The Butcher, the Baker, the Merrymaker

I’m baaack!!

My friend jokingly asked  if I’m ever in Canberra. It is true that I have been travelling here and there for my birthday celebrations; everywhere from Bowral, Sydney and more recently Melbourne and Cairns. Besides heading back to Sydney occasionally, I do plan to be around for all the winter events that Canberra has to offer during my favourite season.

The fresh brisk air begs for wood fires, eating more rich hearty foods and trying to infuse everything and anything with local truffles. One of my favourite restaurants in Canberra, Pialligo Estate is getting amongst it and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek into their winter event series 2016 – The Butcher, the Baker and the Merrymaker.

31 days days, eleven amazing events, one location.

July


Friday 1st Saturday 2nd Sunday 3rd
Midwinter Christmas Feast  7:00-11:00pm     ($150.00 pp) Kirsty’s pudding making day       1:00-4:00pm ($150.00 pp)
Thursday 7th Friday 8th Saturday 9th Sunday 10th
Sunset drinks 
5:00-7:00pm ($40.00 pp)
Feather and bone Masterclass       1:00-4:00pm  ($120.00 pp) A Feast of the beast from feather and bone                    1:00-4:00pm
($145.00 pp)
Thursday 14th Friday 15th Saturday 16th Sunday 17th
Bastille Day truffle dinner
7:00-11:00pm ($150.00 pp)
Cape Grim and Flinders Island age of meaty innocence  1:00-4:30pm ($145.00 pp)
Thursday 21st Friday 22nd Saturday 23rd Sunday 24th
Smoked, cured and grilled  1:00-4:30pm
($145.00 pp)
Pact full of surprises           2:00-5:00pm
($110.00 pp)
Thursday 28th Friday 29th Saturday 30th Sunday 31st
Wildbrumby Schnapps Banquet   7:00-11pm  ($145.00 pp) Family Market Day 10:00-4:00pm free

The Christmas
Sunday Roast
   1:00-4:00pm ($110.00 pp)

During our sneak peek we got to experience schnapps and gin from Wildbrumby, Pact beer, a bit of Christmas cheer (man that ham was exquisite) and a beautiful Christmas pudding topped with fabulous custard. Not only did it make me excited for the events happening in Canberra, it also made it very hard to choose what event to go to.To find out more information, check out their website.

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Polo – The Polish White Eagle Club

It has been a few years since I had last been to The Polish White Eagle Club in Turner. Back then, the restaurant was called Kopernik and it was run by an older European couple. Fast forward a few years and the restaurant inside The Polish club is now Polo, the menu is more extensive and the dining room is much busier.

Eating with foodie friends means ordering half the menu- tee hee!Pierogi – Polish dumplings in bacon and caramelised cabbage ($13.00). We chose ‘pork and chicken’ and ‘cheese and potato’ dumplings. I loved the added touch bacon and the caramelised cabbage but a dollop of sour cream would have been awesome. I preferred the pork and chicken between the two dumplings flavours.Crunchy kale new season kale crisps with slivered beetroot, crumbled goat cheese and plum dressing ($13.00). Technically it was described as ‘crispy kale’and crispy it was but it was cooked beyond being edible. As soon as I saw this, I knew the kale was over done and would be terrible and I suggested that my friend take it back but he just ate some of the goats cheese and avoided the kale leaves.Blintz and mushrooms mushroom ragout with re-fried potato blintz and sour cream ($13.00). I found the blintz a bit bland by itself and it definitely needed the sour cream and the delicious mushrooms. It was nice to share this with others but I wouldn’t order just this for my main.Veal schnitzel Polish style pan-fried, crumbed in sourdough rye, served with mashed potato and beetroot salad ($17.00). I didn’t mind the schnitzel but in comparison to other dishes, I probably wouldn’t order this again.Pork knuckle mash, baked apple, caramelised cabbage and salad ($24.00). Don’t be put off by its size, it is mainly bone; most people should be able to finish it easily. I liked the tender meat and the baked apple was a nice pairing. It is definitely a hearty meal during the colder months.Ricotta fritters cinnamon tossed ricotta dumplings with chocolate soil and mulberry sauce. yum ($10.00). We all decided that we had enough room to squeeze in one dumpling each (conveniently there were 5 doughnuts and there were 5 of us). I was really surprised how light and fluffy they were and probably could have had the whole plate to myself. It wasn’t until after we finished eating the dumplings did we notice that there wasn’t any chocolate soil but it didn’t need it. These were definitely worth ordering!Served hot and fresh, I think you could convince anyone to stay for dessert with you.The next time I come back, I would order the pierogi, pork knuckle and ricotta fritters.

Don’t forget that Polo does Pierogi and Polish pint deal on Wednesdays. Full menu available Thursday to SaturdayVenue: Polo Restaurant

Address: 38 David Street, Turner, ACT 2612

Phone: 0422 898 617

Opening times (from the website): The Polish White Eagle Club (Polo Restaurant and Polish Club bar) is now open Wednesday –  Saturday evenings from 18.00. We’re also open every second Saturday for lunch from 11.00 on Continental Deli days or by appointment.

