Casey Jones

It might seem like an odd statement to make considering I live on the other side of town but I have been waiting for Casey’s gastropub Casey Jones to open since before they started building the shops. I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview event and they showed us everything! A kitchen tour, the fit out of the whole funky place, a sneak peek and taste of their breakfast menu, mains, snacks, dessert as well as their wicked cocktail and mocktail menu. If the preview is anything to go by, Canberra hold onto your metaphorical hats, you’re in for a real treat!I really like the set up; it is really spacious, the tables which are made from old railroad sleepers are gorgeous and in the summer time there is opportunity to extend dining and perhaps a beer garden outside. I think open area near the bar is going to be versatile for functions and large groups.Next up: the staff. We had an opportunity to catch up with all the staff including owner Josh, maître d’ Sorrel, head chef Abel and head barman/mixologist Jamie. Each and every one of them were all very passionate about what they are doing and what they want to achieve here at Casey Jones. Their commitment and talents are showcased through their fabulous service, delectable food, awesome drinks and amazing atmosphere.

Jamie gave a few cocktail making demonstrations and even though I don’t drink, even I was tempted and sampled some of his champagne cocktails, affogatos, cocktails and a large range of his non-alcoholic spritzers.

That is a lot of beer on tap!How pretty are the champagne cocktails!I would be tempted to order the affogato instead of dessert! This was incredible.You should try one of their signature cocktails Casey Jones smoked maple bacon and cherry infused old fashioned ($24.00). It will sure to impress with the added theatrics when it is served, plus it comes with  a strip of delicious maple bacon. YUM!
Salted caramel espresso martini with vanilla foam ($18.00).Their espresso martini smelled so so so good.Mocktails: I had had my fill of alcohol for the night and wanted to test Jamie’s skills with non-alcoholic beverages. We got a large variety and it was hard to choose a favourite between the raspberry + basil, lemon + pineapple spritzer and virgin passionfruit mojito. They were really really really good (I’ve had a fair few non-alcoholic beverages in my time). Blood orange spritzer was our least favourite because it wasn’t as sweet as the others which might suit some.Now onto more important things: the food. We naturally started with breakfast and progressed our way through the menu. I am very much a savoury girl but even I swooned over the pretty sweet options. We were lucky enough to try these with compliments of the establishment but I have included prices for your reference.

Breakfast~ starting from top left- clockwise.

Chia seeds, organic quinoa, almond milk bircher, compressed and fresh fruit, seeds ($14.00). A healthy start to the day begins with this bowl of superfood which is sweetened only with fruit.

Sourdough, local poached eggs, Pialligo award winning bacon or smoked rainbow trout, pickled red cabbage, aerated hollandaise ($18.00). These were bang on perfectly poached eggs and I’ve never had Pialligo’s smoked rainbow trout but now I’m wondering where has it been all my life. This was my pick of the breakfast dishes that we sampled but I have my eye on their egg and bacon roll (milk bun, award winning Pialligo bacon, fried eggs, ranchero relish, Iberico cheese $14.00).

Ancient grain sourdough, local poached eggs, avocado, fennel, garden kale, dukka, grana padano ($18.00). Between running around taking photos and trying to eat as much rainbow trout as I could, I completely forgot to sample this one. Ooopsie!

Citrus hotcake, pickled rhubarb, compressed honeydew, organic maple syrup, macadamias, pistachio ($16.50). I had to double take on the hotcake as I thought there were multiple, no this was one thick fluffy hotcake with a delicious crusty exterior. Upon reading the description, I wasn’t sure how this one was going to taste. Call me a traditionalist, but I like my pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup but I am glad I tried this because the Pepe Saya’s mascarpone cheese with the compressed honeydew made this my very close second breakfast choice during the preview event.Snacks~ starting from top left- clockwise.

Cherry Cola chicken wings, scallions, sriracha aioli, celery (8 pieces $15.90). Okay, confession time. I had read their menu well before the preview event and my heart skipped a beat when I read about this dish. Don’t be put off by the name, despite having Cola, housemade cherry jam and also cherry Cola, this dish isn’t sweet at all; instead they are sticky, moreish and definitely not for sharing. Order a plate each. 🙂

Chorizo, onions, kiss peppers, garlic, chilli ($14.00). A nice flavoursome chorizo balanced out by the onions and peppers.

Homeleigh Grove olives, orange, thyme, assorted petite bread ($10.90). The olives were great and the bread was served piping hot, but I felt that the bread either needed a good EVOO or butter.

