I was farewelling a good friend of mine who was just about to embark on a new and exciting journey. In true Emelia style I had to send her off with a delicious meal. We decided on Vitis Eatery because it was a little fancier than the normal week day lunch venue and it was a great place to have a long lunch without any hustle and bustle. I had been there for dinner before, but never for lunch. Boy, was I surprised. The food was amazing.
It was the day that it was snowing in Canberra so we had the novelty of being able to watch the snow falling while we lingered over our long lunch.
We both started with a little appetizer. These were true morsels of happiness.
I had the scallop with avocado and Wasabi and it was a great balance of flavours. This was a great start to the meal.
For our main my fried and I decided to share the special of the menu that day. It was a beautiful spatchcock stuffed with grapes and ancient grains. This was the best spatchcock I have ever eaten. The meat was beautifully moist and the caramelised grapes were so sweet and sour that they complemented the beautiful poultry. It came with a creamy Potato Dauphinoise. It was the perfect accompaniment.
And last but not least the CHEESE!!!! We seriously gorged our selves and absolutely no regrets!!!!! We thought it was strange to have the salad on the side of the cheese board but we just ate around it.
The Elk and Pea Eating House in Braddon is well renowned for their top-notch breakfasts and satisfying lunches. We were a little excited to be going as we’d been invited for their new boozy breakfast.
We love the ambiance of the place; deep dark old world tones contrasted with bright whites set a modern and creative feel.
And then it came: The Grande!
Ah bacon delicious bacon! This was not the stuff you get in Woollies, this is was a professionally smoked butchers job, smoky, salty and perfectly cooked. The bean and corn salsa had great flavour: cumin, garlic and tomato in perfect balance. The chorizo – now let me tell you something about this chorizo – spicy spicy spicy. Deeply satisfying when you combine this with the wilted spinach and perfectly poached eggs. This is my kind of breakfast, poached eggs, sourdough toast, sausage, a great chilli condiment and a healthy green element. This was done extraordinarily well, the only minor criticism was that it was mildly over-salted, nevertheless it didn’t detract from this highly satisfying dish.
Em was awestruck with her Smashed Avocado and Shrooms!
Here is a direct quote from her as she tasted her food:
“I’m so glad we had smoothies this morning I was going to be hangry …”
… pause for silent contemplation…
“… OMG this is good!”
The mushrooms were sautéed in a tasty thyme-butter with smashed avocado, marinated feta, torn basil, poached egg on sourdough toast + mimosa cocktail. It had all the right flavours and little bite of basil throughout the dish which made it surprising and utterly… DELICIOUS!
The Elk and Pea are introducing their ‘Boozy Brekky’ from next weekend for a month. For $25 you get either a Smashed Avocado & Shrooms and a Mimosa or the Grande and a house beer.
Why miss out on all that deliciousness?? Check ‘m out 🙂
Andrew and I had been planning to go to Akiba since it opened. When it first opened in early December we wanted avoid the hype and crowds and wait until they sorted out their teething issues like every brand new restaurant. Last night we rode our bikes into Civic and tried the Tokyo inspired restaurant.
As soon as you enter you feel the energy pulsing through the place. There were wait staff busily delivering orders and taking them. You can feel the passion of every one working there.
Our waiter for the evening was Jed. He was so enthusiastic about the food and was happy to describe all the flavours and ingredients for us.
Andrew and I were famished. We have just started riding our bikes again and it was a little later than we usually have dinner so we were keen to order. We ordered what felt like EVERYTHING! We’ll have all the foods please!!!
All the plates are designed to share, which we love. A little taste of this, a little taste of that. Tiny little morsels of happiness to enjoy.
We started with their home made soft drinks, I had a Sour Cherry and Vanilla Soda and Andrew had the Pineapple, Lime and Chilli Soda. His was the clear winner, the flavours were fresh and intense.
We had the Sydney Rock oysters with a ume Migonette. These were fresh and light and were great given the humidity of the night. A great start to the meal.
Once we had ordered everything came out lighting fast. This restaurant works like a well oiled machine. The kingfish sashimi was amazing! We were careful to gather every single drop of that sauce. It was salty and sweet and spicy.
We had a variety of other dishes that we really enjoyed. The dumplings had a great salty, sour, hot sauce to slurp up with them. All the flavours were surprising and worked together very well. I love water chestnuts the texture is what makes this dumpling work.
