Agostini’s

I had such high hopes for Agostini’s, the latest Italian restaurant to open in the Canberra dining scene. The lure of their pink sign and the promise of handmade pasta and authentic pizza easily convinced me to have one of my birthday celebrations there with some close friends.When I had booked two weeks ahead for a Monday night, I thought I was being super organised. It caught me by surprise when I saw that we were expected to leave after two hours for the next booking. I assumed they were super busy and I would endeavour to eat as fast as I could. It turns out that we weren’t rushed at all, there must be a two hour allocated seating time for bookings through Dimmi.

I liked the spacious dining area, it allows for larger groups and even as a table of four, I didn’t feel that we were sitting on top of each other.Entrees~

Calamari fritti lightly fried calamari served with an aioli of grilled lemon & mint ($15.00). Not chewy but nothing special and a tad too salty for my liking.Frico a typical dish from the Friuli region of Italy. Paper thin layers of Montasio cheese & potato, oven roasted to form a heavenly, crunchy, chewy morsel ($10.00). We were all curious to see what this would look like and was surprised to see it so flat despite the description. I think the reason why I enjoyed it so much is that it reminds me of the crunchy part of a lasagna- think a thicker parmesan wafer.Margherita bufala pizza bufala mozzarella, Agostinis’ spice & basil ($22.00). Their pizza bases are really good with good quality toppings. We really enjoyed this.Mains~

Napolitana pizza anchovies, olives, capers, Fior di Latte mozzarella & basil ($22.00) with a request to top it off with rocket ($2.00). My friend really enjoyed his pizza, I think the rocket helped balance all the salty components.Lasagne al ragu classic Italian lasagne with slow cooked wagyu beef, sandwiched between handmade pasta sheets & topped with grated Reggiano Parmigiano ($25.00). I was very disappointed with my lasagne, it had no flavour. Frankly, I’ve had better lasagne from my supermarket.Fusilli funghi corkscrew shaped pasta with mushroom ragù with scamorza cheese & thyme ($22.00). The most flavoursome out of all the pasta dishes on the table but I thought it needed a lot more sauce and ingredients to cover the pasta as some mouthfuls seemed like I was eating plain pasta.Spaghetti alla marinara vongole, prawns, fish, vino bianco, cherry tomatoes, chilli, garlic & parsley ($28.00). This seriously lacked flavour. No salt, no chilli, no garlic; it was just bland and disappointing. The spaghetti felt a tad too thick and it was over cooked therefore it almost had the consistency of tinned spaghetti. Shame, I had high hopes for this dish.Desserts~

Affogato House-made vanilla gelato served with an espresso & your choice of digestivo: Cafe Patron XO Tequila, Frangelico or Grappa ($15.00). My friend requested to omit the digestive and we were still charged the full amount. That is one expensive coffee shot!Gelati choice of 3 flavours – vanilla, coffee liquor, chocolate peanut butter ($10.00). They had some strange choices (cherry salted caramel?) but we opted for these flavours, which were very nice. It is probably best to clarify the flavour choices as we thought there was a cherry flavour and a salted caramel flavour, not one flavour with cherry and salted caramel combined.Agostinis’ tiramisu made to order… savoiardi biscuits, freshly brewed coffee, mascarpone & chocolate mousse ($12.00). This definitely made your eyes widen as your hit that base that started to pool with coffee. Being made to order meant that there were some crunchy parts of the tiramisu which I thought was a bit odd. My friend and I ordered one each and if you add the part that I had eaten with the part that she had eaten, we wouldn’t have even finished one portion. It was too strong, too much mascarpone and too OTT.

I found the service really terrible. No one was rude or unpleasant but they needed constantly prompting. Can we have more water? Can we get cheese for the pasta? Can we get more wine? On top of that, we found ourselves needing to ask more than once because no one came back for almost 20 minutes. For a restaurant that wasn’t terribly busy, I felt that we were forgotten about A LOT.

I won’t be rushing back here in a hurry, but I would come back for their pizza and hope that their pasta and service improves.

