Thirst Wine Bar & Eatery

——-01/06/2012——-

I was keen to try Thirst wine bar & eatery because it was one of the few restaurants from the Top 20 restaurants in Canberra that I haven’t tried yet.

A beautiful wall mural.

Entrees~

The spring rolls and fish cakes were really nice and came out hot but I thought the prices were crazy ridiculous for Asian entrees.

Vegetarian spring rollsa mixture of grated carrot, bean sprouts, rice noodles and coriander, served with cucumber relish ($11.90) 

Fish cakeswhite fish, chilli paste, kaffir lime leaf, green beans, fried, served with cucumber relish ($12.90)

Main~

Deep fried pork belly with tamarind- fried pork belly, rice noodles, bean shoots, coriander and sticky tamarind sauce ($21.90) The pork was crazily salty even when I paired a tiny amount with lots of noodles. I was really hungry so I finished it but I had to drink a lot of water.

Desserts~

My friends weren’t too hungry but lucky they felt like dessert!

Lime and kaffir lime leaf sorbet ($2.30 per scoop) I was amazed that there was so much flavour in this sorbet, a lovely palette cleanser after all that salt.

Coconut and pandanus custardA rich custard with caramelised sugar top. The custard is enhanced by pandanus extract, is intense in flavour and nutty undertones and a fantastic colour of rich green! ($9.90) An Asian take on a creme brulee? A lovely smooth custard that wasn’t too sweet finished with a lovely caramelised sugar top.

Taro in coconut milk – A fragrant, starchy root vegetable, cooked in coconut milk, topped with sugar, salt and coconut cream ($9.90) A great simple Asian dessert but I wouldn’t expect to be charged so much for it.

I was surprised to see how expensive the entrees and mains were and I don’t care how good your fish cake is, I wouldn’t expect to pay over $3.00 per tiny fish cake. As much as I enjoyed the desserts, I think the only time I’d come back would be Monday or Tuesday where they have 2 for 1 Thai (purchase any dish and get another of equal or lesser price for free, excludes take away).

I saw a couple who ordered 4 entrees, 2 mains and 2 desserts, I would hate to see what their total came to.

Venue: Thirst Wine Bar & Eatery

Address: 20 West Row, Civic, Canberra 

Phone: (02) 6257 0700

Websitehttp://www.thirstwinebar.com.au/

Thirst Wine Bar & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Sage re-run Autumn menu

——-17/05/2012——-

When I saw that Sage dining rooms was doing a special of a surprise 8 course degustation for $95.00 per person on their FB page, my friend and I jumped at chance of going again. My friend doesn’t eat seafood so they kept that in mind and the courses varied between us.

With the millions of different elements and the waiters talking so fast, please excuse if I didn’t get the description 100% correct.

A quick snap shot of the whole night

Let the dinner begin!

Course #1~

Mushroom amuse bouche- It had a thick foam layer and the ‘soup’ was very salty with a distinct mushroom taste. Great for dipping the bread into I thought.

House made sour dough with dehydrated sage and tomato butter

Course #2~

Confit of mackerel with rhubarb gel and a dehydrated grape. Very interesting to say the least especially biting into the dehydrated grape.  The rhubarb taste was subtle with a weird gel toothpaste consistency. The mackerel was a nice salted fish which balanced out all the sweetness of the rhubarb and grape.

Beetroot variations with freeze dried mandarin and coriander. They had beetroot cooked in a variety of ways including poached and fresh finished with a smoked ricotta. Pretty on a plate but obviously not very filling.

Course #3~

Tuna and foie gras with sashimi, mojama, crackling, chervil and PX dressing. Really delicate and really tasty although the crackling was more about texture than taste.

Honey peppered heirloom carrots with malt powder, caramelised yolk, cumin sponge, finished with a carrot glass. With so many different elements and textures, it was hard to distinguish between the flavours.

Course #4~

Wagyu bresaola with foie gras foam. The foam had a very strong horseradish texture which I would usually be put off by but it went really well with the thinly sliced beef.

