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.

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Chocolate fondant deal at Mövenpick Kingston Foreshore

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

Chocolate fondant deal at Movenpick Kingston foreshore

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

 

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

Venue: Mövenpick Kingston Foreshore

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

Phone(02) 6112 8725

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

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

Biota re-run

I could not visit Bowral without going to Biota, the restaurant holds a special place in my heart because that is where TimmyC proposed to me. We have been there multiple times; the first visit was an eye widening, jaw dropping meal as we had never had that kind of dining experience before. The second time, I didn’t love it as much and I was starting to wonder if they were doing unusual things for the sake of being avant-garde and the third was a casual encounter on the bar side trying to eat as many croquettes as I could.Keen to add it to my birthday dining list, TimmyC booked weeks in advance so we didn’t miss out.Cooler months Five courses ($110.00 pp)

Snacks~Pear and cheese. This reminded me of a sheep milk cigar I had at MoVida, the outer layer is chewy and sweet which offset the tartness of the cheese.Kangaroo and Acacia jerky This was really tough jerky (but I guess most of them are), but the kangaroo flavours were subtle which is good because I don’t usually enjoy the strong aftertaste of kangaroo.Tasty Dory roe fish smoked roe with charcoal lavosh bread, garlic oil and salsa verde. I could not believe how much I enjoyed this. When I ran out of lavosh bread I started slathering it on the rye loaf.

Molasses and Rye loaf with cultured butter. I found the crust a little too tough and chewy but that is my personal preference.  The soft bready centre created a wonderful transportation system to get all the tasty dory roe into my mouth.

The bread is hiding in the fur pouch.Mains~

Creamed eggs, spanner crab and persimmon. This was perfection. The richness of this dish reminded me of the delicious crab dish from Noma but the flavours reminded me of a burnt butter sage pasta.Whipped potato, hen yolk and cabbage buds confit hens yolk, whipped potato, garden Brussels sprouts and egg white pearls. I was really surprised that the cabbage leaves were more sweet rather than bitter. The whipped potato was light in flavour and texture which went well with the rich yolk and refreshing cabbage leaves.Peek-a-boo, there is the egg yolk!Pastured fed beef cooked over coals beef cooked over coals with leeks and potato. My favourite things on a plate. The beef itself had lots of flavour but the leeks and potato it to another whole savoury level. I would have preferred a bigger portion but that’s just me being selfish.Dessert~

Sheep yoghurt and our honey. Tim was ready to hand over his plate when they said sheep yoghurt, but he was probably glad that I prompted him to try it first as he was scraping the last of his bowl while I was finishing up with my photos. There was no strong aftertaste that I usually find with most sheep dairy products. The tartness of the yoghurt was sweetened with the perfect amount of honey and I loved the abundance of the finger lime. It was so ridiculous how good this dessert was even though it was so simple, it was just a perfect balance of flavours.Mandarin and goats milk custard. The mandarin powder coating had a slight bitterness to it but it quickly dissipated as the delicate sweetness of the meringue and centre hits the palate. The softness texture of the ball with the icy sorbet reminded me of the snow egg from Quay.

It is so sweet that they put a candle in for my birthday.Beverages~ I ordered the non-alcoholic juice pairing which was really good and I loved how complex the flavours were ($50.00pp?).

Lemonade, smoke apple and pear juice, red grapes with cinnamon cloves and bitters and ending with caramelised pomegranate and grapefruit. 
I loved how the menu keeps evolving and changing almost every week to encompass local fresh produce. We really enjoyed our meal and the service was perfection. Ingredients are not puréed, chopped or foamed, they appear  whole and are paired perfectly with each other. It is almost like there was minimal cooking (but a lot of talent) and it was showcasing the best produce.

Venue: Biota

Address: 18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral NSW 2576

Phone(02) 4862 2005

Entertainment book: I’m so annoyed I forgot to use my Canberra 2016/17 book, I told TimmyC he will have to take me again.
Biota Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New Star Charcoal Chicken

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

Venue: New Star Charcoal Chicken

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

Centennial Vineyards re-run

It had been years since my last visit to Centennial Vineyards and yet I vividly remember the beautiful surrounds, the amazing food presentation and the lovely company I was with. I wanted to share this experience with TimmyC and some very close friends, so when we found ourselves booking a weekend away in Bowral, it was definitely one of the first places that I booked.

