Star Buffet

When Michelle from HerCanberra told me that she had heard there was an all you can eat buffet in Kambah out of all places, we were keen to go ASAP. The Star Buffet is a new addition to the Burns Club which seats around 650 patrons, I didn’t believe it until I saw it, but the area is massive!

They were a bit funny about us taking photos so I only took a few (before we were confronted) and then the rest of the photos were of our plates at the table.   I don’t know if this includes the frozen Coke machine that they have but it is pretty good value if you drink soft drinks.  The selection of sushi isn’t so great but I was amused that they had a sushi train here.  I’m not saying that all the food here is fabulous, because it would be hard to deliver this amount of variety and for everything to be good, but there is an extensive amount of things to choose from and we were quite surprised with some of the food quality.

The selection includes roast meats (the pork has really crunchy crackling!), roast vegetables, different types of gravy, grilled meats (steaks were nice when they were just cooked), Asian BBQ, Asian stir fries, the cutest bamboo steamers with dim sims and BBQ pork buns, cold seafood and salads, sushi train, lamb shanks (which were surprisingly decent), fish, American pork ribs, the usual deep-fried foods, deep friend BBQ pork bun (yes you heard me right), pastas, pizza, waffles from a waffle iron, a cheese platter, chocolate fountain, fresh fruit, a large cake selection, creme brulees (yum!), panna cotta (I wouldn’t bother), tarts, profiteroles, Portuguese tarts (they were good), jelly, pudding and last but not least a soft serve machine.

I think the good thing about this buffet is the casual environment, the all you can eat aspect if your friends and family can really eat and the crazy amount of variety they have, I’ve never seen anything like it.The tables were getting cleared pretty consistently throughout our meal, they did close promptly at the end of the lunch sitting though so just keep that in mind if you come in for a late seating. The food was being replenished so variety of choice was always there, but I think if lots of people went you would have the added advantage of high turn over and more freshly cooked food.

You might have heard of Star Buffet because they are in a lot of clubs across NSW.

Venue: Star Buffet

Address: 8 Kett Street, Kambah ACT 2902

Phone: (02) 6296 3045

Website: http://www.starbuffet.com.au/locations/burns-club/

Opening times and prices:


Star Buffet on Urbanspoon

Pistachio Express Post

Pistachio tasting plate of entrees scallop, chicken and leek terrine and potato croquette ($19.00). I’m always one for variety so I couldn’t pass on the tasting plate of entrees. I really liked the scallop and the potato croquette, the downside to the tasting plate is wishing that there was a bigger serving size of your favourites.Goat’s chese ravioli corn veloute, slow cooked lamb shoulder and basil oil ($18.00).IMG_0348Mains~ all $30.00

Confit pork belly twice cooked chilli, wilted spinach, coriander, bean shoots, shallots and capsicum. I didn’t like the Asian flavours with such a big piece of pork belly and the skin wasn’t crispy all the way through.IMG_0353Grilled grass fed beef sirloin served medium rare, jacket potato, bacon, sour cream, honey grazed carrots. This was absolutely delicious; all my favourite warm conforting foods on a plate. I just wished it was my main.IMG_0365Sides~ all $8.00

Green beans with toasted almonds and parsley. I’m not one for ordering green beans as a side but I’m so glad that someone did, they were cooked and seasoned perfectly and I almost ate the whole thing myself.IMG_0366Rosemary and garlic roasted chat potatoes. Crispy, crunchy and seasoned to perfection, everything that you would want in a potato.IMG_0368Dessert~ all $15.00

Eaton mess sundae creme Chantilly, almond praline, crushed meringue and almond praline ice cream.IMG_0374Honeycomb cheesecake poached white peach, pistachio and syrup. I loved the flavour combination of this and it wasn’t too heavy. I found that the honeycomb pieces provided a crunchy contrast to the cream cheesecake and poached white peach. IMG_0376

IMG_0375Strawberry cannelloni brick pastry, white chocolate ice ream, freeze fried strawberry.IMG_0380

IMG_0381p.s. Don’t forget to use your Entertainment book!

Neighbourhood food 

Nothing makes you hope that a restaurant is good like when your friend tells everyone that you’ve recommended a restaurant for dinner that night and then to correct her by saying that you have never been yourself but you’ve heard nice things. That’s exactly what happened when we went to Neighbourhood food in Gungahlin.

