returning to XO

It had been just over a year since I had last been to XO in Narrabundah and I was about eleven months overdue for a revisit. With a promise of fabulous company and new dishes on the menu, I booked for the next free day everyone was available.

Starters~

Shantung bao twice cooked pork belly with cucumber, pickled daicon and ginger ($8.00 each). It might seem steep to pay 8 bucks for a bao but it is worth every cent. The pork belly is a thick cut but very tender; the meatiness is balanced by the vegetables and the bao is super soft.

The baos are teeny tiny but mighty tasty.XO FC wings marinated in butter milk with kewpie mayo ($10.00). I love chicken wings and if you fry it, I will come! These were really crunchy while remaining succulent and I love mixing the mayo with their modified sriracha sauce.Steamed dumplings minced prawn and pork with spicy soy vinaigrette ($16.00). These were so delicious, we ordered another serve just before we started on desserts. A delicate steamed parcel in a beautiful spicy soy which made it very hard to share with other people.Small plates~

Vanella stracciatella dressed with tomato nam jim, granny smith apple, crushed peanuts and crispy shrimp ($18.00). This my friends….Was the dish of the night for me and that is a massive call since I also ordered Asian bolognese. To be honest, I didn’t pay attention to anything else on the menu once I confirmed that my old favourites were still there. TimmyC suggested we get this dish and I casually dismissed it aside allowing him this as his ‘one’ while I chose 5 other plates. It is difficult to describe this dish, it was a mix of stretchy cheese, different flavours and crunchy textures. You MUST order this!!! Asian bolognese stir fried udon in XO chicken ragout with a 60° egg ($18.00). This dish was the sole reason I came back to XO, I’ve been having dreams about this ever since I had it the first time. I think it is genius to use udon!Shallow fried tofu shallow fried tofu seasoned soy and candied ginger ($16.00). I can see how this was supposed to be a simple tasty dish with a ridiculously soft tofu but I found it underwhelming in comparison to the other dishes.Hiramasa Kingfish miso cured with pineapple relish, wasabi nori, spelt and freeze-dried raspberry. Kent was nice enough to treat us to one of their new dishes on the menu, this would have been $18.00. It was interesting to have the Kingfish served in cubes, the curing processing apparently makes the flesh ‘tighter’ and it gave the dish a very meaty feel. This is a dish where you have to eat all elements together; the wasabi nori had a kick but the pineapple made it very sweet and it seemed like we were eating a sushi without rice.Larger~

Prawn Kapitan spicy Nyonya style curry with wok fried king prawns ($34.00). The prawns were really fragrant and tasty but I was hoping for more of a sauce to mix into my rice.Crispy lamb ribs tossed in a sticky plum sauce ($28.00). A popular favourite amongst the table, it is a little messy to eat. Ditch the chopsticks and just use your hands.Sides~

Cauliflower nuggets fried with mixed spices and mint yoghurt ($12.00). I was hit with a strong taste of cumin which probably would have been offset by the yoghurt but the bowl got taken away before I could go back and smear some on.Desserts~

Chrysanthemum tea soft serve ($5.00). I knew when I made the restaurant booking that I wanted this for my dessert, I was just hoping that they still had it. Anyone that has had a chrysanthemum tea popper growing up, this is exactly that flavour in soft serve form. I encourage all those who have not tried chrysanthemum tea to order this, although I  don’t know if they still  have it on the menu because they have just released a watermelon szechuan and sumac soft serve yesterday.Black rice pudding coconut ice-cream, golden honeycomb  and lime meringue ($14.00). I love this dessert but I  was surprised to see that the desserts had not changed for a year. Chef AK explained for these popular desserts to be replaced, it would have to be just as good but he assures me that something is in the works.Pandan panna cotta gula melaka syrup and sesame tuile ($12.00). The panna cotta isn’t really sweet and all the sweetness comes from the intense syrup. The texture was super smooth which was a good contrast with the crunchy tuile.They might have turned down the volume dial on the music but they still play the music that I love. The staff was attentive and everything came out a timely manner.

