Agostini’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venue: Agostini’s

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

Phone: (02) 6178 0048

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

OTIS Dining Hall

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

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

Starters~

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

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

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

Such comfy comfy seats!Venue: OTIS Dining Hall

Address: 29 Jardine St, Kingston ACT 2604

Phone:  (02) 6260 6066

Seriously, when did that happen?

A follow on from my previous post “What? When did that happen?“,  I am still finding myself uttering these words as my grip of the Canberra dining scene seems to slowly be slipping through my fingers.

1. Buttermilk and bourbon fried chicken with waffles is coming to Woden. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Okay that was just a menu item, their actual name is No. 10 restaurant and bar. According to their Instagram account, the first week of October is when they plan to open. There are plenty of things on the menu that have caught my eye, check them out here.

2. Turkish Pide House City has now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Apparently for ages! I drive past it all the time and always assumed it was there but now something new is taking its space. Hopefully not long to go.

3. Damian Brabender is finally opening his restaurant Otis . “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Technically this hasn’t happened yet for the public, but my friend was lucky enough to attend a soft launch and I cannot wait to eat one of everything from the menu. See a sneak peek from Michelle here.

4. Shannon’s BBQ is now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Or not paying their phone bill, I can’t tell since their phone line is disconnected. This was also on my ‘to eat list’ but I never got around to eating there and now it looks like I never will. Does anyone know what happened to this place?

5. Rockin’ Ribs has now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

I never made it to Rockin’ Ribs after Victor died but now the whole place is completely empty and available for lease. All the BBQ places seemed to have closed up shop in Canberra.

6. Fried Korean Chicken is coming to Dickson. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

I recently walked past and saw signs for Rogane Chimac opening next to Kingsland. I don’t know when it will open (or if it has already),  but it didn’t look like it was far off. They have more than fried chicken, but does it really matter?

7. Gus’ is now closed. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

Now this is starting to show how little I venture into Civic and I’m probably the last one to know about this, but Gus’ cafe has been closed since around June(?!?). Gus’ has been around for so long, I was shocked to hear that it closed.

8. Mills and Grills is providing ribs and pizza to Canberra. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

According to my friends Mills and Grills have been open for ‘a long time’, which really means I need new friends or a better radar. They are loving their pizza but I want to try out their ribs. Check out the menu at here.

9. There is a restaurant out near the airport. “Seriously, when did that happen?”

It is called Helix bar and dining and located inside the Vibe hotel and a lot of reviews say it is over priced and the service is sub par. It doesn’t sound like a place that I want to rush out and try.

 

Has there been anything happening around the Canberra dining scene that has got you asking “seriously, when did that happen?”

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

Progressive walking dinner – Kingston foreshore

It is always wonderful to meet up with like minded people, so when fellow foodies and I met for dinner at Kingston foreshore and we weren’t sure what to eat, we strategically planned for a progressive walking dinner to get the most of our meal.

To start we made good use of C dine‘s ‘Buck a Shuck’ Friday’s in summer and we had a dozen oysters each for our entree.Venue:C dine bar

Address:17/19 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone: (02) 6239 5299
C Dine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


7 by the Lake has only opened recently so we were excited to check it out. As we walked in, I was confused by the decor, it was supposed to be an Indian restaurant but it had African-eqsue statues around the room.

We ordered three curries: Goanese prawns ($29.90), murgh makhani (aka butter chicken $23.90) and palak paneer ($23.90). I really enjoyed their butter chicken, it isn’t your typical creamy and sweet version. I felt that the prawns and the paneer tasted slightly watery and didn’t absorb the flavours of the curry, maybe because it was added in later from a stock sauce.

 

We also ordered a serve of masala kulcha fermented plain flour bread stuffed with a mix of spiced potatoes and herbs, sprinkled with onion seeds, chopped coriander and mint, cooked in a tandoor ($5.00). It smelt divine and I would easily just eat this with butter chicken and be happy.
Our waitress did three odd things while we were there 1) she didn’t really know the name of the dish when she put down our palak paneer, she just stated it was our ‘cheese dish’ 2) she interrupted our conversation when she over heard us wanting to have dessert somewhere else 3) she opened the bill folder counted the money at the table, every last cent of it.

 

I found the prices of the curries a little steep but to be fair, everything along the Kingston foreshore seems to be over priced. I really enjoyed the bread and the chicken curry but I feel that isn’t enough to have me running back for more any time soon.

