Eightysix

I know this is a big call to make because we aren’t even close to the end of the year but my meal at Eightysix last week was definitely in the top 3 best meals I’ve had in Canberra this year. What was even better was that it was only $86pp and I say ‘only’ because for this price, it was all we could eat… And so we did.

Duck bun with hoisin and hot sauce. This was a nice soft bun that had a nice meaty filling but I think the pickles overpowered everything. Whoever was running this station was very efficient as every time we ordered them they came out super fast. Gnocco fritto. This is like a deep-fried pastry topped with prosciutto but I found the pastry a bit too oily for me.Heirloom carrot, hummus, mint and almonds. Who knew I could enjoy carrots so much? This was a perfect pairing of flavours and with all the pasta and meat, it was good to have a salad somewhere in there. I love the sweetness from the cranberries, apples and carrots.Four cheese risotto with radicchio and balsamic. Man I love a cheesy good risotto, it was a shame I had to share.

Don’t be fooled by the camera angle, this was a really small serve. Order three!Pappardelle with parmesan and local black truffle. I felt that the truffle didn’t have as much of an effect because it wasn’t infused in anything. It was a nice simple pasta and the perfectly cooked egg yolk bursts to make a rich sauce.Pumpkin and mascarpone tortellini with hazelnuts. This ladies and gentleman, was exquisite. I really do love things that involve a pumpkin parcel pasta with burnt butter sage combo and this has to be the BEST rendition I’ve ever had. Hands down! Before they change the menu you HAVE to try this. The filling is silky smooth, the pasta thickness is perfect and the sage is super crispy.Rag pasta with lamb and rosemary ragu. I loved the sauce, the pasta, the whole thing. This was a very close second pasta choice for the table. Ghetto beef with rocket and salsa verde. I had tried this before where the beef was really dry and the rocket leaves were limp, I couldn’t tell if this time was much better or I was just really hungry. Be aware that the beef is rather quite pink, one of my friends didn’t eat it which meant more for us!Whole lamb shoulder with sides. Wow! This was incredible! A wonderful lamb roast served with chimichurri sauce and a really smooth mash potato and jus. This was apparently a 1kg roast and we almost finished the whole thing.One of the downsides of being in a busy restaurant is the wait. Sometimes there was a 15-20 minute wait between dishes, which left us a little frustrated and hungry and in turn we ordered more food hoping that something would come to the table soon. Despite ordering so many things, we had very little wastage. I knew we were testing the time constraints of our sitting (2 hours) but we asked if we could have dessert with a hopeful look in our eye. The waiter checked to see if there was someone waiting for our table but he came back happy to report we could squeeze in our dessert first.

There was a little pause in the conversation when the waiter asked us what we wanted for dessert and without hesitation while not joking I replied ‘all of them’.Strawberry cheesecake. I loved the soft creamy textures with strawberries. I didn’t realise that there was granola at the bottom for the ‘base’ until I dug a little deeper but there was a strong saltiness to it that I didn’t enjoy.

It might not look like much but I promise you there is a lot going on under that snow.Choc mint fudge sundae. If you love the choc mint combo then this is definitely for you, it was like an after dinner mint on the palette. There was a really good brownie somewhere in all that.Caramel popcorn sundae. I felt that the signature dish of the restaurant was superseded by the other desserts. It is a nice combination but this wasn’t our favourite this time.Banoffee pie. That caramel wasn’t too sweet which meant that this wasn’t OTT. A great way to finish the meal.Frozen margarita. The description didn’t give much away but this tasted like lemon meringue. It was very delicate and was the pick of the desserts. You have to try this!Even though there was a wait from the kitchen, the front of house service was fantastic, efficient and attentive. I keep telling everyone about my experience and it excited me so much I pushed it up my backlog of posts to write about because I wanted you all to know about it too.

Venue: Eightysix

Address: Elouera St, Mode 3 Building, Braddon,ACT

Phone: (02) 6161 8686
Eightysix Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

I was lucky enough to win Good Food Month’s #jointhefeast competition and my prize was a Let’s do lunch event at none other than Pialligo Estate Farmhouse. I was ecstatic when I found out where the lunch was going to be and took TimmyC to make up for all the time he has to wait for his food (#husbandsofinstagram) when we go out to eat.Let’s do lunch two courses with a glass of their wine ($55.00 per person). Choosing only two courses is like choosing your favourite child; I couldn’t do it. Instead TimmyC and I shared a starter, had a main each and then shared a dessert.