The Bao were great we especially loved the pork belly one. The sauce was delicious and sticky. The soft shell crab had great crunchy texture but the filling wasn’t really enough for the amount of bread we got. That was really only a minor complaint in comparison how good everything else was.
One of my favourites was the Kimchi Pancake. It didn’t look like much when it came out but ‘wow’ the flavours punched you in the face. The texture of the pancake was soft and chewy and the spicy Kimchi came through.
All in all we had a great night out. The food and service was amazing. The atmosphere was fun and we went home completely stuffed! Surprisingly it was cheaper than we had expected too.
We can’t wait to go back and try everything else!!!
After so many weeks of discovering Canberra and sharing it with everyone our Human Brochure weekend came along. For weeks the weather had been amazing! So we planned a bit of an outdoor adventure for our interstate guests – Claire and Courtney, Andrew’s sister and partner from Sydney.
We were so excited! We found out that our VIP experience would learning to make sourdough bread and croissants at our favourite bakery – Autolyse!!!! YAY!!!! OMG
Our outdoor adventure was for the first day we thought a nice cruisy bike ride would be perfect after all the eating and drinking we would be doing!!!
A few of my friends and I thought it might be a great idea to check out the new and improved restaurant at the new QT Canberra (formerly known as Rydges Lakeside) many of us who work in the hospitality industry have been waiting with bated breath to see what QT Canberra has to offer. To our delight the hotel has really embraced Canberra’s political focus and it has a tongue in cheek air about it. On Fridays they often have Burlesque dancers in the their underground speakeasy – Lucky’s. Lucky’s is a laid back 1920’s Chicago style bar that has great snack foods and amazing old school cocktails.
Sheree, Paula, Kate and I met up for dinner on a quiet Thursday night looking forward to casual catch up at Capitol Bar and Grill. The menu was extensive, there were so many things on offer, from steaks, pastas, pies and salads. We were overwhelmed by all the choices and weren’t sure what to try. All the options looked amazing!!!
Now to Capitol Bar and Grill. The old establishment Locanda, was known for it’s amazing steaks and I think Capitol Bar and Grill is still going to be able to cater for that market as they have very solid steak menu. They dry age all of their steaks in house. They have been really clever and used it as a feature of their restaurant where you can go see your steak before it’s cooked being dry aged – AWESOME!!!!
We started off with a bread basket to share.
The best part about this bread basket was that they have especially churned butter from Pepe Saya! It was delicious and super cute!!!
We Thought we would split a plate of the Capitol Bar and Grill’s antipasto plate. We had seen quite a few of them going around and well, we wanted one too. When it came out. It was laden with house made mortadella, prosciutto, anchovies, mini black truffle omeletes, parmasen,salumi, tuna stuffed bell peppers, skewers with melon, bocconcini, tomato and basil. We had a lovely waiter with an Italian accent explain what everything was to us.
It was a cold Canberra night and we were in the mood for a hearty pasta. Sheree and Paula ordered the Homemade Ravioli filled with pork and veal ragu that has been slow cooked for 6 hours, it was served with a burnt butter sage sauce and truffled pecorino. From all accounts this was a delicious dish. The girls raved about how favoursome the filling in their ravioli was and how well the pasta was made. I think the truffled pecorino was a great accompaniment to this dish.
One of my favourite things about the Capitol Bar and Grill are their plates. Each plate has a little picture of Parliament House or Old Parliament House on it. I thought it was a really nice touch. I really wanted to steal a set for my own personal collection but I resisted the urge.
I really felt like some robust meaty flavours and my eyes wouldn’t go past the Rigatoni Salsiccia – a promise of meaty Italian sausage in a spicy tomato sauce. Did someone say spicy??? I say SOLD!!!!!
Kate ordered something completely different with the Veal Cutlet. It came out huge on the plate served with some lemon and asparagus spears. It meat was tender and juicy and the crumb looked golden and cooked to perfection. Kate seemed pretty happy with her choice.
Now on to the desserts…. Normally I’m not one to order dessert. I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I like to save my sweet tooth tummy for more savoury deliciousness. This time was an exception, Kate and I decided to split the Chocolate profiteroles and Sheree and Paula chose the donuts with syringes filled with jam and custard. It’s safe to say that neither option failed to deliver. We were so excited about profiteroles when they hit the table. It was just like an Easter surprise. The dark chocolate sauce was slightly bitter and luxurious.