One wonders why I’ve stayed away for so long but since the three days of not being there, they have already released a new soft serve flavour and there will be new dishes released in December. Looks like I’ll need to head back there ASAP.

XO Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Kong BBQ – Melbourne series

I had heard great things about Kong BBQ and it always intrigued me that the Lucas group’s band of restaurants did so well (Kong BBQ, Chin Chin, Baby Pizza and now also Hawker Hall) but yet were so different. I heard all of them were hard to get into but Kong BBQ was our best bet. We left our name with the waitress and told her we were happy to wait for a table, we were told we would receive a sms when the table was ready and we had 10 minutes to come back and claim it.

I was enjoying a lovely mocktail from the Royal Saxon when we got the sms. I quickly sculled the rest and headed to Kong BBQ before they gave away our table.Kong apple and cinnamon iced tea ($6.00). TimmyC and I found the cinnamon a bit OTT but it was cooling and refreshing on a hot summer’s day.Bao~

Spicy pork belly with pickled cucumber and Kong crazy horse chilli ($7.00 each). Despite the description, this bun filling wasn’t really spicy so don’t let the name stop you from ordering this. I loved how the pork came in two separate parts: one is the tender pork belly with striations of fat and meat while the crackling, which is served separately and delicately laid on top of everything, was super crunchy.Fried chicken with spicy corn and edamame salsa ($7.00). The chicken must have been just fried, placed in the bao and served straight to me because it was so hot and fresh. I really enjoyed this bao and it was possibly my favourite pick (pork was a close second but the chicken had a better filling to bao ratio).Soft shell crab with salted duck egg relish and coriander ($8.50). I was surprised to see the soft shell crab was so small, the tiny legs meant that there was a lot of batter and I found it more oily than ‘meaty’. Not worth the higher price, I would stick with pork or chicken. BBQ soy chicken wings with sesame and spring onion (6 pieces $12.50). I found these overly sweet and as much as I love chicken wings, I think the sticky marinade over powered all the senses.BBQ baby back pork ribs with soy and sesame (half 300g $22.00). I found the same problem with this as I had with the chicken wings, the sticky sweet salty marinade was over powering and you couldn’t taste the pork meat at all, although the meat itself was very tender.Bossam – BBQ Cape Grim black Angus sirloin bulgogi marinated with walnut ssamjang, kimchi and lettuce ($29.00). I have a habit not really reading all the menu, take exhibit A. I read that there was Cape Grim beef, I wanted it so I ordered it. So I was some what surprised when this arrived and the server explained to wrap the beef in the lettuce with the condiments like a sang choy bao. As much as I wanted to like this, I did not like the marinade and the beef was oddly dry and chewy in some parts. The only saving grace of the dish was the walnut ssamjang.Oh Cape Grim beef, why were you not as delicious as I wanted you to be?Fried rice with kimchi, beef brisket and egg ($16.00). I love a good fried rice, there is little ingredients so there is nothing to hide behind. This was amazing. Not a strong kimchi flavour but everything combined: hot rice, kimchi, beef and the runny egg yolk was the perfect combination. I would definitely order this again!BBQ zucchini and spice crusted silken tofu salad with soy vinegar dressing ($17.00). While ordering so much meat, I start to feel guilty that there was little vegetable content so I ordered this from the ‘greens’ section of the menu. It wasn’t what I expected but this surprisingly was one of my favourite dishes of the night. The tofu was ever so delicate covered in a thin crispy batter which paired well with the refreshing BBQed zucchini.Look at that beautiful tofu.This place was packed and clearly popular with the Melburnians and I can see why. We waited happily at a trendy pub down the road for almost 45 minutes for our table and when we came back, it was busier than before it that was possible. I would probably steer clear of meats with heavy marinades and stick to the baos, fried rice and accompanying dishes.

