Welcome back, I’ve missed you

Whenever I’m in the Jamison area, I always check on the status of Dumpling Inn and when I checked this week I was pleasantly surprised to find the roller shutters up and they were open again for business. They have been opened since the 10th February and everyone must have missed them because they have been very busy ever since.

Welcome back Dumpling Inn, I’ve missed you.

Getting our usual ‘peking shredded beef’, ‘four season beans with minced pork’ and ‘tasty chopping meats in seasame rolls’.IMG_9639

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Around the world in 5 hours

Now that Friday incorporates more food at the Multicultural festival, I use it as a scouting mission for the next big full day.
Tonight I tried lots of new things that I’ve never eaten before and there is definitely more to try on Saturday.
Clockwise starting at 12:

Pan rolls from Sri Lanka ($2.50 each)– they taste like a spicy crispy croquette!

African cigars ($9 for 4 pieces)– I really wanted Kpuff Kpuff but they aren’t available until Saturday. This had a spring roll pastry feel but the filling reminded me of an ethiopian meat samosa. Mmmm

African feelings ginger beer ($5.00)– an intense ginger taste that left a mild burning at the back of the throat. Absolutely delicious (for ginger lovers)

Churros ($10 for three churros and dipping sauce) – well this isn’t new but it’s what we wanted at 10:45 pm complete with caramel sauce

Aegean platter BBQ octopus, tzatziki, Greek salad, olives, fetta and pita bread ($15.00) – for the first time I didn’t dive straight into the Greek doughnuts (tomorrow!). I loved everything on this plate

Lokma ($5.00) – I’ve never had a turkish doughnut. They are small, super syrupy and juicy inside. Eat it in one bite or your clothes will get messy

Plantain chips ($6.00) – I would have liked more salt but they came out super hot and fresh

Bhutanese beef momo ($2 each) – one of the better momos I’ve had at this festival. Yum!

Gozleme ($10.00) – I’ve never had one at the multicultural before but it still wasn’t anything special

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On Saturday I want to eat: Iranian, Eygptian, Hungarian, Tongan, more Bhutanese and more from the African van.

 

April’s caravan

I’m sure you have all heard of The Hamlet, heck I’m sure most of you have eaten at there as well (but if you haven’t you must go!). What I thought was the cutest addition between all the meat-a-licious food vans was April’s caravan, serving old school milkshakes and drinks in a funky retro pink caravan.2015/01/img_8785.jpgI love polka dots!2015/01/img_8786.jpgThe menu: what flavour of milkshake would you choose?2015/01/img_8789.jpgI love this old school coffee maker!2015/01/img_8787.jpgDeluxe shake Apple pie ($8.00). I was torn about what milkshake flavour to get between caramel and lime but the lovely girl who was serving me suggested I try a deluxe flavour when I can. Oh my! I could not go past an apple pie. My eyes lit up when I saw that they used Tilba milk. The milkshake had lovely notes of cinnamon and I loved the addition of a short bread biscuit.2015/01/img_8790.jpgA close up of my deluxe ‘Apple pie’ milkshake. I probably would have preferred some ice cream blended into it but you need a good drinks/sweets van when you’re surrounded by food trucks with lots of savoury options. They also have cans of soft drink for $2.50.2015/01/img_8796.jpgVenue: April’s Caravan

Address: @ The Hamlet 16 Lonsdale St Braddon, ACT

Facebookwww.facebook.com/aprils.caravan

April's Caravan on Urbanspoon

Frugii Dessert Laboratory

Today was a foodie’s dream as the highly anticipated Frugii Dessert Laboratory had finally opened their doors. I had watched throughout the day as my news feed and Instagram account was covered in photos of a gorgeous cake cabinet filled with interesting looking desserts and I day dreamed about what I would get when I got there.2015/01/img_8615.jpgI had arranged with my friends to meet at the Hamlet at 6:30pm, we did the adult thing and got dinner first which was our first mistake. After eating my dinner at a record-breaking pace of 30 minutes (which is a huge deal for me) we whisked off to Frugii after hearing rumours that cakes were quickly disappearing.