The donuts came out piping out and coasted with delicious cinnamon sugar. The syringes were really cute and the jam was delicious. We all got a taste of these. They were delicious!
All in all our dining experience at Capitol Bar and Grill was great. The service was attentive and professional the wait staff knew all the dishes on the menu well and were able to make very good recommendations. We found that this was a reasonable well priced restaurant too. We each paid $60 for dinner and wine. I’m looking forward to going there again and sampling some other things from the menu.
We’re really sorry we haven’t been posting any reviews lately guys, we’ve been busy in the kitchen!
Andrew loves cranberry juice, how it floods the palate with refreshing, tart deliciousness. He also loves soup-dumplings, you know, the kind where you bite into it and the soup is inside the dumpling.
Put 2 and 2 together and you’ve got a really shitty dumpling. NO SILLY!! The idea is for a dessert chocolate-ball filled with juice or cocktail which pops in your mouth, overwhelming the taste buds with juicy gloriousness. Some didn’t think it was possible, but we knew it could be done!
Now if some of you are saying: “hang on, liqueur chocolates have been around forever!” you’re right. But we’re not making a liqueur chocolate as you know it. This is a different concept… instead of an overly sugary mess inside the chocolate, this is a beverage filling.
So we studied and planned for months, became ‘best mates’ with chocolate (that messy kid nobody wants to spend any time with!) and ‘eureka!’ we did it. The Canberra Cake Club meeting was looming, so we dreamed up a layer cake that was to be as striking to look at as it was to eat. The cocktail filling is a Cosmopolitan – Cranberry juice, lime juice, Belvedere vodka and Cointreau.
Here’s how it’s done
Before we go on, please be warned this is an extremely labour-intensive process that will test your cooking ability (and patience!) to the limit. If you have any chocolate tempering ability that will be a plus.
To get liquid into chocolate: freeze the liqiud! But of course it’s not that simple, you have to get the right equipment like ice cube ball trays that are smaller in diameter than your chocolate shell moulds. We got 1.25inch (31.75mm) ice cube trays and 1.5inch (38.1mm) chocolate shell trays, which are about as big as you can go because any bigger and you can’t fit them into your mouth! Stuffing the whole ball into one’s gob is important, cause if you don’t, the yummy centre will spill everywhere.
We considered alternative methods for filling the shells like injecting with a food syringe, or dipping the frozen ball into chocolate. Injecting wrecks the perfect spheres on the shells and dipping ruins your chocolate and doesn’t get a shiny or even result.
Making the chocolate shells
Tempering chocolate is difficult at first, here are some quick facts. Tempering chocolate is all about melting away the unstable crystals in the cocoa butter and growing the stable ones. Stable crystals give you a nice shine, snap and doesn’t melt as easily.Buy Lindt chocolate by the kilo from Mart Delicatessen at Fyshwick Markets or The Essential Ingredient in Kingston, its the best we can find and tastes great. Buy a candy thermometer that goes from at least 30 degrees. This can be hard to find, make sure you check the minimum temp before you buy. Use the bain marie method. Chocolate doesn’t like water, at all. melt milk and dark chocolate to 45 degrees, white chocolate to 40 degrees.
There are lots of tutorials on YouTube, if you want to get into it probably start there!
The cake is layers of mud cake and white chocolate mousse. We got a cake leveler which is a tool for cutting a layer cake evenly which works really well.
We actually had a lot of white chocolate tempered and ready to go so we decided that would be the best coating for the cake, also it forms a solid base to ‘glue’ the chocolate balls in place at the end. You do that just with a dab of chocolate on the coating and fix the ball in place.
Finish with some gold leaf and you’re done! if anyone would like a more in-depth breakdown of the steps or equipment please let us know 🙂
I love Weston Creek, but it has never been a foodie destination. It’s a wondrous land of bored, delinquent kids and energetic retirees! It’s truly the best mix of Sydney’s troubled western suburbs and a dozy Hobbit village, with the food culture to match.
But lo! I see a change in the air! Boodle feast at Kusina, the Filipino restaurant is a wonderfully rich cultural experience that may change all that.
We dodge all the daggers and walking-frames being hurled at us as we make our way through the streets of Weston Creek and enter the restaurant. Our senses are filled with the wondrous sights and smells of a Boodle Feast!
I’m not an expert on the Boodle Feast, but it appears to have stemmed from a Filipino military tradition, eaten on banana leaves with your hands – this is large format eating… meant to feed the masses.