Course #5~

Seared scallops with a pumpkin fondant and amoretto biscuits. Another textured delight for the senses between the pumpkin, puree and seeds. Nicely put together.

All gone!

Pork ‘all’sorts’– slow cooked belly, braised cheek with pork chips and radish. The pork cooked to perfection and we really enjoyed this dish.

Course #6~

Roast duck with licorice gel, confit duck terrine rolled in pistachios, orange and carrot puree and pickled red cabbage. The duck had a nice layer of fat under the skin which really added to the flavour. I thought the pickled red cabbage gave the dish a nice sweet touch but my favourite part of this dish (despite my love for fatty duck) would have to be the orange and carrot puree. Wow it was soooo amazing and I made sure that my fork got every last bit of it. This would have to be the most memorable dish of the night.

Dessert~

We were counting the courses as we were going, so when we saw that they were serving desserts at course #7 we were excited at the thought of having two desserts.

Course #7~

Rhubarb and raspberry– quinoa crunch, raspberry sorbet, creme brulee foam, rose petals with a raspberry sponge. The creme brulee foam was so light, creamy and delicate. I was surprised to find the poached rhubarb cold and sweet and I thought it was a great contrast of raspberry with the sponge flavour being so subtle against the very vibrant sorbet.

Course #8~

Chocovado– chocolate cremeux, hazelnut cocoa crumble, lemon gel and avocado cream. The aftertaste of the avocado cream left my tongue like it had just eaten an unripe banana. The actual chocolate portion itself was like a thick rich chocolate mousse, it was very smooth which was contrast to the crunch of the rice grains that are decorated on top.

And a cappuccino to finish off the night (not included in degustation)

Staff were attentive and polite as always and I’m always impressed when they can describe each course at no hesitation and yet with so much detail. I must admit even after 8 courses I could have eaten another meal afterwards but I resisted temptation to not ruin my palette. I’m looking forward to next season’s menu.

From their website:

Sage Closed from 1st July -17th July for an inspirational trip to France and a new kitchen.”

Trivia night at the Green Herring restaurant

——-29/02/2012——-

Onto another birthday! My friend had organised several trivia tables at the Green Herring restaurant, now I’ve never been of great assistance at trivia and claim to be purely decorative and only there for the food. I fear in this case it was not going to be any different, except this time the food will be better than your usual schnitty at the club.

I’ve never made it into the Green Herring restaurant but I always wondered what it looked like inside. A warm cosy interior with tables made of up 4 – 8 places for trivia.

All ready with my pen and fork for dinner and trivia!

You get to choose your entree, main and dessert. Hmmm what to choose…

The place is filling up, it must be nearly time to start.

Initial drinks aren’t included but it was too cold not to get a Tea Drop Chai tea.

Starter~

Herb and garlic bread – Ok I know it’s just bread, but this was soooooooooo delicious! A great start and setting the bar high for the night.

Entree~

Soup of the day- bacon, potato and leek soup. Not the most delicious soup in the world but definitely warming and it was the perfect weather for soup.

Seared prawns served with a fresh fennel risotto finished with a lime creme friache – a good mix of different flavours.

Fettuccine tossed through hazelnut sauce topped with crumbled Persian fetta finished by a roast hazelnut crumble- a great unexpected combination of hazelnuts and fetta, I really enjoyed this entree.

Main~

Atlantic salmon served above a potato and chive gateau blanched asparagus; drizzled with a lemon infused hollandaise sauce

Pork cutlet served atop apple and pear risotto finished with a cider jus – the chargrill cooking style lent itself to being the only flavour of the pork, the cider jus was subtle but the flavour didn’t infuse into the meat.

Kiev cut chicken breast placed above creamy potato mash napped with an orange and tarragon glaze

Seasonal vegetables – some of us attempted to eat some vegetables out of guilt but we didn’t finish the plate.

Dessert~

Pear and cinnamon panna cotta served with a citrus creme friache and pear crisps- this wasn’t fabulous, it had more of a mousse texture rather than a creamy panna cotta but I really liked the pear crisp. 