The more experienced foodies such as Michelle from HerCanberra had dessert first and then later on went to the Hamlet for dinner. She’s a smart girl, but even just after 6pm when she went there were only two types of cakes left.

Rumours were true but one cake is definitely better than zero2015/01/img_8627.jpgThere we were at the back of the line which then quickly turned into the middle of the line as other people joined the queue. I looked at the cake cabinet and there were only three slices left of one type of cake, I felt a little nervous as there was several people in front of us including another fellow food blogger ‘In the Taratory‘. Another cake was taken, now with two people in front of me I held my breath praying that they wanted ice-cream and not cake… Phew! They bee lined straight towards the ice cream.

We’re getting closer to the counter!2015/01/img_8604.jpgI greeted John with a very big smile, ‘one piece of cake please’ I said proudly when I realise the people in front didn’t want cake. Despite being busy John didn’t mind chatting to us while we were being served and he was making us coffee on his gorgeous machine, he and Ed are always so friendly and I’m glad to see they were still like that even after a long busy day which was not over yet.

The very lovely couple John and Ed hard at work keeping up with the demand of their delectable product. I love your new hairstyle btw John!2015/01/img_8611.jpgA strong latte ($3.00 based on mathematics). This was deliberately made strong by request which meant the coffee was slightly bitter but it was very smooth TimmyC described.2015/01/img_8626.jpgFrugii cake pumpkin and olive oil sponge with a strawberry and raspberry jelly, champagne mousse topped off with a white chocolate glaze ($6.00). I couldn’ taste all the complexity of the cake in one mouthful. When broken up in its separate components I could taste the flavours (although I wouldn’t have been able to pick pumpkin and olive oil) but altogether the dominant flavours were the jelly and mousse with a subtle white chocolate after taste. I wish the jelly wasn’t so stiff as it made the cake a little harder to cut downwards with a spoon.

The dessert I really wanted to try was the choux pastry with the lemon lime and bitters.2015/01/img_8608.jpgSmall tub of ice cream ($5.00). We had asked for chocolate and vanilla and it was serendipitous that John accidentally gave us chocolate and pistachio. Pistachio was absolutely delightful and I’m going to add it to my list of ‘favourites’. My friend also got a small tub which consisted of the very popular salted butter caramel and cookies and cream. I’m not the biggest fan of cookies and cream with its usual chunky texture with stale cookies but this had no chunks of cookies but a beautiful blended cookie flavour, yum!2015/01/img_8614.jpgBig tub of ice cream ($10.00). My friend tried lemon myrtle and we all agreed it was nice. This tub could seriously fit a lot of ice cream.

My friend had eaten a fair chunk of his ice cream before I remembered to take a photo.2015/01/img_8617-0.jpgThere is limited seating but it is a very cute design and use of space.2015/01/img_8619.jpgThere is not distinct sign at the front of the Ori building but that didn’t matter, apparently everyone eventually found their way inside. If you don’t know where he is, you have to look for this funky black building on Lonsdale Street. I hear it is cash only at this point(?).2015/01/img_8621.jpgIt’s amazing, Frugii only opened their doors at midday and before 8pm they had gone from 8 types of cakes/dessert down to one and then quickly none.

I wish John and Ed the very best and they will definitely be seeing me more often!2015/01/img_8625.jpg

Venue: Frugii Dessert Laboratory

Address30 Lonsdale St Braddon, ACT

Phone: 0438 366 368

Websitewww.frugii.com/

Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday 12pm – 11pm

Frugii Dessert Laboratory on Urbanspoon

Human Brochure – Tea time at A. Baker

While trying to explore the most out of our surrounds, my friends and I opted to go next door to A. baker for some sweet treats after our lunch at the Parlour Room.

Everyone knew their drink orders well, but what to choose from the cake cabinet?IMG_6416.JPGThe boy of the group suggested we only needed three sweets between the four of us, but unfortunately majority rules and he was out voted by the other three women.IMG_6417.JPGCake cabinet~ All sweets were about $5.00 – 6.00 from memory.

