackOutback Jacks famous rack of full bone pork ribs served with chunky chips ($49.95). Ribs are generally expensive but I’ve never seen a $50 rack before. As they lowered the platter plate, I could see the shadow descending over TimmyC’s shocked face. We all stared at its enormity for a while, even neighbouring tables peered over. I assured TimmyC that it was mostly bones and he would be fine, we both took a chip (not that we needed any more food on the plate) but they were cold and soggy. Oh well, at least we know now not to bother with them. The ribs themselves were very tender and tasty and I loved the smokey BBQ sauce and I’m glad it came with extra (it tastes like the BBQ sauce from Soulfood). We definitely ate those bones clean. TimmyC struggled towards the end so I helped him out. 

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Tasty, tender and well marinated pork ribs.
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My hand for a size comparison.

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The ribs were daunting when they were put down but you have to remember most of it is bone so it wasn’t too bad, but they are big long bones.

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Cattle Dogs True Blue T-bone (400g for $31.95) with an added ‘Topper’ Neptune topped with sliced avocado, grilled prawns and béarnaise sauce ($8.00). Meals sure do get expensive fast if you add anything to them.

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Steak and ribs 100 day grain fed 300g rump and our meaty Jack Daniels basted pork ribs, served with a choice of chips or mash potato with salad ($39.95) with an extra Diane sauce($2.95) and BBQ corn on the cob ($4.50). After all the extras, this ended up being a $47.40 meal!

I love BBQ corn and it tastes amazing if it’s cooked right (you should definitely try this!) but these tasted like an almost water-logged corn that had been sitting in hot water, it wasn’t much better than a corn on the cob from KFC (do they still do those?). The steak didn’t have much of a taste to it, the only thing my mouth could distinguish was the charcoal lines that had been seared onto it, that is not a good sign of a decent steak, I had to smother it in the sauce. The ribs were delicious and tasted like what TimmyC had ordered but the ribs they serve on top of the steak are much shorter and meatier than those from the rack of ribs. I’m pretty sure the mash potato I had that was tucked underneath everything was instant mash potato. 

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Desserts~

The meal was already expensive so what a bit more for desserts, we were all tempted by the menu and the descriptions.

Outback Jacks sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce hot pudding served in a ceramic dish with a generous serving of silky butterscotch sauce with ice cream. With compliments from us we will wash your ramekin and you may take it home as a souvenir of your experience at Outback Jacks ($12.95). As we were ordering this dessert, the waitress said it was the ‘best dessert in the world’, I call porkies on that, not because I’ve eaten a lot of desserts in my time and I might have had more exposure but because I wouldn’t even rate this dessert as ‘good’ let alone exaggerating it to be one of the best dessert that I’ve ever had. The ‘generous serving of silky butterscotch sauce’ they describe was no more than a small pool at the bottom of the ramekin that wasn’t enough to cover the whole pudding which made it very dry in some mouthfuls. The ice cream tasted cheap and watery and the ‘plate decoration’ of caramel and chocolate topping didn’t help either.IMG_7451

Where’s the sauce?

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Hot home style apple pie crispy sweet pastry encasing crunchy apple, infused with cinnamon served with caramel sauce, freshly whipped cream and ice cream ($10.95). This wasn’t even close to being even luke warm and the pastry wasn’t crispy, it tasted like a disappointing defrosted frozen apple pie. P.S. caramel sauce is not the same as caramel topping, I think they might have actually forgot to put on any caramel sauce and it was just happened to be placed on a ‘topping decorated’ plate.

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Throughout the night I found it hard to get anyone’s attention despite having a lot of wait staff and not many people left in the restaurant. Ordering drinks, ordering mains, ordering desserts, all took a lot of effort to flag someone down. The older people were more attentive and the young girls seem to just stand around and talk. As I went to pay the bill, I asked the young waitress that I was waiting for the cleaned ramekin to come back from my dessert, she said that she could grab a clean one for me, ‘that would be great, thanks’ but after the few second it took me to put in my eftpos pin number, she gave me my receipt and gave me a blank look like she was waiting for me to leave. ‘The ramekin?” I asked, “oh yeah” she responded slowly. Seriously the service here is really lacking.

Their bathrooms are shared with Belconnen malls food court, as I was washing my hands I heard a loud bang. I walked back to the restaurant door and it was shut and locked. I banged and knocked loudly on the door several times before having to frustrating walk in a big circle to get back to the restaurant. Seriously if I had my bag (and friends) I would have considered not returning back to the restaurant.

So after my very expensive ($179.05 for three people) night out at a ‘casual family restaurant’ what did I think? I think the ribs were fantastic and tender, the sauce was rich and smokey but everything else was disappointing – the service, the steak and the desserts. Come here if you love ribs as much as me but just be aware that it could get pricey fast.

Venue: Outback Jacks Bar and Grill

Address: Shop 332, Westfield Shopping Centre, Belconnen Way, Belconnen, ACT 2617

Phone: (02) 6251 8381

Outback Jacks on Urbanspoon

Guzman Y Gomez

——-01/09/2012——-

Just like everything new in Canberra, Guzman Y Gomez was very busy but because there are so many people working in the kitchen and most things on the menu are pretty fast to eat there is a high turn over of patrons. Even while I was nibbling at one burrito I saw three sets of people come and go.

Lines are quickly diminished and people who are waiting for their orders don’t even have to wait long and finding a seat wasn’t too bad either.

Different condiments and sauces by Tabasco.

With an ‘all hands on deck’ approach in the kitchen, the burritos arrive in about 5 minutes.

A lemon margarita ($8.50)

Chicken Guerrero (mild) burritogrilled chicken in GYG’s Guerrero marinade with Pico de Gallo salsa and rice, cheddar cheese, vegetarian black beans, salsa rolled in a soft tortilla ($10.50) (guacamole $2.00 extra). The chicken went really well with the guacamole and I think it was worth getting.

Beef Guerrero (mild) burrito- slow roasted beef in GYG’s Guerrero marinade with Pico de Gallo salsa and rice, cheddar cheese, vegetarian black beans, salsa rolled in a soft tortilla ($10.50) The beef was nice and tender and I really enjoyed the cheddar cheese, although there wasn’t any towards the end of the burrito which made me a little sad. It was pretty filling.

Obviously not a date food, I had so many black beans leap from the burrito onto my dress or maybe I’m just a sloppy eater. The perfect for the ‘on the go’ or quick bite before you rush off to a movie option.

Maybe next time I’ll be more adventurous and try something spicy. Hmmm I wonder what their definition of ‘spicy’ is. 

Guzman Y Gomez Mexican Taqueria  on Urbanspoon