Mango cheesecake and cointreau syrup served with orange and date ice cream and a tuile crisp

Lime tart served with vanilla double cream and toasted meringue- the tart was nice, the subtle taste of lime went well with the meringue.

It was my friend     Tomato’s     ‘7th’ birthday and he got a special dessert.

Not that we weren’t full enough, we each got sent home with a box of house made chocolates, a sweet way to end a fun night.

There were a lot of elements that sounded really delicious on paper but it wasn’t completely executed really well, but if you didn’t read the menu in great detail, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

The staff were really attentive regardless that the restaurant was completely packed out. I really liked the timing of the whole event, you were either eating or having fun in trivia. All in all, a great night out!

Venue: The Green Herring Restaurant

Address: Ginninderra Village, 11 O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls, ACT 2913

Phone: (02) 6230 2657

Websitehttp://www.thegreenherring.com.au/

Trivia: Last Wednesday of every month? Bookings essential, $55.00 per person.

Entertainment card: Yes, main course for another mean during non-trivia nights.

The Green Herring Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Banana leaf

——-24/02/2012——-

After a ‘take advantage of late night shopping’ spree at the Canberra centre, my friend and I decided to take a short walk to Banana leaf and have dinner there. It is often busy and if you go later they usually run out of certain dishes, lucky for us when we got there they were able to seat us and nothing was sold out.

Entree~

Beef pan rolls – mildly curried diced beef and potato rolled in a crepe, finely crumbed and lightly fried, served with a salad garnish and condiments ($15.90) Delicious with different combinations of textures between the beef, crepe and crumbed outer layer. The only bad part was that I thought the serving size was too small 

Mains~

Sri Lankan style rice and currytraditional rice and curry from Sri Lanka is like being served a ‘buffet’ on a plate. Steamed rice with an assortment of a black and white curries, sambol, chutney and pappadam where colour, fragrance and taste come together in perfect harmony. Your choice of beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian curries ($26.90).

I chose beef which was tender but still had some fatty bits. I also enjoyed the vegetarian curry, although nothing really ‘wow’ed me on the plate. I would have preferred more beef pan rolls.

My friend chose chicken and I really liked her eggplant curry (small cup on the left). I wonder if I can just get that and rice next time…

The staff are friendly and attentive. I think the menu is interesting enough with string hoppers, Sri Lankan curries and rotti. I would like to come back and try more of the menu.

Venue: Banana leaf

Address: U2/ 240 -250 City Walk, Canberra City 2601 

Phone: (02) 6248 5522

Banana Leaf on Urbanspoon

Soju girl

——-16/02/2012——-

I was taking two tough critics with me to Soju girl, a highly acclaimed Asian influenced restaurant located at the Melbourne building where I believe the chef was from Parlour room.

They have cute 1/2 sized bottles of wine!

Small plates~

I don’t know how much basil they go through but I guess it would be a lot because it seemed to be on everything.

Soft shell crab, som tom salad, citrus dressing ($18.00) this was really crispy (think potato crisp) and not overly oily but also not much flavour.

Chargrilled prawn, wonton, spicy foam ($18.00) I loved the salad, the flavours and textures really complimented each other. I thought the spicy foam was amazing and could have dipped everything in that.

Crispy pork hock, red date puree, black vinegar caramel ($16.00) I found the pork a little bit of a hit and miss, the first piece I ate was really crispy and so tasty but the subsequent pieces were more fatty and soft.

 

Large plates~

So there isn’t ‘entrees’ and ‘mains’ but rather ‘small plates’ and ‘large plates’ and they weren’t kidding about ‘large plates’! Between the three mains there wasn’t any room to put much else on the table. I’ve put my hand for scale reference and may I point out again  I don’t have huge man hands.   