 

Molto Italian 

I was lucky enough to dine as guest at a food blogger ‘Lunch by the lake’ at Molto Italian thanks to a lovely friend Serina (go check out her awesome blog here) and the very generous owners of Molto Italian. They offered us an Italian feast and although our meals were complimentary, all opinions are my own.

If anyone was a sceptic of Molto Italian, it would be me. My friends and I went to Tosolini’s many times and if it wasn’t the mediocre food, it was the very poor service which lead us to leave and eat dessert elsewhere . I was not a fan. So to hear that Carlo Tosolini had a new venture and it was another Italian restaurant, I was torn between my love of Italian food and being burned so badly before. Anyway, fast forward to present day- it is a new restaurant, new venture, new chefs and new beginnings; I was willing to give Molto Italian a chance. First came the ‘stuzzichini’ or finger food and then the food never stopped coming. It was truly an Italian feast.Stuzzichini

Mixed olives marinated in thyme, orange zest, garlic and extra virgin olive oil ($8.00). Delicious olives but the green ones were my favourite. Assortment of bread rosemary or garlic Tuscan flatbread sea salt schiacciatina with Sicilian extra virgin olive oil ($9.00). This was beautiful bread served warm. There was enough flavour on the bread already but I really enjoyed dipping my pieces into the EVOO.Zucchini flower stuffed with buffalo ricotta and served on a pea puree ($6.00). The zucchini flower was cooked perfectly leaving a crisp delicate batter over the flower encased with a well seasoned ricotta filling, all without bring oily.Suppli stuffed with asparagus and tallegio cheese ($16.00). During my first bite, I thought the filling was a bit bland and I wished it came with more sauce but the second bite- BAM! I got hit with a strong taste of cheese. Tallegio is a stronger cheese than I’m used to with a sharp taste and I’m not sure everyone would like it.Beef carpaccio truffle oil, testun barolo cheese and micro herbs($19.00). I love a good beef carpaccio; it is a fine line to balance the flavours of the beef, oil and cheese. There was a lovely flavour from the oil but it almost over powered the beef and the cheese.Swordfish carpaccio with pomegranate and fennel. The first thing I could taste was the delicious oil and then it had a subtle dish aftertaste. I liked that it was paired with the sweetness of pomegranate but I found all the flavours were too subtle for me and I preferred the beef.Pizza ~ are currently only available on weekendsSan daniele tomato, fior di latte, proscuitto crudo, rocket, shaved parmesan, and cherry tomato ($26.00). This was the first pizza that I tried and I fell in love. I really liked the base, the way it was cooked and the mozzarella was perfecto.Capriciossa tomato, fior di latte, ham, artichoke, olive and mushroom ($25.00). I loved the flavour combination but I think I preferred the saltier notes in the San daniele with the proscuitto and parmesan.Regina margherita tomato, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan and basil ($20.00). Just when I thought the San danielle was the best, I then tried the classic marghertia; the most simple pizza and this was my absolute favourite hands down. Every ingredient had to be at its premium because there wasn’t much to hide behind. I would have loved a little more even basil placement though.Pasta

Spaghetti cacio e pepe (made at the table ($28.00). I felt sorry for Carlos as he served all 11 of us at the table really slowly so we could take photos; it looked like a huge wheel that would have been heavy to hold. After eating more pizza than expected (damn that was good), I had to have smaller amounts of pasta so I could taste all three, while also saving room for dessert.Now I love cheese more than the next person but man this was intense. I’m glad that I only had a small portion because the cheese flavour almost became monotonous and I am most surprised that I’m saying that (TimmyC would be shocked). I think I would have loved it if it had pieces of speck or some cured meat to go with it. These wheels of cheese are replaced every 3-7 days.House made ravioli with spinach and buffalo milk ricotta in burnt butter and sage ($28.00). I am usually sold on anything in a burnt butter sauce with sage and I would easily order this next time I’m here.I wish there was a tad more sauce to this pasta but I loved the crispy sage leaves.Squid ink seafood pasta. The chef had been working on new dishes for the upcoming winter menu (to be released soon) and this was one of them. After all the heavy rich cheese dishes, this had a refreshing chilli bite and I really enjoyed the crunchy texture on the top. They import what they think is the best squid ink pasta from Italy but I think the star of the dish was the accompanying seafood.Dolci

Nonna’s tiramisu ($15.00). I can never say no to a tiramisu and it is sad to say I’ve had more disappointments than good ones. This was nice but not the best I’ve had, it tasted more like whipped cream rather than a rich mascarpone mixture.The two ‘gripes’ that I’ve heard from others about Molto Italian were about the prices and about the noise. I know that Canberra’s dining scene can seem more expensive on an international scale as well as interstate, but all along the Kingston foreshore it seems to be next level. I had written my impression of each dish before including the prices from the menu in my blog, but I felt that the prices were fair considering their import the best produce in their opinion to ensure quality authentic ingredients. We were lucky enough to have an early start before a busy lunch period but I didn’t notice a noise problem. This might be at night when the foreshore gets crazy busy.I would not have enjoyed as many dishes if I was coming with friends unless I invited 5+ people. Through this invitation, we were able to taste a large variety of the menu as well as preview some upcoming dishes from the winter menu and I am able to say that I enjoyed almost all the food that we were lucky enough to experience. I am excited to go back and try their upcoming winter menu.