The menu had many crowd pleasers and that made it difficult to decide what to order, but TimmyC chose all three of his courses within two minutes of looking at the menu. I adjusted my order knowing that TimmyC was a light weight and I would get to try his meals as well.

Amuse Bouche~

Curried parsnip soup. A nice way to start the meal. It reminded me of the curry pasta from Continental range, but it was very smooth and silky.Grazing~

Pulled lamb shoulder, flat bread, yoghurt and mint jelly (2 pieces $15.00).Entree~

The Centennial tasting slate salmon, pork terrine, goats cheese tart, cauliflower soup, rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto, chicken pate with a crouton ($24.00). An option for the indecisive, so I obviously chose it as my entree as it had a nice range of things to taste. I can sense that my taste buds are changing and now I’m more open to pate and the like but still my favourite was the tart or the terrine, while my friend really enjoyed the rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto.

Seared scallops, bacon relish, apple and radish salad ($24.00). A perfect combination of juicy scallops and bacon with a little bit of sweetness from the apple. Definitely my pick of entrees if I didn’t want to try a bit of everything.Pasta~

Rotolo pasta of braised lamb, feta, olives and eggplant, romesco sauce ($29.00). I have never seen a pasta served like this and from afar it almost looked like lamb served with a big bone in. My friend enjoyed his pasta but the serve was on the smaller side.Main~

Cider braised pork belly, caramelised applies, sage and onion puree, smoked ham hock crouqette, crispy crackling ($38.00). The crackling was super crispy as promised and it provided a good contrasting texture to the ridiculously tender fall apart pork. This was definitely a winter warmer dish with all the rich components and very filling portion.Butchers weekly choice cut (Sirloin) cooked to your liking served with watercress, cafe de Paris butter and onion rings ($40.00). I would have much rather a lightly dressed salad if they insisted on greenery but instead they chose watercress and a lot of it. I really enjoyed the onion rings, they were well crumbed and crunchy without being overly oily. The steak was okay, I didn’t think it was well seasoned but that’s where handfuls of chips between each bite came in handy. I think I had food envy from the people who ordered the pork belly.Slow cooked duck leg, Centennial Pinot Noir sauce, crumbed beetroot gnocchi, Tuscan cabbage and bacon ($37.00)Sides~

Cauliflower and cheese gratin ($9.00). A nice cheesy cauliflower gratin, what’s there not to like?

Fries with Dijon mustard mayonnaise ($9.00). Came out hot and fresh from the kitchen and definitely went well with my steak.Desserts~

Banoffee ice cream sundae ($16.00). This was a delicious dessert with generous portions but I would not have called it a banoffee anything. With all the different ice creams and caramel sauce, it really just reminded us of a sundae.Trio of chocolate mousse ($16.00). I felt that the milk chocolate mousse was so light and silky, it quickly became my favourite amongst the trio, although the dessert as a whole was visually stunning. It isn’t a large dessert for the price but my friend and I still had to share since the entree and main sizes were ample.Everyone really enjoyed all of their courses but for me it didn’t live up to what I remembered it a few years ago. I don’t know if they have changed chefs, but the food wasn’t as good even though it still stands for a stunning backdrop for a wedding (the main dining area is always set up for a wedding as it is a popular choice for a venue). The service was very attentive and friendly. Though they made several mistakes on the bill, they were more than happy to adjust it.

Centennial Vineyards Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Molto Italian 

I was lucky enough to dine as guest at a food blogger ‘Lunch by the lake’ at Molto Italian thanks to a lovely friend Serina (go check out her awesome blog here) and the very generous owners of Molto Italian. They offered us an Italian feast and although our meals were complimentary, all opinions are my own.