** all dishes accompanied by rice**

Tataki cut sirloin 2 ways, ginger carrot puree, kinoko gari salad ($38.00) I couldn’t tell what was ‘2 ways’ about the sirloin but it was delicious. The ginger and carrot puree was so creamy and buttery and very addictive but I was not a fan of the salad- there was too much vinegar and the cauliflower was hard.

Coconut braised duck, yellow curry ($36.00) It was served in one big ass bowl! The duck was flavoursome if you ate it with the skin, but the flavours of the curry didn’t infuse into the meat and even though the duck was in the sauce, it still felt a bit dry.

Whole baby snapper, chilli jam, Thai herbs ($33.00) Not so ‘baby’- the curved back was really crispy and delicious, the other side was cooked but dry and because there was no sauce or texture, it was just plain fish. This is not for those who don’t like fish with lots of little bones.

This restaurant is obviously becoming very trendy being completely booked out and very noisy (I almost couldn’t hear my friends). It was a shame that my friends weren’t up for some dessert because the Asian influence made them sound really interesting, so I might come back next time for ‘small plates’ and try some dessert.

One of my friends has been back since and even though she was with a big table, the only booking they could get was seating near the bar which was fine by them and they racked up quite a bar tab.

I preferred the ‘small plates’ as I found them more adventurous and delicious but I must say that even though the food (depending on what you choose) was good it is very expensive for the serving size.

Soju Girl on Urbanspoon

Bon appetit @ Le Tres Bon

——-04/02/2012——-

The phone line was busy when I tried to call and book a table at Le Tres Bon but I was pleasantly surprised when they rang me back and apologised that they were on the phone. ‘I like them already’ I thought to myself. Heading all the way out to Bungendore for dinner might seem a little extreme (it’s not like I’ve ran out places to dine locally) but I had heard wonderful things about the tiny French restaurant nestled in the main street of the quiet town.

I was a little confused as the sign clearly said Le Tres Bon but the front room looked like a little boutique store. After I stuck my head in to double check, the waiter proceeded to take us through to the dining room and seated us in a cute room filled with French themed pictures.

Entree~ The entrees are a wonderful introduction to your dining experience. They have specifically selected and prepared to stimulate your palate, in tune with the season and as an invitation into the world of genuine French classique cuisine.

Carpaccio de poulpe (octopus carpaccio),fresh fennel and oranges. Slivers of tenderly cooked octopus dressed in invigorating summer flavours; fresh fennel and orange segments. Drizzled with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice ($25.00). This was so good, thinly sliced octopus with olive oil and was really well complimented by the sweet orange segments.

Terrine de campagne (traditional terrine). Christophe’s terrine is a blend of pork, duck and veal; marinated in white wine and Cognac with a unique combination of herbs and spices. Served with sour dough bread and a petite salad ($19.00). The terrine was a mix of meaty flavours and went really well with the sour dough bread.

Plats chauds (Mains)~ The main dishes offer you tradition, the sort of food which takes time to prepare. Ingredients are marinated overnight, summer all dau on the corner of the stove. Specific stocks are made in house to enhance these dishes and their sauces. Main courses are served with traditional Alsacienne spatzle and seasonal vegetables.

Carbonnade de boeuf à la bièr (beef and beer carbonade). Prime beef is slow cooked aromatic garniture, beer and brown sugar. This is a classic dish from the north of France- Pas de Calais ($32.00). The beef was very tender but the sauce didn’t have a strong flavour. The ‘alsacienne spatzle’ was very bizzare to eat, I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, it felt like the pasta that gets stuck at the bottom of the pan. The vegetables were nice and soft but still retained their flavour.

Fricassée de lapin à la moutarde (wild rabbit fricassée and French mustard). Wild rabbit marinated and slow cooked in a white wine and stock. Finished with a delicate cream and French mustard sauce ($34.00). The rabbit had a subtle mustard sauce. I’ve never eaten rabbit before (knowingly at least) but it has very small bones and texture like chicken. My experienced rabbit eater friend said it was a tad over cooked.