Venue: Molto Italian

Address: Element Building, Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore

Phone: (02) 6140 7039
Molto Italian  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Plaka re-run

Having dinner at Plaka in Dickson was purely impromptu. A friend lured me out as she needed to be on the other side of town and was saying we could have dinner first. I had just been in Dickson the night before eating at Pho Phu Quoc, so I was wondering what we should eat that night. ‘I haven’t been to Plaka since it opened’ (see my first post here) I thought to myself and it did not take that much convincing for my friend to come eat at the only Greek restaurant (for now) in Canberra.

My friend being as organised as she is, had already looked up the menu and decided what she had wanted but when we got there and she took a closer look at the menu, she went back to being undecided. There were so many things that we wanted to eat but there were only two of us. We decided to divide and conquer. We would share some entrees and share two mains, which would be seafood and Greek lamb (the two things you must try when you go to a Greek restaurant).

Traditional Green Pita bread unleavened pita bread grilled with olive tapenade ($6.00). This bread is spectacular! I don’t think it mattered what spread was on top. It had the perfect texture, it was served hot and the olive tapenade gave it the right amount of saltiness. Kolokithokeftedes zucchini, feta and fresh herb fritters, lightly fried, served with tzatziki (3 per serve $14.00). I found that these really lacked salt and flavour even though there were supposed to be feta in the mixture, which is a real shame considering how amazing the bread was. They were served hot but my friend had a suspicion that they were reheated rather than made fresh.BBQ seafood plate BBQ King prawns, salt and pepper calamari, oysters mornay and kilpatrick, grilled baby octopus and prawn cutlets ($35.00). I think the only down side was to try and eat everything as fast as I could to enjoy the meal while it was hot. I started off with the oysters, the mornay wasn’t that cheesy and I felt that the kilpatrick could have done with more sauce but the grilled baby octopus and calamari was delicious while it was hot.Lamb souvlaki plate two grilled lean lamb fillets skewers marinated in Greek herbs and spices served with chips, greek salad, tzatziki and Greek pita bread ($27.00). I tried the lamb while it was hot but I felt it was a little chewy and obviously the cooler it got, the tougher the meat became. The chips were really good and the salad balanced out all the meat and carbs. Even though I was very full towards the end, I couldn’t help but eat pieces of feta smeared on that awesome pita bread. I told the waitress to take the plate away before my friend would have to roll me out of the restaurant.A few things were a bit of a hit and miss but I did really enjoy parts of this meal, I hope they were just having an off night with their lamb. I love Greek food and I want to love this place but I feel that something was missing with the food. Having said that, the service was fantastic and food came out so fast, we were very impressed.

Pepper Lunch launch

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Food Blogger Pepper Lunch launch thanks to a lovely friend Fran (go check out her awesome blog here) and the generous owners of Pepper Lunch Canberra. They offered each blogger and their guest a main, a side, a drink and a dessert, although our meals were complimentary all opinions are our own.Pepper Lunch is bringing Japanese DIY Teppan to Canberra! Meals come out on a 260C hot plate and you cook the meat to your liking. Here is their ‘how to guide’:When we received our meal, the polite staff apologised for the wait when in fact we barely waited at all. I hope it is always this fast!

Classic beef pepper rice (a la carte $9.90). I couldn’t go to Pepper Lunch and not try their signature dish. The beef cooked really fast and was tasty but I felt the rice needed more sauce. Luckily there are two sauces on the table which included a sweet sauce and a garlic sauce (shake before use) that I added to my liking.Edit  Curry chicken pepper rice (a la carte $11.20). I really loved the curry sauce and I’ve decided that the next time I go, I’m getting something with that sauce!Shimofuri ‘porterhouse’ pepper steak (a la carte $16.90). The Food Marshall said that it was seasoned to perfection but it had a bit of gristle through it. She found TimmyC’s dish had better marbling.Giant rib eye steak (a la carte $24.90). This steak was noticeably bigger than the porterhouse but it was in the ‘giant’ section of the menu. I found this steak really delicious and ‘melt in your mouth’. It is on the more expensive end when compared with other menu items especially if you make it into a meal. You can make any a la carte menu item into a meal which includes one regular drink and one regular side for $4.90.

Regular sides: rice/chips/miso soup/shake shake salad.

Premium sides: onion rings/sweet potato wedges.All the sundaes have the same ice cream base but they are covered in different toppings. There are four flavours: chocolate nut crush, caramel swirl, green tea delight and black seasame; they  currently don’t have the black sesame flavour yet but they ensure me it is coming. I really enjoyed the caramel swirl and I really wanted to love the green tea delight but the flavour was so subtle, it was almost non existent. I hoping they adjust it and it will be better in the future.It was getting toasty warm inside the restaurant between all the people and 260C plates, so I imagine the restaurant will be a popular place to be this winter.