Mocktail~ I loved the ombré colours in the glass. It wasn’t too sweet and not too fizzy; in my opinion- the perfect mocktail.I loved the colours of this from every angle.Complimentary bread and butter~Amuse Bouche~ I don’t remember exactly what this was, it was like a jelly that tasted a little saltier than I expected. I really enjoyed the very large juicy roe on top though.Starter~

Cipollini onions, garden fig, cured wagyu sirloin, hazelnut and truffle dressing. I really liked how the hazelnuts really complimented the cured wagyu but my favourite part was dipping everything into that delicious truffle dressing (I even got the bread to mop the rest up).I went to the bathroom and I was pleasantly greeted by this bunny napkin origami when I came back.Main course~

Mayfield Park Berkshire pork, nashi pear, late-summer onions and spiced jamon fat. Nashi pears are one my favourite fruits, so I had no doubt that this was the main I was choosing. I loved the fact that the nashis are from their orchard!  The pork was very succulent and all the jamon pieces and fat really leant itself towards a nice salty flavour.Dessert~

Classically-inspired rum baba, orchard peach and violet. Rum babas are usually a very strong and pungent dessert that I love to eat but this one was really syrupy, not alcoholic and ‘in your face’ which meant I really had to fight TimmyC for half. All the flavours melded well together and not overly sweet. It was a wonderful way to finish a long lunch.The porous nature of the cake meant it really absorbed all that delicious peach glaze.Petit four~ Just when you don’t want the experience to end, it doesn’t. The waitress then set up five gorgeous little  bowls, each with a different sweet- macarons, nutmeg fudge, tonka bean doughnuts, chocolate, and marshmallows. Everything was so special but my favourite was the fudge while TimmyC ate most of the doughnuts.I didn’t think there was anything better than a hot sugared doughnut, until I tried their nutmeg fudge…They have a small shop front where you can buy wine, their award-winning bacon, chorizo, tomatoes and also nashi pears! I of course left with a bag of nashis in hand, they are small but so juicy and refreshing.Good Food Month is now over in Canberra but I still insist you go to Pialligo Estate Farmhouse and try it out for yourself.

Venue: Pialligo Estate Farmhouse

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060

Opening times:

Lunch Thursday – Sunday 12pm – 2:30pm 

Dinner Wednesday – Saturday 6pm- 8:30pm
Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thickshakes at Gus’ Cafe

What is trending in my stomach this summer? Apparently thickshakes!

I love the sweet taste of whatever flavour I choose (I cannot decide between chocolate, lime, strawberry, malt, vanilla, caramel, basically all of them), the thick texture which makes me work really hard for it to move slowly up the straw and the cooling effect that it has on my body (and brain!). So when I heard that long standing Gus’ café made an awesome thickshake, we skipped dessert at AKIBA and headed straight down the road.

Thickshakes chocolate, strawberry, caramel, vanilla, dark choc fudge, vanilla chai ($9.00). My friend was daring enough to order the dark choc fudge thickshake (top). It reminded me a ‘stir in’ hot chocolate drink in a big thick shake form. It was crazy intense and made my thick shake taste less sweet when I got back to it. A community announcement, do not swap thick shakes mid drink! Especially from extra sweet back to not as sweet.I really enjoyed my regular good ol’ chocolate thick shake, served in an old school milkshake cup without all the bells and whistles. It had a nice chocolate flavour and the consistency of the whole drink was the same- THICK! I really wanted to try vanilla chai but I knew TimmyC wouldn’t want to share with me if I chose that flavour. The only downside if you can call it that was that it was so big, I definitely encourage sharing! My latest thickshake before this one was from A Bite to Eat.

Lunch at Ellacure

I really love Ellacure and for a special friend’s birthday who never usually celebrates her birthday, I wanted to take her somewhere very nice. Parking is very easy during the weekday for lunch and we were greeted by friendly service as usual.

Entrees~ Zucchini flowers stuffed with three types of cheese in a light tempura batter (entree special $18.00). Despite being covered in batter and being flash fried, it wasn’t oily at all and you could really taste all the different cheeses. image

Prosciutto wrapped scallops, sauce vierge, balsamic ($18.00). The refreshing vierge balanced out the saltiness of the scallop and pruscuitto. A perfect little mouthful. image

Mains~ Braised lamb presse, green lentils, parsnip puree, gremolata ($30.00). The lamb was so incredibly tender and there were so many lovely spices and wonderful flavours in this dish. image

Lemon ricotta gnocchi, asparagus, peas, grana padano ($25.00). I’ve never had pan seared gnocchi and all the lemony flavours were so refreshing.

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Chicken, pancetta, sage, mushroom and lemon risotto ($24.00). Al beit well executed, it was the least exciting dish on the table.

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Veal fillet, prosciutto, lemon gorgonzola mash, sage, garlic jus ($32.00). The veal took a back seat to the amazing gorgonzola mash and the garlic jus. YUM!

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This was the first time I’ve had lunch here, it is much more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of the dinner service but I would love to come back for breakfast. You wouldn’t have thought that such a special gem would be hidden in Bruce, if you haven’t been, I’d suggest you go.