I wasn’t quite sure exactly where it was but when we found it, I was surprised to see how casual/cafe style and dim lit it was. I hope the food is better than then decor.

Entree~

Garlic pizza bread ($6.00). A nice pizza base, I just wasn’t a huge fan of the garlic that they used.Garlic mushroom bruschetta garlic and butter sauteed mushrooms served on crusty bread topped with herbs ($12.00). I really expected at least two pieces for the price. It was okay, the garlic tasted like it was from a jar but there were plenty of mushrooms and toppings on the singular toasted slice of bread.Tomato bruschetta diced tomato, fresh basil, bocconcini served on crusty bread ($12.00).

Mains~

Steak and mushroom pappardelle in butter and pepper sauce ($22.00). Although in theory this had my name written all over it, I didn’t think it had enough depth to the dish. I really enjoyed the pasta texture, but I found the steak pieces too tough and I ended up eating more of TimmyC’s risotto.Lamb shank risotto slow cooked lamb shank with peas and ricotta ($28.00). This was on the specials board and I stand by what Jerry Seinfeld said when he said: “I don’t want to hear the specials. If they’re so special, put ’em on the menu.”, but I had food envy as soon as I tasted this. The lamb shank was tender, the risotto was perfect and the ricotta was creamy and despite the fact that I don’t eat peas, I just swallowed them whole in my bites. Damn, should have ordered the special.Seafood risotto Barramundi, calamari and prawns ($22.00). My friend said she really enjoyed this dish despite the fact that her risotto was slightly over cooked.Pizza~ we were surprised about the size of the pizza when they set it down, but they were so good we ended up eating all of it anyway. I really liked their pizza base and generosity of toppings.

Classic supreme pizza pepperoni, capsicum, olives, pineapple, onion, bacon and mozzarella ($22.00).

Neighbourhood pizza ham, chicken prawns, fetta and mozzarella (lge $24.00).Vegetarian pizza capsicum, onion, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, pineapple and mozzarella (sml $13.00).Sides~

Rocket salad ($8.00). My friend’s Mum was doing the responsible thing on the table ordering a side salad.My friends and I really enjoyed it here, it is nice to have good food tucked away in the suburbs. I am definitely keen to come back and try some of their prawn pastas. The service was exceptional, they were very friendly, knowledgeable about their menu and very attentive with drinks.

Venue: Neighbourhood food

Address54 Ernest Cavanagh St Gungahlin, ACT

Phone02 6241 5819

Websitehttp://www.neighbourhoodfood.com.au/

Opening hours:

Brunch
Saturday – Sunday
9:00am – 2:00pm
Dinner
Tuesday – Saturday
Open from 5:30pm

Neighbourhood Food on Urbanspoon

Laziza house

I remember asking a fellow blogger (you must check out her blog at mumchic) if I couldn’t get a home cooked Pakistani meal, where could I go out and eat Pakistani food? She suggested Laziza house in Melba, I had remembered seeing the name in the Entertainment book so off I went with some friends to try some Pakistani food.

We arrived around 7pm-ish and we were only one of two tables with 6 patrons all up, it seemed very quiet for a Friday night. The room was exotically decorated with lots of staff on hand to give efficient service.I was a bit nervous about ordering, I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew I wanted to try Pakistani food and avoid the typical Indian dishes. Conveniently, there were ‘Pakistani specials’ and ‘Afghan specials’ headings and underneath was several menu items; we just stuck to that list.

The menu has spelling errors consistently throughout the pages but we knew what they were saying when they had ‘Laziza Charcoal Owen Specials’. We were keen to try things from the oven and ordered the Lahori Tandoori Murghah chicken marinated in yoghurt, spices, grilled in charcoal oven ($19.50 full). It didn’t taste great and some pieces were a bit dry, we should have only ordered the half serve.