Venue: Agostini’s

Address: East Hotel, 6/69 Canberra Ave, Griffith ACT 2603

Phone: (02) 6178 0048

Agostini's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Lokma Turkish cuisine

I asked my friend if we could grab take away from her local shops at Casey Market town, which seemed to be forever expanding. Lokma is one of Casey’s newest eateries and when we arrived Friday afternoon to grab take away, we saw ten staff members zooming around so we were not the only ones with the same idea.

I couldn’t fit all staff members in one shot as they kept running around because it was so busy, it was impressive to watch!Banquet (minimum 2 people $22.00 pp) dips, zucchini fritters, borek, pide, chicken skewers, kofte, rice, salad, bread and baklava (not pictured). I was really surprised that we were able to choose any three small dips with our banquet for three people; we chose hummus, beetroot and carrot. Sweet chilli chicken pide marinated chicken with mixed vegetables and sweet chilli sauce ($4.00 extra). We paid a little extra for our pide as it was one of the more expensive ones but we didn’t realise this until we went to pay. I’ve never had a pide with sweet chilli sauce so I thought it was unusual, I think I’ll order a more traditional filling next time. The pide was massive! We weren’t even close to finishing all the food but it was expected as no one I know has ever left hungry from a Turkish banquet. I thought the grilled meats were better at Sultan’s in Gungahlin but I was astounded and impressed with the value for money for the vast variety of food you get, which can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home (or a friend’s!).

It was so busy that night that our order took over 30 minutes to prepare but we just strolled around to check out the other stores. Despite looking like chaos, our order had everything packed and ready to go when our name was called. I would like to go back to try their kebabs and snack packs as they were very generous with their fillings and toppings.

 

Venue: Lokma Turkish Cuisine

Address: Casey Market Town, Shop 2A, 15 Kingsland Parade

Phone: (02) 62595267

Opening times:

Monday – Thursday and Sunday 9am – 9pm

Friday – Saturday 9am – 10pm

Sorrows end in snot (block)

I hadn’t been to Aldi for a while but I was shocked to see that their fresh bread cabinet had completely disappeared. When I enquired at the checkout, the attendant informed me that they were no longer doing fresh baked products across all Australian stores. 😦

I was really sad as their $1.99 tiger loaf was absolutely delicious at a bargain price. So I went to drown my sorrows in a packet of small frozen vanilla slices (also known as ‘snot blocks’ in Australia). It seemed easy enough, just defrost the portions for 20 minutes at room temperature and then they are ready to go.

Not exactly like the real thing from your local bakery as the custard is very light, but still, a tasty tiny morsel that is ready in a matter of minutes. Tee hee, so cute and teeny tiny.

Koi Dessert Bar

This was the last stop of the day during our epic progressive foodie tour across Sydney CBD. We had booked Koi Dessert bar several weeks beforehand and we tried to keep enough stomach space to enjoy their famous delightful desserts.Complimentary bread and butter~

Set dinner ($77.oo pp)

first course

Eggplant

steamed eggplant, trout roe, eschalots and smoked eggplant broth

This arrived so quickly and the portion was so small, I had initially mistaken it for an amuse bouche. I loved the clean presentation but I found the broth’s harsh eggplant burnt taste too much like baba ganoush, which I’m not really a fan of.

second course

Quack

duck breast, micro green, cherries and cherry reduction

I loved how they cut the cherries in tiny little precise wedges; they made for gorgeous adorning presentation and provided just that little bit of sweetness to the duck. There was a good meat to fat to skin ratio, it was just a shame that it was all over in a matter of a few bites.

third course

Angus

Angus beef with wagyu bresaola, burnt onion and mushroom puree (cooked medium rare)

After my first bite, I thought I really enjoyed this course until I realised what I really like was the mushroom puree. We were all a bit disappointed as the duck course had set the bar high and the beef was hard to cut and a little chewy.