They have a loyalty card, the more you eat the better the reward!They are really trying to ensure that things run smoothly with the restaurant having a soft opening for the next few days to train staff and slowly ease their way in before trading normal hours (see below).

Venue:Pepper Lunch (Canberra)

Address: Shop 3 (next to Oliver Brown) 88-96, Bunda Street, Opposite Canberra Centre, Civic,  ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0565

Opening hours: The next few days Pepper Lunch will have a soft opening, so hours will vary but they will roughly be lunch 12pm – 3pm dinner 6pm – 9pm

Sunday – Thursday 11:30am – 9:30pm

Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 10:30pm

Walter G’s – when did this happen?

Every time I drive past the dark back streets of Dickson, a red lit sign always catches my eye and I’ve been wondering what has taken the place of the old Trinity night club. This time as we were headed to Plaka for dinner, I was determined to see the source of the red neon lights. Walter G‘s boasts delicious pizza and desserts with many people coming in and out (I cut them out of the photo); I like how they have a vegan pizza. I wonder how long it has been there.

Tell me dear reader, have you been before? What did you think?

Yummy Chinese BBQ re-run

I haven’t been back to Yummy Chinese BBQ since it just opened but with the cooler weather setting in, my friends and I wanted to warm ourselves with hot food over some hot coals. See my first post here.

Things have changed slightly since my last visit; there is no more steam boat, the small hot plates that sat in the charcoal chamber have been replaced with big gas hot plates which means more room to cook chicken wings and there is no more confusing iPad to order things from.

Yummy Chinese BBQ offers you ‘all you can eat’ from a range of skewers and raw meat that you cook yourselves and a buffet of hot Chinese food for those who can’t wait for the food to be cooked.

$36.00 per person all you can eat and $3.00 for unlimited orange juice and Coca Cola.
Skewers on offer include prawns, smoky lamb, beef and caramelised pork. We were not constrained with a time limit which was good because the coals took a while to arrive and we didn’t mind sitting outside because it meant it was less smoky. The food choice might seem a little odd to some because it is more ‘traditional’ Chinese food (that night’s buffet selection included pipis, fish in a chilli sauce, chicken feet and sesame balls filled with red bean) but it is a fun and different way to dine with friends.

We were done eating just under two hours and I basically just ate my weight in chicken wings.
Yummy Chinese BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mövenpick

After a delicious and fast (we ordered online, but ate really quickly) dinner at Brodburger, we wandered down the busy Kingston foreshore to go have dessert from the newly opened Mövenpick.

It was pretty busy on the Saturday night but there were plenty of seats as everyone was getting ice cream scoops to go (single scoop of ice cream is $5.50, double $7.50, triple $9.50).

Hot drink tasting plate your choice of piccolo hot drink served with three tasting scoops of Mövenpick ice cream ($12.95). There were recommendations with either a chocolate, coffee or nut ice cream flavours but TimmyC had his trio of ice creams picked out already. He chose: white chocolate (his favourite) with shard of white chocolate through the ice cream, panna cotta and creme brulee. A nice combination if you wanted a small hot beverage with your ice cream.Chocolate waffles freshly baked crunchy chocolate waffles served with Mövenpick Swiss chocolate and Stracciatella ice creams, drizzled with decadent chocolate sauce and sprinkled with white chocolate shavings (no ice cream choice $16.95). They were made fresh and in-house, double points! Not the greatest waffles but still decent.Shortbread ice cream stack ($9.95). My friend who was able to choose his flavours said that the ice cream was nice but the shortbread made it hard to eat and it wasn’t worth getting over scoops of ice cream by itself.Macaron selection subtly flavoured, crisp, light macaroon [sic] shells sandwiched with complimenting flavours of Mövenpick ice-cream, great a unique and delectable taste sensation like no other (no ice cream choice $12.95). To tell you the truth, I really got this for an Instagram photo and to see if their macaron shells were any good. Since there were no choices of ice cream I asked what the flavours were going to be; they were: chocolate, salted caramel and pistachio. I really liked the texture of the shells, they melded with the ice cream really well and they weren’t stale. I really enjoyed the chocolate and salted caramel as they were exactly how you would imagine they would taste but I took two nibbles of the pistachio macaraon ice cream sandwich and left the rest on my plate. It tasted like I ate a mouthful of bad mazipan. Did not like! It was really more novelty than anything else, next time I’ll just stick to scoops of ice cream.

It is nice to have such a big Mövenpick outlet in Canberra. I have been dragged around to plenty around Australia because of TimmyC’s love of their white chocolate ice cream and there aren’t many around. It’s good to have a choice of plated desserts with so many varieties, but I’m just a simple girl and might just stick with regular good ol’ ice cream in a cup.