It can get pretty noisy in here with all the people, not a romantic date place.Dishes arrived when they were ready but the spacing between dishes were pretty close together; our table filled up very quickly.Food came out almost instantly from the kitchen so kudos to them for getting the orders out so well despite being ridiculously busy. The waiters were really friendly, attentive, and knew what they were doing which really helped with the efficiency of things, although towards the end they did start packing my plate away while I was still eating the bao above it and we felt a bit rushed to leave.

Venue: Kong BBQ

Address: 599 Church Street,Richmond, Melbourne, VIC

Phone: (03) 9427 1307

Websitewww.kongbbq.com.au/
Kong BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fun filled weekend – The Big Smoque AAA BBQ festival

The Big Smoque AAA BBQ festival seemed like one of the most controversial Canberra events of the year. Even if you didn’t go, you would have heard by now the overwhelming bad reviews that drowned out the people who enjoyed themselves.

I didn’t experience a lot of the negativity that these people were angry about as I went to the earlier session but I think a lot of the anger stemmed from a multitude of things ranging from: 1) high expectations of the event because it was ticketed (i.e. “what does $12 get me?”) 2) the wait times for ordering and pickup 3) the limited amount of stalls that were selling food 4) prices 5) running out of food 6) and I also heard some complaints about the food.FNL-BBQ-logoI wonder how many times a year they bring out this giant cowboy boot.There wasn’t much clarity with how this event was going to run, I didn’t know if they were going to kick me out right on 3pm but they informed me I couldn’t leave the premises after 3pm without buying another time session to come back in, fair enough. I knew that there were going to be 12 competitors vying for ‘Grand Champion’ of the AAA BBQ festival but I didn’t know if they were going to be able to sell food while competing. It turns out that all the competitors were busy perfecting their BBQ before being judged by a panel and as a ticket holder I could only buy food from what looked like commercial vendors. I was a little saddened when I realised there were only 8 food stalls, 3 drinks stands and 1 selling hot sauce, but I only needed one good food stand to satisfy me.

I was excited to see so many tents until I realised less than half of them were selling food to ticket holders *sad face*We were given a wristbands and a bib and we were ready to eat.I grabbed my friend and we headed somewhere for ‘snacks’ straight away before we looked at all the stalls properly. First stop: Smoque stall, it was surprisingly the only stall selling chicken wings. Buffalo wings with blue cheese aioli (3 pieces for $5.00) and pountine ($10.00), not very ‘American BBQ’ but we were happy to try something new. I’ve always liked Smoque’s chicken wings and my friend who has never had them before also enjoyed them. I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheese but the sauce was a nice balance. The poutine was new to us both and we thought it was odd that there was no cutlery available to eat this, it isn’t a first date food but I liked how their left the potato skins on. It was messy to eat but pretty tasty for those who enjoy their chips drowned in gravy. After whetting our appetite and being able to think more clearly without becoming hangry, we decided a platter was the next thing we would purchase. My friend chose the $30.00 share platter from the Smoking Gun BBQ and we were disappointed to see the tiny portions with the most expensive menu item on site. It had bad potato salad, a bland slaw with some brisket, a sausage and a tiny helping of pulled pork but at least it had a tasty sweet pickle. After eating so much meat the crunchy slaw became a welcome palette cleanser and despite the small size the brisket and pulled pork was very moist and tasty. I still don’t understand what made this small portioned box so expensive.The heat was getting unbearable even though we had found a lovely spot under and umbrella so the next stop had to be a refreshing juice from Krave. Small juices were $5, my friend chose strawberry lemonade and I had pineapple lemonade, it was exactly what I needed and I couldn’t scull mine quick enough.We decided to eat one last thing before we headed to another food festival and I chose the Argentinian porky bites from Parrilla Argenchino, signs didn’t indicate how much they were but they ended up being $14.50 for a small portion. There was a line when we were first looking around but this time there was no one and we were served our food pretty much straight away. I liked how there were bones, fat and BBQed crispy edges, we had chosen a chimichurri sauce but it didn’t need anything because it was delicious on its own while it was hot. Definitely the favourite of the event for us.

