Keep Calm and Curry On

Get your diary and cross out whatever you thought you were doing this weekend and write ‘CURRY FESTIVAL’ all in caps.
 
The World Curry Festival will kick off this Friday 8th from 5:00PM with free entry. There will be curries (obviously) from around the world, curried beer and spiced cider, entertainment and of course you will have to check out what unusual ice cream flavours Frugii has concocted for this event.
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VenueWorld Curry Festival
Address: City Walk, Civic
Dates and times
8th July 5:00PM – 8:00PM
9th July 11:00AM – 8:00PM
10th July 11:00AM – 6:00PM
 
In the case of bad weather the event may be postponed, please click attending on the Facebook event for all the latest event updates.

Sanur’s Balinese Restaurant

My friend is a huge fan of Balinese food and since she had to use the Entertainment book, it was a winning combination to go to Sanur’s in Belconnen. We went late on a Friday night without a booking and easily got a table for two.

Starters~

Sanur’s deluxe platter for two a platter of mixed spring roll, chicken satay, sweet corn patties and battered prawns ($18.90). When we went to number the platter in order of preference, it varied a little but we agreed that the sweet corn patties were our least favourite (they were a little dry and not much flavour) and the chicken satay was the best thing on the plate (the satay sauce was nice and the chicken was succulent). I was pleasantly surprised that the spring roll had meat inside but my friend didn’t like it because it reminded her of a Chinese spring roll.Mains~Crispy Ayam battered marinated chicken thigh tossed with garlic and aromatic salt ($18.90). This dish was like addictive fried pop corn chicken. I would have preferred a little more garlic and aromatic salt but that didn’t stop us from devouring the whole basket.Gulai Bebek Balinese style yellow duck curry with lychee and Asian vegetables ($21.90). Not my usual go to curry but I really appreciated the curry sauce which had lots of depth to its flavour. Let’s face it, I just needed a good sauce to dip my roti into.Kangkung Pelencing (seasonal) stir fried water spinach with garlic and chilli ($15.90). I love water spinach but ooooh lordy, this was HOT! I’m not the best to gauge chilli heat as my tolerance is low (albiet getting better) but even my friend who loves hot food struggled. Needless to say that most of the dish was left as it was too hot for our palette. I ate a lot of rice after every mouthful.Roti pratha Indonesian style bread, cooked to order and good compliment for curries (2 pieces $5.00). The roti was hot and flaky and went perfectly with the curry just like the description promised.Food came out rather quite promptly and the service was friendly. I was last here almost a year ago for my birthday. I had a banquet with the 10+ people I was dining with and we all had different favourite dishes but we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Don’t forget to use your Entertainment book voucher!
Sanur's Balinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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
Click to add a blog post for Lahori Gate on Zomato

 

 

Laziza house

I remember asking a fellow blogger (you must check out her blog at mumchic) if I couldn’t get a home cooked Pakistani meal, where could I go out and eat Pakistani food? She suggested Laziza house in Melba, I had remembered seeing the name in the Entertainment book so off I went with some friends to try some Pakistani food.

We arrived around 7pm-ish and we were only one of two tables with 6 patrons all up, it seemed very quiet for a Friday night. The room was exotically decorated with lots of staff on hand to give efficient service.I was a bit nervous about ordering, I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew I wanted to try Pakistani food and avoid the typical Indian dishes. Conveniently, there were ‘Pakistani specials’ and ‘Afghan specials’ headings and underneath was several menu items; we just stuck to that list.

The menu has spelling errors consistently throughout the pages but we knew what they were saying when they had ‘Laziza Charcoal Owen Specials’. We were keen to try things from the oven and ordered the Lahori Tandoori Murghah chicken marinated in yoghurt, spices, grilled in charcoal oven ($19.50 full). It didn’t taste great and some pieces were a bit dry, we should have only ordered the half serve.

Pakistani Specials~

LAZIZA Nihair (Pakistani traditional dish) Shinbone of the beef used for this curry. Very tasty and delicious ($15.50). I thought that the bowl was particularly shallow but I later found that the spoon kept on hitting a piece of bone with a slither of bone marrow that my friend’s happily enjoyed amongst themselves. The curry itself was very flavoursome with very tender beef, I would happily have this again. It had lots of fennel seeds in it and green chillis but it wasn’t too hot if you had lassi on hand with lots of rice.Afghan Specials~

Kabuli Pulao a mound of basmati rice topped with cooked carrot strips and raisins ($15.50). I had had this dish from Koochi when it used to be open and I thought this would be just as good but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t recommend ordering this rice dish, it was very dry and bland by comparison.