 

Venue: 7 by the lake (contemporary Indian cuisine)

Address: 143/41 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone(02) 6140 7040

Websitewww.sevenbythelake.com/
7 by the lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


To not be disappointed any more, we opted dessert an an old favourite, Morks. I had eaten their other desserts recently so I chose the Pikachu *I choose you* mango gelato ($3.00) for dessert with a side of BBQ pork bun ($8.00). It may not be conventional but I think a BBQ pork bun and mango gelato from @morksrestaurant was a wonderful way to end the nights meal. Venue: Morks

Address: 18-19 East Lake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Phone(02) 6295 0112
Morks Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dessert at Joe’s bar

When we didn’t stay for dessert at Temporada, I found it the perfect opportunity to go try the gelato sandwich at Joe’s bar that I have wanted to sample since it opened. When we arrived inside the bar, without seeing the menu we asked if they still served the gelato sandwich and when they said that they did, we had told two of the waitstaff that we wanted the gelato sandwich before we sat ourselves down on one of the lounges. After a little while, one of previous waitstaff asked if we had our order taken, it was a bit confusing as we thought we already had ordered, so we re-ordered with her and she convinced us to also order the cannoli with her description of chocolate ricotta and candied pistachios.The order took longer than expected as the large tables were also on the same course as us, but when we received our dessert I was a little underwhelmed to say the least.Gelato tramezzino ($12.00). This was two pieces of short bread sandwiching choc chip ice-cream (? we were told it would be vanilla but it had chocolate flecks through it). If you are wondering if short bread goes well with ice-cream, it doesn’t. The crumbly nature of the short bread meant that the whole dessert collapsed into a messy pile after the first bite. I was really disappointed with this.

The messy heap that was left before I gave up.
IMG_0280Cannoli pistachio ($16.00). As soon as I took the first bite, I started to wonder how we would finish all four cannolis. The shell was too thick, really brittle and borderline stale and the ricotta filling wasn’t much better. I didn’t get the sense of ‘chocolate ricotta’ or ‘candied pistachio’ that was in the description that the waitress told us about. The only reason why we took the rest of the cannolis home was because I saw how much that we paid for it.
Small flat white ($4.00). TimmyC said that his coffee tasted bitter, ashy and really bad. 
We didn’t see a single menu so we were a bit surprised at some of the prices when we got the bill. It was definitely not worth it at all. It is a shame that we didn’t enjoy any of the desserts that we ordered; maybe their savoury options are better?

 

Have you been to Joe’s bar? I would love to hear your experience.
Venue: Joe’s bar
Address: 69 Canberra Avenue, Griffith, ACT
Phone: (02) 6178 0050

 

 Joe's Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesdays at Little Brooklyn 

I made it no secret that it didn’t take much to convince me not to cook dinner and head out to Little Brooklyn for their hump day specials. Last week’s flavour was teriyaki, it seems like they change it up every week.  Hump day specials at Little Brooklyn include 1kg of chicken wings and a drink for $15.00, tonight’s flavour is chicken korma with lime and cumin yoghurt. Where will you be tonight?

Penny University

Over the weekend I had brunch at Penny University, I don’t know if brunch was particularly superb because of the fine company I was with or if the food was just amazing. May a little from column A and a little from column B.

Despite the heavy rain, everyone wanted to be at Penny University.IMG_7373.JPGI was torn between two menu items (P.U. Rarebit and McPenny) as I always am, but the waitress said that the bagel was a new menu item and had been very popular.

The breakfast menu at Penny University, what would you have chosen?IMG_7361.JPGP.U Rarebit Gratined Guinnes, leek and cheddar bagel finished with sauteed spinach and a poached egg and chilli jam ($17.00) added ‘Pialligo’ bacon ($4.00). This won’t be for everyone, it is very cheesy, rich and heavy but that is the sort of breakfast that I like. I like how both halves of the bagel had melted cheese on it, which one its own was nice but add a little of the chilli jam and it transforms into a heavenly bite. The Pialligo bacon is a thicker cut but not overly salty and compliments the rest of the dish.IMG_7367.JPGIMG_7366.JPGJuice of the day Pineapple, cucumber and … I want to say mint. I asked the waitress to repeat the juice of the day combinations and I still can’t remember what the third ingredient was, I just couldn’t get over the fact that there was cucumber in this drink, but oh my, it was a perfect combination! A wonderful mix of cold juice with refreshing flavours.IMG_7359.JPGEveryone really wanted their coffee ASAP, it was a little slow to come out but it arrived before the food.  IMG_7362.JPG