 

Venue: Mövenpick

Address: Unit 154, The Promenade, Kingston, ACT 2601

Opening times:

Sunday – Thursday 11am–10pm

Friday – Saturday 11am–11pm

2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Four foodies met up a month ago to have dinner; Michelle the foodie from HerCanberra, The Food Avenue, Food Porn Journal and myself. Where others would talk about world events, pointless gossip and the weather, it was no surprise that we just talked about food. Even after we ate dinner where we ordered so much that all the dishes took up every inch of the table and everyone but me said they were super full, we were still talking about food, especially what we were going to eat next.
Michelle had been to 2 Yummy twice before to do a suckling pig banquet. Yes you read that right, a suckling pig made into 6 courses that can have to share with at least 9 other friends. That was definitely the next place we were going to go. Fast forward a month, lots of messages and keen friends later, we had booked a table for 14 people, one suckling pig pre-ordered with a $50 deposit paid and a karaoke room booked next door to continue the fun all night long.

This is the menu of all the dishes that one suckling pig turns into.  Some of us made a face of doubt when we were presented with the suckling pig, how will this small pig feed all fourteen of us?First up were suckling pig pancakes. This is usually served with duck but the crispiness of the skin provided a perfect candidate for substitution. I would have preferred more meat underneath the skin but I assumed it was being used in another dish.

There were two servings on either side of the table and there were enough for two pancakes per person. Yum!Start with a pancake, smear on some hoisin sauce, choose a nice piece of meat and a slice of cucumber and you’re ready to roll.Next up was suckling pig with jelly fish. This is how Chinese people usually have suckling pig so my eyes lit up. For those who haven’t eaten jelly fish before, it is cold, chewy with a texture unlike anything else; it usually also has a bit of spice to it. Add a bit more of hoisin sauce and you’ve got an awesome mouthful between the chilli of the jelly fish, the crunch and fat from the pig and some sweetness from the sauce. There’s a bit of meat under the skin and this would have been ideal for the pancakes.   Deep fried suckling pig meat with lemon grass flavour. The courses had been staggered until now, once the two ‘entree’ portions were served, the rest of the banquet just flowed out from the kitchen and I found it very hard to keep up because I am a slow eater/was taking photos. This was deep fried but not oily, the lettuce served underneath it paired perfectly well to give a refreshing watery crunchy with the deep fried meat. It reminded me of peking steak with subtle hints of lemongrass.Stir fried suckling pig meat with house special sauce. The odd thing about this dish was the broccoli was stone cold and obviously pre-prepared around the plate while the meat was extremely hot (in both senses). I didn’t expect that the dish would be so chilli hot and it took me by surprise when I ate some and then I shoveled a lot more rice into my mouth. It was still tasty I just wish I had some warning.Suckling pig meat cooked with bean curd in a hot pot. It didn’t exactly come out in a hot pot but everything retained its heat really well still. Despite being a huge meat eater, I really enjoy bean curd and I found this particularly delicious because it soaked up all the sauce from this dish. I ate more of this than the suckling pig meat (but I guess I am also having pig in every other dish). Stir fried suckling pig with handmade noodle in OX sauce. This was one of the dishes that I was looking forward to the most. I love handmade noodles and I love suckling pig so this was a winning combination, but I found it one of the most oddest dishes I have ever eaten. The texture and the taste of the noodles reminded me more of pasta than noodles. OX sauce has a strong and distinctive taste that I didn’t feel that this dish had. Overall it was more bland in comparison to other dishes, so I ended up piling other dishes and sauces on top and mixed it through to help it a little.With 14 people at the table, I was the last one eating. I wasn’t crazy full like everyone else when I  stopped eating, I just got bored eating the few dishes were left. So basically if you’re anyone else you’ll leave being very satisfied and regretting your last two mouth fulls because it pushed you over the edge.

Despite having four more people that we needed for the banquet minimum, there was plenty of food to go around and it was all delicious and diverse. I would easily grab another 9 people and do it all over again very soon.

Venue: 2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Address: 3/114 Emu bank, Belconnen ACT 2617

Suckling pig banquet: $40.00 pp, you need to order a head and pay a $50 deposit and a minimum of 10 people to participate

Phone: 0262516622

Lahori Gate

Canberra has had such restaurant boom in the last few years, I cannot keep up but at least I’ve heard of most of the places even if I haven’t been yet. So when a work colleague asked me if I had been to a Pakistani restaurant in Phillip, I gave him a look of deep concentration as I scanned through my mental restaurant library and came up blank. What was he talking about, how was there a restaurant south side out of all places that I haven’t heard about!?

Lahori Gate has been open for the past 8 months and are looking to expand all without registering on the foodie radar, but it has obviously made waves in the Pakistani community. Even the ambassador went there to eat and was so impressed that Lahori Gate now caters for some embassy events. We were all curious about this restaurant so a group of us from work went later that week. When we were all seated the waiter/owner clarified with us that they are a Pakistani restaurant not an Indian restaurant, all the food is home style cooking, his wife and sister-in-law run the kitchen and do not to expect cream and sweeteners to be added to the curries. ‘Perfect’ I said smiling, ‘that’s exactly what we’re here for’.