Salted caramel Definitely one of the sweeter treats of the day but I did expect a lot sweeter based on the thickness of the caramel. It would have went nicely with a beverage but I prefer variety over having just one thing. Bring friends along so you can share and try more!IMG_6423.JPGChoc orange ricotta I know this combination isn’t for everyone but all the flavours work perfectly together.IMG_6425.JPGPumpkin and maple Ever since my American friend introduced me to pumpkin pies, I must say I’m a big fan! This might have contributed to the fact that this was my pick of the bunch!IMG_6418.JPGLemon meringue a humble classic! The lemon component could have been more tart but still executed well.IMG_6420.JPGYes we almost ordered one of everything…IMG_6427.JPGIt was a lovely way to end a wonderful long lunch, it was just a shame that some of us needed to return to work.

Human brochure – Parlour Wine Room

My first food experience leading into the weekend was without my interstate guests (they were not arriving until later that evening), but I’ve taken my role as a 101 local human to guide not only interstate guests but local ones as well to good eateries with a great atmosphere.

I grabbed a bunch of lunching friends and took them to the Parlour Wine Room to try more of their lunch time special (see my other post here). Now by default because I’m the ‘foodie’, most people just give the ordering responsibilities to me despite my constant plea of ‘I haven’t eaten here/from this menu before’. It’s nice to know that they have so much trust in me.

That day, I did insist that everyone choose a dish and we will dabble in a bit of each, plus if it was up to me I’d just order four serves of popcorn squid legs.

I’ve always loved the decor and feel of the Parlour RoomIMG_7440.JPGComplimentary bread and dipping oil~ (the bread is of course from their neighbour A. baker)IMG_6379.JPGLunch menu special ~ Something from the lunch menu and a drink -glass of wine, beer or soft drink ($16.00).IMG_6373.JPG

Rodriguez chorizo, ham hock, puy lentils, piquin chilli, 62C egg. I felt that this dish was a little watery and it was hard to grab a little bit of each element when sharing with friends, but it had a beautiful chorizo sausage. I must say that this was my least favourite dish of the day.IMG_6392.JPG

IMG_6391.JPGFree range 62C egg, piquillo peppers, jamon, smoked paprika. This was almost like a stir fry topped with eggs. What really stood out the most for me was the jamon, it went well with the sweetness of the onions and there were plenty of onions, unfortunately not enough jamon. IMG_6398.JPGBraised spinach, chickpeas, garlic, cumin, golden raisins, yoghurt. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. I didn’t think I would like it but the juicy raisins went beautifully with the chickpeas, spinach, tomato based sauce and the yoghurt gave it a Middle Eastern feel.IMG_6393.JPGPopcorn squid legs, ancient grains, aioli, pickled cucumber. This was my favourite dish. The squid was crispy and salty, it had delicious aioli to dip with and the fried textures were balanced out by the ‘ancient grains’. I would order this again in a heart beat but unfortunately I don’t think it would fill me on its own. IMG_6408.JPGIMG_6407.JPGCroque Monsieur toasted sandwich of serrano jamon, maffra cheddar (Vic), smoked potato foam ($9.00). Okay, so I threw in a few extra things because I was intrigued by them. The element that made me curious was the smoke potato foam, plus I love a good Croque Monsieur. Again I feel that they were a bit heavy handed with the smoked paprika  (someone in the kitchen must love this stuff), there wasn’t anything too special about this exotic sandwich which sounded good on paper, I was a bit disappointed. The bread was also really hard to chew.IMG_6411.JPGTwice cooked crispy pork belly, px glaze, fried onion, hazelnut ($18.00). I’m finding myself ordering pork belly whenever I can, it is just so delicious when cooked properly and this is one of those times. The skin was super crispy and the glaze gave just enough sweetness to compliment the meat and hazelnut flavours. Pork and hazelnut go well together, who knew! I also loved the unique plate that it came on.IMG_6388.JPGIMG_6385.JPGI was surprised that there wasn’t more patrons at the Parlour Room that day but that made it easier to talk and catch up with friends and the timing from the kitchen and wait staff was perfect.IMG_6405.JPG

Human brochure weekend

Sometimes I look at my drafts and sigh (actually I do that a lot).