Pakistani Specials~

LAZIZA Nihair (Pakistani traditional dish) Shinbone of the beef used for this curry. Very tasty and delicious ($15.50). I thought that the bowl was particularly shallow but I later found that the spoon kept on hitting a piece of bone with a slither of bone marrow that my friend’s happily enjoyed amongst themselves. The curry itself was very flavoursome with very tender beef, I would happily have this again. It had lots of fennel seeds in it and green chillis but it wasn’t too hot if you had lassi on hand with lots of rice.Afghan Specials~

Kabuli Pulao a mound of basmati rice topped with cooked carrot strips and raisins ($15.50). I had had this dish from Koochi when it used to be open and I thought this would be just as good but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t recommend ordering this rice dish, it was very dry and bland by comparison.

Mango lassi ($4.50). I could make this better at home but it did relieve some of the chilli that was building up in my mouth from the curry.Garlic naan plain flour bread with crushed garlic ($3.20). I didn’t like how the crushed garlic was from a bottle, you could taste the sweetness from the garlic.I didn’t listen to my own advice and ended up ordering outside of the Pakistani menu realm. The dishes and the sides that were Afghan and Indian were very underwhelming but I really did enjoy that shinbone curry. I wouldn’t rush back to try this restaurant but if I was to go with someone who knew what they were ordering it would really help a lot.

Venue: Laziza house

Address: 12 Chinner Crescent, Melba ACT 2615

Phone(02) 6259 8033

Entertainment book: yes, don’t forget your voucher!

Laziza House on Urbanspoon

 

Wonder meals re-run 

There are three types of Chinese restaurants: 1) the Westernised Chinese restaurant that can be found in most suburbia shops 2) the more traditional Chinese restaurants with Asian delicacies and then there is Wonder Meals.

I have always found Wonder Meals very bizarre; everything from the name, the strange decor down to the menu, which had changed since I had last been. I can’t fully describe it. Menu items include poached tripe with duck blood curd, cold dressed pigs ears and pungent and chilli chicken gizzards just to name a few. I was trying to warn my food companion that things on the menu are a bit strange but we will stick to the ‘safe’ side of things which may or may not be to our detriment.

Set up with chair covers, linen napkins that you will never get to use and surrounded by fake flowers, just another day at Wonder Meals.Steamed and fried bread ($10.80). This was the first thing to arrive within minutes of ordering and I was pleasantly surprised to see it served with condensed milk but it meant that we were eating sweet first. Obviously the fried version tasted better than the steamed but the steamed buns make for good sauce moppers, so we left them for when the main dishes arrived.Fried beef fillets with abalone mushrooms ($20.80). This was very garlic-ky and salty which was balanced out by the boiled rice. It was a fairly big serve because it felt like we kept eating the same thing over and over again; I got a bit bored of it towards the end.Fried garlic shoots with shredded pork ($15.80). I had ordered this previously and it wasn’t as nice this time around. I thought the garlic shoots weren’t at their best which made the whole dish very mediocre.Pan fried dumplings (guotie) ($12.80). After getting fairly full from the previous dishes and being over an hour after we had initially ordered, I just assumed that they had forgotten about these but apparently they didn’t. I tasted the first one and it was very (temperature) hot but left a bitter vegetable taste in my mouth, I then asked for soy sauce and it made it much more tolerable.I was surprised that the restaurant was so busy on Friday night but I did sense the feeling that a lot of tables started to get frustrated with the service after being ignored several times and having to wait a long time between dishes. You really have to come here yourself and order some ‘out of the box’ items to decide if you like it or not. Maybe I’ll be more adventurous next time.

See my first post about Wonder meals here.

Pho hub

I convinced a close friend of mine to move our weekly lunch to a new location, not only was I hazy on the details like where it was exactly, but I had no idea where the best place to park was either.

