A vegan pop-up has taken over Milk Crate’s original site in Civic. A Slice of Life is serving beefless beef pies which really intrigues me. If anyone has been here, let me know what you think.Thanks Thomas for the photos and the heads up!
It was pointed out that Lolo and Lola have only done four pop up dinners since their humble beginnings and it dawned on me that I had been to three of them. I would stop hogging but it is so good; I am not willing to give up my seat!You really need to get yourselves to one of these events if you’re lucky and fast enough, December is already sold out and the next one is in February (now that is sold out also!) . Each month has a different theme and November’s dinner focused on one of the main islands of the Philippines- Luzon.Lolo and Lola November pop up dinner ($65.00pp).
Yes! You read that right, Lolo and Lola are doing a pop up dinner series every month and I was lucky enough to attend their inaugural dinner last Thursday as their guest.
I haven’t been to Westside at night and I was happy to see that Lolo and Lola had a marquee set up with warm lighting, cute assigned seating and a menu that made me very excited.I am loving the penmanship.Adobo in four different ways pork, chicken, mushroom and snake beans. When I was browsing the menu, my eyes lit up when I saw adobo and in FOUR WAYS! It was hard to choose a favourite but being a big meat-eater I loved the pork and chicken, although the mushrooms were definitely a close second. If you have never eaten adobo, you need to change that immediately.Sinigang confit of salmon in hot tamarind broth with okra, radish and cherry tomatoes. This was unlike anything I had eaten before. The broth had strong sour notes which really made the tomatoes and radish taste very sweet, while the salmon seemed really rich and fatty without a strong fishy taste. As we ate the salmon, the broth became almost creamy and contrasting flavours weren’t as sharp.Inasal grilled chicken maryland marinated in garlic, lemongrass and vinegar with vegetable atchar salad. I could happily eat this for the rest of my life. The chicken was succulent with a fantastic marinade, while the punchy pickled vegetables kept it all refreshing. A real perfect balance of flavours displaying real skills from the kitchen.Kare-Kare Filipino stew of fork tender beef cheefs, honeycomb tripe and vegetables in annatto peanut sauce. The scaredy cat in me gave away most of my tripe but the happy girl who was enjoying everything so far kept a little bit to try, it had a really unexpected texture as it was super soft and reminded me of bone marrow. The description did not lie, this was definitely tender beef! Unsurprisingly, Lolo and Lola’s stews are always amazing.Check out how tender that meat is.Filipino fruit juice as a little refreshment between courses.Lechon slow roasted pork belly served with garlic liver sauce and petite pomelo salad. Lechon is definitely a must have dish when you have a Filipino event. The pork had a perfect crunchy crackle, the meat was succulent and it was a generous serve that defeated me towards the end. Having pieces of pomelo gave the dish a refreshing touch.Salabat brewed ginger tea with honey. This reminded me of a Chinese tong sui and took me back to my childhood and home cooking. The tea was perfect on a cold winter’s night. As you sipped the tea, you could feel the tingle of a ginger ‘burn’ on your tongue and down your throat.Bibingka souffle interpretation of the classic coconut rice cake served with salted egg creme anglaise. Luckily we all had a different stomach for desserts and we had no trouble finishing this. I don’t love salted egg but the anglaise had just enough that you could tell it was salted egg without being overwhelming and I almost licked my shot glass clean. The souffle itself had a fluffy delicate texture that was a perfect end to a stunning dinner.
I can honestly say that I loved every dish. Kim from Lolo and Lola was describing how Filipino food is unpretentious and it really was just fantastic food with fresh ingredients and well-balanced flavours.
Since the first pop up dinner sold out in 1 hour and September booked out also, keep your eyes on their Facebook page for their upcoming dinners and get in quick!
Venue: Lolo and Lola
Address: Westside Acton Park, Container 20, 3 Barrine Dr, Acton ACT 2601
Facebook: Lolo and Lola by Waterhouse Bakers
Phone: 0412 929 780
Yes, Canberra’s favourite Filopino bakery, Waterhouse Bakers will have a more permanent home at the Westside Acton Park! They are joining the shipping container village in December not only bringing their delicious bakery goods but also an eatery! I really hope they have adobo for those who don’t have a Filopino family to make it for them.
I will definitely be keen to see their menu!
* I just saw a more recent photo of their menu board and prices went up a little but all individual baos are still under $5.00
I’m re-writing this post with a bit more detail after I rushed to blog the original post within the hour that The Fish Can finally opened their doors.
The Fish Can has only been opened for two weeks but have had many positive reviews from people in Canberra who have been craving a good bao at a decent price. The first thing you need to know is the menu so here it is:I love how there are a combination of things including sweet and savoury and everything is under 5 bucks! They had another menu on the other side which is more of a ‘fish and chip’ side but today I’m concentrating on the more important issue: BAOS! But here it is just in case you were curious. *photo from a friend who doesn’t want to be named.
The thing you need to know before you start to wonder why I only tried three baos is that this is what I saw when I got to Westside that day (see photo below). My heart sank and I headed to Miss Van’s to drown my sorrows in a bowl of pho (and I also may or may not have had a banh mi). While I was slurping away, I looked up from my bowl and noticed that The Fish Can had just opened their doors (so to speak) and I almost immediately dropped my chop sticks. So this was my second lunch and yes I am now a Hobbit.