fourth course

Vanilla Cherry

vanilla mousse, frozen raspberry, blackberry gel, cherry slices and long pepper

Oh wow, I loved the way they presented the cherries. The mousse was super delicate and carried well to sweeten the flavours from all the fruit. Despite the presence of long pepper, there was only a subtle amount of heat. This was delicious.

fifth course

Typical chocolate

summer berries, chocolate, citrus and caramel. We were advised to start with berries and ending with caramel

It was no surprise that chocolate paired well with berries but I made a disgusted face when I bit into the burnt citrus; it was a very harsh flavour and I did not enjoy it. The caramel was a beautiful way to finish off the dessert though, I could just sit and eat that all day.

optional sixth course ($20.00) 

We were all super full from the day’s events but we weren’t one to miss out on a course even if it was optional. It was nice that they let us order one to share between the four of us.

Moss

pistachio mousse, caramel gel, white chocolate matcha dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime and yoghurt and green apple

Many different components to this dish and I can’t say that I could taste them all even though I was careful to get a bit of everything on my spoon. The strong flavours to me came from the nitro lime, yoghurt, white chocolate and apple. I liked how the sour and sweet notes were subsided with the yoghurt and white chocolate.

seventh course

Cheesecake

lime cheesecake mousse, brown butter and shiso.

I loved who they made a well out of the cream cheese in this deconstructed cheesecake, I might use that idea if I ever try to recreate something similar. Like all of the previous desserts, this was not a heavy dessert that was OTT; they really understand the balance of flavours and textures.We felt a little up and down about the mains but when the desserts came out, it felt like I was eating at another restaurant. It was seriously next level! And although we had eaten four desserts, I never did feel like something was too sweet or heavy that I couldn’t finish it. I will definitely have to bring TimmyC with me next time I come.

Venue: Koi Dessert Bar

Address: 46 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008

Phone(02) 9212 1230

KOI Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1

Some foodie friends and I decided to do a trip to Sydney. We listed a bunch of eateries and although we knew we couldn’t fit in all the deliciousness that Sydney had to offer, we were damn well going to try. With dates locked in for the next trip, let’s call this post Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1.

Stop #1 Mother Chu’s Taiwanese Gourmet 

I’m a sucker for fried dough sticks at any time of day, so when we could order them for breakfast at Mother Chu’s I was like ‘heck yes!’. We ordered a small selection of delicious Taiwanese treats to ease us into our progressive foodie tour around Sydney city, but I really wanted to eat more.

Green onion cake ($3.50). This was my favourite pick of the dishes as it seems deceptively simple but had an amazing crunchy flaky texture.Flaky pastry with You Tiao ($5.50 each).Glutinous rice roll with pork floss ($5.00 each)Cold soybean drink ($3.00).

Stop #2 Emperor’s cream puffs

If you can stop yourself at one, they are 35c each but who really has that much self control. For 5 bucks you get a container full of 18 cute little puffs in the shape of a walnut filled with hot custard. CAUTION HOT! It is not as good as Beard Papa, but I’ll take what I can get.

Stop #3 Niigata city

We were on the search for O-san ramen down in Dixon food court only to be met by an empty store. We stood there in disbelief as we didn’t have a plan B. We immediately took to google to find out that the ramen store is safe and well in another location after a kitchen explosion. We headed to Niigata City beating the lunch rush. Knowing the delicious road ahead, we had to opt for half serves ($9.00) but it was very tempting to want more. The broth was slightly thick, very rich and went down a treat with the delicious char sui and bouncy chewy noodles. This place quickly became one of my top 5 places to eat ramen in Sydney.

Around us everyone ordered beautiful bento boxes, I will have to come back and try more of the menu.

Favourite pick: Tonkotsu ramen (which has always been my favourite, although the black garlic did catch my eye). The addition of raw onions did catch me a bit off guard.

Stop #4 Hakkaido baked cheese tarts

This was initially one of our first stops until we realised that they weren’t open yet and we were too hungry to wait around. The opening times were a little unclear, it appears they open around 11:30am until when they sell out (roughly around 4pm). There is a limit of 6 cheese tarts per customer at $3.90 a pop.