Crispy spiced okra, smetana, dukkah, lemon ($12.00). This was a surprising favourite. We don’t get much exposure to okra except for overcooked ones in curries but this reminded me of zucchini flowers but with a different texture.Mains~

Belly of pork, fennel, apple, watermelon, mustard fruit, watercress ($23.90). I really enjoyed the pork belly which had the right amount of meat to fat ratio, but I don’t think this portion would have filled me as my main. I prefer my pork belly with a side of cauliflower puree but the fruit keeps the whole dish light and refreshing.‘Po Boy’ charcoaled brioche, crispy soft shell crab, sriracha aioli, pickled sesame slaw, coriander, hand cut potatoes ($22.90). Everything was perfect about this Po Boy. The brioche was soft and had a striking appearance, the crab was crispy without being oily and the sauce and slaw was the perfect accompaniment on the bun. This was a very close second pick from the mains.Gumbo, prawns, vongole, calamaretti, pork sausage, chilli, okra, black barley ($24.90). I haven’t had many gumbos in my life and it isn’t a dish I usually gravitate towards but the smell was intoxicating and the broth had lots of depth. We should have saved some bread to mop up the bowl.Salad of burrata cheese, romesco emulsion, heirloom carrots, beets, radish, black salt ($20.90). A very picturesque plate with beautiful root vegetables on showcase but the star for me was that cheese.Wagyu rump, onions, cauliflower, mojo verde, aioli, smoked butter ($31.90). We almost broke out into a fight at the table as I was willing to duel anyone for this dish. The wagyu meat was so tender and so flavoursome, it didn’t really need anything else at on the plate, although I did love watching the generous amount of butter melt all over. I would happily come back and order this again and again and again. This would be awesome with a side of fries.Dessert~

Citrus panna cotta with a berry sauce and chocolate soil. I really enjoyed the texture of the panna cotta, it passed the jiggle test and it was perfectly smooth. I found it disappointing though that the sweetness only came from the compote and the soil. We gave feedback that the panna cotta needed to be sweeter.Cakes~

One of the first things to catch my eye was that gorgeous cake cabinet. My pick would be that mango/orange cake on the bottom left hand side.I thinkI think it is incredible with what they have done with the space, menu and drinks out in the suburbs. I really enjoyed their food and them using Pepe Saya, Pialligo Estate products, Three Mills Bakery bread and Gunning Bumnut eggs is just a bonus!

They will open tomorrow morning at 7am for breakfast and with their highly anticipated opening, I hear they are booked out this Saturday and Sunday. 

Venue: Casey Jones

Address: 15 Kingsland Parade, Casey, 2913

Phone: (02) 6253 8961

Bookings: They have a handy booking system on their website

Websitehttp://caseyjones.pub/

Opening hours: 7 days a week starting from 7am
Casey Jones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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La Sable Patisserie 

A friend had told me about La Sable Patisserie a few weeks ago (thanks Katie!) and ever since I saw her photos, I had food envy and wanted to go ASAP.

I justified a bakery breakfast before a whole weekend of eating in Sydney by telling TimmyC that we didn’t have time to eat breakfast at home because we were running late and that La Sable Patisserie was on the way anyway. I didn’t mention the fact that I haven’t been there before and I was excited for another patisserie to join the Canberra scene, but surely he would have known that as I was taking lots of photos with a big smile on my face. It was easy to find where La Sable was because everyone else in Mitchell was there too.Some people enjoying the lovely sun and some tasty bakery treats. This is the beautiful cake that they had on display at the One Fine Day Wedding NightHmm what to choose?Croissant ($3.00). This was a super buttery and flakey croissant not dry and bready like most bakeries. As Tim was eating it in front of me I was getting shards of pastry raining all over me and we both had to dust ourselves off before getting in the car.Macaroons ($3.00 each). We were sceptical about their macarons because their sign is labelled macaroons… If you don’t know what it is, that can’t be a good start but despite our initial hesitancy we order one anyway. The texture was okay but I wouldn’t have guessed the flavour, it tasted slightly alcoholic from their rum soaked raisins and I would have guessed tiramisu or something.Chicken and leek gourmet pie ($7.50). The pie filling was super thick and so when you bite into it nothing really leaked out which was handy. I’m more of a beef pie girl but I let TimmyC decide the pie flavour, it must mean that I have to go back to try their beef pie.Choux pastry ($5 ish based on change?). A nice choux pastry filled with subtle sweet custard enrobed with a sticky hard toffee. It is clever that they put two together because one is never enough. 