Mango lassi ($4.50). I could make this better at home but it did relieve some of the chilli that was building up in my mouth from the curry.Garlic naan plain flour bread with crushed garlic ($3.20). I didn’t like how the crushed garlic was from a bottle, you could taste the sweetness from the garlic.I didn’t listen to my own advice and ended up ordering outside of the Pakistani menu realm. The dishes and the sides that were Afghan and Indian were very underwhelming but I really did enjoy that shinbone curry. I wouldn’t rush back to try this restaurant but if I was to go with someone who knew what they were ordering it would really help a lot.

Venue: Laziza house

Address: 12 Chinner Crescent, Melba ACT 2615

Phone(02) 6259 8033

Entertainment book: yes, don’t forget your voucher!

Laziza House on Urbanspoon

 

Bharat International re-run

It has been a while since I’ve blogged about Bharat International, but I have been going there on and off for years. Although, I felt that the food and cleanliness of the area was going downhill during my last visit and so I’ve held off on going back until a work colleague mentioned that when he went to get some sweets before Diwali that there were new owners and that the place looked a little different.

I had hoped the change was for the better as Bharat International was my window into traditional Indian food and sweets that you wouldn’t usually find in Indian restaurants that have made all their dishes more mild and creamy to suit the Australian palette.IMG_9562The differences are subtle but the place looked a lot cleaner, they have shuffled things around and most importantly they still serve choley bhature! It is still an ‘order and pay’ at the front counter situation but they don’t have the flashing number in the dining area and instead they yell out the ticket number which can be sometimes missed if you’re talking excitedly amongst friends.

I went with my friend who has an Indian background and I had many questions to ask him as I read the menu. Besides the usual lunch menu, the new owners have expanded and added a list of chef specials of curries and specialty items. Additionally they have also added ‘thali‘ options, so someone could taste an array of different things with the added bonus of a discounted price.

Pani puri ($4.99). I have never seen this in my life! It was handy to have a friend who knew what he was doing. He quickly put spoonfuls of the centre liquid in each delicate crunchy ‘basket’ and we quickly put the whole thing in our mouths. It was unexpectedly really cold on my teeth but eventually my teeth got used to the temperature and I started to explore the taste sensation of tamarind sweet and sour water balanced out by potatoes and onions with a crunchy texture. The second ‘shot’ of pani puri, I was more prepared for the temperature against my teeth and it was much nicer.

Have you seen anything like this? If I wasn’t with my friend, I wouldn’t know how to eat this.IMG_9582Chat papri ($5.99). This is a little harder to share but in my mind it was like adding the shards of pastry from a samosa to a pool of yoghurt, tamarind chutney and hint of mint. These delicious mouthfuls was like eating a broken vegetarian samosa with lashings of sauce added on top and I would definitely get this again; I just have to remember what it is called. :/

Chat papri is pictured on the right next to the choley (chickpea curry).IMG_9574Choley Bhature. I still love this dish, the bread is a little oily but it goes really well with the chick pea curry, onions and pickles. We are all familiar with naan, roti and other Indian breads but I’ve never come across bhature until I went to Bharat International.IMG_9572Malai kofta ($13.99). Okay I’ve fallen in love with the ‘Westernised’ version of this from another restaurant so when this didn’t taste exactly the same, I wasn’t the keenest on it although my friends tasted my sauce and absolutely loved it. The little patties were very potato-ey but I found the sauce to be a whole lot of cream and very bland. My friend proceeded to eat the rest of my dish as I moved onto something else.IMG_9579IMG_9581Rice ($2.50). This was a mountain of rice for $2.50, although it felt a little dry even for basmati rice.IMG_9576Mango lassi ($4.00?). Your average mango lassi, I had it in anticipation of coming across something hot. I thought it was a small serve.IMG_9575Goat curry. I couldn’t remember which one my friend ordered but she liked her curry a lot.IMG_9570Masala dosa ($9.50). This was the crispiest crepe I’ve ever had and I loved it. The filling consisted of strong curried potato flavours with mustard seeds and served with a side of something made mixed in with desiccated coconut. The accompanying sambar was nice but being a heavy meat eater I probably would have preferred a meat component but I loved the crepe.IMG_9586A peek inside the masala dosa.IMG_9588An assortment of sweets. I’m not quite sure what any of these are called as my friend snuck off and surprised us with a plate of sweets to share but when he describes the process of making each sweet, it is elaborate! That clear looking one on the right is apparently made from pumpkin; it had a really interesting texture that was really syrupy.IMG_9591The shop is much more tidy and although differences were subtle, it makes a huge difference to the atmosphere and sets the new owners apart.IMG_9564They have moved the freezer section and added more freezers. It looks much better and more organised nowIMG_9569Not much difference in the dining area except for the TV screens showing Bollywood movies.IMG_9594I like coming here because when my friend describes the cooking and preparation of these Indian dishes, it sounds tedious and very laborious; it is much nicer to go somewhere and buy everything you want from savoury items and complex sweets. I would recommend not coming here just before Diwali as the line can be very long and slow as it seems like everyone in town is in there.