After taking a million photos around the stall without annoying other patrons, I took a bite of the luke warm wobbly tart. It instantly reminded me of an oyster mornay (without the oyster of course), it tasted like a bechamel sauce with the burnt spots which then after a subtle aftertaste of a cheesecake. A subtle sweetness that I could get used to.

Knowing that there were still many stops along the way during this hot day, I decided not to order a roadie to see what it tasted like cold. I will definitely be back!

Stop #5 Holy Shake

Next stop – Gimmicky-ville

Did I just buy a honey milk tea with pearls ($6.40) just so I could get a cute light bulb that flashes rainbow lights? Perhaps, but if TimmyC asks, it was purely essential for my hydration levels on a hot day.

At least the milk tea wasn’t too sweet which is how I like it.

Stop #6 Just Fry

We needed something to take the edge of all the sweetness we had been having and Just Fry’s sign had been staring at us, nay TAUNTING us that we had to get something fried. We opted for the Taiwanese chicken nuggets ($6.50), which came in a pre-weighed amount, deep fried and then doused in garlic (amazing!). A handy little savoury snack to keep us going until our next stop.

Stop #7 i-Creamy Artisan Gelato

I had first come across gelato flowers when I was in Europe a few years ago. It appears the craze has finally hit our shores but this time with the option of Asian flavours. My first picks of flavours (raspberry yoghurt and French vanilla) were sold out so I ended up with salted caramel and taro ($6.90), not because the flavours particularly compliment each other but because I had chosen two brown flavours as my second choice and it was pointed out by my server. I panicked and threw in purple into the mix. Some flavours are more suited to the outer petals depending on the ‘hardness’ of the ice cream.

It may be because I’ve been spoilt by Frugii for so many years but I didn’t think the flavours were very strong (I had high expectations and hopes for salted caramel) and within minutes of receiving my ice cream, it started to melt very fast (it was a particularly hot day) and with each lick, the pretty petals melted away to give a brown/purple melded concoction.

I’d keep your money for a better ice creamery, this seems to be purely gimmicky (but very instagrammable).

Stop #8 Uncle Tetsu

Well since we tried one cheese tart, it would only be fair if we wandered across the road and tried the other cheese tart. I was surprised to see that Uncle Tetsu had expanded into three areas; the front main stall was selling Japanese cheesecake with other baked goods, the entrance at the back sold cheese tarts exclusively and down stairs you could find sweets including their matcha range with limited seating.

Uncle Tetsu’s cheesetart ($3.90). Looking at the shell of the tart, I knew it would be more hard and crumbly than the previous one we had tried. This tart had more of a custard tart vibe and didn’t have that light wobbliness to the texture. I didn’t love the crust although the filling was nice but overall I think I prefer Hakkaido cheese tarts. The matcha tart had a nice flavour with a subtle tea bitterness aftertaste.

Stop #9 Black Star Pastry

My foodie friends wanted to try the raspberry lychee cake and it is one of the better cakes to eat on a hot day. I really love raspberry paired with lychee and it did taste a lot like their famous watermelon as they share the same filling, but I think the watermelon version is more refreshing.

Stop #10 Koi Dessert bar

This one deserves a post of its own. Be on the look out for my next post but until then here is some food porn.

OTIS Dining Hall

It seemed like a particularly long week at work, so I convinced my friend that we should deservedly go to have lunch at OTIS to celebrate surviving the first week back.

We had the 3 course deal for $64.00 pp but I’ve listed the à la carte prices.