Avo dish avocado on toasted dark, charred corn and quinoa tabouleh, chevre, chilli oil and a 65/65 egg ($19.00). My super fit yummy Mummy friend ordered this, I didn’t ask her how it was, but she ate everything so I assumed it was nice.IMG_7365.JPG

IMG_7364.JPGCronut Maple and thyme ($6.00). The texture was brilliant, although it made the bag transparent the actual cronut itself didn’t seem that oily. I couldn’t have really establish it was a maple and thyme flavour it was just sweet with the perfect amount of icing and sugar.IMG_7374.JPGNot as pretty when all icing smeared onto the bag.IMG_7381.JPGCheck out those sexy layers.IMG_7385.JPGI didn’t know if it took long to get a seat because I sadly arrived fashionably late but while we were seated the wait staff were very friendly and attentive, it was just a bit of a bother to split the bill at a busy counter when there was card fees and Sunday surcharges.

I enjoyed the diverse menu options, the food, the decor and the staff attentiveness; I can’t wait to go back again.

Venue: Penny University Coffee Roasters

Address15 Kennedy St Kingston, ACT

Phone: (02) 6162 1500
Penny University Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

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

Brunch at Me and Mrs. Jones

This was a spontaneous brunch but Me and Mrs. Jones had the perfect dishes that suited the both of us. In true Canberra fashion, everywhere that was serving brunch on a Sunday morning was packed which wasn’t a good sign for people who didn’t book but because there was only two of us, they slipped us on a table fairly quickly.

They were a little late with our beverages because there was a huge queue for take away coffee but they were very apologetic and after that they kept asking if we needed anything else.IMG_4397.JPGI love how their pyramid tea bag is condensed in this cute little cube.IMG_4398.JPGBanana bread french toast with maple glazed bacon and cinnamon mascarpone ($16.00). What I look for a in a breakfast item is something unique/has bacon/French toast or a banana bread, so you could imagine my eyes widening when I saw everything I like in a breakfast on one plate! It is pretty hard to screw up bacon, the banana bread french toast really just tasted like a  toasted banana bread, but what made it for me was the supposed cinnamon mascarpone, I thought it was just a delicious whipped butter. It was incredible and I dipped everything into it, even when I ran out of banana bread, I just started eating it by itself like a gluttonous piggy. *blush* A perfect balance of salt and sweet for me. IMG_4396.JPGEggs benedict with bacon ($16.00) and garlic mushrooms (TimmyC couldn’t remember how much extra they were). The perfect hollandaise blanketed a touch over done poached eggs, yummy bacon and the mushrooms are worth getting as an extra addition.IMG_4392.JPGI seem to have a lot of brunch here and not many dinners, I must rectify that!

Morks

I’ve been wanting to try out Morks since they’ve moved to the Kingston foreshore and with my cousin and her family visiting, I couldn’t think of a better time to go.

Entree~

Three crunch salad, eggplant and chilli jam ($12.00). I must admit, I sort of rolled my eyes when my cousin ordered this salad. I didn’t come here for salad, I came here for awesome amazing dishes, but boy was I blown away by this and it was probably one of the most delicious things we had during lunch. In my defense, no where on the menu did it mention pork crackle. If it had that in the description I would have ordered it myself. Indeed it did have three ‘crunches’ in there – pork crackle, noodles and nuts. This combined with the fresh flavours of the mixed herbs gave this dish an ‘uplifting’ feeling and it was rather addictive. I would definitely recommend this dish as well as reorder it myself.20140728-204620-74780208.jpgSoft shell crab, curried potato and leek ($16.00). Well made in terms of being crispy but not oily although it didn’t compare to the salad. 20140728-204651-74811642.jpg

20140728-204653-74813078.jpgMains~

Farmer’s Pad Thai (g) ($25.00). I was keen to order this to see how they would make it. I thought the chunky pieces of chicken would be dry but they were quite the opposite, very moist and tender. At first I thought the dish looked a little disjointed with the chicken separate from the noodles, the bean sprouts and the perfectly cooked egg off to the side but it allowed me to pick and choose how much I wanted of each element on my plate. The noodles tasted somewhat lime-y which I loved but I would hate to have ordered a $25.00 pad thai and still be hungry afterwards, as it wasn’t the biggest serve of noodles.20140728-204725-74845370.jpgA close up of the lovely moist chicken pieces.20140728-204655-74815873.jpgBeef chuck stewed mussamun style, chilli bread (g) ($28.00). Really tender chunky beef pieces in a rich nutty sauce. I thought it as unusual to serve it with bread and not rice but with the chilli kick in the bread, it sorta works.20140728-204726-74846747.jpgDessert~