New Year’s Resolutions

So by now, most people who had made a fleeting fitness New Year’s resolution would have given up (if you haven’t good for you!). I on the other hand, have made another type of resolution that I’m sharing with you all in hopes to keep me honest and get me through to fulfilling them before the end of the year.

I want to cook several things this year, wait let me rephrase that, I want to cook several things really well this year. I may or may not have made them before and it might seem like simple humble items but they make a good basis for a classic cooking repertoire.

1) a bread like object

There are so many different types of bread, I’m not going to limit myself just to one. I’ve never worked with yeast before, but I love the smell of fresh bread (who doesn’t) and tasting warm bread with real butter is absolutely divine. If you have any recipes or tips that would be great!

2) a curry

I love a good chicken curry but if I can, I want to make a flavoursome tender red meat curry that basically falls apart as you put a spoon through it.

3) pancakes

it might seem weird but I’ve never made a successful pancake outside of the pre-mixed shaker containers. It has always been my dirty little secret as a foodie, but with Shrove Tuesday coming up, there is no time like present.

4) tarts

After my love of making cupcakes and my failure of making macarons (which TimmyC has definitely made up for), my next big love was going to be making tarts. I have made some but haven’t gotten around to getting to the perfect recipe. I think tarts are gorgeous, delicious and very instagramable.

5) ice cream/sorbet

My lovely sister gave me the ice cream Kitchenaid attachment possibly two/three years ago now and I’ve never done anything with it. In my defense, that was roughly when I met Mr Frugii and my need for ice cream was taken care of. I should really throw that thing in the freezer so when the feeling arises I can make ice cream straight away without delay.

 
There are probably other things that I also want to make but these 5 resolutions are a good start. If you have any ‘fool proof’ recipes that you would like to share, that would be super handy. Have you made any resolutions this year?

 

King of Curries

Going to the King of Curries was the back up plan after our initial lunch plans fell through, but we were hungry and happy to go where there was a friendly face. Situated on the back streets of Belconnen, I did not know that this place existed and drove there under guidance of a North sider local.IMG_4643.JPGAfter ordering entrees, my eyes starting stinging because my sensitive eyes could sense the strong presence of onion from the kitchen. It was unpleasant for a little while but subsided after the entrees were served.

A simple set up within the restaurant but very neat and tidy.IMG_4658.JPGComplimentary pappadums while we wait for our meal.IMG_4659.JPGVegetarian platter for two assorted vegetable platter – samosa, vegetable pakora, spring rolls ($13.90). Although this was for two people, we split it amongst four people after having ordered four curries with rice and naan for mains, they were nice enough to cut the samosas in half. I found the pakoras really interesting as I had never seen them in patties before. They had an addictive and surprising chilli factor about it, luckily for me the sauce was sweet and complemented the assorted entrees but I did have to suck on my lassi afterwards. The samosas were made well and there was nothing special about the spring rolls other than the fact that they were being served in an Indian restaurant (in their defense it wasn’t like a Chinese /Thai/Vietnamese spring roll).IMG_4662-0.JPGA close up of the pakoras.IMG_4661.JPGMango lassi cooling yoghurt drink made with mango pulp ($4.00). I had to get something to brace myself of what was to come after our entree so I ordered a lassi. It was more yoghurt-y and runny rather than thick, mango-y and sweet, but it did the trick and cooled my mouth down.IMG_4663.JPGAn insanely bright rice to match the colour of my lassi.IMG_4664.JPGWhen asked how we wanted our curries, my friends were lovely enough to allow them to be all mild but one. I’m the worst Asian ever.