Starters~

Spaghetti no. 5, pecorino, pepper and truffle ($18.00). This is definitely a dish best eaten hot. I couldn’t really taste any truffle because it was so pepper dominant, but I love pepper and cheese so this worked really well for me. The serve was small so the taste didn’t become monotonous.Mains~

Baked ocean trout, hollandaise, spring vegetables ($32.00). My friend really enjoyed her main. I tried the hollandaise sauce and it had a wonderful zesty kick to it.OTIS pepper steak, silk-wood brandy jus, side of frites ($42.00). If you know me, you know I love my steak and now you know I love my pepper, so you mathematically I would love this dish (and I did!) but what made me take my breath away was the jus. It is so rich that not long after pouring it onto my plate, it started to form a skin. Not only did it give a great flavour enhancement to the beef, it made for the best dipping sauce for my fries.Desserts~

Magnum and meringue, lemon curd, shortbread ($16.00). A great combination. The perfect amount of sweetness with the perfect amount of zest, served within an array of textures.Crème caramel, whisky, smoked sea salt ($16.00). This was so smooth and rich and while I did really enjoy it, I found myself having to flick back and forth between the lemon curd of the other dessert to break up the intense sweetness.The staff were very friendly and attentive. We had long lunch to enjoy to the whole experience and we left feeling full and very satisfied. My friend was so impressed that she already decided when she was going back (without me too!).

Such comfy comfy seats!Venue: OTIS Dining Hall

Address: 29 Jardine St, Kingston ACT 2604

Phone:  (02) 6260 6066

The Cheesecake Factory cheesecake

While casually shopping in Costco, I walked past the freezer section that I don’t often venture past only to find myself slowly reversing and pressing my face up to the glass. Do my eyes deceive me? Was that really what I thought it was?

Yes ladies and gentlemen. Costco Canberra (for now) is selling The Cheesecake Factory original cheesecake ($21.89), complete with graham cracker crust and the smooth cheesecake filling that we all know and love. Upside: it is all pre-cut and equally portioned for your convenience with a paper dividers; it’s the original cheesecake so you can dress it up however you like it (I had mine with berries, passionfruit, my friend added Nutella) and it tasted like I never left Hawaii.

Downside: the serving suggestion was to thaw it in the fridge for 8-12 hours (ain’t no body got time for that, I just left it on the counter until I was ready to eat it); our pineapple isn’t as sweet so I can’t replicate my favourite flavour.I take no responsibility with what you do with this information.

The Cheesecake Factory – Hawaiian series 

When you enter a restaurant that has over 35 types of cheesecake, you try to decide what you want for dessert and work your way backwards. It was after 9:30pm and the wait for a table for four was still 20 minutes, The Cheesecake Factory is a very popular place to be!There is a takeaway counter for all those who choose to take a cheesecake to go.Don’t be tempted by their complimentary bread, it was unusually sweet but it takes up important cheesecake stomach space.Fried macaroni and cheese crispy crumbed coated macaroni and cheese balls, served over a creamy marinara sauce ($12.50). This was rather quite underwhelming and was rather bland, I wouldn’t bother ordering this again.Old fashioned burger charbroiled on a toasted brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mayonnaise served with french fries or green salad ($12.95). It is interesting that they add their salad separately because that is exactly how I prefer it. The thick beef patty was super juicy, the bread was just sweet enough and fries were served hot- all in all, a fabulous burger.Spicy chicken chipotle pasta honey glazed chicken, asparagus, red and yellow peppers, peas, garlic and onion in a spicy chipotle parmesan cream sauce. This was delicious! The perfect amount of spiciness and generous serve of ingredients but man, it was huge portion! Between the four of us we could not finish this.Quesadilla grilled flour tortilla filled with melted cheese, green onions and chillies, garnished with guacamole, salsa and sour cream with chicken. A tasty appetizer that we was nice and light, a good choice if you want dessert afterwards.The menu was HUGE, it contained an extensive list of everything from glamburgers to pasta to tacos and seafood. We all got a bit excited with ordering our mains and instead of getting four cheesecakes for dessert like we intended, we could only fit in a few mouthfuls of one slice that we all shared.

We weren’t going to be defeated again, so our subsequent visits resulted in just getting take away cheesecake. We were able to try 9 flavours in total, which included the fresh pineapple cheesecake that is only available in Hawaii.