So much stuff happened during the Human brochure weekend, I almost feel overwhelmed looking at the list but there was so much to see and do (and eat!) in our wonderful city, I tried to squeeze in as much as I could in one weekend. Despite my many drafts I have to bite the bullet and start somewhere. My Mum and sister really enjoyed their trip here and were spoilt by the Human brochure team with their accommodation and our ‘Human experience’.

Sculpture Garden Pop Up Summer Cafe

I had been kindly invited by The National Gallery of Australia to attend the Media Event with iconic Australian Chef Stephanie Alexander and Director Gerard Vaughan. The Sculpture Garden was opening their Pop Up Summer Cafe in conjunction with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation with $1 being donated to the foundation from every meal (another reason to come here!).IMG_7050.JPGI thought I was running late but  apparently I was right on time as Stephanie Alexander as well as the glitterati showed up and everyone started taking photos.IMG_7053.JPGI took the opportunity to take a proper photo as the sea of people parted (L-R Gerard Vaughan, Chyka Keebaugh, Stephanie Alexander and Bruce Keebaugh).IMG_7054.JPGIMG_7084.JPGThe lunch menu complete with our favourite Frugii ice-cream for dessert. I don’t understand why the kids should get all the fun!IMG_7061.JPGThey had gorgeous little canapes floating around.

Ham hock terrine with a mango salsa. I love the bamboo boats and the terrine was delightful!IMG_7066.JPG

IMG_7065.JPGI was trying to juggle my drink, my bag and my phone at the same time when these came around. I don’t remember much except that it was some sort of fish on top of a crouton and that it was tasty.IMG_7064.JPGRefreshing lemonade in cutesy jars topped off with a ridiculous cute straw and a wedge of lemon.IMG_7071.JPGThe waiter happily obliged to hold a heavy tray of lemonade still while we all took photos. What do you expect from a foodie crowd?IMG_7067.JPG

IMG_7074.JPGThe staff from the Big Group Catering company who does the catering for the National Gallery planted all the herb boxes in and around the cafe. We are encouraged to utilise the herbs to enhance our meal to our liking. I love mint during summer, don’t mind if I do!IMG_7062.JPGEveryone crowded around as speeches are being made. I stay at the back eating my canapes and drinking my lemonade in true foodie fashion.IMG_7081.JPGThis looks wonderfully colourful. I take a glimpse of the platters going past as our buffet style lunch is being prepared.IMG_7083.JPGLunch is served!IMG_7086.JPGStalker shots of Stephanie Alexander chatting with the gorgeous Amanda Whitley from HerCanberra.IMG_7093.JPGStephanie Alexander doing an interview with Natasha Rudra from The Canberra Times.IMG_7092.JPGThe lunch is a combination of cold meats, fresh colourful vegetables and damper bread.IMG_7097.JPGA close up of my plate, I’m in love with all the colours and whatever they did with that eggplant is fantastic. Everything was fresh and crunchy but I wasn’t a fan of the damper which reminded me more of a scone. The damper I’m used to back at home is fluffy and light.IMG_7099.JPGI didn’t want to be the girl who ate the whole buffet during the Media Event so I was a little conservative, but everyone else went for seconds and by the time this slow eater had finished, most people (and food) had gone. Lucky for me, there were more substantial canapes going around and they were so good!

Semolina gnocchi. I was pleasantly surprised by this as vegetarian options aren’t my forte. I could easily eat a whole bowl of this.

Pulled pork. A beautiful pulled pork with all the juices flowing onto a bed of mashed potato. A comforting style of food that I didn’t expect at a summer pop up cafe but am happy they made it.

Passionfruit mousse with a spearmint consommé  and a vanilla meringue. The vanilla meringue was awesome! I found the passionfruit mousse was sweet with sharp acidic notes that the consommé  helped balance out but once I finished that, I picked some fresh mint leaves to help with the rest. It was ridiculously smooth.

Apple tart. I really liked this; the crunchy parts with the soft apple were spot on.