Lamb rogan josh (mild) authentic lamb curry from the foothills of Kashmir ($16.95). Distinct lamb flavours with tender lamb pieces.IMG_4665-0.JPGBeef Vindaloo (hot) an ever popular dish for spicy lovers; boneless meat cooked in home ground spices and herbs in tangy sauce ($16.95). I only had a bit of this. I didn’t think it was too hot at first but the spice hits you at the back of the throat later on.IMG_4666-0.JPGGarlic naan ($3.00) and plain naan ($2.50). These came out ridiculously hot and delicious. I’ve had a lot of naans in my lifetime (which by no means makes me an expert) and I really liked the naan here.IMG_4670.JPGPrawn Goan style King prawns cooked with rich coconut gravy, curry leaves and muted (mustard?) seed and finish with fresh coriander ($19.95). Something a little different, although all the curries seem to be mild, rich and creamy, they all had distinct flavours that are hard to describe.IMG_4669-0.JPGPeanut chicken (mild) boneless chicken cooked in homemade peanut sauce, lemongrass, herbs and mild spices ($17.95). It is always tempting to go the ‘usual’ during Indian dining despite the venue, but one my foodie friends insisted we get the peanut chicken rather than the butter chicken. I know what you’re thinking, ‘how could you not get a butter chicken?!’, but this ended up being my most favourite dish of the meal and I didn’t think about the missed butter chicken after my first bite. The surprising thing is that I’m not a huge fan of peanut sauces outside of desserts. It was very mild and creamy with tender chunks of chicken.IMG_4667-0.JPGThere are a lot of Indian restaurants in Canberra, there is nothing really stand out-ish about this one, but it does make me want to branch out try other dishes from my usual ‘go to’ list or at least come back to get more peanut chicken with some naan. They also have a variety of lunch specials that start from $10.00, bargain!

Venue: King of Curries

Address3/31-35 Nettlefold Street Belconnen, ACT

Phone: (02) 6251 0140

Opening hours:

Wednesday – Friday lunch from 12pm – 2pm

7 days dinner 5pm – 10pm

King of Curries on Urbanspoon

Rama’s Fijian Indian restaurant

I haven’t been to Rama’s for years but when my friend request hot and spicy food to celebrate her birthday, I knew exactly where to take her. I don’t think that the true south side has that many great restaurants so I’m glad to have this ‘on our side’.

As we went around the table and ordered our dish with our preference of heat, we were warned that medium was quite hot here and the hot was really really hot. Perfect, that was why we were here and that’s why I had raita and mango lassi at hand.

Mango lassi a cool Indian yoghurt drink, mango flavour ($3.50). A strong mango flavour that was very thick meant that they haven’t watered down the drink to save costs.

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Complimentary pappadums– they came out as an unexpected surprise, they were hot and crispy just like a pappadum should be.

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Bhajia shredded spinach, garlic, onion and ground lentils shaped into patties then deep fried (3 pieces per serve $11, added one extra $3.75). It wasn’t that oily despite being deep fried but it tasted much better with the tamarind sauce and the yoghurt.

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Fijian pork curry cubes of pork cooked with capsicum, onion and coriander leaves in a tangy, spicy sauce (MED spicy $23.00). I really appreciated the rub marinade on the pork, it made the pork very flavoursome and the meat was very tender. This dish was spicy but not overwhelming and we all agreed, very addictive.

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Prawn masala prawns cooked with onion, garlic, tomato and fresh coriander, in a spicy tomato based sauce (MED spicy $23.50). The prawn masala had a really rich tomato onion sauce with a slight hint of chilli. I loved having the sauce mixed with rice, very delicious.

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Garlic paratha wholemeal pan fried bread with garlic ($2.70 each). The wholemeal made this bread heavy and I didn’t recognise it to be paratha (I thought they gave us the wrong bread), it didn’t have much of a garlic taste to it either.

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Prawns saabji prawns cooked with onion, garlic and tomato in a creamy spinach sauce (HOT spicy$23.50). I was quite wary of this dish with fear of it burning a hole in my head. It was hot hot but affected my tongue in different areas to the pork and it really hits the back of your throat and your sinuses. I relayed between the curry and sips of lassi, it was hot but not unbearable.