Ricardo’s Cafe

I knew the Jamison shops way before it was ever refurbished, before they had an Aldi or FSW and even before the Commonwealth bank closed (I’m now awaiting for the Asian grocery store to open). It figures that after I move away from Aranda, Jamison now becomes a bustling hot spot for the locals wanting a coffee, something from the supermarket or a delicious breakfast/lunch from Ricardo’s cafe. I had been here before but I wasn’t to overly impressed with their sweets, they look a lot prettier than they taste.

I was here during a lunch birthday celebration for a dear friend of mine and I wasn’t planning on blogging but when we all started ordering fabulous (looking) desserts and dishes, my camera instinctively came out. image

It was a struggle and a half try to get to our table that we had already booked in advance, there were people EVERYWHERE. People young and old, hipsters and pensioners, all gathered to eat where apparently prams and strollers are mandatory. Needless to say, it was very busy.

Portuguese tart ($5.00?). Seeing how busy it was, I thought I’d start by getting something I could eat straight away without waiting. It was okay but TimmyC thought it was the bee’s knees.

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Red skin macaron ($2.50). Despite looking all wonky shaped, the taste was pretty accurate.

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Choux pastry swan – very clever design and execution, I had bought one of these before but wasn’t too overly impressed.

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Pancakes souffle pancakes, bananas, bacon infused maple syrup and vanilla bean mascarpone cheese ($14.90). When I go out for breakfast/brunch I’m always on the look out for unique items on the menu, don’t get me wrong, I love my bacon and eggs/pancakes/banana bread/granola but I’m looking for something that plays on the creative side from the kitchen on a good ol’ breakfast classic and this is it (although this is not my dish, I made sure I had access to it). I avoided the bananas and couldn’t really taste the ‘bacon’ element in the syrup but that didn’t matter because the souffle pancakes topped with vanilla bean mascarpone cheese was soooo good!

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OMG! It’s so fluffy!

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Smoked salmon fritters corn and zucchini fritters stacked with smoked salmon and avocado, cherry tomatoes and sour cream ($17.90). These were fantastic, I always have a fear that fritters would be dry and limp but they were well made and topped perfectly with salmon and sour cream.

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Pork belly salad part of the specials board. Oh I wish I saw the specials board before I ordered, but someone on the table did. YUM!

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Wagyu truffle sliders white truffle Wagyu beef, red wine, caramelised onions, truffle aioli, gruyere cheese and parmesan truffle fries ($18.90). The bun seemed a bit brioche-y but that didn’t matter when everything tasted so good. By the time I got to the third slider, because of my slow eating habits and talking to everyone, was very cold but if you’re not a slow eater, this won’t be a problem for you. I was really surprised that the fries actually tasted like parmesan truffle fries! Two thumbs up for this!

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Macarons – not exactly uniform in size but across the board the flavours were very good (not the best in Canberra but pretty good for ‘made in house’ at a cafe).

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I can see why Ricardo’s is so busy –  lots of good menu options; there is some method to their chaotic madness and the wait for food wasn’t too long and nothing was crazily over priced (well maybe that Portuguese tart). I would come here again but I would like to try more of their menu despite having found multiple things that I would love to eat again.

Venue: Ricardo’s cafe

Address: Jamison Plaza Bowman Street Macquarie, ACT 2614

Phone: (02) 6251 2666

Websitehttp://ricardoscafe.com/

Ricardo’S Cafe on Urbanspoon

A quick overview of what we ate at the Thai food fair that was held in Lyneham last Sunday. I couldn’t walk away from chicken wings and sticky rice, we also indulged in homemade fish cakes, fresh rice paper rolls, a prawn ‘donut’, the mandatory chicken satay skewers and prawns covered in noodles.

Drinks– to quench our thirst, explore more flavours and cool our mouths down from the chili we tried the tamarind drink, iced longan drink and a watermelon ice crush.

Not wanting to miss out on dessert but definitely not having any room in our tummys, we took two desserts home. 

Left – sweet potato, jellys etc with coconut milk

Right – tapioca balls in coconut milk

There were crazy amounts of people, parking was a nightmare and a lot of plants were damaged, but I hope the temple was able to raise enough funds for their building. I hope they keep fund raising because Canberra loves eating and supporting their cause.

Lux Bite

It was completely by chance that we found Lux bite the first time but this time it was no coincidence as we bee lined straight to the door at South Yarra.

They had a small precise menu show casing a range of foods with Asian influences but choosing something for brunch was more critical than ever as I was not to ruin my appetite for sweets that I had longed for.