No lines meant ordering straight away and being served straight away. You can judge from this photo how much pork was in one serve.I think the one thing I was disappointed with above all else was the lack of BBQed ribs, Rangers Texas BBQ might have had them but before 3pm they had sold out of everything with only pulled pork available after 6pm. Do not give me a rib bib if there are no ribs to eat people!

An overview of all the food vendors at the event, they had a mix of Argentinian, Vietnamese, Greek and Indian as well as those who specialise in American BBQ.There are many things they could learn from their inaugural event although I understand that it was their first year so I wasn’t too unhappy with the event overall but if I had come later with long wait times and more vendors running out of food, I would probably be singing a different tune. It did get expensive fast when between the both of us eating, drinking and buying some sauces we spent around $100.00!

 

Lonsdale Street Eatery

My friends wanted to eat something meaty and this was one of the first places that I thought of. I’ve been meaning to go to Lonsdale Street Eatery and try their real American wood smoked BBQ, their menu states: “our meat and fish is slow cooked using white oak in our Old Hickory Pit, custom made in Missouri, USA”.

Here is their menu, there are so many things to try. What would you have chosen?2015/01/img_7894.jpgNo one ordered a salad but at least there was the option.2015/01/img_7893.jpgIt is a ‘order and pay at the counter’ type of situation which is convenient for the establishment but my friend who ordered a ‘platter for two’ two people ahead of me, received her food while I was still ordering at the counter! Sure everything has been slow cooked for hours and ready to serve, but that serving time is ridiculous!

Their table numbers are hard to miss2015/01/img_7902.jpgPlatter for two brisket, pulled pork, 2 ribs, slaw, fries and dill pickles ($39.00). I cannot believe how fast this came out! The reason why I didn’t want to share in this platter was because I’m constantly being disappointed with brisket and pulled pork and I’d rather eat other things.2015/01/img_7906.jpgLots of condiments, some on the table and more at the counter. Be carefull one of them is vinegar!2015/01/img_7907.jpgI might have gotten a bit crazy, all this food was just for me.2015/01/img_7915.jpgI have a confession, I got greedy and I didn’t want to share; I ordered a lot of food that was very filling. I didn’t finish everything but I made a fair dent.2015/01/img_7920.jpgRoyal with cheese, 150g hand ground beef patty served in our custom made buns ($14.00). I must say that this was a really good burger despite having pickles, which I did eat for two bites before discarding. It tastes more like an American Burger with the type of cheese, sauce and pickles. The bun was really nice but I discarded the top, if I had to give myself a chance to eat other things like mac ‘n’ cheese, chips and ribs, something had to give. The patty was really juicy and delicious.2015/01/img_7917.jpgMac ‘n’ Cheese ($4.50). This wasn’t what I was expecting. It tasted more like the pasta was mixed through with a bechamel sauce rather than a strong cheesy taste. I was slightly disappointed and I probably wouldn’t order this again.2015/01/img_7916.jpg5 hour smoked pork ribs (3 pieces $15.00). Ribs are always expensive but upon reflection this was rather more pricey than your average smoked meats eatery. The ribs were cooked very well, they were super tender and had a great smokey taste.2015/01/img_7913.jpg“Lonsdale Fried Chicken” chicken tenders, chilli mayo ($8.00). I did share one dish with a friend, I probably didn’t need it but I wanted to taste it. They were nice and crispy but I wish there was more lime for a tangy flavour.2015/01/img_7910.jpgI love the cute little terrarium and the variety of different seating around the place.2015/01/img_7895.jpgMy advice would be to not listen to your greedy inner self. I really wanted to try dessert but there was no way I was going to fit that in. It was a risk ordering a burger when they specialize in American BBQ but it paid off, I get hungry every time I look at that burger. I look forward to coming here again, the atmosphere is laid back and it is also family friendly. It is BYO pretty good if you have a particular beer or cider that you want to wash all this meaty goodness down.