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Sides~

Dhal thick spiced lentil soup. A great accompaniment for rice ($9.25). The dahl was a happy surprise. I ordered it as a non meaty alternative and a safe haven between bites of other curries. It was a rich and flavoursome dish with the lentils forming a thick soft textured soup.

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Raita grated cucumber in spiced yoghurt. Ideal for cooling the palate ($5.00).

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It was lovely to have a variety of dishes that were all curries, all packed heat yet had such different flavours. I haven’t eaten hot curries for so long, I was quite surprised that towards the end of the meal I found the raita quite sour and the lassi stupidly sweet.

The service was very friendly just as I remembered with the now owner walking around checking with the customers if they were satisfied. We were very satisfied and unfortunately couldn’t fit in dessert.

Venue: Rama’s Fijian Indian restaurant

Address: Shop 6, Pearce Shopping Centre/Macfarland Crescent, Pearce ACT 2607

Phone: (02) 6286 1964

Ramas Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Curry in a hurry

After only just getting back into the country, my friend took me to a new (well new to me) curry place in the city, Mon Thani. I’ve only been gone for just two weeks but new places are always popping up in Canberra.

It looks like the same people that run ‘The Burmese Curry place‘ near the city bus interchange but I’m not sure.

image

The ordering system is easy- you go in, hope that there are seats available otherwise you get your meal to take away. There are 9 dishes to choose from and you can choose two with some rice for $8.00, but it looked like if you eat in you slightly get a little bit more of everything.

1. Beef and potato curry                    6. Beef bamboo curry

2. Egg curry                                          7. Pork mince stir fry 

3. Prawn cake curry                           8. Tofu stir fry

4. Vegetarian curry                           9. Prawn stir fry

5. Green chicken curry

My friend and I both chose the beef and potato curry but it seems like the #9 prawn stir fry was the store favourite. The beef was very tough and chewy, not at all like I expected but there was a good ratio of beef to potato. I chose the pork mince stir fry for my second dish as I really like snake beans, it was okay, overall not very flavoursome.

My friend who is a bit more adventurous than me chose the egg curry which I thought wouldn’t sell much but she said that it was rather quite nice.

Even though I work near the city, I found driving across Northbourne and parking in the area too labourious for mediocre curries. I don’t know if I would come here again.

Venue: Mon Thani

Address: Petrie Place up from the merry-go-round towards the Fish Shack, Civic, ACT

CASH ONLY

An Indian affair

This is more of a food porn post as another cold windy day in Canberra makes me crave the warmth and satisfaction of Indian food. We were celebrating the retirement of a colleague at work who has had an astonishing career. Everyone brought something for the curry/Indian themed lunch and together we created one magical feast. There was a multitude of exotic curries, mango lassi, burfi and condiments and sides such as papadums, rice, chutneys and samosas.

A sweet spot for Bharat International

——-07/06/2012——-

I know Indians can make a damn good curry and I know that they definitely can dance but who knew they make really good  desserts  too! My friend introduced me to Bharat International spice and sweet centre a few years ago and now when I go in the manager recognises my face. 

Mango lassi ($3.00) One of the better tasting lassis that I have had and it isn’t too runny. I always get one just in case my mouth can’t hack the curry that I’ve just ordered. It’s  hard to buy lassi when I have just started making a lot of my own (it is so easy!), I’ll have to share the recipe with you guys soon.

Samosas ($2.50) It might be considered a little dry to some but the delicious tamarind sauce sure makes up for it!

Kadi with rice ($6.95) You can really taste all the different spices in this dish but I prefer choley as a vegetarian option.

Butter chicken and rice ($7.50) Not the best butter chicken (I’ve had the best in Canberra!) but still a great steal at $7.50.

Choley Bhature (2 puffed bread with chick pea curry) $6.95 served 11:30am – 3:00pm. I have eaten a lot of different breads in my time- naan, roti, paratha, chapati but never have I seen “puffed bread”, these babies come out looking like footballs eventually deflating down to a flat bread, it can be a little oily but it tastes so good! The curry is also really good, all the chilli component is more in the condiments under the bread.