  1. Key lime cheesecake
  2. Dutch apple caramel streusel cheesecake
  3. Fresh pineapple cheesecake
  4. Snickers bar chunks and cheesecake
  5. Ultimate red velvet cake cheesecake
  6. Mango key lime cheesecake
  7. Toasted marshmallow s’m0res galore
  8. Chocolate tuxedo cream cheesecake
  9. Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake

Out of all the cheesecakes I had the pleasure of tasting, I really enjoyed the fresh pineapple and Dutch apple caramel streusel. I found that the less sweet flavours work best as it wasn’t OTT.This is a very busy restaurant all the time (there was a 45 minute wait at 10:30pm one time we stopped by) but it didn’t stop the service being friendly, efficient and attentive. For a place called ‘The Cheesecake Factory’ I was surprised that the main meals were rather good and that there were so many choices. If you do come here for a meal, remember to leave room for cheesecake.

Venue– The Cheesecake Factory

Address– Royal Hawaiian Center, 2301 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

The Cheesecake Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Courgette

There is nothing more I can say about Courgette since I’ve blogged about it so many times; TimmyC and I always enjoy our visits here, even after all the restaurants that come and go in the Canberra dining scene.

Here is a collage of our last visit; even though it was in the middle of the week, it was a very busy night. We particularly enjoyed the Moreton bay bugs and surprisingly the venison.

Four course dinner ($88.00pp)~

– First course – 

In house smoked salmon, seared scallop, fennel sand, cauliflower puree, fermented black garlic

Sweetcorn croquette, heirloom tomato, bail pesto, green olive, toasted seeds

– Second course – 

Sauteed Moreton bay bugs, tomato, asparagus, cauliflower foam, chorizo crumb, petit herbs

Golden plains pork fillet and crispy jowl, miso mustard, celery fig salad, air dried black pudding

– Third course – 

Mandagery creek venison loin, truffled mash, baby spinach, red cabbage gel, port and thyme jus

Blue eyed cod and prawn sandwich, colcannon, bearnaise, salted baby capers, cornichons

– Four course – 

Baked hazelnut tart, coffee marscapone mousse, raspberry gel, dulce de leche, praline dust

Dropped cinnamon apple pie, vanilla bean custard, burnt apple ice cream, toasted oat crunch

Courgette also offer a 3 course lunch for $66.00pp, you should get there and see for yourselves why they keep winning awards.

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

Adult fail. Culinary win!

So it appears after going to the markets with no meal plan in mind, all I’ve bought is a million apples, delicious scotch fillet and popping corn on the cob… Not exactly ingredients for a meal- ADULT FAIL.

Later that day after a long yum cha catch up, I decided not to sit down and bum about and instead cooked truffled risotto with brie, two cheat apple tarte tatins (for the first time) and prepared the fillings to make kroketten (also for the first time) in just over two hours- CULINARY WIN!

Back to reality- I realised I still don’t have any lunch for tomorrow so I had to quickly cook rice to accompany some left over beef rib that I have in the fridge.

A close of the ‘cheat’ apple tarte tatin, the caramel dripping off the crunchy pastry was the best part.

Katers restaurant 

We had just booked our accommodation in Bowral when I saw the Groupon voucher that was an absolute steal for Katers restaurant at Peppers Manor House. The deal included three courses and a bottle of wine for $85.00 for two people.

We were slightly amused with our waitress. She was an older woman who didn’t seem too fussed that the restaurant was really busy and had a very blasé attitude about everything as she casually pottered about.

Groupon voucher: three courses and a bottle of wine for $85.00 for two people, but I’ve written the prices from the menu.

