Let’s do lunch! Bicicletta 

It is still March (only just!), which means that it is still Good Food Month in Canberra. I had completely forgotten that Bicicletta was doing a Let’s Do Lunch special, so I was pleasantly surprised when we were given another menu.

A great-priced set lunch with a matched drink from $38.00 per person. Two courses from the uniquely Italian inspired menu with a glass of Yalumba wine or Coopers pale ale beer.Entree~

Arancini roasted tomato and pecorino cheese risotto balls with garlic aioli. These were really crunchy and gooey inside. I really liked the how the cheese was all stringy when you cut them in half.Scottata marinated seared beef tenderloin thinly sliced with mixed Italian herbs served with rucola, parmigiano and olive oil. I found the beef full on little holes which gave it a weird texture, the rucola was limp and the flavours were not very strong. I enjoyed the arancini much more than this entrée.Mains~

Spaghetti al frutti mare fresh pipis, King prawns, scallops and baby squid , sauteed with chilli, garlic, cherry tomato and bisque. My friend’s pasta had more sauce than mine, so I found my pasta to be a bit dry. Even though  I would have preferred more chilli taste, I really enjoyed the seafood and the perfectly al dente pasta.Dessert~ It was only a two course lunch but we couldn’t help but order a dessert to share between us.

Tiramisu traditional cake with coffee infused savoiardi biscuits, mascarpone, eggs, cream and cacao ($12.00). I found the bottom layer of biscuits had soaked up a lot of coffee which made my eyes instantly widen. I stuck to the less intense biscuit layers with the cream and mascarpone and thoroughly enjoyed myself.Coffee and tea are included in the menu but we didn’t have any.


Bowral get away- Centennial Vineyards


Since I ate so slowly, (although I don’t think I was the slowest Lissy!) we only had less than an hour to browse the cellar door. They had wine tasting available, a variety of jams, chutneys and oils as well as 3 ranges of wine- Bong Bong, Woodside and the Reserve collection. Were they any good? I have no idea, I don’t drink wine, but no group left empty handed. The people behind the counter are friendly and definitely know their product so I’m sure they’ll find you something you would like. Definitely worth a look anyway.





Degustation at Benchmark wine bar


Another recommendation from Katie! 

Away from most of the hustle and bustle of civic, Benchmark wine bar sits on the corner of Northbourne Ave and Rudd St. It was hard to choose what to order with so many things catching my eye, so I knew the degustation was the only way to go to try a bit of everything.

With wines to match each course $155 per person and without wines $105 per person.

I’m all set for my 8 course degustation! Let the munching begin!

I can’t remember which dessert wine they chose for me, but it was magnificent! Mmmmmmm.

First course~

Freshly shucked oysters with salmon pearls and diced cucumber. Fresh tasty oysters with cleverly added roe and cucumber to add flavour and a lot more different textures.

Second course~

Lightly tempura zucchini flowers stuffed with Persian fetta, roast pepper and mint. I was amazed by how hot and crispy this came out without being soggy and oily. The perfect amount of batter leaving the zucchini flowers crispy without compromising its shape.

Third course~

Sashimi plate with white pickled ginger, ponzu, japanese seaweed and wasabi. I liked it all but preferred the seared tuna over the salmon.

Fourth course~

Crispy skin pork belly with apple and walnut salad, apple puree and balsamic. Crispy delicious heaven! Mmmmm so good. I also really enjoyed the side salad.

Fifth course~

Black angus eye fillet with crisp potato, horseradish beetroot and sautéed beans. It was a nice piece of steak cooked perfectly to medium rare. The potato soaked up all the sauce wasn’t as crispy as it could have been. The beetroot was surprisingly not overwhelming.

Sixth course~

Sorbet of the day with Persian fairy floss. I wasn’t sure if this was a palette cleanser or an actual course because it didn’t come with any Persian fairy floss (and it was also very small). This was passion fruit sorbet, not overly intense or sour but enough to refresh the palette.