It’s not called a sweets centre for nothing. Usually at an Indian restaurant you would see gulab jamun or your typical vanilla ice-cream with some topping but never did I imagine that there are such a variety in Indian desserts. A lot of them are very sweet, are either made from milk products or cheese and from what my friend tells me about the laborious process  of making these sweets, it is much easier to buy them!

I haven’t tried everything, but I am a big fan of burfi– not too sweet but I still take little bites. Jalebi– bright orange and fried dripping with sticky syrup and it is very sweet, I usually take a bite every few hours so I don’t come off my sugar high. Rasmalai– a mildy sweet cheese dessert in a very aromatic milky sauce and who doesn’t love a gulab jamun!

Burfi– almond and cashew and chocolate oh my!

Rasmalai

And of course they have the famous gulab jamun, beautifully warmed too.

I find the staff very friendly and patient as I stare up at the lit sign for a long time trying to decide what I want. To me it seems very authentic to see all these options you wouldn’t usually get in an Indian restaurant in terms of curries and desserts. They have a very casual dining area but when you’re here for a quick cheap lunch it is decent enough.

They stock so many spices, oils, rice and religious items, you are bound to find what you’re looking for at Bharat International, so while you are waiting for your food you can conveniently go shopping.

Venue: Bharat International spice and sweet centre

Address: 1/17-23 Oatley Court Belconnen ACT 2617

Phone: (02) 6251 0455

Opening hours: Open 7 days

Monday: 10:30am – 3:00pm

TuesdaySunday 10:30am – 8:00pm

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Global cafe and bar

——-30/05/2012——-

I have some work friends who are also keen foodies and we wanted to go out for lunch. We decided against Asian as we had it the last few times and we wanted to try something different, but when you take out Asian it really cuts down on your options.

Ethiopian- we’ve all eaten it and probably have eaten at the same two restaurants: Fekerte’s and Ethiopian Down under. So when I mentioned that I had seen a new (well new to me) Ethiopian restaurant near the Jolimont centre, we quickly google street mapped to stalked down Global cafe and bar.

From the website:

Most traditional Ethiopian curries are mild, so they can be enjoyed by people who like the flavours of exotic spices without the heat. However, extra chilli paste is available on request to those who prefer hot curries.”

We didn’t realise they had a lunch special, it was just a happy coincidence!

A selection of meat curries, lentils and vegetables. You get a choice of rice or Injera an Ethiopian bread. We decided to get rice for the table and everyone gets their own bread.

Vegetarian/Vegan~

Alicha Watsplit yellow peas with garlic, ginger and tumeric.

Vegie tosspan fried cabbage, carrot and green beans.

Duba Wat spiced pumpkin stewed with tomato and burbere sauce.

Kik Watred lentils slowly simmered in a spicy sauce.

Meat/chicken~

Doro Watchicken slowly simmered with tomato, paprika and hard boiled egg.

Key Watbeef hotpot slowly simmered with tomato, paprika and traditional flavours.

Like every other meal, I found it very hard to choose which 3 curries I wanted so the lady who was serving us kindly let us try four.

All the different combinations the table had:

Pumpkin, yellow lentils, beef and chicken curry.

Red lentils, vegie toss, chicken and beef curry.

Chicken, beef, pumpkin and red lentils.

Red and yellow lentils with a chicken and beef curry.

A chilli paste that I was not daring enough to try.

Some Iced tea to wash it all down.

Service was very casual and friendly and with everything already cooked you can have a cheap fast lunch here with little effort. The curries were somewhat flavoursome and it was great to see such a variety in flavours but not working in the city and having to find a car park,  I don’t think it was that fantastic that I would come out of my way to eat here again, even if it is $8.00 for the lunch special.

Venue: Global cafe and bar

Address: 63 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra City

Phone: (02) 6247 4104

Opening hours:

Lunch Monday to Friday: 11am – 3pm

Dinner Monday to Friday: 5pm – 8pm

Delicious vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options also available

Global cafe and bar on Urbanspoon

Chong Co re-run

——-25/05/2012——-

Well when I said that I have to come back and try more food, I didn’t think I’d be back so soon! This time we were skipping the lunch menu and browsing through the main menu to try their curries and stir fries.

Entree~

Mixed entreefish cake, spring roll and curry puff ($10.90). The fish cake was my favourite, it had a bit of a bite to it and might be the best fish cake I’ve ever eaten.