If anyone was a sceptic of Molto Italian, it would be me. My friends and I went to Tosolini’s many times and if it wasn’t the mediocre food, it was the very poor service which lead us to leave and eat dessert elsewhere . I was not a fan. So to hear that Carlo Tosolini had a new venture and it was another Italian restaurant, I was torn between my love of Italian food and being burned so badly before. Anyway, fast forward to present day- it is a new restaurant, new venture, new chefs and new beginnings; I was willing to give Molto Italian a chance. First came the ‘stuzzichini’ or finger food and then the food never stopped coming. It was truly an Italian feast.Stuzzichini

Mixed olives marinated in thyme, orange zest, garlic and extra virgin olive oil ($8.00). Delicious olives but the green ones were my favourite. Assortment of bread rosemary or garlic Tuscan flatbread sea salt schiacciatina with Sicilian extra virgin olive oil ($9.00). This was beautiful bread served warm. There was enough flavour on the bread already but I really enjoyed dipping my pieces into the EVOO.Zucchini flower stuffed with buffalo ricotta and served on a pea puree ($6.00). The zucchini flower was cooked perfectly leaving a crisp delicate batter over the flower encased with a well seasoned ricotta filling, all without bring oily.Suppli stuffed with asparagus and tallegio cheese ($16.00). During my first bite, I thought the filling was a bit bland and I wished it came with more sauce but the second bite- BAM! I got hit with a strong taste of cheese. Tallegio is a stronger cheese than I’m used to with a sharp taste and I’m not sure everyone would like it.Beef carpaccio truffle oil, testun barolo cheese and micro herbs($19.00). I love a good beef carpaccio; it is a fine line to balance the flavours of the beef, oil and cheese. There was a lovely flavour from the oil but it almost over powered the beef and the cheese.Swordfish carpaccio with pomegranate and fennel. The first thing I could taste was the delicious oil and then it had a subtle dish aftertaste. I liked that it was paired with the sweetness of pomegranate but I found all the flavours were too subtle for me and I preferred the beef.Pizza ~ are currently only available on weekendsSan daniele tomato, fior di latte, proscuitto crudo, rocket, shaved parmesan, and cherry tomato ($26.00). This was the first pizza that I tried and I fell in love. I really liked the base, the way it was cooked and the mozzarella was perfecto.Capriciossa tomato, fior di latte, ham, artichoke, olive and mushroom ($25.00). I loved the flavour combination but I think I preferred the saltier notes in the San daniele with the proscuitto and parmesan.Regina margherita tomato, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan and basil ($20.00). Just when I thought the San danielle was the best, I then tried the classic marghertia; the most simple pizza and this was my absolute favourite hands down. Every ingredient had to be at its premium because there wasn’t much to hide behind. I would have loved a little more even basil placement though.Pasta

Spaghetti cacio e pepe (made at the table ($28.00). I felt sorry for Carlos as he served all 11 of us at the table really slowly so we could take photos; it looked like a huge wheel that would have been heavy to hold. After eating more pizza than expected (damn that was good), I had to have smaller amounts of pasta so I could taste all three, while also saving room for dessert.Now I love cheese more than the next person but man this was intense. I’m glad that I only had a small portion because the cheese flavour almost became monotonous and I am most surprised that I’m saying that (TimmyC would be shocked). I think I would have loved it if it had pieces of speck or some cured meat to go with it. These wheels of cheese are replaced every 3-7 days.House made ravioli with spinach and buffalo milk ricotta in burnt butter and sage ($28.00). I am usually sold on anything in a burnt butter sauce with sage and I would easily order this next time I’m here.I wish there was a tad more sauce to this pasta but I loved the crispy sage leaves.Squid ink seafood pasta. The chef had been working on new dishes for the upcoming winter menu (to be released soon) and this was one of them. After all the heavy rich cheese dishes, this had a refreshing chilli bite and I really enjoyed the crunchy texture on the top. They import what they think is the best squid ink pasta from Italy but I think the star of the dish was the accompanying seafood.Dolci

Nonna’s tiramisu ($15.00). I can never say no to a tiramisu and it is sad to say I’ve had more disappointments than good ones. This was nice but not the best I’ve had, it tasted more like whipped cream rather than a rich mascarpone mixture.The two ‘gripes’ that I’ve heard from others about Molto Italian were about the prices and about the noise. I know that Canberra’s dining scene can seem more expensive on an international scale as well as interstate, but all along the Kingston foreshore it seems to be next level. I had written my impression of each dish before including the prices from the menu in my blog, but I felt that the prices were fair considering their import the best produce in their opinion to ensure quality authentic ingredients. We were lucky enough to have an early start before a busy lunch period but I didn’t notice a noise problem. This might be at night when the foreshore gets crazy busy.I would not have enjoyed as many dishes if I was coming with friends unless I invited 5+ people. Through this invitation, we were able to taste a large variety of the menu as well as preview some upcoming dishes from the winter menu and I am able to say that I enjoyed almost all the food that we were lucky enough to experience. I am excited to go back and try their upcoming winter menu.