Porkster braised free-range Murray Valley gilt belly, served with crushed Szechuan peanuts, house relish and cilantro (left $4.10). I was a bit disappointed at the size of the filling to bun ratio but I’m hoping that it was because it one of the first few baos served and they improve with some feed back. The pork itself was tender but it needs some sort of sauce so it isn’t just some dry ingredients in a bun. I would love to see a sliced pork belly with kewpie mayo and some lettuce (like Ippudo).
Not so Crab tempura soft-shell crab, lemon, cabbage slaw, Szechuan aioli and crushed peanuts (right $4.60). More filling, more exciting and more colourful. This was definitely my preference out of the two, the crab was crispy and so was the slaw, there was a nice aioli in there and there was flavour in every bite.
A close up of the ‘porkster’: delicious layers of fat and meat but I didn’t like the pickle so I picked it off. The thick short cut means that you don’t get some meat with every bite and there isn’t much else in the bun, it needs a little extra something…Lots of contrasting crunchy textures with the soft bao.Mars bao handmade bao with Mars bar core ($2.90). I didn’t expect a closed bao but if you think about it, a melted chocolate bar had to stay contained somehow. It might not look appetising but it definitely hit the sweet spot. You could taste the caramel, chocolate and nougat despite it being all melted, I just wish the bao itself had a tad bit more sweetness to it. My first preference was the sweet bao fries but they weren’t available that day, they will definitely be popular with the Asian crowd having been served with condensed milk.My friend tried the Chican bao all natural fried chicken breast, Szechuan aioli, crushed peanuts and cilantro ($4.10). He really really enjoyed it and went back a few days after and ordered more. The chicken looked really moist and the fillings were more generous, I wish I ordered this one too. Next time! Look at that juicy chicken patty. *drool*The savoury baos themselves were soft but could have been served a little warmer than they were, but then again it could have been a ‘we just opened and sorting out the kinks’ situation. In any case I am still super keen to head back, eventually try one of everything and get my hands on some sweet bao fries! The people serving inside were super friendly and the wait wasn’t long at all.
Are you ready to get your bao on?
Venue: The Fish Can (Next to The One)
Address: Westside Acton Park, 3 Barrine Drive, Acton, ACT 2601
Opening hours: **updated apparently they are not opened Thursday any more?**
Friday – Saturday 11:30am- 9:00pm
I had been kindly invited by The National Gallery of Australia to attend the Media Event with iconic Australian Chef Stephanie Alexander and Director Gerard Vaughan. The Sculpture Garden was opening their Pop Up Summer Cafe in conjunction with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation with $1 being donated to the foundation from every meal (another reason to come here!).I thought I was running late but apparently I was right on time as Stephanie Alexander as well as the glitterati showed up and everyone started taking photos.I took the opportunity to take a proper photo as the sea of people parted (L-R Gerard Vaughan, Chyka Keebaugh, Stephanie Alexander and Bruce Keebaugh).The lunch menu complete with our favourite Frugii ice-cream for dessert. I don’t understand why the kids should get all the fun!They had gorgeous little canapes floating around.
I was trying to juggle my drink, my bag and my phone at the same time when these came around. I don’t remember much except that it was some sort of fish on top of a crouton and that it was tasty.Refreshing lemonade in cutesy jars topped off with a ridiculous cute straw and a wedge of lemon.The waiter happily obliged to hold a heavy tray of lemonade still while we all took photos. What do you expect from a foodie crowd?
The staff from the Big Group Catering company who does the catering for the National Gallery planted all the herb boxes in and around the cafe. We are encouraged to utilise the herbs to enhance our meal to our liking. I love mint during summer, don’t mind if I do!Everyone crowded around as speeches are being made. I stay at the back eating my canapes and drinking my lemonade in true foodie fashion.This looks wonderfully colourful. I take a glimpse of the platters going past as our buffet style lunch is being prepared.Lunch is served!Stalker shots of Stephanie Alexander chatting with the gorgeous Amanda Whitley from HerCanberra.Stephanie Alexander doing an interview with Natasha Rudra from The Canberra Times.The lunch is a combination of cold meats, fresh colourful vegetables and damper bread.A close up of my plate, I’m in love with all the colours and whatever they did with that eggplant is fantastic. Everything was fresh and crunchy but I wasn’t a fan of the damper which reminded me more of a scone. The damper I’m used to back at home is fluffy and light.I didn’t want to be the girl who ate the whole buffet during the Media Event so I was a little conservative, but everyone else went for seconds and by the time this slow eater had finished, most people (and food) had gone. Lucky for me, there were more substantial canapes going around and they were so good!
Semolina gnocchi. I was pleasantly surprised by this as vegetarian options aren’t my forte. I could easily eat a whole bowl of this.
Pulled pork. A beautiful pulled pork with all the juices flowing onto a bed of mashed potato. A comforting style of food that I didn’t expect at a summer pop up cafe but am happy they made it.
Passionfruit mousse with a spearmint consommé and a vanilla meringue. The vanilla meringue was awesome! I found the passionfruit mousse was sweet with sharp acidic notes that the consommé helped balance out but once I finished that, I picked some fresh mint leaves to help with the rest. It was ridiculously smooth.
Apple tart. I really liked this; the crunchy parts with the soft apple were spot on.
Venue: Pop Up Summer Cafe Sculpture Garden Restaurant
Address: National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden Parkes Place, Parkes Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: (02) 6240 6660
Breakfast Weekends 8 – 11am
Lunch Wed – Sun 12 – 3pm