The white and red wine options that are included in the Groupon voucher.Complimentary bread and butter~

The bread was served warm and there was plenty of butter, the perfect combination!Amuse bouche~

Rockmelon with goats cheese, ash and prosciutto. When I asked our blasé waitress about where the prosciutto was, she simply shrugged and said she would ask the kitchen but she never came back with an answer.Entrees~

Seared scallops and Rodriquez spiced chorizo, roasted cauliflower puree, squid ink meringue, coriander oil ($24.00). These scallops were much plumper than the ones we had at lunch and it has been a while since I’ve had such delicious scallops. The chorizo was also very nice, while the puree really help meld all the strong flavours together. We were very happy with our entree and were quite excited for what was to come.Confit quail terrine, toffee parsnip, spear, watercress, cumin ($23.00).Mains~

Pan seared duck breast, kumara, hazelnut crumble, cherry glaze, whiskey coffee gel ($40.00). My friend joked and asked where the rest of his carrots were as they mostly appeared to be the tops. I jokingly replied that they were on the lamb dishes.Maugers lamb back strap, braised baby leek, roasted garlic crushed, roasted Kipfler potato, eggplant caviar, chilli fig, rosemary jus ($39.00). I was really disappointed with the portion sizes; there was just two tiny pieces of lamb for almost 40 bucks, I’m glad we came in with a voucher. Marseille bouillabaisse, today’s market fish, cold water langoustine, scallop, saffron rouille ($40.00). I loved the intense prawn head flavour throughout the soup base and it had nice meaty seafood textures to compliment but it is these same aspects that made my friend not like her main. It goes to show each to their own.Desserts~

Chestnut bitter chocolate torte, raspberry egg, espresso and hazelnut ice cream ($21.00).Lemon panna cotta, rhubarb foam, coconut parfait, lime cannoli ($18.00). This had way too much gelatin in it, we could tell from the moment it was placed down in front of us with its stiff movement.Blood orange and almond pudding, lychee sorbet, pomegranate ($21.00). We had to remind the waitress that this dessert came with lychee sorbet and she rushed back into the kitchen to have it added.Toffee apple tea cake, camomile  ice cream ($18.00). I liked how the cake looked like a cross between a toffee apple and a real apple but made the cake very messy and difficult to eat. The cake’s sweetness comes from its sticky toffee coating which was balanced by the ice cream.House cheese: aerated Manuka honey blue, lavender Bergamot, rosemary and thyme labna, local Camembert, local goat’s cheese, selection of breads and crackers ($26.00). The last cheese platter I ate/stole from was amazing (see my post here) but I left most of this on the platter. I found some of the cheese bland while some of the other cheeses were pungent, especially the goats cheese.We definitely got our money’s worth considering my three courses was more expensive than the voucher for two people. The food quality was okay, but definitely nowhere near the calibre of which they had advertised to be (it is supposed to be a hatted restaurant by the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide). It was a shame because they started the night off so strong with our entrees.

I think everything sounded really fancy on paper but the execution missed the mark and therefore the prices are too high for the actual food quality. I wouldn’t come here again considering there is so much good food around the Bowral area.

Venue: Katers restaurant

Address: Kater Rd, Sutton Forest, NSW

Phone: (02) 4860 3102

 

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

Sabor in the Hunter Lovedale

So it turns out that the dessert cafe Sabor has two locations: one that the locals know about (and now you), which is away from all the hustle and bustle of the vineyards and one located within a winery in the gorgeous Pokolbin area. Both venues have beautiful cakes and chocolates to tempt the young and old.

As you step in you can smell the sweetness in the air. We walked past the chocolate truffles and locally made cookies to be met with two large glass cabinets filled with eye catching desserts. ‘You can only choose one’ I thought to myself as much as I wanted one of everything and chocolates to go. I was tempted with the tasting plate which seemed to be the indecisive person’s easy way out as it had a range of five minature desserts.

Please forgive the bad photos, I took two quick photos and then had to make some very big decisions.Caramel and hazelnut cone milk chocolate and praline mousse, centered with a caramel creme, sitting on a chocolate sponge and a crushed hazelnut halo (around $14.00 dine in). After much deliberation, I had chosen the caramel hazelnut cone. It looked very glamorous and upon reading the description I thought it would be fairly light. There wasn’t much complexity to the flavours, it was like a light chocolate mousse with a nutty after taste if you got some nuts in the bite.