Pho hub is a new a Vietnamese restaurant in the Belconnen area located across the mall on Benjamin Way near Remedy (by Lonsdale St Roasters). We both ended up parking in the Westfield mall and so did everyone else it seemed because it was nearly impossible to get a park Friday lunch time. Despite being very busy, we were seated straight away and given menus.Fresh rice paper rolls with duck goi cuon vit served with hoisin sauce (x2 $7.00). My friend was keen to order the lemongrass chicken in a fresh paper roll but they had accidentally given us the duck version but we were too hungry to care. We both found it very underwhelming as it was packed with noodles and lettuce but only had tiny torn scraps of mint, I expected much more herbs than that. I don’t think these were worth ordering.Hello, herbs? Anyone home?Garlic chicken wings canh ga chien toi (x4 $6.00). I really really like chicken wings and so I ordered the these; they sounded really delicious in theory but what we ended up getting was really just pan-fried chicken wings which might have had a sprinkle of garlic powder (?). The accompanying soy sauce was pretty sweet and despite all the little chunks of garlic in the sauce, it didn’t taste very garlicky but it did make the chicken wing taste better than without it. I still prefer the pan friend chicken wings at Tu do.Beef rice noodle soup (pho tai) sliced rare beef with rice noodle soup ($12.50 regular). One of us had to order the pho when the restaurant is called Pho hub! My friend ended up ordering this when I saw pork chops on the menu, I only tasted a spoonful of my friends pho and found the broth was very peppery and oily; not the best broth I’ve had at a restaurant (once you’ve tasted homemade you really cant’ go back) but the serve was a decent size.

Grilled pork chop with tomato rice (approx $12.50). I had high hopes for their pork chops being a Vietnamese restaurant. The pork chop itself, even in the thicker cut areas was very tender and moist although but not much flavour. The rice was okay, it was had a subtle tomato flavour that I doused in the fish sauce but I didn’t eat the cucumbers and tomatoes as they appeared to be cut a while ago and had a dry dehydrated look to them. I was a bit puzzled by the pickled vegetables but they were addictive despite being chilli hot.

My favourite pork chop it still from Can Tho (Michelle you must go!).     It was exciting to eat somewhere new and different and while the busy patronage gave us high hopes, we won’t be rushing back to Pho hub again. We are still in search of a decent authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Canberra.

 

Venue: Pho Hub

Address: 39 Benjamin Way, Belconnen ACT 2617

Phone02 6251 0367

Opening hours: Lunch 10am – 3pm daily

Dinner Sunday – Wednesday 5pm – 10pm

Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 10:30pm

Pho Hub on Urbanspoon

La Sable Patisserie 

A friend had told me about La Sable Patisserie a few weeks ago (thanks Katie!) and ever since I saw her photos, I had food envy and wanted to go ASAP.

I justified a bakery breakfast before a whole weekend of eating in Sydney by telling TimmyC that we didn’t have time to eat breakfast at home because we were running late and that La Sable Patisserie was on the way anyway. I didn’t mention the fact that I haven’t been there before and I was excited for another patisserie to join the Canberra scene, but surely he would have known that as I was taking lots of photos with a big smile on my face. It was easy to find where La Sable was because everyone else in Mitchell was there too.Some people enjoying the lovely sun and some tasty bakery treats. This is the beautiful cake that they had on display at the One Fine Day Wedding NightHmm what to choose?Croissant ($3.00). This was a super buttery and flakey croissant not dry and bready like most bakeries. As Tim was eating it in front of me I was getting shards of pastry raining all over me and we both had to dust ourselves off before getting in the car.Macaroons ($3.00 each). We were sceptical about their macarons because their sign is labelled macaroons… If you don’t know what it is, that can’t be a good start but despite our initial hesitancy we order one anyway. The texture was okay but I wouldn’t have guessed the flavour, it tasted slightly alcoholic from their rum soaked raisins and I would have guessed tiramisu or something.Chicken and leek gourmet pie ($7.50). The pie filling was super thick and so when you bite into it nothing really leaked out which was handy. I’m more of a beef pie girl but I let TimmyC decide the pie flavour, it must mean that I have to go back to try their beef pie.Choux pastry ($5 ish based on change?). A nice choux pastry filled with subtle sweet custard enrobed with a sticky hard toffee. It is clever that they put two together because one is never enough. 

Everything is made on site from their pastries to their chocolate and their elaborate wedding cakes.

The secret is out about this place, going there over the weekend was busy and people just kept on flowing in. I would really like to go back and try other things like their vanilla slice, tarts, beef pie and sausage rolls. Items in the cabinet must change all the time because Food Porn Journal happen to go a couple of hours after I did and she didn’t have the same choices, see her post here.

Venue: La Sable Patisserie

Address83 Lysaght St Mitchell, ACT

Phone02 6241 2966
La Sable Patisserie on Urbanspoon

 

The District re-run

As my friends and I were planning yet another trip overseas together (when you travel well together, you may as well stick together), an essential part of our planning involves eating dinner first, followed by dessert and then eventually some planning with some random YouTube videos in between. We went to The District because it was close by and we enjoyed our meal there last time.