Casual relaxed atmosphere, if it wasn’t so cold that night, we would have sat out here.2015/01/img_7898.jpg

Venue: Lonsdale Street Eatery

Address: 23 Lonsdale Street, Braddon

Phone: (02) 6247 9882

Opening hours:

Monday – Wednesday 6am – 4pm

Thursday – Saturday 6am – 9.30pm

Sunday 7am – 7pm

Websitehttp://lonsdalestreetroasters.com/eatery/
Lonsdale Street Roasters 23 on Urbanspoon

Smoque Woden

For once, food wasn’t the forefront of my mind, winning was.

We had a Seinfeld trivia night that was held at the Hellenic club for charity but first we needed sustenance. We headed to Smoque in Woden for their convenient location and smoked meaty food.IMG_7230.JPGI didn’t envisage that my first meal here was going to be from the lunch/dinner menu because their American style breakfast was what intrigued me about this place but when the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to try a range of food. I made TimmyC share the BBQ trifecta with me even though he just wanted the pork ribs.

BBQ trifecta pulled pork, pork ribs, brisket and 1 side (serves 1-2 $39.00). The nicest thing on the platter hands down was the pork ribs. It was able to be eaten on its own without feeling that it was missing something like a coleslaw or bread unlike the pulled pork and brisket. We chose hand cut fries with house seasoning for our side but they were barely warm, dry and old. Were these left over some a previous order? :SIMG_7244.JPGThe brisket tasted almost sour with the amount of vinegar I could taste from the sauce/juices.IMG_7243.JPGThere wasn’t enough sauce in the world that could have helped the pulled pork or brisket.IMG_7237.JPGWhat everyone else ordered~

Boneless buffalo wings ($12.90)IMG_7246.JPGSmoque Signature Texas Beef Rib (1 kg $34.90).IMG_7250.JPGIMG_7249.JPG

Double BBQ Bacon cheeseburger 2x Angus beef patties, bacon BBQ sauce, cheese ($14.90). I think that is what she ordered, whatever it was, it looked really good and she ate it all.IMG_7240.JPGI found the staff pretty useless at the front counter and not particularly friendly. Needless to say I was pretty disappointed with my meal. I think I’ll just stick with the pork ribs and buffalo wings.

Venue: Smoque

Address10 Bowes St Phillip, ACT

Phone: (02) 6260 4621
Smoque Woden on Urbanspoon

Soul food re-run re-run

It has been a while since I’ve last come to Soul food, I have been craving their ribs and their delicious BBQ sauce. I’ve noticed on their website that they now do breakfast (started around a month ago), some of the breakfast menu items that caught my eye include:

  • Miss Selena’s Homemade Pancakes served with bacon & Maple Syrup with an optional Southern Fried Chicken
  • Miss Selena’s Southern Fried Chicken & Rice
  • Fried Green Tomatoes sliced green tomatoes fried to a golden brown and served with our homemade remoulade sauce (seasonal)
  • Eggs Theodore scrambled eggs served with a banana sautéed in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar

Anyway, back to dinner!
I went with a few friends who also had the same rib cravings, it is pretty much the same menu now with the addition of ‘burgers’ and kool aid.

Something old~

We of course started with buffalo wings ($16.00) to share.20140324-214516.jpgBest of both worlds ‘ribs and chicken combo ($38.00).20140324-215935.jpgNot messing around with extras, some of us just came for the delicious BBQ finger licking good pork ribs ($32.00).20140324-214539.jpg

20140324-214612.jpgThe Po’ boy sandwiches with pulled pork ($16.00). I’ve never been overly impressed with these.20140324-214718.jpgThere was one point during the evening that we had to ask that the TV be turned down, when it flicked onto the next video the volume was tremendously loud and almost unbearable. I’m surprised we had to alert them to turn it down and they didn’t do it instinctively.