Appetisers~

Chicken pakora deep-fried chicken fritters, cooked with light spices served with raita and tamarind sauce ($9.50). These were served to us piping hot from the fryer although they weren’t oily. I was surprised how many were in one serve (or have I just adjusted to Canberra ‘normal’ dining now?) and they were addictive to eat. I think they forgot to give us tamarind sauce but we still had lemon and raita, which wasn’t sweet but rather herby and tangy.Shami kebab beef and lentil patties served with raita and salad ($9.50). These patties had a ‘wet flaky consistency’ like tuna from a can; I couldn’t tell there were lentils in there. It tasted very meaty with herbs although it did leave a bit of a chilli aftertaste at the back of my throat. I’ve never eaten anything like this before.A closer look inside the shami kebab.The raita here is not sweet like we’re used to in Indian restaurants and conveniently pairs well with everything from entrees through to mains.Mains~

Achari chicken marinated boneless chicken cooked with pickles and special spice and herbs ($15.50). I didn’t get any pieces of pickles in my spoonfuls but that didn’t worry me. The chicken had a beautiful flavour to it, it is hard to describe when I’ve never had anything like this before but we all really enjoyed it went back for more.Bhuna Gosht tender pieces of beef (it usually comes in lamb but we got this in beef) marinated in garlic, ginger and spices cooked with tomato, onion in a thick bottom pan to seal all the natural juice ($15.00). My work colleague was disappointed with this dish because for him, it is usually ‘dry’ with not much sauce but for those who didn’t know any better (i.e. most people on the table), we mopped up all the sauce with our naan.Chicken Biryani chicken and rice cooked with aromatic spice, herbs served with raita ($15.50). Yes we ordered chicken for entree and then chicken on top of more chicken, hahaha. The rice was really nice, although the chicken pieces were so sporadic I don’t know if it made much of a difference, luckily for me, I just topped it off with more achari chicken.Sides~

Rice ($4.00 serve we had two serves between the 8 of us).

Garlic naan ($3.00 each we ordered 4 between 8 of us). My first piece was pretty burnt on one half but luckily for the table (unlucky for me), it was pretty much the only burnt one that was served. These had herbs as well as garlic on them which was a nice touch, but they were very handy to have at the table to mop up every bit of the sauces from the curries.Desserts~
Rice pudding
(Kheer $8.00). I’m a sucker for rice pudding so while everyone choosing ras malai, I was shouting out for rice pudding, in the end we got two of everything so there was enough for everyone to sample a bit of everything. This was subtle sweet but was mixed with nice spices.Ras malai ($8.00). I have eaten my fair share of ras malai (although I still wouldn’t be an expert) and this would have been one of the nicer ones I’ve had. My work colleague was not as impressed and said that they can make it better at home, unfortunately not all of us are that lucky.

Carrot pudding ($8.00). This was not on the menu but the waiter/husband/brother-in-law was saying that he made this dish himself and if we would like to try some, so we ordered this as well. It looked very unusual but it tasted very balanced between the sweetness, spices and the natural sweetness of the carrots.The dining area is very small and might not fit more than 40-50 people comfortably and although patrons were sporadic during our meal I would still suggest to book to avoid disappointment.

I quickly took a photo before the restaurant became fairly busy.I really enjoyed the food here, it offers a menu unlike any other I’ve seen in Canberra. It is nestled away in the apartment blocks near Woden CIT and I wouldn’t have known that this place existed if my work colleague hadn’t seen a flyer in a grocery store.

Apparently they have ‘brunch’ buffet once a month on a Sunday, it is not on a set day every month so check out their Facebook page for upcoming events and brunch dates. For $18.50(?) you have a choice between 8 varieties of curries and it is very popular that the line is always out the door.

Venue: Lahori Gate

Address: 2 Antis St, Phillip, ACT

Phone(02) 6101 5896

Opening hours:

Mon Closed

Tuesday – Friday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Flint in the Vines

My friends and I had been wanting to go to Flint in the Vines for a long time, but between lack of planning and untimely renovations we hadn’t gone out there until recently. It was lovely sunny day and it really didn’t take that long to drive out there even with the road works.

I had literally thrown on a(nother) dress after eating waffles and bacon for breakfast and started driving to Murrumbateman, so when my friends suggested to share some entrees and starters I had no particular objection.Starters~

Wood fired Camembert apple compote, red wine reduction, warmed ciabatta ($22.00). This ingredients make for a winning combination, the only downside was that the Camembert was not gooey enough, if it had a tad longer in the oven it would have heavenly. It wouldn’t have really have needed more than a minute or two to become perfection.Entrees~