Desserts~ In contrast to the mains which are hearty dishes, desserts are light to round off your meal and your gastronomic experience, for epicurean discovery and pleasure!($15.00)

That’s right, we chose three desserts between the two of us and we finished every last bit!

Crème brûlée au chocolat blanc (crème brûlée  and white chocolate) No gelatine or powders in this brûlée . You’ll enjoy the marriage of the smooth cream and white chocolate against the caramelised toffee crust. No gelatine you say? I was most excited to try this. This was really good, it had a nice toffee crust with a really smooth  custard but I couldn’t taste the white chocolate.

Crêpe Suzette (orange crêpes). The famous crêpe from Normandy region. Delicious butter crêpes are drenched in thick syrup made from caramalised fresh orange zest and Grand Marnier. I’m not the biggest fan of crepes or orange in my dessert, so it came as a complete surprise that this delicious warm crêpe was my favourite dessert (and definitely the sweetest) of the night .

Marquise au chocolat noir (dark chocolate Marquise). A Marquise is a delicate chilled chocolate dessert- halfway between a mousse and a parfait. Served with a perfumed bergamot creme anglaise. This had a very mousse-y texture with a very strong dark chocolate taste. A must for all the chocolate lovers out there.

Although I found the main courses a little underwhelming, I did really enjoy my entree and all three desserts. I did feel bad for not ordering the French cliché dishes like snails or foie gras but maybe next time. I would love to come again and try more desserts. 

Venue: Le Très Bon Café Restaurant 

Phone: (02) 6238 0662

Address: 40 Malbon Street, Bungendore, NSW 2621

Websitehttp://www.letresbon.com.au/

Entertainment card (11/12): Yes! The offer is a main course for a main course, double check your bill as they thought the deal was an entree for an entree.

Le Tres Bon on Urbanspoon

a Welcome home by the lake

——-07/01/2012——-
As a welcome home surprise Timmy took me out to dinner and after his first two choices weren’t open yet for the new year, he took me to his third choice- Waters Edge restaurant by the lake.
It wasn’t a great start when they misplaced our table booking but luckily enough they were still able to find us a table during a fully booked out night. I have been to Waters Edge many times but the atmosphere had changed since I had last been, it has gone from a quiet romantic setting to much more bustling conversations with a vast age diversity amongst the patrons.
 

Ready to eat! 

Complimentary canape~

Beetroot bruschetta- this was delicious!

Complimentary breadroll~

Entree~ ($21.00)

Blue swimmer crab tortellini served with squash puree, Avruga caviar and shellfish bisque foam– I found the foam a bit weird, it had a subtle taste but I very much enjoyed the delicious fresh blue swimmer crab tortellini.

Entree special~

Salted crusted Yellowfin tuna with black squid ink saucethis tasted like a delicious pepper encrusted tender beef steak

 

Main~ ($38.00)

Lamb back-strap, prune braised neck crepinette, carrot and ginger puree, heirloom carrot, water cress and fennel salad, lamb jus- the lamb was lovely and tender.

 

Duck breast and pressed leg confit served with potato and rosemary gratin dauphinois, sauteed sweet cabbage and lardons, cafe au lait foam- the duck was nice and crispy but I found the gratin a bit lacking.

Sides~ ($8.00)

Paris mash- When I first had this at Courgette, I was absolutely amazed and religiously ever since I order it every time, but today I found this mash too salty and it had lost it’s lustrous charm. 

Palette cleanser~

Pear sorbet- refreshing and not to sweet with a subtle pear taste- wonderful!

Dessert~ ($16.00)

I felt so bad, due to my slow eating habits the ‘caramelized apple and cinnamon souffle, calvados butterscotch sauce and cardamom ice cream‘ was sold out. Sorry Timmy 

Rose water creme caramel, ruby grapefruit mousse, ruby grapefruit tea cake and pomegranate sorbet- the tea cake was so moist and was my favourite element to the plate, with the pomegranate and finely chopped strawberries coming a close second. The rosewater creme caramel had a very distinct rose water taste, which I found hard to comprehend because my brain still expected a ‘creme caramel’ taste from the look of it.