Something new~

Soul man burger Brace yourself! This thick, meaty lunch-time burger is layered with sautéed onions, mushrooms and cheddar cheese is bursting with smoky flavour. The sauce combines the sweetness of real molasses with a sharp, spicy aftertaste your taste buds won’t soon forgot! ($16.00). The burger was insanely tall. I had to take its ‘hat’ off so I could fit it in my mouth. When I took my first bite, it was extremely extremely salty, I pin pointed it down to the sautéed mushrooms. Once I took them off, the burger was a decadent meaty beef patty with smoky flavours that was perfectly mixed with a melted cheddar cheese slice.20140324-214844.jpgI’m getting hungry just looking at the photos again.20140324-214645.jpgKool Aid ($4.00 a glass). I don’t know how people could drink this, it tastes very medicinal with a strong syrup flavour.20140324-223715.jpgIt might seem on the pricey side, but if you want one of the best pork ribs in Canberra and delicious comfort food, Soul food is the place to go. I am super keen to come try their breakfast menu!

Soul food will be celebrating their first birthday at the end of this month!!  

Read about my first and second visits.

Soulfood Kitchen re-run… Yes, already

You can tell the word is getting out about Soulfood Kitchen as it is packed most nights with happy patrons and it’s now on the ‘places to try next’ for many people. I was silly enough to try and come here one Thursday to get take away, only to find out that they only do takeaways between 3 – 6pm and the night had been fully booked out. Determined to take Timmy along, we arranged to book for the following Thursday to not to be disappointed again.

Soul Food Sampler get the platter loaded with goodies- smokin’ ribs, crab cake, prawn salad, buffalo wings, bourbon street oysters ($42.00). A few things had changed since I had been here last – the crab cake was better and there was a new addition of some sort of cold prawn salad that tasted very horseradishy. It is still a great way to try everything but my favourites are still the tender ribs and hot buffalo wings.

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Victor’s Smokin’ ribsa rack of simply the best pork ribs you’ll find down under basted in Victor’s original BBQ sauce served with sweet potato french fries and crispy salad ($32.00). Not pictured, ooops, between all my nibbling I must have forgotten to take a photo. Nothing changed, still falls off the bone, very tender and delicious.

Ribs and chicken combohalf rack of smokin’ ribs combined with succulent grilled chicken breast served with fries and salad ($38.00). The chicken was very moist and had a delightful tangy taste.

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Victor’s buffalo chicken wingsthese tasty chicken morsels orginated in Buffalo New York but you just have to [give] Victor’s a go. They are spicy and finger licken’ good! Accompanied by our not-so-ordinary ranch dressing served with fries ($16.00). I liked them so much from before that I decided to order them as a snack for the table. They do have a bit of a bite to them so don’t order them if you can’t handle spice.

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Chicken and Andouille sausage Jambalayaanother New Orleans specialty is a hearty rice-based Louisiana classic. It’s loosely based on Spain’s Paella. It has a spicy and distinctive flavour. It’s “off the hook”.  ($19.00). While everyone was hoeing into ribs around me, I wanted to try something new that I didn’t eat last time (knowing that I would still get some ribs). I have never had jambalaya before so I have nothing to compare it to but if I had to describe it, it was like ‘Aussie taco filling’ with rice.The corn bread wasn’t dry but it wasn’t something I’d write home about.

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Desserts~ Still $10.00 but the serves seems slightly smaller.

Key lime cheesecake – less mousse-y than before but it still had wonderful light texture with a refreshing key lime pie taste.

Victor’s Homemade sweet potato pie – tastes like a less sweeter version of pumpkin pie but you can definitely taste all the spices. It was a very smaller wedge of a very thin pie.

I couldn’t help but leave with a little souvenir as their BBQ sauce was soooooooooo good!

To read about my previous blog post less than two weeks ago, go here.

Soulfood Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Soulfood Kitchen

I sit here with my dress belt undone after a satisfying meal at the very new restaurant Soulfood Kitchen. Not only was I excited that an authentic Southern American restaurant was opening but it was located SOUTHSIDE!

Located at Erindale shops (around the the side near Pizza Capers), Soulfood Kitchen had very recently opened its doors to provide comfort food and flavours from New Orleans.

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Currently BYOB while they are obtaining their license, this laid back atmosphere dining has only limited seating so I would suggest you book. You order and pay at the counter and because we went early-ish and it wasn’t too busy (yet), the food came out rather quickly.