Lamb roulade carrot and parsnip puree, plum jam, mint verde, truffled sweet potato chips ($17.00). I had let everyone else choose our entrees and starters that we were sharing and concentrated on choosing my own main therefore I wasn’t quite sure what we ordered. When I took a mouthful of this I was so surprised about how much flavour there was. The lamb flavours were robust and complimented by the sweet condiments, if I ordered this again, I would not share.
Butter poached prawns anchovy mousse egg-lasagna sheet, sage butter, baby herbs ($19.00). This looked really small and simple in contrast to the lamb but the flavours were just as pronounced. It was absolutely divine! It was to be expected though, who doesn’t love sage in butter *licks lips*. This looked a lot smaller than the other dish.Four dainty prawns hidden under a blanket of pasta.
Pizza~
Caprese basil pesto, sun-dried tomato, cherry tomato, bocconcini, balsamic glaze, fresh basil ($25.00). I must have been a pain to dine with, like a little child I couldn’t help myself but play with the mini lazy Susan that it came on. My friend liked the pizza base and the pizza itself, but towards the end it tasted like it was really tomato heavy and was starting to become an antipasto plate in her mouth.
Mains~
Confit Duck Maryland braised red cabbage, confit fennel, candied nashi pear, orange and anise jus ($34.00). The duck could have been a tad crispier but it was still really good and paired perfectly with all the sweet fruit and vegetables.
Honey brined pork loin romesco, sauteed cabbage, mushroom and sweet peppers, pesto ($33.00). The brine kept the whole piece of loin really juicy and delicious.
Chargrilled eye fillet potato and leek vichyssoise, sauteed baby winter veg, chilli jam ($35.00). As much as I love beef, I really mainly ordered this for the potato and leek vichyssoise. I didn’t know what it was exactly, I just guessed it was going to be a lovely rich white sauce made like one of my favourite soups! The eye fillet was cooked perfectly, it was juicy all over and it dish itself was stunning as it showed off an array of colour of baby winter vegetables.
 When uploading this photo, I got instantly hungry again. 
Sides~ all sides $9.00

Sautéed Dutch carrots almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes. The carrots were slightly harder than I would have liked but I couldn’t get over how amazing the combination of almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes was! People need to know about this.Roasted pumpkin & spinach salad fetta, toasted walnuts, honey & rosemary vinaigrette. So I might have rolled my eyes when the girls I was dining with suggested a salad to share but this was simplicity at its best. I loved this so much that later on in the week I made my own version at home. The rosemary flavour was subtle but vital to the salad’s amazingness (is that a word, probably not). Dessert~ all desserts were $16.00

Vanilla and nashi pear tapioca pudding stewed rhubarb Persian fairy floss, ginger and lemon biscuit. I was excited to taste this because I love nashi pears but I couldn’t really taste it despite chunks of it throughout the whole pudding. This reminded me of a vanilla rice pudding, not the sweetest dessert also not the easiest to share.
 
Lamington fondant (allow 15 minutes) dark chocolate fondant, raspberry jam, coconut ice cream, toasted coconut. This could have been one rich dessert but I was pleasantly surprised that the middle wasn’t runny lava made up of OTT molten cocoa, it was just moist and bitter enough to enhance the sweetness of the jam. When it was paired with all the coconut aspects, it created a perfect balance of flavours and you could eat the whole dish without feeling sick afterwards.                                                    
The food was absolutely wonderful set in an unpretentious, family friendly atmosphere and the waitresses were friendly, helpful and attentive. I haven’t been wowed by a Canberra restaurant (and surrounds) for a while, but this restaurant unexpectedly surprised me with its food quality. I am very keen to go back out again soon.

Venue: Flint in the Vines
Address: 34 Isabel Drive Murrumbateman NSW 2582
Phone: (02) 6227 5144 *
* Please note this phone line is answered between Wednesday and Sunday.
Business Hours:
Lunch – Thursday to Sunday
Dinner – Wednesday to Saturday
Entertainment book card: Yes! Don’t forget to use it
2% Surcharge for Amex
10% Surcharge Sundays
15% Surcharge Public Holidays

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Westside Acton Park

Even though I went to Westside Acton Park for two things specifically (see Miss Van’s and La Crepe blog posts here), I was surprised to see so many other eateries there.

There’s O’So smoothie, Damn Fine Roasters (Canberra’s first drive thru coffee shop, you just honk your horn and someone will be with you shortly), The One (I look forward to their chicken wings!), Miss Van’s, La Crepe (which might be closed for a few weeks) and Habibz (authentic Middle Eastern BBQ). Also up the top of the shipping containers is Aviary, Canberra’s first rooftop bar, I haven’t been up there yet because the one time I tried they were closed for health and safety reasons.

If you haven’t checked out Westside Acton Park yet they have a Pop Up Market this Saturday!

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Ricardo’s re-run

I was having a complete brain fart moment over the weekend.

I guess you could categorize me as a foodie and after my experience of being one of the 101 humans, you’d think I would know how to show off Canberra but I felt the pressure build when my Mum informed me that she was coming down to visit with some family friends for a day trip and I should choose somewhere for lunch.

Her specifications were not too fancy, not Brodburger (my sister and I always drag her there) and it had to be in a convenient location as we drove around taking them to Canberra’s landmarks and iconic buildings. I also didn’t want to take them to an Asian restaurant, after all they are from Hong Kong and Sydney, I don’t think Canberra could ever compare on price and quality. My brain froze, it just couldn’t cope with choosing somewhere and I delayed making a decision until the morning of their arrival, a dangerous move considering I wanted no waiting time or a reservation. That morning, my sister and her cute little family decided to also tag along which meant adding a pram into consideration, then a light bulb went off and I knew exactly where to go.

Not only does Ricardo’s in Jamison cook up fabulous lunch options and breakfast (I’m not the keenest on their cakes though *gasp* shock horror) but prams and children almost seem mandatory. They are ridiculously family friendly and when I rang that morning to book a table for 7 adults and a pram, they were happy to oblige.