Margarita pizza with Napolitana sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil ($16.90). A simple pizza topping flavour but it was nice and fresh and I like their pizza base.Champagne chicken risotto with bacon, mushroom and parmesan ($24.90). A rich heavy bowl of cheesy comfort food.Chicken schnitzel with beer battered fries and salad ($18.90). Nothing too fantastic but the gravy that we ordered was ridiculously salty and so we asked for mushroom gravy and they were happy to give us another sauce for free.Specials~

Surf and turf I really enjoyed the hollandaise sauce but I didn’t like the dried, shriveled seafood mix that was  placed on top, they should just stick with the big prawns. The steak was a bit tough and dry but I don’t know if it is because Chifley’s has just ruined me for life.Seafood chowder with penne pasta. There was a nice mix of seafood in the chowder and I liked how the sauce had a nice chilli kick to it. I like the family feel of The District and I also like how it is tucked away out in the suburbs, I hope more establishments like this pop up in suburbia shops.

See my previous blog post about The District here.

Shanghai Dumpling King

I was excited when Shanghai Dumpling King was setting up shop because that meant there was another place south side to eat dumplings until I learnt that they are a sister restaurant of Shanghai Dumpling Cafe in Civic, but an opportunity arose where I was there more for the company rather than the food so fellow foodie Food Porn Journal and I went together.

It was lucky that we had similar tastes so ordering wasn’t an issue; we wanted to try the xiao long bao, pan fried dumplings and some noodles, and that is exactly what we got! Oh and we also squeezed in a dessert (or two).

Steamed mini pork buns also known as Xiao Long Bao, a specialty from Shanghai. Buns are filled with broth so be careful when eating it (8 pieces $11.50). I was pleasantly surprised that the wrapper didn’t break as I picked it up gently and placed it on my spoon. Each dumpling did have a ‘soup’ inside as promised and although it wasn’t terrible; the wrapper was too thick and threw out all the proportions. Not the worst that I’ve had (the bad ones bubble out a thick brown liquid, have not much of a soup inside and the wrappers break easily) but it wasn’t particularly good either.IMG_0948[1]I could see that the wrapper was too thick when they put down the bamboo steamer but I was still willing to give them a go.IMG_0949[1]Seafood pan fried dumplings (15 pieces $13.00). The filling reminded me of a fish paste which I didn’t mind so much (Asian taste buds!) and each of them had a crispy side.IMG_0954[1]Shanghai fried noodles traditional Shanghai style fried noodles stir fried with pak choy and sliced chicken in a soya sauce flavour ($12.50). I love a good noodle and this was by far the best dish of the night. The chicken was moist, the pak choy was fresh and everything was coated in a soy sauce without being overly salty.IMG_0952[1]Dessert~

Pancake filled with red bean paste ($9.50). I was really surprised to see this on the menu as it is not very common (you can also get them at Dumpling Inn). I thought the crispy outer layer in addition with the red bean filling made the pancake overall very dry. I’m used to a more deep fried and oily pancake.IMG_0955[1]A cross section of the red bean pancake. It might appear to be a thin filling but you don’t need that much red bean for the taste.IMG_0956[1]We were deep in conversation so I don’t remember what the wait time was like but it wasn’t particularly long. We didn’t have any waitressing issues or long waiting times like a lot of people seem to be experiencing, but we did go on a Monday night which meant it wasn’t too busy. I wouldn’t go out of my way to say that this place is a ‘dumpling king’ but I would come back and order noodles and maybe try their other main dishes.

See other blogger reviews from Mouthless Mutters and Food Porn Journal.

Venue: Shanghai Dumpling King

Address: 1/33 Gartside Street, Wanniassa, ACT

Phone: (02) 62313456
Shanghai Dumpling King on Urbanspoon

 

Red brick Espresso re-run

I wanted to take my visiting friend somewhere local and awesome for brunch with good coffee and Red Brick Espresso had something that appealed to each of us. We were lucky enough to get a big spacious table inside and we excitedly browsed through the menu.