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Going with a true Louisianian, she knew to order extra BBQ and hot sauce and a whoooole lotta napkins!

Soul Food Sampler get the platter loaded with goodies- smokin’ ribs, crab cakes, buffalo wings, bourbon street oysters ($42.00) – My eyes lit up and I didn’t know where to begin on the plate! They say this platter is ideally for two people and allows you to try a range of snacks.

Crab cakes – golden crispy crab cakes with a simple salsa went very well with the accompanying sauce.

Buffalo wings – Yum! Very addictive and slightly spicy, they made me do my happy clap.

Bourbon street oysters – You couldn’t tell that these were oysters, I guess the batter took away most of the texture and natural taste. Even if you don’t usually eat oysters, I’d give these a go!

Smokin’ ribs – These impressed everyone without fail, maybe I’ll order just a plate of these next time. *licks lips*image

A close up of the very tender, succulent and delicious BBQ smoked ribs that fell off the bone and their spicy hot wings.

Barbecue Pork Po’Boy made with fresh French bread, dressed with lettuce, tomato, homemade garlic mayo and Louisiana hot sauce ($16.00). I really enjoyed the pulled pork with the BBQ sauce and the coleslaw but I felt the bread was too thick and slightly stale, but nothing that ditching the bun didn’t fix.

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Gumbo (shrimp, chicken and sausage)the most famous dish in Louisiana is Gumbo, meaning “all together”. Hearty and full of flavour served with a stack of rice ($21.00). I had just a spoon of this but I could taste the great smokey flavour in the sausage and the gumbo. image

Southern extras~

Macaroni and cheese ($8.00) – I couldn’t help but spontaneously order a side when I got to the counter, it wasn’t the best mac and cheese I’ve had but it would have been better if it was served piping hot rather than luke warm.

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Desserts~

I thought the prices for a slice of cake/pie was a bit high but I was willing to pay because you can’t get authentic Southern American sweets anywhere else in Canberra.


Key lime cheese cake ($10.00) – I’ve always heard about key limes but had never tasted one. Even though it says cheesecake, this cake had a delicate, very smooth mousse texture and was very light and refreshing with the zest of the limes.

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Pecan Pie ($10.00) – I thought this was going to be super sweet and I’m not the biggest ‘nut fan’ but this was delicious and I would definitely order this again. Convince someone else to have dessert and get one of everything!

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Victor the owner (and USA celebrity chef who recently featured on SBS Food safari) came out of the kitchen several times during the night to have some fun and chat with his customers. They have live Blues music the first Friday of every month, Victor wanted his restaurant to be just like in New Orleans where there was music, laughing customers and kids running around. He was very grateful to his kitchen staff, front of house, the band and the patrons and even showed off his musical talents.

Despite being only opened for the fourth night and encountering internet problems, phone problems and power outages, Soulfood Kitchen showed us nothing but a good time and authentic comfort food made with love and soul and hopefully can only get better when it is well established.

They have dine in and take away which is really dangerous, like I need a restaurant close by serving delicious ribs that I can take away . image

Apparently they only do takeaways between 3-6pm

Venue: Soulfood Kitchen

Address: Shop 8, 38 Gartside street, Wanniassa, ACT 2903

Phone: (02) 6231 2568

Website: www.soulfoodkitchen.com.au

Soulfood Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Smoque ‘n hot

——-25/10/2012——-

Smoque must be a new restaurant in Canberra because it is packed and everyone wants in. There are three seating times for dinner: 5pm (who eats at 5?!), 7:30pm and 9pm. My friends and I squeezed into the 7:30pm session and the place was completely booked out.

It is a very much ‘help yourselves’ type of dining. You have to order at the counter, grab your own cutlery and napkins and order your drinks at the bar, but with such a busy restaurant and not so great staff, it is probably faster to order and get things yourself.

p.s. I love the carved pumpkin they have at the counter.

So many things to choose from, where to begin?

