It seems like chocolate cafes are popping up faster than frozen yoghurt stalls (remember them? Where did they all go?) and the latest ones to open their franchising doors in Canberra are Oliver Brown now in three locations: Civic, Dickson and Manuka.
This is more a post so I remember the opening hours and not winging it like I did the other night when we drove here and weren’t sure if they’d still be open. Being a cold night most people opted for hot chocolates (starting from $5.50) which were apparently very tasty but I was swayed by their gelato thick shake ($8.00); I’m always on the look out for something resembling the thickness of the squishee from The Simpsons. I chose salted caramel as my gelato flavour and although it was thick, it didn’t have much of a salt flavour to enhance the caramel. I think they don’t store their gelato well and it is left with a sticky skin on the outside, when you see it you’ll know what I’m talking about. I think I’ll just stick with the hot chocolates.
Baked churros for two freshly baked upon order, sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar served with premium Belgium chocolate ($12.50). These take a little longer than the beverages but worth the wait because they are hot and slightly crispy. I wish whoever was serving us that night didn’t have such a heavy hand with the cinnamon though.
There is a lot of seating inside and out, you have to order and pay at the counter but the staff are super friendly and will bring your order to your table.Just remember they are opened 7 days and close at 11pm!
Venue: Oliver Brown (Manuka)
Address: 6a/1-18 Flinders Way, Manuka, ACT 2680
Phone: (02) 6181 8493
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 7am to 11pm
Saturday – Sunday 8am to 11pm
My friend was leaving Canberra to move to Sydney and we saw the weeks leading up to her final day as an eating check list that needed to be completed and satisfied before she left. One of those checkboxes was a laksa from Baan Latsamy Thai.
Crunchy Eggplant with Chicken and Prawn deep fried sliced eggplant wrapped with minced chicken and prawn served with chilli sauce. I wanted to order something outside of the norm, not spring rolls, fish cakes or (my norm) chicken wings, so I suggested this option. Unfortunately it didn’t have much taste outside of the accompanying sweet chilli sauce other than a deep-fried oily batter. You couldn’t taste the much of the eggplant or any chicken and prawn which was really disappointing. I wouldn’t recommend this entree.Yes there was only two of us but we needed to get more dishes so it allowed my friend to get a takeaway for lunch the next day.
Prawn Laksa Soup mild laksa soup with rice noodles, hokkien noodles and green vegetables topped with fried onion. I tried a bit of her soup, it was really rich and had different depths of flavour as the broth passed through my mouth. They were rather generous with the amount of prawns but my favourite is the tofu puffs that soak up all the soup. Crispy pork belly, mushrooms, wedges of onion and chilli. Instead of fat cubes of crispy pork belly, it was more like thin strips which meant the skin was more crispy but the meat was a little dry. This dish had my favourite combinations of flavours but I couldn’t just eat this one dish with rice as it was oily and could get rather salty.Duck & Lychee Red Curry with bamboo shoots, beans, peas and basil leaves cooked in coconut milk. This curry had spice to it! I used the sauce sparingly on my rice and enjoyed the duck and basil leaves. It was a really nice curry if you like spicy curries.The staff were super friendly although not the most attentive to water on the table (I happen to be the third person to ask for some more water in a space of 5 minutes). I don’t know how consistent the food is here because the last time my friends and I came here, the laksa was not as good as their previous visit.
Don’t forget it is in your Entertainment book! See my previous blog post here.
There are a lot of cute cocktail places scattered throughout our great city so I didn’t bother trying to guess whereabouts we were headed to for cocktails and entertainment to finish our spectacular day of food and wine.
It turns out Polit bar was where we were headed, I didn’t know much about the bar except that its name (and owners?) kept on changing. We head up a dark set of stairs which teleported us back into the 1920s. It almost reminded me of the prohibition days where locations of secret underground bars existed, the girls were there to entertain, a piano man playing old school tunes followed by more live music complete with a magician in the corner and a tarot card reader and of course alcohol was free-flowing.
An absinthe fountain was set up for all those who were interested in seeing the green fairy, although there was a green fairy walking around and you didn’t need the absinthe to see her.Old school beautiful chandeliers and beaded curtains for that intimate feel without feeling boxed in.The comical cheesy “French” presenter who’s accent came in and out all night.Drinks menu and the selection of tapas that will be offered which was made by Flint in the Vines.You can’t really see but this was a yummy mix of olives and nuts, you’ll have to take my word on this one. There was also delicious zucchini cigars and lamb tartlets while the vegetarian gluten free option was a variety of dips and vegetables. We all finished on a sweet note with an amazing chocolate morsel.
Funky light fittings at the bar.The lovely staff from Polit bar busy at work getting everyone their beverages.A range of alcohol available.I was dubious about my drink choice when the bartender had to ask for help to make virgin piña coladas but they ended up being really really nice. I would definitely have this again.After we were all hydrated, fed and entertained, the finale of the night before we were to leave such a spectacular venue was a Burlesque show. Nothing bonds people together like watching the seductive art of burlesque, right?
I didn’t take many photos, my iPhone isn’t great with dim lighting (see fabulous photos here and here though) but I was really transported to another place and got lost in atmosphere and waiting for the platters of fabulous food to come by because for some reason I could still fit more food in.
Polit bar is a place like no other. They frequently have events and shows to set themselves a part from the rest. Check their website for trivia nights, live music, tarot card readings, open mic comedy and much more.
Venue: Polit bar
Address: 8 Franklin street, Manuka, ACT
Phone: (02) 61622947
Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.
I wouldn’t usually post something that was so horrible, but I had to say something since I paid $9.50 (!?) for this slice of white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake from My Cafe in Manuka. The base tasted stale, the texture of cheesecake was very ‘stiff’ and gelatinous and I couldn’t taste white chocolate at all. I was so shocked when I found out how much it was that I had mention something to the staff but the girl at the counter didn’t really seem to care.
Some friends and I decided to meet up for a lovely Sunday brunch. We had been to Urban pantry before (also for brunch) and thoroughly enjoyed their great menu and awesome coffee, so logically that’s where we wanted to go again.
Everyone else had the same idea too.
Coffee was really good the last time we came, so much so that everyone got seconds. It wasn’t great today which was a shame. My friend got a coffee so bad that she sent it back and the new one only came back mildy better. Timmy’s flat white was weak and fairly milky.
Free range eggs benedict with bacon and hollandaise sauce ($19.80) A delicious sauce with eggs poached to perfection but alas we found the bread really ‘tough’ and hard to chew.
Sour dough bread (no butter) with grilled tomatoes and mushrooms. More hard bread with simple sides.
Ricotta pancakes with bacon & maple ($17.60) This was perfect for me- sweetness of tasty pancakes with the saltiness of delicious bacon. Served nice and hot too.
Staff were really polite and attentive. They did come to our table several times with coffee orders that weren’t ours, but that is easily forgivable when they are so smiley and nice.
I really want to come back and try their dinner and I think that’s when I’ll make my Entertainment card worth while.
Venue: Urban pantry
Address: 5 Bougainville St, Griffith ACT 2603
Phone: (02) 6162 3556
Entertainment card: Yes, it’s on there!