 

Chocolate and macadamia nut semi freddo, chocolate soil, pot roasted blue berries, blueberries sorbet- a lovely chocolate dessert that wasn’t too sweet, I particularly enjoyed the blueberries sorbet.

 

Grinder coffee and petit fours ($5.00) Maybe they should have written ‘petit four’ on the menu. We had to prompt for this and in the end it was just served on a napkin. We were eager to order this as we enjoy them so much at Courgette, which usually serves multiple chocolates on either a mini platter or tier. This by comparison was very disappointing.

There was a lot more staff than previously and we were served by multiple people, I didn’t think the staff were very efficient (or polite) even if there were so many more of them. Not my favourite place for fine dining due to the staff and ambiance but the food was still impeccable.

Venue: Waters Edge Restaurant

Address: 40 Parkes Place, Parkes, ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6273 5066

Entertainment book: Yes! It’s a tear out voucher so don’t forget to bring it

Waters Edge Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Hunter Valley Series- Absolute Thai

——-06/01/2012——-

Zoot alors, I have missed one! Sacre bleu, what is this?” 

I almost missed one! I had such an amazing time catching up with friends that I completely forgot that we ate! Hahahahaha! We especially chose Absolute Thai because of their elaborate  birthday   celebrations where the restaurant lights would dim, the staff come out with  flashy banners  that say ‘happy birthday’, the whole restaurant sings ‘happy birthday’ and the kitchen ends the song with massive flames from the wok! This is for EVERY birthday that night, so you may hear the song up to 4-5 times during one sitting. It wasn’t anyone’s birthday but two of my scheming friends thought it would be fun if we pretended it was one of our other friend’s birthday. SURPRISE! 

Now, back to the food!


Entree~

Thai fish cakes, spring rolls, curry puffs, fried calamari and moneybags- Despite being a large table and the restaurant completely booked out, our entrees still came out in a timely manner and nothing was disappointing.

Mains~

Chicken cashew nut & chili jam cashew nut, chili jam, capsicum, onion, shallot, baby corn and carrot

Good ol’ Chicken Pad Thai thin rice noodle, tamarind sauce, egg, bean sprout, garlic chive and ground peanut – I always use pad thai as the bench mark for Thai restaurants, it wasn’t fabulous and a little dry but it wasn’t the worst pad thai I’ve eaten either.

Steamed Curry Seafood in Young Coconut king prawn, fish fillet, calamari, mussel, red curry paste, coconut milk, Chinese cabbage, egg, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves and long red chili

Homemade Curry freshly blended curry pastes on the premises 

Green Curry green bean, bamboo shoot, basil leaves, apple eggplant, zucchini and coconut milk – a slight zing to it but not overly hot.

Panang Curry capsicum, green bean, ground peanut and coconut milk 

Jungle Curry (Hot & Spicy)- green bean, bamboo shoot, mushroom, apple eggplant, basil leaves, green peppercorn, long red chili and lesser galangal – I was not brave enough to try this, especially when the green curry was hot enough for me, but my friend seem to enjoy it.

Massaman Curry Beef potato, onion, peanut, bay leaves and coconut milk – delicious tender beef and a nice sauce to mix in with rice.

No need for dessert, especially when everyone (else) knew about the cake.

Happy Birthday Aaron! 

Although we were a table of 9 we weren’t forced into a banquet and were free to order whatever we liked which I thought was really good. The service has definitely improved since it first opened in 2010 but it’s still rather quite noisy with so many people and live music inside.

It’s not the most authentic and delicious Thai I’ve eaten but it’s in a nice convenient location, decent priced food and a fun place to celebrate a birthday. But let’s face it, when you’re with good company, it doesn’t really matter where you are. 

Venue: Absolute Thai

Address: (across from Max Brenner) Shop L1, 1034 Charlestown Square shopping centre. 30 Pearson St, Charlestown NSW 2290

Phone: (02) 49437710

Opening hours: Lunch-11.30am. to 3.30pm. Mon to Sun.