Ultimate Burgerbrisket, pork, cheddar, coleslaw, jalapeno & bacon ($19.90). My friend said that it was a really nice sandwich, this is what I want to try next! 

Smoque Ultimate – pulled pork, pork ribs, brisket, beef rib, ½ Chicken, 12 wings & 3 sides (options: three cheese mac n cheese, hand cut fries with house seasoning, red cabbage coleslaw, potato salad or Mexican street corn) serves 1-6 ($99.00). We ordered two of these because there were 8 of us and it fed us pretty well. They had sold out of mac and cheese so we chose a variety of the remaining sides, nothing special although I did enjoy the fries and potato salad. 

There was also corn bread and pickles on the platter, the bread was really dry and crumbly, I didn’t bother with either of them.

Pork ribs– they had a great salt rub on them and the meat was really tender.

Brisket– disappointing in comparison, a bit dry.

Pulled pork– it wasn’t overly great but it tasted better with the BBQ sauce that they had on the table but I wasn’t going to waste precious stomach space. It probably would be nice in a sandwich with some cheese.

Beef rib– these were huge! We were trying to cut the ribs into smaller portions, the meat was so tender that the bones didn’t even hold on.

½ Chicken– nice and moist.

12 Wings– I have a soft spot for wings so my delicious opinion might be slightly biased. I ordered all of the wings to be ‘regular’ because I didn’t want to risk accidentally eating a ‘suicidal’ one.

EEEP! I didn’t realise that I had forgotten to take a photo of the buffalo wings, my stomach must have acted before my photo fingers.   All I can tell you was that they were finger licking delicious. 

Not my idea but we also got two salads: 

The Woodstock – lentils, green beans, beetroot, rocket, feta cheese, green olives and coriander vinaigrette ($11.90).

Traditional Chop Salad – cos lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber, red capsicum, 

egg and ranch dressing ($11.90).

THEY SHIP!

The Smoque ultimate platter allows you to try a lot of the menu items so you can order your favourites next time. I’m still a little disappointed that I didn’t get mac and cheese but I also want to go back to have a ‘sandwich’. Yum Yum!   Warning: not a great first date type of meal, I had sauce all over my face. 

Venue: Smoque

Address: 2, 131 London cct, Canberra, city, ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6162 3350

Smoque on Urbanspoon

3 states in 3 days- Sydney: The Meat & Wine Co.

——-12/03/2012——-

We weren’t out to try and eat at all ‘The Meat & Wine Co‘ chains in the country, in fact we had actually booked for lunch in Sydney before we ate at the Meat & Wine Co in Melbourne. I didn’t really mind as we had burgers in Melbourne and today we were here to eat some steak and ribs!

Prime real estate being situated in Darling Harbour next to the IMAX theatre.

View from our seats during a cloudy ‘best eating weather’ day.

Monte dry-agedRump Cap grain fed (350g) Using a time-old traditional aging method, our well marbled Monte Beef choice cuts are aged for approximately 4 weeks in a special temperature controlled environment. The end result is a more tender texture and a sweet nature full flavour $34.00

Extras~

Creamy garlic sauce ($3.00)

I really enjoyed the steak, albeit it wasn’t the best steak I’ve ever eaten and there was a little part of the steak that was burnt. I did read that other reviewers were annoyed that the waiter would ask them what sauce they wanted with their steak making it sound like it came with it and was angry to find out later they were $3+ each, but I really wanted the creamy garlic sauce and it was sooo worth it!

Pork ribs half rack slow cooked in BBQ sauce and finished on a flaming hot char-grill, sealing in our unique taste and flavour and served with super crunchy chips ($37.00) I love the set up, a nice bowl with lemon for cleaning your hands with and another to dispose all of the bones. They were good ribs and the chips were really nice too.

A lovely place to eat with attentive staff and an extensive wine list and it must be good as everyone around us was drinking.

We were trying to have a small lunch in hopes that we would be able to squeeze in a bowl of ramen but by the time we ate our steak and 1/2 rack of ribs, we only had room for a little bit of ice-cream…

The Meat & Wine Co on Urbanspoon