There is no set items that must appear in the Feast apart from rice, it can be any Filipino cuisine you desire. The only necessity seems to be rice and accompaniments like chilli and sauces.
Emelia sampled the grilled eggplant salad and loved it’s beautiful deep red onion flavours and cloud-like consistency…
The crispy pork belly with salted black beans and banana blossom was as good as one can expect, crackly, moist, sweet and juicy!
The sweet cured pork was my favourite! Large chunks of sweet spicy meat with the ever-so-slight hint of five spice. Melted in the mouth.
King prawns in lime and coconut butter was nice but slightly too bitter for my liking, it needed the sauce that came with the feast … the sauce improved it a lot.
The grilled spring chicken in lemongrass, garlic, ginger and soy was cooked perfectly, and was delicious with the garlic rice.
Eating with your hands is a great experience, but I got into trouble from Suni, Em’s little bro… I used my left hand for a bit. BIG NO-NO!
The fried whole barramundi with black bean salad was a hilight of the meal for me, the fish was just flaking off, the beans tasted so fresh and added great texture to the mouth, the vegetables balanced out the salty flavours.
Maddy wanted to try the salted duck egg, Em and I joined her. This is a very difficult mouthfeel to get used to, and something that is definitely an accompaniment to other items on the plate – i don’t recommend trying it by itself!
Emelia remarked on just how good the garlic rice was – perfect! Rice can be perfect, go there and try it, you’ll see what I mean!
Dessert time! We rarely get dessert… but we saw some amazingly coloured cakes in the display, and some impressive ice cream sundae looking things coming out of the back so we had to try it ALL!
The purple yam cake was actually not as amazing as it sounded, it was fairly dry and the lychee filling was lacking flavour, a little disappointed with this one… On to dessert No. #2.
The Halo Halo is shaved ice, purple yam ice cream, jelly chunks, boiled sweet beans, evaporated milk and kernels of sweet corn. Sounds strange you say? Well for someone who is not used to Filipino desserts it is a little, but the ice cream was seriously delicious! Totally hit the spot. I didn’t mind the entrie dessert, it was nice, but i did get the feeling that the desserts weren’t as sophisticated as the mains.
Despite the mild disappointment of the desserts, we love savoury food so for us Kuisina really delivered! Boodle feast is a sensational meal and totally blew everyone’s mind. It’s not just the food and the flavours (which were wonderful), it’s the social aspect of eating with your hands that really breaks down barriers!
Boodle Feast is held once a month, and book early, because it is popular and is already beginning to have a following.
As for Weston Creek… is there a light on the horizon? BIG YES! Kuisina is not the only light at the end of the tunnel, an excellent Gastropub has also popped, but that’s another story for another time! 🙂
One of the awesome things about being in a relationship with Em is the Sri Lankan food! She and her family cook amazing food; the spices, the coconut, the beautiful broken-down vegetables and meat – and of course, the chilli!
When we heard that there was a new Sri Lankan restaurant in town, we ran over there right away!
“Do you think you can take the heat?” asks Em as we run over to Camellia Sri Lankan restaurant “I’m not white, remember!” I protest. “Thats only a figment of your imagination. I’m cool as a native Sri Lankan when it comes to chilli!” but Em is skeptical, “Yeah right, honkey”.
Camellia is a Sri Lankan and Modern Australian restaurant, I had not heard of many of the menu items and I rubbed my hands together.
I wanted to try the unpronounceable dishes of course, things that are unique and I haven’t tried before, so for entree we chose Kategasma.
I’m glad we ordered exotic – this was dish of the night! It was a wonderful balance of sweet, sour, salty and hot. Sounds like south east asian cuisine right? Right! Em said that this is a modern Sri Lankan take on it. Beautifully cooked fish, sweet and hot devilled sauce with spices – just delicious, but the real surprise was how well the fresh red onion just completed the dish. You might think this would overpower the rest, not at all, it really did work well with the very deep flavour of the sauce. Great dish!
Emelia suggested Kottu Roti. It is like a fried rice or Biriyani with the edition of small chopped up pieces of roti. We had this with the signature beef curry.