Venue: Molto Italian

Address: Element Building, Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore

Phone: (02) 6140 7039
Molto Italian  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

A bite to eat re-run

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

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

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

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

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

Plaka re-run

Having dinner at Plaka in Dickson was purely impromptu. A friend lured me out as she needed to be on the other side of town and was saying we could have dinner first. I had just been in Dickson the night before eating at Pho Phu Quoc, so I was wondering what we should eat that night. ‘I haven’t been to Plaka since it opened’ (see my first post here) I thought to myself and it did not take that much convincing for my friend to come eat at the only Greek restaurant (for now) in Canberra.

My friend being as organised as she is, had already looked up the menu and decided what she had wanted but when we got there and she took a closer look at the menu, she went back to being undecided. There were so many things that we wanted to eat but there were only two of us. We decided to divide and conquer. We would share some entrees and share two mains, which would be seafood and Greek lamb (the two things you must try when you go to a Greek restaurant).

Traditional Green Pita bread unleavened pita bread grilled with olive tapenade ($6.00). This bread is spectacular! I don’t think it mattered what spread was on top. It had the perfect texture, it was served hot and the olive tapenade gave it the right amount of saltiness. Kolokithokeftedes zucchini, feta and fresh herb fritters, lightly fried, served with tzatziki (3 per serve $14.00). I found that these really lacked salt and flavour even though there were supposed to be feta in the mixture, which is a real shame considering how amazing the bread was. They were served hot but my friend had a suspicion that they were reheated rather than made fresh.BBQ seafood plate BBQ King prawns, salt and pepper calamari, oysters mornay and kilpatrick, grilled baby octopus and prawn cutlets ($35.00). I think the only down side was to try and eat everything as fast as I could to enjoy the meal while it was hot. I started off with the oysters, the mornay wasn’t that cheesy and I felt that the kilpatrick could have done with more sauce but the grilled baby octopus and calamari was delicious while it was hot.Lamb souvlaki plate two grilled lean lamb fillets skewers marinated in Greek herbs and spices served with chips, greek salad, tzatziki and Greek pita bread ($27.00). I tried the lamb while it was hot but I felt it was a little chewy and obviously the cooler it got, the tougher the meat became. The chips were really good and the salad balanced out all the meat and carbs. Even though I was very full towards the end, I couldn’t help but eat pieces of feta smeared on that awesome pita bread. I told the waitress to take the plate away before my friend would have to roll me out of the restaurant.A few things were a bit of a hit and miss but I did really enjoy parts of this meal, I hope they were just having an off night with their lamb. I love Greek food and I want to love this place but I feel that something was missing with the food. Having said that, the service was fantastic and food came out so fast, we were very impressed.

Pepper Lunch launch

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

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

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

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

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

Venue:Pepper Lunch (Canberra)

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

Phone: (02) 6152 0565

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

Sunday – Thursday 11:30am – 9:30pm

Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 10:30pm

Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

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

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

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

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

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

Venue: Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060

Opening times:

Lunch Thursday – Sunday 12pm – 2:30pm 

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

Wood and Coal – express lunch menu

After being met with disappointment with an unopened Pepper Lunch (they were supposed to be opened on the 15th April), my brain quickly scanned for a plan B. Hmmm what did I want to eat in Civic? ‘I had not had a baco before’ I thought to myself, so off we went to Wood and Coal.

I was surprised to see that during Sunday lunch the North Quarter of Canberra Centre area seemed a bit of a ghost town and I was even more surprised to see that we were the only patrons in Wood and Coal during our meal. I was hoping that meant we would get our meal faster because I was getting hungry fast!

 

Yoghurt flat bread BACO~ The B-A-C-O sandwich originated from a restaurant called Baco Mercat in Los Angeles. The Baco is a combination of bao + taco, essentially making it like a soft bread taco.