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Venue: Pop Up Summer Cafe Sculpture Garden Restaurant

Address: National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden Parkes Place, Parkes Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6240 6660

Opening hours:

Breakfast Weekends 8 – 11am

Lunch Wed – Sun 12 – 3pm

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Baitong re-run

Yes my friend and I have been here many times (see my previous blog post here) but after a few months eating else where, we were craving different dishes but the same restaurant – Baitong Lao & Thai Cuisine.

Chicken wings deep fried chicken wings coated in a special batter, served with sweet chilli sauce. I love pairing fried chicken wings with sticky rice (I forgot to take a photo but you can see my previous post). It is so delicious and a hands on food experience.IMG_6016.JPGThe lao sausage is full of difference herbs and it also pairs well with sticky rice.IMG_6025.JPGSom Tum Laospicy papaya salad with fermented fish. I came with my Laotian friend and this is what she was craving. She claims this is the best paw paw salad in Canberra and she has eaten everywhere so I believe her! You can order this to be very hot, I just hope you can handle it if you do.IMG_6020.JPGCrispy Barramundi with thai salad sauce ($26.50). The fish is fried but not oily and is crunchy with all the fresh herbs and cashew nuts topped with crispy green mango.IMG_6027.JPG

IMG_6026.JPGI’m getting hungry as I write this post! I never really get around to eating much from the Thai side of the menu as you don’t find too many authentic Laotian restaurants in Canberra. I think if you venture out and try something different, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Human flyer- The Durham

After brunch, shopping and segway tours, we were left with the difficult task to find late lunch on a public holiday as well as during the dead zone (the time between lunch and dinner). We headed to Kingston Green square thinking that something would be opened. Me and Mrs. Jones was our first choice but the kitchen was closed so we just walked around. I remembered that the Durham were doing lunch deals and I thought to myself ‘I wonder if they were opened today?’.

The service was friendly, laid back and food came out pretty promptly.

PubCheese 1/2 pound char-grilled beef patty with pickles, Spanish onions and Cheddar topped with our house-made aioli and tomato relish ($10.00). This has everything that you would want on a burger with a side of crispy hot chips. It is filling and a steal at $10! If you’re thirsty, check out their ‘Special Lunchtime offer’ where you can get certain drinks for an extra $3.IMG_5786.JPGCheckout their lunch specials menu for only $10 bucks!IMG_5787.JPGWow, not only had we found somewhere that was open on a public holiday, serving food at a weird time but we got a bargain with the lunch special deal and all without paying a surcharge. Win win!

Durham Castle Arms Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon

Human flyer – Ricardo’s

We started off the day with brunch and after browsing Instagram as part of my morning ritual, I knew that Ricardo’s was open that day so off we went!

When we arrived, it was very busy inside and out which was to be expected but we were able to grab a table outside for three people with no hassle. I must admit, we weren’t impressed with having to flag down the waitress and ask for menus after several minutes of being ignored at an empty table after being seated. After finally deciding what to order, we sat and waited again… Hmmm seems like you have to be more forward with your approach as a customer to get noticed around here. I get the waitress’ attention again saying that we were ready to order and she informs us that ‘you have to order and pay at the counter’, well it would have been informative if you had told us that when you eventually gave us menus I thought to myself.IMG_5742.JPGThe beverages arrive fairly fast and the food not long after, so obviously efficiency the problem isn’t with the kitchen.

Salted Caramel milkshake and Peppermint and Oreo thickshake. I must say that the new range of milkshakes looked much better when Ricardo’s took a photo for their Instagram account but the taste clearly made up for that. My friend fell in love with his so much, he was going to order a second one but he instead ordered some macarons. I was fearful that mine was going to be really sweet and OTT like some of the cakes that they have in their cabinet, but it was perfect. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! IMG_5757.JPGThe other milkshake flavours that are available, try not to get too distracted with what’s underneath the sign.IMG_5744.JPGCroque Madame Gruyere cheese, double smoked leg ham, Dijon mustard sour cream grilled sour dough topped with a fried egg ($14.90). I love a good Croque Madame but they replaced bechamel sauce with the Dijon mustard sour cream which didn’t really work for me. It was still tasty but I wouldn’t call it a Croque Madame.IMG_5767.JPG