Red velvet and summer berry cheesecake a moist red velvet cake set upon a croquant base, doused in raspberry coulis then buried in a summer berry cheesecake, encased with a raspberry glitter glaze topped with a blueberries and blueberry crumble ($14.00 dine in). This dessert was visually stunning and even though it wasn’t mine, I instagrammed it but not without at least taking a bite to taste. I was surprised to see a cake encased in cheesecake which definitely took this to the next level. I thought the way that the glitter glistened in the light was beautiful.
Carmel cheesecake a baked cheesecake in a sweet pastry case topped with a generous swirl of caramel and sprinkled with chocolate flakes ($11.00). Karma would have it that I teased my friend for getting such a simple looking dessert and I preferred his over mine. We were disappointed that there wasn’t caramel throughout the cheesecake and just on top but the cream cheese made this dessert not as sweet as the others.On a day with beautiful weather and nothing but picturesque surroundings on one side, this would be the perfect place to catch up with friends or indulge for a special occasion.Venue: Sabor in the Hunter Lovedale

Address: 319 Wilderness Road, Lovedale / Rothbury

Phone: 1300 958 850

Opening hours:
Saturday 10am – 4.30pm
Sunday 10am – 4.30pm (unless sold out)

Websitehttps://saborinthehunter.com.au/
Sabor in the Hunter Dessert Bar 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

 

Mövenpick

After a delicious and fast (we ordered online, but ate really quickly) dinner at Brodburger, we wandered down the busy Kingston foreshore to go have dessert from the newly opened Mövenpick.

It was pretty busy on the Saturday night but there were plenty of seats as everyone was getting ice cream scoops to go (single scoop of ice cream is $5.50, double $7.50, triple $9.50).

Hot drink tasting plate your choice of piccolo hot drink served with three tasting scoops of Mövenpick ice cream ($12.95). There were recommendations with either a chocolate, coffee or nut ice cream flavours but TimmyC had his trio of ice creams picked out already. He chose: white chocolate (his favourite) with shard of white chocolate through the ice cream, panna cotta and creme brulee. A nice combination if you wanted a small hot beverage with your ice cream.Chocolate waffles freshly baked crunchy chocolate waffles served with Mövenpick Swiss chocolate and Stracciatella ice creams, drizzled with decadent chocolate sauce and sprinkled with white chocolate shavings (no ice cream choice $16.95). They were made fresh and in-house, double points! Not the greatest waffles but still decent.Shortbread ice cream stack ($9.95). My friend who was able to choose his flavours said that the ice cream was nice but the shortbread made it hard to eat and it wasn’t worth getting over scoops of ice cream by itself.Macaron selection subtly flavoured, crisp, light macaroon [sic] shells sandwiched with complimenting flavours of Mövenpick ice-cream, great a unique and delectable taste sensation like no other (no ice cream choice $12.95). To tell you the truth, I really got this for an Instagram photo and to see if their macaron shells were any good. Since there were no choices of ice cream I asked what the flavours were going to be; they were: chocolate, salted caramel and pistachio. I really liked the texture of the shells, they melded with the ice cream really well and they weren’t stale. I really enjoyed the chocolate and salted caramel as they were exactly how you would imagine they would taste but I took two nibbles of the pistachio macaraon ice cream sandwich and left the rest on my plate. It tasted like I ate a mouthful of bad mazipan. Did not like! It was really more novelty than anything else, next time I’ll just stick to scoops of ice cream.

It is nice to have such a big Mövenpick outlet in Canberra. I have been dragged around to plenty around Australia because of TimmyC’s love of their white chocolate ice cream and there aren’t many around. It’s good to have a choice of plated desserts with so many varieties, but I’m just a simple girl and might just stick with regular good ol’ ice cream in a cup.

 

Venue: Mövenpick

Address: Unit 154, The Promenade, Kingston, ACT 2601

Opening times:

Sunday – Thursday 11am–10pm

Friday – Saturday 11am–11pm