Kottu Roti seems to be all about texture, the roti adds a really satisfying chewiness and bite to the dish. The beef curry was very deep in flavour, and for those of our readers who are worried about heat in these dishes, worry not! All the food was mild to medium… Em didn’t have to carry the Whiteboy out in a wheelbarrow! 🙂
We really felt like curry this night, so we ordered them all! To be honest they have a lot more on their menu, but lets face it – you come to a Sri Lankan restaurant for the curry. The chicken and lamb curries were equally as amazing as the chicken. As different in flavour as they all were, they shared three common themes: Refined, deep and DELICIOUS!
The service was very attentive and polite and the food was outstanding – and with the moderate price, it is highly recommended by us. Run down there! If you see an over excited Sri Lankan midget named EMELIA and an awesome whiteboy running through the streets of Manuka you know what’s going on! 🙂
In fact you could call her ‘the late one’ in our relationship. Better yet, Miss Latey, or Captain Late-Pants. (N.B. This may be a complete fabrication constructed by the author to cover his own time-management shortcomings.)
Either way, she was once again nowhere to be seen when I arrived at the Multicultural Festival on Friday afternoon to the sound of driving African percussion, the crush of the crowds and the smell of a hundred delicious cuisines!
A bit of background, The Canberra Multicultural Festival is the best weekend in Canberra. It has been happening for over 20 years and just gets better every year! You feverishly seek to eat as many different foods as you can, like a ravenous hound, which are made with love – It’s Canberra’s thank-you to all those cultures that bring so much life to our city.
I went wandering and found a delegation of West Papuans who had been flown over by the festival to raise awareness for their country. They cheerfully offered me books and literature and a quick chat, they also gave me a cup of very special coffee – free of charge, of rare quality and flavour! The crushed beans still in the glass, I felt like I was tasting the freshest and most lively brew, a little bit of West Papua in a cup. Don’t mistake me – this was a premium product par excellence.
After trading emails I moved on, and finally found Em. She had been mobbed by fans of the show! It’s funny, its the first time we’ve really gone out after being on the show, and we didn’t realise that now we cannot go 5 steps without lovely people coming up and saying nice things to us and wanting photos, it’s quite bizarre! But we love you all, thank you for all your kindness and support. Go Canberra!
When we finally got to move on, we tried Croatian meat balls with Avjar chilli Sauce. This was very nice, the sauce was great, a medium hit of chilli and a good starter. We headed off to Sri Lankan stall outside Banana Leaf Restaurant, they were making Kottu Roti (this is similar to Pad Thai, except with strips of roti instead of rice noodle) in front of everyone, quite a theatrical process!
While I was in the line waiting for my Kottu Roti, Em wandered off promising to bring me back a morsel of happiness, she struck gold when she brought back some Thai satays and Lamb and Basil curry puffs. The satays were really average to tell you the truth but the Lamb parcels were exquisite! They were made with love… the pastry was flaky, crisp and well-made, the filling was an explosion of hearty lamb mince and aniseedy basil. Such a unique flavour! Just one of those times at the Festival when you strike gold.
We got our Kottu Roti and it was great, although the beef curry that went along with it was a little salty for my palate. Em assures me that Sri Lankan food is usually very salty… Ok well I can accept that 🙂
Lastly, Em saw some friends who invited her into their Sri Lankan restaurant and made us hoppers, Dhal, Pol Sambol and Beef curry, which was all so delicious, and a lovely way to round-out the night.
Multicultural festival is special to many of us Canberrans, what are your Multicultural Festival stories from this year?
P.S. Sorry for the rubbish quality photos this time, we were missing our good camera and were having too much fun! 🙂
[quote]In Canberra we love our bikes – the city is perfect for it! We also love our food and friends, we often ride off to different places to eat and enjoy each other’s company.[/quote]
This is the first event we will be running for all who want to be involved, showcasing Canberra lifestyle, places and people. We want to show that today’s Canberra is far from boring, it is the perfect balance of big city things to do, and bush capital peace and quiet. Meaning, you can go out and party, then come home and enjoy a nice quiet cup of tea as you listen to the gum trees sway in the breeze, often without a car to be heard. Canberra is Australia’s best kept secret 🙂
Brodburger is a Canberra institution, you simply must go there if you’re visiting Canberra or a local, get out there! They make the most delicious Beef, chicken, fish and veggie burgers, all with your choice of blue, swiss, vintage or fetta cheese. www.brodburger.com.au – Best to order ahead, they are quite busy!
Anyway to stay posted guys, we will be posting new events all the time so friend us on FB! 🙂