Coffee. Everyone really enjoyed their coffee and TimmyC went back to get a second one.IMG_0394Salted caramel milkshake ($6.00). This didn’t have a strong salted caramel taste and I’ve had better at other cafes.IMG_0398Hot pressed rolls~

Tandoori chicken, cucumber raita, fresh tomato, baby spinach and mango chutney ($10.90).IMG_0402Red Brick Phylli Cheese Steak with pulled beef steak, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onion, swiss cheese and Dijon mayo ($12.90). This sounded like all my favourite things on a roll but when I received my order, it looked like it was majorly burnt. I was going to complain but I thought I would taste it first and despite its black charcoal surface, it did not taste burnt. It did however lack some salt and I found the whole dish underwhelming.IMG_0406When I saw this burnt looking sandwich, I didn’t have high hopes.IMG_0405Pulled pork and apple slaw burger on a brioche bun with a dressed leaves side salad ($15.90). I felt bad for TimmyC when Red Brick no longer had waffles available, as that was the dish I lured him here with. He chose this as his second choice and they informed him at our table that there is no brioche and that they were substituting it with sour dough. The pulled pork was nice enough but they drowned it with a lot of BBQ sauce.IMG_0401

IMG_0400I was pretty disappointed with this brunch and felt bad that I chose it. Red Brick Espresso has an extremely limited kitchen facility and I guess I shouldn’t expect so much from them but then again they have chosen to put these dishes on their menu. I think this is a place for good coffee, I’m hoping the food will improve because I’ve liked their brunches previously.

Enlighten Festival – Night Noodle Markets

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the Night Noodle Markets before the hoards of people came in at 5:30pm on the dot last night. The grounds were eerily still as everyone was preparing food inside the stalls but the peace and quiet did not last as waves of people continued to flock the area until they ran out of food/shut for the night (just after 10pm).

The highlights for me (although I do have a lot of places I want to go back and try) were:

Morks boat noodles – As an Asian I find so much comfort in noodle soups, although both ‘soupy’ and ‘dry’ were delicious and there is so much flavour in the beef brisket. I love beef balls and they are paired it with a really good noodle that keeps its integrity and doesn’t get too soft.

Hoy Pinoy – the skewers just had so much charcoal smokey flavour topped with a sticky glaze, I started to develop a glaze moustache towards the end.

N2 gelato – I really liked both flavours; ‘ferrero revealnutella gelato with crushed hazelnuts, a crunchy rice bubble choc top and a warm chocolate ganache syringe and ‘brokeback momentvanilla gelato with layers of honeycomb bites, a honeycomb choc top and a warm caramel syringe (both $8.00 each). My suggestion is, after waiting so long in the line, you may as order both and enjoy everything they have to offer.

Daniel San – I love the Japanese style of flavour they have to these skewers, I am a huge chicken yakitori fan all the way. Plus I love all their witty names!

So hopefully we have shown that Canberra’s love of food is strong and that we have proved this to our interstate vendors to take Canberra seriously as a foodie area and encourage them to come back next year, maybe even have this market expand and grow for years to come.

p.s. The National Portrait Gallery has my favourite light projections this year.

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BurraBerkshires @ The Hamlet

Pulled pork free range pork slow cooked with a light BBQ sauce with a blob of sour cream ($8.00 small). This would probably surprise a lot of people that I chose this dish but when you’re at the Hamlet, you want to try as much as possible so a no/low carb option would pair nicely with let’s say… A huge hot dog from Brod Dogs and maybe also a papa from Mr. Papa. 🙂 (Yes YummyLummy, we also went to Frugii afterwards).

This is how much I nibbled until TimmyC finally came back with more food.IMG_9616At first I couldn’t decide what I wanted between the pulled pork and the pulled lamb but the lovely ladies from BurraBerkshires told me that the pulled pork is better in their opinion which took the guess work out of deciding. There were a lot of sides and I thought we had to choose one to go with the meal but no, you get ALL of them! That’s right; you get rice, citrus cous cous, chick peas with grilled zucchini and feta, spinach and rocket salad and a summer salad. They were all really good, I didn’t get bored because there was so much variety in one meal and yes that pork was very delicious and went well with all that sauce.