IMG_5766.JPGBreakfast mushroom bruschetta sauteed mushrooms with smashed peas, mint and ricotta on grilled sourdough ($16.90). My friend really enjoyed his breakfast, he loved the medley of mushrooms that was used and he thought the smashed peas really made this dish.IMG_5762.JPG

IMG_5761.JPGEggs Benedict poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, baby spinach and bacon on toast ($17.90). I’m not a fan of Turkish bread in breakfast dishes, I find it too filling comparatively to a lot of the breakfast items but other than that, everything else was made well and they were generous with their serving of bacon.IMG_5764.JPG

IMG_5763.JPGSalted caramel cronut. We couldn’t resist to order one these since the first one we got from Ricardo’s months ago was really nice. Unfortunately, this was really oily and was not like a croissant nor a doughnut, it was soggy pastry doused in oil and covered in instant diabetes. Not good.IMG_5760.JPGWe tried to finish it, but we couldn’t. It was easy to see from the plate why.

Nothing left on the plate but sugar and grease.IMG_5768.JPGThe delicious food made us quickly forget about the inefficiencies with some wait staff. It was a shame about the cronut, the first one I had from here was amazing but now their cronuts like many of their cakes are just OTT and too sugary to differentiate between different flavours and layers that they try to achieve in complex cakes. Pretty to look at but that’s it.

Breakfast and lunch menu items are good though and I don’t think there was a surcharge for the public holiday (double win!).

You can find my previous Ricardo’s post here.

Ricardo's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Human Flyer

With the weeks leading up to the Human Brochure weekend, I’ve taken my role of showing interstate guests around Canberra much more seriously. There have been coincidental visits, Floriade trips and other Canberra events that have brought visitors to the Nation’s capital in recent weeks and as a proud local, I was eager to show them the best of what Canberra had to offer.

This was just a glimpse of one day that I could show one of these friends around and drawing inspiration from the Human Brochure, I’ve named this series the ‘Human Flyer’. It was a little inconvenient that this one particular day happened to be Labour day and a lot of the spots that I wanted to take him were closed, but because there is so much choice around here, I was able to find a substitution solution pretty quickly.

I hope you guys can find this series helpful for when you have interstate visitors and you want to show them around Canberra.

Poachers Pantry: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

During a bus ride full of caffeinated “humans” giggling and talking, I didn’t take much notice of which way we were going until we pulled off the Barton highway and took the turn towards Poachers Pantry. I had not been out here in years but I occasionally dabble in some smoked meats at the more convenient location of Fyshwick markets. I was excited to see what the place looked like and if it had changed much.

A bus full of happy local humans.20140605-212347-77027426.jpgIt is picture perfect out here. A zooming action shot taken from the bus.20140605-212346-77026112.jpgSince my last visit, Poachers pantry have successfully expanded their product nation wide as well as on an international level. They have also established a brand of Wily Trout wines from their vineyard that they planted in the late 90s. 20140605-212348-77028925.jpgWe were greeted by Susan Bruce one of the owners of Poachers pantry as well as one of her children, his name escapes me right now, so lets call him baby Bruce who runs the vineyard side of things.

She explained to us that this was all started in 1991 not knowing where it was going to go and if it was going to succeed. Well we all know how that story ends with Poachers Pantry being a very popular place to visit and the success that they’ve had with their products. They lucked out on location having the benefits of country living while being so close to Canberra and coincidentally it had the best conditions for smoking meats using Nothern European techniques and growing a vineyard.20140605-212352-77032114.jpgThe local humans taking in all the sights, sounds and soon to be tastes of Poachers pantry.20140605-212353-77033555.jpgWe all head inside and gather around to see what Poachers pantry has to offer.20140605-212904-77344287.jpgSue preparing samples for us and explaining their smoking preparations.20140605-212905-77345609.jpgWe were wine tasting at 10:30am in the morning which didn’t seem to phase anyone.20140605-212911-77351422.jpg(Not so) Baby Bruce introducing each wine before giving everyone a taste.20140605-212907-77347039.jpgWould you like a taste? Yes please!20140605-212909-77349959.jpgA great selection of smoked meats ranging from chicken, duck, kangaroo prosciutto, pork and beef.20140605-212912-77352715.jpgThey paired these delicious hot and cold smoked meats with sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot noir. You can really taste the difference between preparations and it’s easy to compare as they are usually from the same cut of meat, it is amazing how vast the difference is. I particularly liked the chicken breast with tarragon and lemon, traditional ham, peppered beef sirloin and Thai chicken thigh.20140605-213043-77443114.jpg