                                    Dinner- 5pm. to 10pm. Mon to Sun.

Absolute Thai on Urbanspoon

Gold medal for early Valentine’s day dinner

——-06/02/2012——-

I don’t know who is doing their PR but everyone I have talked to has never heard of the International Culinary Olympics, which is a damn shame because I think most people would love to know about it.

The Culinary Olympics, Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung or IKA, are held in Erfurt, Germany and are considered one of the most prestigious international cooking contests. Just like the sporting Olympics they are held every four years, they have an opening ceremony, the lighting of the torch and have over 7,500 competing chefs (and that’s not counting their support staff) from over 45 nations.

As fundraising to get the elite chosen Australian team over there, they hold dinners in major cities, with Canberra being the first run of the menu they plan to take to Germany. It was so hard to get information about this dinner, I looked up the Australian Culinary Federation, National Press Club and just about the dinner in general and couldn’t find anything (really what’s up with their PR?). Lucky for me, Mr. Frugii was nice enough tweet me the order form for tickets.


 

The menu planned for the night!

Held at the National Press club, the dinner looked almost like a wedding reception. Everyone who is anyone in the hotel and culinary field in the ACT was there and then there was me and Timmy. 

The table is prepared for a three course dinner with matching wines and a tea or coffee to finish the night.

Entree~

Lemon sole souffle, kipfler potato and fennel pollen crisp, apple cured and smoked Tasmanian salmon, cucumber, fennel, microcelery, baby leek and asparagus terrine, yuzu butter sauce, salmon roe.

The crisp was very salty which I didn’t mind because I ate it with the light sole souffle. I especially enjoyed the Tasmanian salmon which tasted so fresh and not too salty (I’m going to put it out there and say it’s the best salmon I’ve ever eaten). The yuzu butter sauce reminded me of a delicious light hollandaise with ‘bursts’ of roe. The most unique part for me was the terrine, there were so many fresh flavours hidden inside this quirky prism.

Main~

Pancetta wrapped Dorper lamb loin, milk poached kidney, sage mousse, compression of braised shoulder, tomato chutney, mint gremolata crusted sweet bread, wild mushroom polenta, beetroot glazed shallot, baby carrot, garden peas, broadbean, lamb jus

This was such a disappointment after following such a wonderful entree. The loin tasted like the smell of a butcher shop, which usually does make me hungry, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Although I’m not a fan of offal and I would avoid it if I could, I still tried the milk poached kidney, it sat on my tongue for two minutes before I politely hid it in my napkin. 

My sweet bread was under-cooked and therefore it was hard to ‘saw’ through so I just left it on the side of my plate. The rest of the dish was fine, I particularly liked the braised shoulder which was really tender, but it wasn’t anything special that you would expect at a world standard.

 

A stalker shot of the President of the Australian Culinary Federation (ACT) Mike Scheumann and the treasurer (WA) Peter Tischhauser. They came by later to talk to our table and had dessert with us. They explained that it takes approximately $350-$400,000 to send the Australian team over to Germany which includes flights for the chefs and the support staff, accommodation, sending the equipment and produce over. Timmy asked who has to deal with all the quarantine issues with sending produce overseas and Mike said someone else deals with all that stuff.

One of the major highlights for me that night was that I won an auction! *does a little happy dance* I have the privilege of having Neil Abrahams (head chef of the Royal Canberra Golf Club) and Paul Butler (head chef of the National Press Club) cooking  dinner for me at my house with the chef’s choice of menu accompanied by 6 red wines and 6 white wines from Serafino one of the sponsors.

I’ll definitely post about this during late Winter which is when it’ll be happening!

Dessert~

All the chefs were talking about a really talented new ‘up and coming’ pastry chef, she is apparently amazing to watch and makes everything look effortless. We weren’t able to see her in action, but what she made for dessert was just a-maz-ing!

