Happy Valentine’s day! It is so hot here that a dozen ice creams is more practical than a dozen roses (yes it was a box of 20 but I feel I deserve some too). #canberra #cbr #valentinesday #love #food #foodie #foodblog #icecream
As most people are using their lunch time to quickly walk/run/cycle up Mt Ainslie, I found myself sitting in air-conditioned comfort in the newly opened Breizh cafe eating crepes with my Belgian friend at the Ainslie shops.
I had heard about the Breizh cafe from a reader (thanks Hannah!) who was quick to inform me about the opening of the Breton cafe with unique sweets, French cider and coffee and I knew I had to get there as soon as possible.
It is an improvement on the previous establishment with a good layout, good coffee and fabulous sweets.
Lunch menu: from 12pm to 2pm
Galettes~ savoury crepes made with gluten free Buckwheat flour.
While I was snapping away at the surrounding decor, my friend found herself torn choosing between two savoury crepes and that was even before she saw the menu for the sweet crepes. I just suggested how about we order both savoury crepes then share a sweet one. I’m usually full of these bright ideas that maximise the amount of menu items that end up on the table hehehehe, I just had one request that we get the unusual looking ‘Kouign Amann’.
Smoked salmon, capers, dill and creme fraiche ($14.50). Salmon, capers and dill are usually the perfect marriage of flavours and it is even more so with a crepe. I’m used to buttery sweet crepes so I found the buckwheat flour a little denser and heavier. We were slightly disappointed to find that the crepe wasn’t filled with anything but rather just decorated with ingredients on top, that is probably why it came out so fast.
Potato, Raclette cheese, Black Forest ham, onion ($14.50). The ham tasted like a wonderful proscuitto with a spicy rind and like any great cured meat was salty but it was balanced out by the crepe, cheese, potato and the sweetness of the caramelised onion. Again most of the filling of onion and cheese was at the tip of the crepe leaving the edges a bit tasteless and abandoned.
Apple, salted butter caramel, Calvados, vanilla ice-cream ($13.00). The sweet crepes are very different to the heavy buckwheat savoury galettes. The edges of the crepe were crispy and buttery, there was a enough sauce and topping for every last bite of the crepe and the flavours of the salted butter caramel was heavenly with the soft stewed apple and ice-cream.
Kouign Amann ($6.00). When my friend went to order our desserts, she was asked if she would like some cream with the Kouign Amann, since it was 1/3 flour, 1/3 sugar, 1/3 butter what’s a little cream on the side? I am so glad that she said yes because it was amazing! Light and creamy with notes of vanilla essence – perfect! If we fell in love with the cream, I had high expectations of this cake.
It was like eating an amazing sweet bread with lots of layers that you could feel in your mouth topped with a fabulous flaky caramelised top. Towards the outer edges of the cake, the sugar was thicker and forms almost a toffee covering which wasn’t too sweet but gave a great crunchy texture. I advise you all run and go try this immediately if not sooner!
A wonderful addition to an already great collection of eateries of Ainslie. There are lots of great unique choices and friendly helpful staff who were very attentive. I am very keen to come back again and try different things.
Venue: Breizh cafe
Address: 15 Edgar Street, Ainslie, ACT 2602
Phone: (02) 6156 0346
Christmas opening hours:
Over the weekend Canberrans were out and about, enjoying the sun, doing a spot of shopping and a lot of them were having a sweet treat from the new dessert hot spot in Civic Dolce & Salato pasticceria, which had only just opened up less than a week ago.
A quick look inside- there are very cute tea-cup lights and a very big cabinet full of Italian desserts but I’m always a little wary of Italian pastries because there is nothing worse than stale pastries, so I went with a gelato instead.
Tiramisu gelato ($5.00) and Yoghurt berry ($5.00). In the first instance of tasting the tiramisu, you could really taste the liquor followed by a coffee flavour. There is no mistake that it was tiramisu but the texture of the gelato when I went in for my first mouth full had me worried as it had the consistency of thick cookie dough batter.