Everything is made on site from their pastries to their chocolate and their elaborate wedding cakes.

The secret is out about this place, going there over the weekend was busy and people just kept on flowing in. I would really like to go back and try other things like their vanilla slice, tarts, beef pie and sausage rolls. Items in the cabinet must change all the time because Food Porn Journal happen to go a couple of hours after I did and she didn’t have the same choices, see her post here.

Venue: La Sable Patisserie

Address83 Lysaght St Mitchell, ACT

Phone02 6241 2966
La Sable Patisserie on Urbanspoon

 

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

Bharat International on Urbanspoon

A few of my favourite things- the Flute Bakery

I remember when I went to Timmys cousin’s birthday a few years ago and once I saw his beautiful cake, my first question was- ‘where did you get this!?’. Ever since then most of my special occassion cakes, every day treats or when I want something delicious, I come here- The Flute bakery patisserie. The only downside is that it’s all the way out in Fyshwick, cash only and it’s only opened from Monday-Friday.

Here are a  few of the cakes that I’ve indulged in in the past year.

Venue: The Flute Bakery

Address: 8 Barrier St, Fyshwick, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6280 8001

The Flute Bakery on Urbanspoon

move the steak aside for the sides at Locanda

——-10/11/2011——-

Someone mentioned steak house to me and all I heard afterwards was ‘blah blah blah’. The people that know me, know I have a soft spot for steak, which might account for all my soft spots 

I’ve wanted to go to Locanda since it opened but I never got around to it until now. I was staring at the menu for quite some time, I just could not figure out which steak I wanted, they all sounded so good.

Although the starters and pasta sounded nice, we were here for one thing- STEAK!

Mains~ All main dishes include one side & one sauce of your choice

Wagyu strip loin (300g) Riverine, NSW, marble score 6 ($55.00) with garlic aoli sauce

Black Angus eye fillet (200g) King Island, Tas, grain fed ($38.00) with truffle reduction (*additional $4 charge)

Wagyu strip loin (300g) Riverine, NSW, marble score 6 ($55.00) with peppercorn sauce. The peppercorn sauce was very runny and there was nothing special about the steak, I wouldn’t even know it was a wagyu steak.

Rib eye on the bone (400g) Murray valley, NSW, 35 days dry aged, grain fed ($45.00) with porcini bearnaise. I ordered my steak medium-rare but the closer I ate towards the bone it became more ‘blue’. I alerted the waitress and there was nothing that they could offer me but to cook my steak for longer. It was just an average steak and they could not compare to the scrumptious ones I buy at the markets.

 

Mmmmm roasted garlic

Sides~

(starting from the top left corner, clockwise) creamy potato puree, sweet potato gratin, lobster mash (an additional $4 charge) and wild grilled mushrooms. These were truly amazing, I could have ordered whole bunch of these and skipped out on a steak! The lobster mash made me do my “happy clap”.

Dessert time~

 

Peach & mixed berry tart hazelnut crust, red wine cooked peach, mixed berries with raspberry gelato ($15.00). The tart itself was average, the crust to filling ratio was a bit off but thank goodness for the raspberry gelato, it was delicious!

 

Burnt Sabayon Caramelized sabayon custard with pear chips ($14.00) This was absolutely delicious and creamy! The only down side was the small size.

 

Tiramisu Mascarpone and egg cream with Italian coffee savoiardi biscuits ($15.00) I’m going to put it out there, this was THE most delicious tiramisu I’ve ever had. I was very sad that this wasn’t my dessert 

 

Will I come back? Of course I will, maybe not for the steak but this looks pretty good:

Venue: Locanda Italian Steakhouse

Phone: (02) 6247 1488

Address: 1 London circuit, Canberra, ACT 2601

Entertainment book: Yes! It’s on the gold card and makes a BIG difference.

Locanda Italian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Grazing

——-22/10/2011——-

You know I’ll go anywhere for food when I start heading interstate just for dinner.  

When my lovely friends asked me if I’d like to join them at Grazing, I jumped at the chance as I have been wanting to go for quite some time (and it had been way too long since I had last seen them). While driving through the quaint town of Gundaroo, I was intrigued by the little town, so much so that I would love to go back during the day for a browse.

The rustic charm of the building surrounded by gorgeous flowers and vines.

After bounding around from room to room to check out all the other spaces within the restaurant (I like all the different colours, multiple fireplaces and artworks in each room), I finally sat down to study the menu.