Chocolate and raspberry bar, raspberry mousse, raspberry jelly, orange brulee, chocolate crispies, chocolate sponge, chocolate glacage, chocolate sable, rich chocolate pudding, strawberry macaron, strawberry gelato, berry salad.

The chocolate and raspberry bar was a delight for the senses, not only was it delicious, but it also had so many different textures- the mousse, jelly, sponge, crunchy base and the surprise of crispies throughout it. I love how the rich chocolate pudding was served warm which was a great contrast to the delectable strawberry macarons sandwiching the strawberry gelato (frozen using Frugii‘s state of the art equipment). The macarons were so popular with the table that a woman asked a chef if there were any more out the back. He came back out with a small container full and we were able to enjoy one more each.  It always pays to ask!

 

The hosts encouraged everyone to write what they thought of each course on the back of the menu, regardless whether they thought it was good or bad as all the comments help them refine their menu for Germany. One ingredient or architecture on the plate could mean the difference between gold and silver.

It’s no holiday for these chefs, after landing in Canberra late afternoon on the previous day, the Olympic team didn’t go to bed til past 1am and then were up and at em again by 6:30am cooking and cleaning for the rest of the day until we finished dinner (approximately 11pm). Hopefully all their hard work will pay off and their talents are acknowledged when they head to Germany later this year.

GO TEAM AUSTRALIA!

People are nuts for Pistachio

——-08/12/2011——-

When the Canberra’s top 20 eateries article came out at the end of last year, it reminded me that I haven’t been to Pistachio yet. I had been to that location when it was previously Pinocchio’s, a cute pasta place spammed with Pinocchio memorabilia all over the walls and it was nice that when we walked into Pistachio, that they had kept one Pinocchio sitting on the wall.

How fitting to have pistachios at every table. 

We had a late booking which suited them as they were very busy and had several big tables. I’m sure it’s usually a quite romantic restaurant, but it was very noisy and busy that night.

Breadhouse made herb and garlic sourdough served with salted butter ($5 per serve). The butter had almost completely melted and the bread wasn’t that great.

Entree~

Kilpatrick oysters (dozen for $27.00) The oysters were fresh but were a bit dry as it had no ‘sauce’ but tasted absolutely wonderful with some lime squeezed on top. If I didn’t get this I probably would have chosen the trio of entree (that night was rabbit, scallop and vegetarian miniaturized).

Main~ ($28.00)

Duck confit and roasted duck leg with dried mushroom and baby spinach risotto and roasting juices. The duck was so nice and crispy and the risotto was absolutely delicious (might be a bit too salty for some), there was nothing left on my plate.

Prawnprawn dumplings with sweet corn veloute, king prawn, basil and baby corn. The baby corn was still a bit crunchy and it was bland but the dumplings were awesome and the prawns inside tasted very fresh. The BBQed prawns were succulent and very tasty and although Timmy wasn’t fond of the basil creamy sauce, I kept sipping at it- yum! The downside was that it was too small though. 

Dessert~ ($14.00)

We were warned that dessert would be a 40 minute wait, but like a stubborn little girl, I wanted to stay and try. I ordered a chai tea which came with petit fours to distract myself from the wait.

The chai was very delicious but I didn’t think much of the petit fours and the waiter in a rush almost threw the plate on the table. Although the staff appeared to be very attentive to begin with, I could sense their demeanor was slipping towards the end.

Panna cotta – white chocolate panna cotta with mango, mint and sago salsa, lime syrup and coconut and white chocolate cookie. I really enjoyed the salsa much more than the panna cotta, nothing much wrong with the panna cotta (although I didn’t really taste the white chocolate), it’s just that the salsa was really good. 

Cheesecake – Pedro Ximenez cheesecake with sherry anglaise and macadamia praline. A fantastic cheesecake, hard to describe the flavours but it was just YUM!

It wasn’t very romantic with so many large loud tables and being a small table of two trapped in between big table orders. I’m sure it was just a bad time to have a romantic dinner during the festive socializing season and I would come again because the food was good and hope that it wasn’t a rowdy night.

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