I, like everyone else didn’t read the sign properly. You get ALL of the sides which is good because they all sound fabulous and delicious. This is the menu, what would you have chosen?IMG_9612

IMG_9613A close up of the pulled pork. It was very tender, juicy and it just paired so well with sour cream.IMG_9615I was slightly embarrassed that while I was instamming (yes I have a problem), one of the ladies from inside the grass carpeted van came out and hand delivered my meal as I sat right outside at the closest table. I thought that was just a lovely touch and they seemed so friendly.

After looking around, I realised that BurraBerkshires was the only one not selling things in a roll/bun/doughy pizza base/wrap. So if you’re looking for good food with variety or just something light and flavoursome to go with something else, I would definitely recommend coming here.

Venue: BurraBerkshires @ The Hamlet

Address: 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon

Opening hours:

Tuesday – Sunday 12 – 2pm

Thursday – Saturday 6 – 8:30pm

BurraBerkshires on Urbanspoon

Bistro Nguyen’s

My friend and I have made a tradition out of meeting up for Friday lunches, usually we eat Asian food because it is cheaper, generally faster and sometimes we just crave noodles and rice. So when I heard a new Vietnamese restaurant had opened up in the city, we had to go immediately. Bistro Nguyen’s is located on the corner of the Melbourne building near Nourthbourne Avenue and Alinga street. The decor is a mixture of different chairs matched with different tables, I didn’t trust the durability of the plastic stools at our table so I swapped them out for a metal ones.IMG_9915It was very busy during the Friday lunch rush, it was completely full inside so we took a table outside.IMG_9917I don’t know how I feel having all the mouth side parts of the utensil facing up, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?IMG_9921It is an ‘order and pay at the counter’ situation but not only that, the food is only delivered to the table whenever it is ready and not in any particular order, which meant that we received our the pho first and the grilled pork rolls and drinks last with a pretty decent waiting gap in between.

Grilled pork rolls Nguyen’s special grilled pork rice paper rolls with herbs and special dipping sauce (3 pieces $7.50). These were very disappointing rice paper rolls. There was no taste of herbs, you could barely taste the pork and the dipping sauce didn’t help either. The pork looked like processed brown meat that did not look grilled. I will not be ordering this again.IMG_9949IMG_9948Rare beef pho traditional  beef noodle soup slow cooked with the heart and soul of Nguyen’s secret family recipe. A quintessential Vietnamese dish! ($12.50). I tasted my friend’s pho, it is sweeter than all the other broths that I’ve tried but still very flavoursome. At first my ‘very picky broth taster’ friend liked it, but towards the end she said that she could taste a lot of MSG and that she would not be ordering it again. I rather enjoyed the spoonful I had (being a less picky broth taster) and I would consider trying it next time.IMG_9933Pho served with all the garnishes.IMG_9938Saigon pork roll made fresh daily by our master baker. Saigon roll filled with pork belly, Vietnamese ham, home-made pate, mayo, pickled carrot, cucumber, coriander and a dash of soy sauce ($7.50). I would have usually gone straight for the pho but it was crazy hot out so I grabbed something more temperature appropriate. I’m surprised they let me order this considering I asked for the home-made pate to be omitted *gasp!* but even then they asked to clarify that I wanted to take the most ‘essential’ ingredient. All the meat looked processed and there was barely any in the roll, I liked the taste of the pickled carrot which was good because that was the only thing I could taste besides the crusty bread roll. I don’t know if they forgot the mayo because the whole thing felt pretty dry in my mouth, although I don’t know if this would have been any better if I had left the pate inside.IMG_9943I did consider picking out the chillis but they had no taste to them what so ever. Can you squint and see the meat inside the roll?IMG_9947Vietnamese black iced coffee ($4.00). It was definitely needed on this hot day. They didn’t have any smoothies available so I just stuck with water.IMG_9942We had a pretty cheap lunch but it wasn’t completely impressive. I don’t want to judge this place yet because I’ve eaten such a limited portion of what they offer. I would come back and have their pho and I’d also be interested to see how their stir fried/rice dishes are. Their menu covers a large range of Vietnamese dishes including pho, vermicelli, rice dishes, Saigon rolls and stir fries.

Venue: Bistro Nguyen’s

Address78-80 Alinga St Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6262 6888

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