Bread-  fresh baked light rye bread with La Barre blood plum finishing vinegar and Yass olive oil ($2.00 each)

Entrees ($17.00)

Prawns- pancetta rolled prawns, white bean custard, apple slaw and parsley mayonnaise. My eyes widen as I was eating the white bean custard, I love it so much that I had to check the menu again to see what it was. Yum!

Roulade- duck and veal roulade wrapped in Kyeema vince leaves with smoked potato mousse and eggplant.

Olive raviolo- herbed pasta filled with ricotta, mixed olives and semi dried tomatoes, with wilted spinach, chives & browned butter lemon sauce.

Mains ($33.00)

Lamb- lamb cutlets and slow cooked lamb shoulder with stinging nettle, minted potatoes and spring peas, with confit tomato hollandaise. It was a weird feeling to eat stinging nettle and there is no proper way to describe it but that it melted in your mouth. And the lamb? Oh so delicious! Spectacular!

Beef- grass fed beef fillet with mustard, spinach, broad bean and tarragon crush and potato salad. I didn’t take any ‘after’ shots as there was nothing left but a little bit of sauce left on the plate. If I wasn’t with company (or surrounded by witnesses) I may have licked the plate. Amazing tender beef.

Barramundi- farmed barramundi with squid ink pasta ribbons, La Barre olive oil poached black olives, capers and wild caught octopus. Lucky for me, my friend doesn’t eat octopus, so between mouthfuls of tender beef, I had bites of soft non chewy fresh octopus. 

Desserts ($16.00)

Bavorois- delicate buttermilk bavarois with strawberries, pink peppercorn meringue, blood orange segments and consomme. I’ve eaten a lot of desserts in my time, but never one floating in a consomme (how fancy!). The bavorois was very very creamy, not too much in the way of taste but the consomme made up for that.

Bread and butter puddingrum and raisin soaked bread and butter pudding with candied walnut ice-cream and sherry poached grapes. I didn’t get to try this as I was too busy munching into my own dessert but when I looked up the plate was empty so it must have been good!

Chocolate- baked chocolate fudge terrine with frosted blueberries, espresso marshmallow and pine nut flavoured ice-cream. I was going to get this, but the mere description of a chocolate terrine made me savour for ham. Surprisingly it wasn’t too sweet and it was so delectable I almost finished off my friend’s dessert after finishing my own.  I would definitely order this next time.

This painting made me giggle.

After such a fabulous dinner with delicious food (and splendid company) where you can taste the freshness of the produce, I can easily see how this made the top 20 restaurants in the area. The staff were very friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.

I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why there were so few people in the dining room on a Saturday night when it was such an awesome restaurant, until finally when I went to the bathroom. It was beyond a door that lead to an adjoining function room where loud music was playing for a lovely wedding reception. Ooooh… That’s where all the people are.

I would love to come back out here again to try more things on the menu and maybe even come back and do a few repeats if the menu is the same.

Venue: Grazing

Address: Cork Street, Gundaroo, NSW 2620

Opening hours:     Lunch Fri- Sun and most public holidays

                                      Dinner Thurs- Sat

Phone: (02) 62368777

Entertainment book: Yes, on the gold card! Bargain!

Websitehttp://www.grazing.com.au/

Grazing on Urbanspoon

There seems to be a big craze for Taiwanese desserts in Sydney at the moment! After having a very delicious dinner at New Shanghai in Chatswood, we headed over to ZenQ Desserts where just getting a table was a 40 minute wait! Lucky for us, it was well worth it!

As we were standing outside looking into the restaurant full of very happy people sitting and indulging in their dessert, we saw some people order from the ‘honey toast series’. It looked seriously indulgent! It appeared to be cream, ice cream, chocolate and fruit drizzled over half a mini loaf of bread! Definitely a ‘to share’ dessert.

Hmmm what to choose?

Grass jelly with red bean, taro mash and pearls– a bowl full of delicious traditional Asian flavours with a very chewy texture (between all the grass jelly, red bean and pearls).

Matcha snow ice with red bean– the green tea was very addictive (I kept stealing spoons fulls), it had a lovely texture like a thin ice cream ribbon and definitely melts in your mouth.

Passion fruit shaved ice with passion fruit, mango jelly and ice cream– a seriously summery and refreshing dessert! Highly recommended and is a great option for people who don’t like green tea, red bean flavours etc.

Find your nearest location– Sorry Sydney siders only 😦

Zen Q on Urbanspoon