The yoghurt berry in comparison had a completely different texture and it wasn’t overly sweet, a nice refreshing flavour for Summer.
I can see this place getting very busy during the upcoming hotter months with their great location, large variety of gelato flavours, extensive Italian dessert range and with the eventual wood-fired breakfast menu.
Venue: Dolce & Salato Pasticceria
Address: 108 Bunda Street, Canberra, 2600
Phone: (02) 6248 8660
It’s not that I ran out if places to eat in Canberra nor was I tired from the restaurant scene that I drove over an hour out of Canberra for a meal but I heard that there was an amazing place that I must try out in Binalong which only happens to open for dinner. So out we drove into the country to see what all the fuss was about at the Royal Tara.
The decor is simple and quaint, with all the effort placed in the food and serving it hot and fresh. This place has a very laid back atmosphere with all the locals wheeling in eskys filled with beer and wine, I even saw a guy bring in a bottle of vodka and casually placed it on the table and added it to his drinks. Tables are rearranged to accommodate large tables and families etc, you gotta love the country hospitality.
Garlic bread 4 large pieces per serve ($5.00). There are some breads that fill you up and there are some other breads make you want more, wet your appetite and then leaving you more hungry than when you started. I had a little smirk when I saw it was topped with cheese. It was so good.
Spanish garlic prawns Chef’s specialty – green prawns cooked in chilli and garlic ($18.00). This tasted like they used minced garlic from a bottle but it still had a good garlic punch to it (on the sweeter side) with a good mix of chilli. I love how this was served piping hot with all the oil, garlic and chilli. Lip smacking.
Crumbed chicken tenderloins with salad greens and sweet chilli ($17.00). Tender crispy chicken morsels that will keep any adult or kid happy.Tempura battered calamari battered calamari rings with salad and lime aoili ($18.00). I didn’t really see much visual difference between the chicken and the calamari. The calamari had a crispy coating while the meat inside was very soft and not chewy at all.
They kept it simple on the menu, there was a choice of fish, chicken or steak and as good as the other options sounded, I knew my stomach was get meal envy if I didn’t get a steak.
Fillet steak tender eye fillet topped with parsley butter – a selection of mustards is available ($28.00). A very tender piece of beef and probably more for the people who didn’t want to have their steak covered in a thick rich sauce.
Pepper steak fillet steak with green peppercorn cream sauce ($30.00). There was a decent amount of peppercorn in that sauce which I loved, this would have been my second choice for a steak but I chose something different so there was no meal overlap.
Steak diane fillet steak with garlic cream sauce ($30.00). Every now and then I would steal a bit of TimmyC’s sauce, it was very nice and I probably would have licked the plate if I wasn’t eating at a restaurant with judging eyes around me.
Fillet steak with mushroom sauce fillet steak with mushroom, tomato and onion sauce ($30.00). All the sauce may have looked ‘brown’ but there was a distinct taste difference between all of them I promise! This was a very good steak, I was worried about not disclosing the size (nothing worse than having a sad little piece of steak on the side of the plate) but it was good decent portion (around 300g?). I also liked how despite everyone having the same vegetables, they didn’t just make it ahead of time and let it sit on a bain marie to get overcooked and mushy, all the vegetables were cooked perfectly. You could really taste the steak and it wasn’t overwhelmed by the sauce of choice. It has been a while since I’ve had a good steak, such a shame this place is so far away!
and then back to entrees…
Oysters kilpatrick a dozen oysters cooked with bacon and Chef’s secret sauce ($23.00). Yes, while half way through my steak, I started to have eaters regret for not ordering oysters. Trust me, the waitress was as surprised as you were that I was ordering an entree after my main, but to cancel things out I shared a dessert rather than have one to myself, although I was tempted. They were made very well and I’m always a fan of crisping up the bacon rather than under cooking them under a grill.