Egg in Hay homemade coconut ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, roasted coconut, roti, pashmak ($15.00). The toasted coconut with the addition of the crispy roti gave the flavours and feeling of a lovely aromatic deep-fried ice-cream shell. The different textures of this dessert working really well together and I would definitely order this again.20140728-204757-74877031.jpgDefinitely not on my cheap eats list but I find that Morks defy the norm and aren’t scared to do something with your typical Asian dishes whilst using fresh ingredients and flavours that work well together.

Venue: Morks

Address: 18-19 Eastlake Parade, Canberra ACT 2615

Phone: (02) 6295 0112

Morks Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Quick tour of Canberra

An old friend of mine came back to Canberra for a quick work trip but not without seeing her favourite foodie friend and indulging in some of her favourite eating spots. We took her on a mini tour to see ‘new’ places which have opened up since she moved away but not without satisfying some of her ‘Canberra food cravings’ from the old spots.

Our journey begins at Dumpling Inn in Jamison, ordering enough shallot cakes to calm her cravings for now as well as sizzling bean curd and four season beans with pork mince.  We talk until they start to vacuum around us and we figure at 10:40pm there aren’t many places to go to continue the conversation but Max Brenner in Belconnen over a chocolate lick.

Chocolate lick ($2.50), just enough chocolate to hit the spot.The next day after I went and did some essential shopping in Kingston, TimmyC and I took a quick walk around the block to see what was new and exciting. By the time we finished walking around the whole perimeter, Little Brooklyn looked the most interesting so we go back to grab a quick late lunch.

Shopping at Essential Ingredient.This caught my eye as we walked around, La Osteria bar and restaurant is replacing La Rustica as they have moved to the foreshore. I think they are due to open by the end of the month.20140223-163703.jpgTimmyC and I take our friend to a nice dinner at Mr Wei’s in the city followed up by some dessert at Jamie’s Italian before we do a quick walk around showing her CBD dumplings, Hero SushiPappaRich, Farmers Daughter and Dolce & Salato (wow, a lot of things have opened up around there recently).

We do the rest of the tour via car driving through Braddon looking at Chez Fredric, Mood food, where debarcle had moved to, 86 and then I told TimmyC to drive further to see the Mandalay bus parked near Haigh park, it was odd going to a food van without feeling hungry or having a craving for oily food. I had heard that this bus had opened up again and I wanted to see what it looked like for myself. They had lots of lights around, a casual lounge area to the side and loud music blaring. I can see the appeal; the menu looked intriguing too, not just your average ‘chips and gravy and a jam donut’ type of food van.20140223-163618.jpgThe Mandalay bus menu.20140223-163630.jpgSunday lunch was spent catching up over a delicious burger from Brodburger complete with 50 minute wait as everyone else seemed to have the same idea. We ended the meal on a sweet note by visiting Frugii at the OBDM and exploring all his flavours (candied orange, vanilla, chocolate, popcorn, salted caramel, toffee apple, plum sorbet and papaya sorbet). While we talk about John’s exciting dessert venture of opening a dessert store in Braddon around October this year, we over indulged in multiple cups of ice-cream.

Popcorn ice cream made me smirk when the taste was spot on.20140223-163640.jpgWhere do you take interstate guests when they come to visit Canberra?

C dine Bar

Despite my best efforts to keep on top of things, readers giving me heads up about new restaurants and what to try next, I still get pleasantly surprised when a restaurant pops up in a place that I didn’t even know existed. C dine Bar is located in the new Kingston area near Travillian Quay, right next to where Morks will be relocated to.

I quickly browsed the menu before I rang to book a table. Steak check image, seafood check image, great sounding pastas check image and oooh they have croquettes too! Bonus! image

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Complimentary warm linseed bread with garlic compound butter. The butter was sadly too cold and it took a bit of mashing before it (sort of) spread over my bread. Nice bread though.

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Entrees~

Pork cheek croquette pork croquette, wild mushroom, peas and garlic cream ($18.00). I expected at least two croquettes of this size for $18.00 but at least the one we got was very tasty. I could have smothered that sauce over anything, it was sooo good.