Clockwise starting from top left.
Specials board~ Cauliflower, parmesan and potato soup ($15.90). A warming soup with all my favourite things. I’m not the biggest fan of focaccia and wasn’t going to eat the bread but it was reeeeeally nice all smothered in butter.
Fish and chips ($19.90). I rolled my eyes when TimmyC told me he was going to order this but then a waitress went past with a plate in her hand, we both then agreed he was to order fish and chips.
Hotcakes with passionfruit curd and maple syrup ($16.90).
Mushroom Bruschetta Harrisa spiced roast field mushroom with creamed fetta, beetroot, rouqette and za’atar on grilled focaccia ($16.90). I’ve never seen my Mum eat beetroot before so I was surprised she ordered this. She really enjoyed it and in true Asian Mum fashion gave half her meal away to everyone and they also agreed it was really nice.
We all chose different things because the menu was diverse and something suited all of us. Everyone had a lovely time, the food was fantastic and my guests were really surprised how busy the place was, even after 2:30pm people were still streaming in.
I look forward to Ricardo De Marco expanding to Woden later on this year, it is going to be quite different I hear.

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La crepe – Westside

Of course while we were waiting for our food from Miss Van’s, my friend’s and I couldn’t help but be enticed by the delicious smells coming from La Crêpe the next shipping container over. There’s nothing much more to really write than they smell amazing, Nutella was made to be on crepes and they even do ‘take aways’ so there is no excuse not to get one… Or two.

Here is their menu, crepes range from $5.00 – $9.00. Which one would you have picked?The guy noticed me taking photos and struck a pose. My friend was talking to him and he was super friendly and had helpful advise for when we head to Paris.It takes skill to get a crepe that thin. My friend made her husband wait as she went to get a second one to take away. How cute is the packaging! It looked much easier to eat than on the plate.A photo of my crepe before it got quickly devoured.Friendly service and it didn’t take that long for us to get our crepes even though we were impatiently drooling.

Venue: La Crepe

Address: Westside Acton Park, Barrine Drive, Acton 2601

Opening hours: hopefully similar times to Miss Van’s?

***This place is now closed *** 😦

Miss Van’s Street Food – Westside

We weren’t exactly starving but I was still keen on dragging my friends to Westside Acton Park and trying out Miss Van’s Street food which I had been waiting for weeks to open. I had been stalking their menu in anticipation of their opening and found it was a small but had precise flavours of Vietnam. I was hoping since that the menu is so refined that all the dishes that they prepare would be good.

Have you been to Westside Acton park yet?What would you choose from their menu?Beef Noodle Soup | Pho Our pho stock is cooked for a minimum of 24 hours following a closely guarded family recipe! We use only fresh noodles. All pho bowls are served with lime, thai basil, beanshoots, coriander and shallot, add your own sriracha, Miss Van’s chilli and garlic oil, fresh chilli and hoi sin. 

Rare beef noodle soup (pho tai) rare sliced marinated flank steak ($11.00). I had a spoonful of my friend’s soup and the broth was not oily or sweet but full off flavour with a slight chilli kick. I thought it was unusual that the beef wasn’t the thinly sliced stuff you get from an Asian grocer but rather more hand cut with additional beef chunks, despite the thicker cuts the beef was really tender. I probably would have ordered this if I didn’t have a big breakfast out and going straight to an afternoon tea, it would have also been a little harder to eat a noodle soup on low hipster seats.Check out the generous portions of beef!Vietnamese sandwich | Banh Mi our sandwich rolls are made on a signature Viet/French baguette, all banh mi served with whole egg ago, lightly pickled carrot, radish, coriander, soy sauce and chilli sauce. 

Chicken roll (banh mi ga) shredded chicken, confit shallot, house made pate ($7.00). I really liked the bread roll that they used, it had a crunchy exterior with a nice soft interior. Mmmm… My friend gave me all his coriander (yum!) so my view on this banh mi is a little biased. I’m not one for pate but I had it the way it was intended and it was really nice as it gave it an extra kick of salty goodness. When  I was ordering, they asked me if I wanted their homemade chilli that they said was hot, I asked for a little and it gave it a nice extra level of flavour. There was a tiny bit of gristle on the chicken but it didn’t ruin the bun as a whole.My friends ordered the pork roll.Soya bean milk homemade, infused with pandan leaf, lightly sweetened with palm sugar ($5.00). A subtle sweet drink with a hint of pandan after taste.Specials mini pork spring rolls ($5.00). Nice and hot crunchy spring rolls that are easy to share, too bad the specials menu are constantly being changed. 

I enjoyed the food that we shared from Miss Van’s, although the seating is a little harder to eat noodle soup. The food didn’t take that long to come and there are plenty of condiments for those who like their food nice and spicy.

Venue: Miss Van’s Street Food

Address: Westside Acton Park, Barrine Drive, Acton 2601

Opening times during Winter:

Wednesday – Saturday 12pm – late
Sunday 10am – 6pm

 

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