20140605-213041-77441682.jpgSo much flavour in a tiny morsel.20140605-213038-77438779.jpg

20140605-213044-77444437.jpgI didn’t dabble in their wine but I heard the other “humans” say that they don’t usually drink a particular type of wine but when they were given a sample they were pleasantly surprised. It goes to show that a good wine or chef can make you change your perception of what you think you may or may not like. 20140605-213040-77440222.jpgThey also house gourmet condiments that would compliment their products.20140605-212356-77036498.jpgWhen I expressed interest in purchasing some items, Sue said she would organise an esky so we could take things on the bus (how sweet!). Upon hearing this, several of us beelined straight to the cold room. I am actually writing this as I happily snacking upon their traditional ham! I also bought their chicken thigh with Thai spices. Sue suggested to fry up some onion, garlic and ginger, then warm through some coconut milk and adding in the chicken for a simple meal. They really endorse the use of their product to make simple enjoyable meals at home.20140605-213047-77447639.jpgDon’t miss the turn off as it is easy to drive past. 20140605-212908-77348503.jpgI really enjoyed Sue’s enthusiasm to show off produce and wine from Canberra’s district to the rest of the nation and even the world. Poachers pantry are also creating a new wedding space as they also do a lot of weddings out here, I’m looking forward to seeing it when it is completed.

As we were leaving, the sun was hitting the front terrace perfectly and I was envious of the happy people I walked past who were enjoying beautifully presented food. I must come back and try the injectable donuts that the waiters kept walking past with *drool*

Venue: Poachers Pantry and Wily trout wines

Address:  431 Nanima Rd, Hall NSW 2618

Phone: (02) 6230 2487

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure but we bought our own smoked goods.

Opening hours:

Smokehouse Café
Trading Hours
Brunch Sat & Sun 10am – 11:30am
Lunch Fri – Sun 12pm – 3pm

Cellar door and retail sales
7 Days 10am – 5pm

Poachers Pantry on Urbanspoon

The Cupping Room: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

I get super excited when I go somewhere new and there has been a ‘must go there’ list building up for Canberra during the time I’ve been traveling interstate and overseas. Coincidentally during our ‘day of food and wine’, I was taken to four new places and a much-loved eatery so I was buzzing with excitement and anticipation even if we did meet at 7:40am in the morning on the other side of town. *yawn*

Coffee tasting was the first item on the agenda and with such an early start, it was definitely needed. Most people are shocked (and maybe somewhat alarmed) when I tell them I don’t drink coffee. I don’t need it to wake up, I don’t get a headache if I don’t drink it and I probably add too much milk and sugar for it to still be called coffee but I do adore the smell. Thankfully I was not the only foodie who doesn’t usually consume coffee, there were four of us but we were happy to participate and see what the fuss is all about.

We were taken to The Cupping Room in Civic and we were in for a real treat with half the venue booked out especially for our coffee tasting. Our tables were carefully set with a dash of mineral water in a cup and also cutlery (oh thank goodness there will be food!). The founder of Ona coffee Mr. Sasa Sestic who is very passionate about coffee, welcomed us and gave us a lesson on the coffee growing, sourcing and tasting while the friendly staff served us all cappuccinos.