Sticky date pudding served warm with caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream ($11.00). There was a bit of a dessert stand off, three out of four of us wanted sticky date pudding. I looked on with an unapproving blogger eyes. I convinced TimmyC against his will that he did not want this but rather the refreshing tangy taste of a lemon and lime tart. As soon as the sweet smell of caramel hit the air and the warm caramel pooled around a very moist pudding, I got a dirty look. We all had a taste of this dessert but instead of relieving curiosity, it gave us all dessert envy. In short, do not get talked out of getting a sticky date pudding.
Lemon and lime tart served with vanilla ice-cream ($11.00). Despite being the second choice, this tart was amazing. I was completely blown away by how smooth the tart filling was with the perfect balance between tangy and sweet. A lovely refreshing way to cleanse the palate after a fabulous meal.
It might be a far way to go for a meal, but I encourage everyone to come out here if you love a good steak. They are supposed to also make fantastic frozen pies (even better than Gum tree pies which is a very big call!) which are usually made on Wednesday but are sold out by the Friday. You wouldn’t think that such a fabulous establishment was attached to a motel out in the sticks.
Venue: Royal Tara
Address: 27-37 Stephens Street, Binalong, NSW 2584
Phone: (02) 6227 4310
I don’t know if I was on a sugar high or a natural high from all the excitement but I had been smiling all night while I was at Canberra’s version of ‘Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory’ except that his name is John, there were no oompa loompas and not only does he make his only chocolate from scratch, he also makes amazing cakes and spectacular ice-cream!
John from Frugii invited us over to his house to bounce around cake ideas for a birthday I’m attending at the end of the month. He gave us a tour of his oh so amazing kitchen, then we did some taste sampling of various flavours and then we took his fantastic cake (that he prepared earlier) upstairs, where we then proceeded to talk about food for the next three hours.
For a girl that has eaten a lot of chocolate, I’ve never seen a cocoa bean before. John had one preserved and it was a lot bigger than I thought. We cracked open a few beans he had roasted and ate them. Whoever thought of to eat one and then make it into chocolate is a true visionary!
Chocolate tasting– we were trying dark chocolate from Ecuador, Sao thomé and Madagascar- they tasted so different but all were very delicious. We then also tried the world’s best chocolate (yes, literally it has won that title four years in a row) Amedei chuao chocolate. Sorry there are no pictures, I was too busy eating.
Fluff– a non freeze, not too sweet fluff with a hint of coffee taste.
Sweet basil ice-cream- OMG I’ve done happy claps before but this time I did a happy dance with little stomps! Sounds strange (the flavour not my behaviour) but it works! It was soooooooooooooooo good! And the texture was perfect!
Salted butter caramel ice-cream, fresh from the machine- OMG so amazing! I had bought this flavour over the weekend (from the South side markets) and put it in both of the tubs that I was getting. It is good, like really really good, but when it’s fresh from the machine- OMG it made me jump up and down with excitement.
7 layer opera cake – this cake takes over two days to prepare and you can taste the love and effort he has put in in every layer. My favourite layer was the coffee mousse and I don’t even drink coffee! Superb!
I how their imaginations take them to weird and wonderful places where any ice-cream flavour is possible- sweet basil, coriander sorbet, anzac biscuits and vegemite, blackcurrant and fresh ginger, smokey bacon, blue vein cheese and dark chocolate and tzatziki sorbet just to name a few. Did I mention he also judges the ice-cream category @ the Royal Dairy show?
Fruit purees, pure nut pastes and vanilla extracts- he makes it all himself. All his ingredients are high in quality and his equipment and work space is top of the line. I don’t know what cake we chose in the end or if we officially decided on one in the end, I just know that 4 hours only felt like 15 minutes. I had so much fun talking to the wonderful couple at Frugii about food, flavours and restaurants. They are so wonderful and friendly, but I just kept asking them why they kept their day jobs when everything they make is so delicious!
You can catch Frugii on the weekends at the Farmer’s market and the South side farmer’s market but if you get a mid week craving, they are supplying to Milk and Honey and several IGAs including Ainslie, Narrabundah and Hughes.
I promise to take photos of all his creations that I buy!