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Chowder bacon, clams, salmon, mussels, potato and cream ($16.00). I did appreciate the variety of seafood and the uniformly cut pieces of potato that didn’t disintegrate into the chowder making it all gritty and starchy but I wish that the ‘soup’ itself was a little thicker and fuller.

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Scallops green pea and bacon risotto, pecorino, carrot foam ($18.00)First of all, you could have taken the carrot foam away and you wouldn’t have noticed, it added zero experience to the taste and texture. The scallops were big and juicy with a good sear on either side, it made me realise I haven’t had a good scallop in a while.

I’m the first to say that I would push my partner over for some cheese but this risotto had A LOT of cheese. Sadly, everything below the scallops just reminded me of a cheesy version of a basic fried rice that you would get from the local Chinese take away.

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Mains~

Crab ravioli blue swimmer crab ravioli, crispy caper flowers, house preserved lemon and butter ($28.00). Now this sounded like an A+ dish and I was very close to choosing it as my main but thankfully my friend chose it so I was still able to eat a steak. I thought the pasta was a bit too thick which was very evident around the edges of the parcels when you bit into it. It could have done with a bit more ‘sauce’ as well as the whole thing felt a bit dry.

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Not stingey on the filling.

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Pork ribs smoked pork ribs, house made Bourbon BBQ sauce, lime wedges, side of your choice ($34.00). I didn’t expect that a fancy place like this would have a ‘hands on’ dish like ribs, but they do and they were deeelicious! I would have expected more for $34.00 but TimmyC couldn’t finish them so I had to step in. Oh the things I must do for him. image

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Comes with a classy plastic bib.

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C and Land 300g dry aged bone in sirloin, yabbie (they only had prawns that night) dipping salts, red wine jus, béarnaise, side of your choice ($38.00). After knowing that at least someone on the table was going to choose the crab ravioli, I had one last decision to make. C and Land? Or the seafood pie which was on the specials board? I felt like steak but didn’t want to be disappointed like so many times before when I order steak at a restaurant.

The steaks are aged in house and it is served with red wine jus AND béarnaise  well I was able to take a chance on that but just in case it comes to me still moo-ing on my plate, I ordered it medium (rather than my usual medium rare) just to be on the safe side. 

A great steak and I haven’t had one of those in a long time out in a restaurant. They cooked it well so I probably could have ordered medium rare. I wanted to pick up the bone and gnaw on it, but I decided against that and picked up one of TimmyC’s pork ribs instead.

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Sides~

Truffle polenta chips ($8.00). By far the best side dish. Crispy and tasty, you definitely have to try this (also good for a ‘mop’ of all those sauces).

Zucchini, bacon and parmesan ($8.00). What I expected was zucchini cooked al dente with bacon sparsely sprinkled between pieces then topped with some parmesan cheese. What got was slightly overcooked zucchini with oily bacon stuck in melted parmesan clumps. image

Lobster poutine bisque, lobster meat, melted cheese ($12.00). I couldn’t detect the bisque and I think we found one bit of lobster meat. It was not at all what I expected and very disappointing. This side does not come ‘free’ with the mains and will incur an additional fee but I don’t think it is worth it.

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Dessert~

White chocolate parfait white chocolate parfait, 30 second vanilla cake, verjuice puree, pistachio crumb ($16.00). It sounded good in theory, so good that two of us chose this dessert. You could at least taste the white chocolate in the parfait but I couldn’t understand why the verjuice puree had to be there. The vanilla cake that was torn into pieces and scattered around the plate could have done with some  custard or a caramel to give it a bit of extra something.

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Warm hazelnut cake hazelnut cake, chai ice-cream, quince puree, moscato gelee ($16.00). I didn’t expect the cake to be a hazelnut sponge and I didn’t exactly love it as it was a little dry as well as underwhelming. Melting some of the chai ice-cream on top helped it a bit but the best part of the dessert was the moscato gelee and that can’t be good.

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Despite the critique I have over small elements of some dishes and the desserts, I had an overall pleasant dining experience and for some reason am very keen to come back. The whole menu screams things that I would like; I just hope that they execute them better than some of the dishes that we ate here tonight.

Venue: C Dine Bar

Address17/19 Eastlake Parade, Kingston, ACT 2604

Phone: (02) 6239 5299

Websitehttp://cdinebar.com.au/

C Dine Bar on Urbanspoon