Who knew the sun and also quite a few people were up during this time of day and on a weekend no less! 20140603-221405-80045966.jpgBeautiful latte art.20140603-221414-80054748.jpgOna Coffee founder: Sasa Sestic talking about his passion for coffee, the projects he has developed, the unconventional way they pick their coffee based on the coffee tree matrix and supplying the essential nutrients using natural products like bananas and crushed volcanic rock. His passion extends beyond the coffee bean and incorporates the farmer; through creating Project Origin he ensures quality, sustainability and fairness for the producer.This guy knows his coffee!20140603-221417-80057809.jpgOur coffees were decorated with beautiful latte art which varied between cups. I looked for sugar on the table but there wasn’t any and I convince myself, just like when I eat pasta, to taste it before adding to it. It was a beautiful creamy coffee that really surprised me and my fellow non coffee drinker that we liked it. There was no bitter aftertaste and no feeling of just having eaten a mouthful of cigarette ash.20140603-221413-80053335.jpgFor once I’m not the only person taking photos of the food at the table. I can get used to hanging with this foodie crowd!20140603-221915-80355672.jpgOur second tastings arrived and to get the full flavour we were encouraged to ‘slurp’ the coffee from out spoons. This was washed vs unwashed beans. The ‘washed’ was almost like a beautiful strong rich tea but the second ‘unwashedl’ coffee was almost unbearable for me as a non coffee drinker. When asked which style we preferred, it was no surprise that the non coffee drinkers took a liking to the washed while caffeine addicts liked the other. 20140603-221419-80059293.jpgI’m going in for my big ‘slurp’, I’ve had plenty of ramen practise leading up to this moment.20140603-221420-80060960.jpgUp next was what I am much better at tasting- food!

Cured salmon with beetroot jelly, ribbons of fennel and creme fraiche topped with some croutons and micro herbs. The salmon was so tender it required minimal chewing and the saltiness was balanced out by the subtle sweetness from the delicate beetroot jelly. I thought the croutons gave it a great crunch which gave the dish an extra dimension of texture. Not your typical breakfast, but all the flavours were light and complimentary to each other.photo (21) 20140603-221917-80357040.jpgGluten free and vegetarian option of quinoa,  fennel and beetroot jelly.20140603-221919-80359872.jpgSome local humans getting their photo taken for Canberra Times (read the article here).20140603-221921-80361323.jpgThe other side was filling up fast, The Cupping Room proves to be a popular coffee spot on Saturday mornings.20140603-221931-80371596.jpgThird coffee tasting: filtered vs natural. The difference in taste was surprising and the tastes changed again when you had a sip of sparkling water afterwards. The natural tasted stronger but was still very delicate on the palette.20140603-221922-80362657.jpgCocoa avocado – avocado, banana, honey and cocoa topped with strawberries and served with a biscuit oat crumb. A beautifully simple and tasty sweet way to end our meal at The Cupping Room. The mousse was incredibly smooth with flavours of cocoa, banana and honey. A breakfast dessert is not for everyone before 9am but we stopped just short from licking our plates before we left, I should try to replicate this.20140603-221928-80368501.jpgLast but not least, they shared one of the drinks that they had created during a competition, a raspberry creaming soda iced coffee which consisted of raspberry reduction, dry ice and of course coffee. It was a unique take on familiar flavours as well as theatrics.

After the raspberry and dry ice was added to the espresso, the vase was cupped over the glass to allow the drink to carbonate and cool down. After a few minutes we were able to lift the ‘lid’ and capture the sweet scent of raspberries that was emitted.20140603-221924-80364123.jpgBrew my pretty, brew…20140603-221927-80367046.jpgWhat you’re left with is a dark carbonated coffee with sweet raspberry notes and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The raspberry creaming soda is served in a wine glass, a cute way to end our coffee tasting at The Cupping Room.20140603-221930-80370123.jpgThe Cupping Room hasn’t started a coffee addiction within me, but it has opened my eyes to the amount of flavour difference there is even between picking beans on different branches and how far away the fruit is from the trunk (which determines how much nutrients they get), how to ‘slurp’ my way through a coffee tasting and how many different projects including ‘Jammin Da House‘ that Sasa is involved in.

I’m excited to come back and try more food.

Venue: The Cupping Room

Address: 1/13 University Av Canberra City, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

Phone: (02) 6257 6412

Opening hoursMon – Fri7:00 am – 4:00 pm Sat8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.

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