Pandan Chicken burger with sambal mayo, apple & kiwi relish, Asian slaw ($15.00) – you can still feel the texture of chicken despite being blended in with other ingredients to give it an Asian taste. I couldn’t really taste the apple and kiwi in the relish but I was satisfied none the less.

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Eggs on toast 60/60 (soft poached egg in 60C for 60 minutes) on toasted white sourdough ($7.50) avocado & feta cheese ($2.50 extra) – these were beautifully cooked and if everyone had a spare hour in the morning it would be the perfect way to start every day.

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‘LuxBite Pork bun’ 2 ways with bamboo charcoal brioche bun, pulled pork, kimchi, housemade pork jerky and Kewpie ($15.00)– one bun was definitely better than the other. I found the housemade pork jerky to be too sweet and candy like. The pulled pork however was much more savoury and enjoyable.

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I found the multicoloured bun very visually interesting.

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Iced coffee with a macaron of the day ($6.50).

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Time for dessert!

Caramel Cravings~ All time favourite caramel lovingly placed between winning chocolate and coconut base ($7.50) – I dread thick looking caramel slices in fear of instantly becoming a diabetic but this one was perfectly balanced. My tongue wandered through the slice looking for a strong caramel taste and it wasn’t til the very end that the flavour was apparent. A wonderfully subtle sweet slice that wasn’t overwhelming. I love the clean cut edges!

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Endless love~ inspired by Pierre Herme’s Ispahan lychee ganache, rose cream, lychee and fresh raspberries ($9.00) – from someone that has actually hunted down Pierre Herme in Japan, I am most impressed that I didn’t have to go overseas to relive the experience. Fabulous flavours of fresh raspberry, lychee and hints of rosé all beautifully complimenting each other. A ‘must buy’ during every visit!

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Epic Chocolate Cravings~ awarded in the Best Chocolate Cake category, The Foodies’ Guide to Melbourne 2013 rich Belgian dark chocolate with hazelnut crust and salted caramel sphere ($7.50) – a really rich chocolate dessert and not for the faint hearted.

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Finito~

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Of course I didn’t leave without taking some macarons with me. My favourite flavours were the Heilala Vanilla Creme Brulee and Peanut butter and jelly.

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Oh why oh why are you so far away Lux Bite? image If this was in Canberra I would be there every week. Good luck with choosing just one dessert when you get there ladies and gents, I wanted one of everything.

Venue: Lux Bite

Address: 38 Toorak Road, South Yarra, VIC 3141

Phone: (03) 9867 5888

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Brisvegas – Wagaya

Guided only by Google maps and Urbanspoon, we finally find Wagaya nestled upstairs in the Fortitude Valley district. With already a long wall of waiting patrons, I optimistically asked if there was a table for two available with no booking, the wait was going to be 45 minutes (this was at 8pm), but with ratings so high and not knowing where else to eat I was willing to wait. Timmy and I headed down stairs to Venice to kill time and indulged in what was the most heavenly gelato I’ve had in a long time.

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I smile like I’ve just won a raffle as they call me to say that my table was ready, we are lead to a booth and the waitress walks away like we know what we are doing. I was super impressed with their computerised ordering system but there are no room for errors, once you confirm there is no heading back and they have started making it. It is fun and novelty to watch the status of your food go from being made, to being delivered and then at your table.

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I went a bit crazy with the ordering because it was so much fun to browse through their menu and I wanted to try a bit of everything.

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Vegetable tempura ($8.90). To be served hot, crispy and not overly oily is an art form that they have got down pat.

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Spicy chicken wing ($6.50). Readers may know that I have thing for chicken wings but these were truly delicious.

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Scallop and garlic fried rice ($11.50). At first I wasn’t too excited about this but when I found the crispy rice stuck to the bottom my eyes lit up. The heavy weight bowl allows the rice to retain its heat.

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Homemade gyoza ($7.90). Nothing too special but it was served hot and crispy.

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Wagaya Shio ramen ($9.50). Scrumptous ramen with a thick heavy soup base and yummy pork. I would say it needed more pork if I was to nit pick.

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Rainbow roll ($10.90). Fresh sushi with a drizzle of mayo, I didn’t think I could finish it but I did. image

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Creme brulee and ice-cream ($7.50). I thought since everything was so amazing and tasty, I pushed my luck by ordering dessert. It was the most disgusting creme brulee I’ve had at a restaurant. The cream was weird, the ice cream had a terrible ‘hairy’ texture, there was no hard toffee top and the custard lacked any egg or custard flavour.

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Despite the dessert, everything was amazing and it was the best fun meal I’ve had in a long time. Wagaya is very popular and busy, it is best to book ahead and avoid disappointment/wait.

Venue: Wagaya

Address315 Brunswick St Level1 Tcb Centre, Fortitude Valley, QLD 

Phone: (07) 3252 8888

Wagaya on Urbanspoon