Mains~

Beef Massaman curry made from special massaman curry paste cooked with coconut milk, onion, potato topped with peanut and coriander ($19.90) I found this curry sweet which I thought was odd and even though the beef pieces were tender, it was basically two huge chunks of beef in this dish.

Gang phed ped yang roasted duck with red curry paste, coconut milk, lychee, cherry tomato, pineapple and mixed vegetables ($20.90) I thought the combination of curry with sweet fruit like lychee and pineapple would be weird but it actually goes well together. 

Beef with chilli basil sauce– stir fried with chilli, basil leaves and mixed vegetables ($18.90) This dish was very flavoursome and might be the best dish on the table despite the tough beef.

Penang chicken curry Thai style curry with thick coconut milk, green beans topped with kaffir lime leaves and crushed peanut ($18.90) Another sweet curry and a bit disappointing.

I don’t know if I’m completely keen on this restaurant, some of the dishes were great but nothing to make it stand out in comparison to other Thai restaurants and I thought some dishes were overpriced.

Punjabi hut- makin it great

——-04/11/2011——-

It was serendipitous that we went to Punjabi Hut as my friend and I were walking up and down the street trying to find another restaurant in Queanbeyan. I had heard great things about Punjabi Hut and the name always made me giggle. 

Entree~

Mixed Platter for two or morecombination of samosa, veggie cutlet, chicken tikka and rum kababs ($18.50). I couldn’t fault it, everything was delicious and the platter allowed us to try a bit of everything.

Main~

Shahi Thali (non-vegetarian) includes three chef’s selected curries, rice, naan and accompaniments (26.50). I asked the waitress if the chef was in a happy mood that evening and she said that the chef is always happy and smiling. “So the curries won’t be too hot?” I asked, she said that we could request mild. “Will butter chicken be one of the three curries?” I asked being one of those annoying customers with a thousand questions. “Yes, butter chicken will be one of the curries”. SOLD! That’s all I needed to know really. 

Butter chicken- I’m going to put it out there and I know it’s a big call, but it was THE most delicious butter chicken I’ve ever eaten (and believe me I’ve eaten a lot of butter chicken). My boyfriend thought it was a big call to make until he tried some (on a different night) and with a shy look he agreed with me. Creamy and delicious!

Beef vindaloo (mild)- although we requested mild there was still some bite to it but I could still eat it. The meat was very tender and the sauce was delicious!

Lamb rojan josh (mild)- also spicy but not too hot. Although the vindaloo and rojan josh were very nice, they took a backseat to the butter chicken. Mmmmmmmmmmm…

Accompaniments~

mango chutney & rasgulla (2pcs) – white sponge cottage cheese dumplings. Very tasty and added a nice sweet touch to the meal.

Yes, we also had dessert. With everything being so good so far, I wanted to see if it was across the board.

Dessert~

Punjabi Malai Kulfi- Home made milk and nuts ice cream ($5.50). This was very delicious with all the spices and nuts. I don’t recommend sharing, it’s not big enough for two, maybe not even big enough for one. 

Gulab Jamun (2pcs)cottage cheese dumplings dipped in flavoured syrup ($5.50) I’ve eaten a lot of gulab jamun but I’ve never had one warmed to the perfect temperature and it wasn’t too sweet. This made me do my happy clap. 

There are currently major road works on Crawford street right now which make the restaurant a little bit hard to get to than usual. The owner told me that Friday nights especially, the restaurant would be booked out solid but since the road works it has been less busy. ‘Lucky for us’ I thought, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to stroll in as we did but sad for them because their food was really really good.

Everything we happened to order was a “Punjabi Hut recommendation” and choosing a platter for the main and entree meant that we got to try a full range of dishes even though there was only two of us. 

I have to mention that the staff were exceptionally polite and attentive. My mouth was spoilt with delicious flavours and textures. I ate with a friend who didn’t mind letting me order whatever I wanted and was willing to try everything. All in all- a perfect dining experience! The only bad thing is that it has ruined all other butter chickens for me.

I’m heading to the Erindale location very soon with a lot more people, I’m hoping it will be just as wonderful!

Venue: Punjabi Hut

Address: 224 – 226 Crawford St, Queanbeyan, NSW 2620 (also @ Erindale)

Phone: (02) 6297 2717

Entertainment book: Yes it’s a paper voucher, remember to bring it with you.

You can’t argue with the numbers!

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