Seventh course~

Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée with orange and cardamon biscotti – Mr. fussy pants Timmy didn’t want to have the cheese course so he asked to have it replaced with another dessert. He was so happy that they gave him a crème brûlée. Lovely toffee hard hat with a great thick custard underneath.

Fine white mould cheese – cow’s milk -delice de bourgogne, bourgogne – France. I’m not too adventurous with soft cheeses but this was divine and creamy.

Eighth course~

Forest berries bavarois with strawberry and citrus tea. This had a very yoghurty texture. The basil (?) on top really brought out the contrasting flavours of the berries and citrus.

Because we aren’t avid wine drinkers, I never thought to go to Benchmark but the food and service was really great. I’m surprised they don’t have a higher urbanspoon rating.

Venue: Benchmark Wine Bar

Address: 65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra City, ACT 2600 (next to Novotel Hotel Entrance)

Phone: (02) 6262 6522

Opening hours:

Lunch: Midday – 3 pm Mon – Fri

Dinner: 5pm – 10pm Mon – Sat

Closed on Sundays

(advance large bookings accepted to open on Sundays)

TAPAS: Available All Day & Night

Benchmark Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Mini Winery tour- Lerida Estate


Next we headed over to Lerida Estate where they have a cafe with gorgeous views overlooking Lake George and beautiful wines that I’ve tried before.

Life is tough for some, between all the driving, pie eating and taking in all the scenic views, we stopped for a break at Cafe Lerida.

Soy Flat White and Chai Latte – both drinks were lovely but that didn’t really matter when we were enjoying the beautiful views of Lake George.

The man at the cellar tasting area was very helpful and funny, he was able to assist everyone even though the serving area was small but very busy. His knowledge of the wines was next to none, but that’s not why I left with several bottles of wine. The taste of the wines sold the wines.

2009 Shiraz Viognier $49.50  

This wine is made from fruit (95% Shiraz 5% Viognier) grown on our vineyard at Lake George. It is cold soaked for 5 days before fermentation (up to 35º) with hand plunging 3 times a day. It is left on skins for a further 10 days then pressed off to French oak barriques to mature for 15 months.” 

2010 Viognier $22.00  

The grapes for this wine were grown at our vineyard at Lake George. The wine has musk/violet aromas, along with apricot and lemon/lime features.  The 10% fermentation in oak barrels provides a subtle vanilla overtone.

The palate is rich and mouth filling, with a soft, light, chalky tannin finish.

2010 Botrytis Pinot Gris (375ml) $29.50

This is a delightfully sweet wine showing the same nutty, dried apricot, raisin, spice, apple and marmalade aromas as previous vintages of this wine. The palate is warm and unctuous. The wine is balanced by a long acid finish.

This is a gorgeous wine! 

Venue: Lerida Estate

Cellar Door & Café Opening Hours:

Standard Hours:

     Cellar Door: 10am – 5pm daily

     Café Lerida: 10am – 5pm Saturday, Sunday and national public holidays 

Café Bookings: 6295 6640 if booking on weekdays or 4848 0231 if booking on weekends

Mini Winery tour- Lake George Winery


So I didn’t drive out for a mini day trip JUST for pies (even though that does sound like something I would do), I was on a mission. My mission if I chose to accept it- personally pick out stunning local wines for a few birthday that were coming up.

I thought I had been to Lake George Winery before but it turns out that I didn’t drive down far enough. During this beautiful sunny day, it showed off the incredible scenic views surrounding Lake George.

If I knew that there was a gorgeous restaurant here, I would have come here for lunch! The menu looked interesting but they are only opened for breakfast and lunch.

They also sell olive oils, jams and chutneys.

I ended up buying several bottles of a beautiful Shiraz (2008) $30.00.

Venue: Lake George Winery

Phone: (02) 4848 0182

Website: www.lakegeorgewinery.com.au