Slow cooked pork shoulder BACO sriracha mayo, parmesan cheese, quoinoa salad, chicharon ($13.00). I really liked everything in the filling but the bottom of my baco became soggy fast and it quickly turned into a knife and fork meal. I think this would have been nicer served in a bowl with the bread served on the side, albeit it wouldn’t be a baco but it sure would be easier to eat. Definitely not a first date food.Crispy fish BACO caper mayo, coleslaw, fried egg, scallion ($13.00). It wasn’t until I wrote this blog post did we realise that there was no fried egg in the baco. There was too much coleslaw which was over powering to the other ingredients and made the bottom of the baco very soggy.Golden brown spit chicken thigh BACO smoky aioli, parmesan cheese, green slaw ($12.00). I got food envy smelling my friend’s baco, the chicken looked really succulent. My friend really enjoyed his baco and finished it all (with a knife and fork of course).Spit roasted honey chicken wings house-made pickles, yoghurt flat bread ($16.00). We probably didn’t need more bread on the table but I really wanted to try their chicken wings. I am so glad that I ordered these because the chicken wings were meaty, juicy and I can’t believe their gave us 8 in a serve! The pickles were also really good and I would easily order this again.It was served with a whole jar of pickled vegetables! They pickles were tangy and gave a nice balance to all the meat and heavy bread.Sides~

Chips with garlic and feta ($9.00). It was suggested by our waiter that we order a serve of chips with garlic and feta rather than the plain chips you could get on the side with a baco ($2.00). I might have seemed like an up sell but it was well worth it! They were moreish and I think it went well with all the meat. They were served really hot and crispy.Dessert~

Snickers on a plate peanut butter parfait, burnt marshmallows, pecan praline, salted peanut caramel sauce, dark chocolate sauce, dark chocolate ice cream ($13.00). There were a lot of things going on on the plate but essentially it reminded me of a snickers crossed with a s’more because of all the marshmallows. I found the dessert a bit OTT and too sweet.Cookie Monster milk chocolate chip cookie, dark chocolate chip cookie, salted caramel, lemon vanilla and chocolate ice creams and dark chocolate sauce ($14.00). This was essentially a cookie stack and it was hard to eat all of them in one go because the cookies were hard. It was eventually dismantled and eaten separately. I can’t say that they do dessert well but I would definitely come back to Wood and Coal for their lunch specials. We found the service to be friendly and attentive but that might have been because we were the only people in the restaurant.

Sundays have a 10% surcharge.

Walter G’s – when did this happen?

Every time I drive past the dark back streets of Dickson, a red lit sign always catches my eye and I’ve been wondering what has taken the place of the old Trinity night club. This time as we were headed to Plaka for dinner, I was determined to see the source of the red neon lights. Walter G‘s boasts delicious pizza and desserts with many people coming in and out (I cut them out of the photo); I like how they have a vegan pizza. I wonder how long it has been there.

Tell me dear reader, have you been before? What did you think?

Yummy Chinese BBQ re-run

I haven’t been back to Yummy Chinese BBQ since it just opened but with the cooler weather setting in, my friends and I wanted to warm ourselves with hot food over some hot coals. See my first post here.

Things have changed slightly since my last visit; there is no more steam boat, the small hot plates that sat in the charcoal chamber have been replaced with big gas hot plates which means more room to cook chicken wings and there is no more confusing iPad to order things from.

Yummy Chinese BBQ offers you ‘all you can eat’ from a range of skewers and raw meat that you cook yourselves and a buffet of hot Chinese food for those who can’t wait for the food to be cooked.

$36.00 per person all you can eat and $3.00 for unlimited orange juice and Coca Cola.
Skewers on offer include prawns, smoky lamb, beef and caramelised pork. We were not constrained with a time limit which was good because the coals took a while to arrive and we didn’t mind sitting outside because it meant it was less smoky. The food choice might seem a little odd to some because it is more ‘traditional’ Chinese food (that night’s buffet selection included pipis, fish in a chilli sauce, chicken feet and sesame balls filled with red bean) but it is a fun and different way to dine with friends.

We were done eating just under two hours and I basically just ate my weight in chicken wings.
Yummy Chinese BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Booking ahead

I’m more of a spontaneous diner but in one week TimmyC has booked several restaurants in anticipation for my birthday month. The list of restaurants includes:

  1. Biota
  2. Tetsuya’s
  3. Centennial Vineyards
  4. Katers restaurant at Peppers Manor House
  5. Dinner by Heston

and I also booked a Food Safari that my friends were nice enough to get for me for Christmas. It is going to be a delicious and busy month!

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