Feasting over Easter with T2

21 Apr

*This post was by T2, a co-author of In The Taratory from 2011-2013.*

Why hello there, Canberrans! It’s me, T2 – the lesser-known half of ‘In the Taratory’.  So what have I been doing in the couple of weeks since my Poachers Pantry and Summer Shape Up blogs? Apart from a quick trip up to Sydney (wedding planning – not for me – but exciting nonethless), I’ve been flat out with part-time uni, full-time work, Japanese language training, a millinery course at CIT and *trying* to keep fit. As a result, I really haven’t done anything out-of-the-ordinary in Canberra lately – nothing worthy of a full review anyway. I do feel a little guilty, but would prefer to write something meaningful rather than pages of fluff. Luckily, T1 has a boyfriend that she can drag along (or be dragged along) to various events and restaurants – so she’s been holding the fort here in Taratory land! Great work T1 🙂

I have been doing my fair share of eating out, though. I didn’t really want to do another detailed restaurant review since they’re not my strong point (to be blunt, my food reviewing attempts have been crap. I don’t enjoy yarping on about how lovely the consistency of the jus was, how the Pinot Noir expressed delicate aromas of cherry, berry, and earth, or how the soufflé tasted just like a mouthful of fluffy cloud. I’ll leave that type of detail to more popular foodie blogs like Not Quite Nigella, A Table for Two and the Canberra-based Snowdrop Meringues & Berries and Yummy Lummy). So, instead of a 1000-word essay on one venue, I thought I’d write a little bit about a few different dining experiences I’ve had lately. Here goes…

Babar’s Cafe and Bar, Civic – My friends and I walked in off the street on a Wednesday night and were seated immediately. The menu was extensive, but focused on pizzas and pasta. I opted for a lamb potpie and OMG (if I may use such a teeny-bopper expression), it was delicious. It had been a cool autumn day and I was eager to tuck into something hot and hearty. The pie did not disappoint: its meat was succulent and the cheesy mash topping was naughty, but oh-so-nice nice. My dining partners were equally satisfied with their large servings of risotto and pasta. The place was pretty busy, but not so busy that we couldn’t hear each other talk (which is often the case at the neighbouring Sammy’s Kitchen – great food, but be prepared for squishy tables and looooud conversations). I also must award brownie points to Babar’s for allowing us to pay separately for our own portions of the bill. Not many Canberra restaurants do this these days (and I understand why – how annoying would it be for wait staff to divide the bill up for a table of ten?! There’s always those couple of drinks or sides that no one claims, meaning that the last patron has to grudgingly pay for them. More trouble than it’s worth, sometimes…). An enjoyable night was had by all – even though we didn’t allow ourselves to indulge in the choccy cake or macarons on display afterwards!

Taj Agra Restaurant, Dickson – was the destination for another quiet weekday night out with a girl friend. The restaurant was spacious and decorated nicely (I’ve found that some of the smaller Indian restaurants can be a bit like dining in a sardine can, but it definitely was not the case here). We ordered a serve of samosas (around $8 for two) to start. My friend had had them before and was adamant that we get them again. There were no complaints from me – the spiced potato and pea pastries were delivered piping hot, with a thick, crusty pastry and flavoursome filling. After polishing them off, our main meals were delivered swiftly. We shared a pretty darn tasty Chicken Korma (an Indian staple dish), and a slightly spicier Beef Karahi (cooked with whole spices, fresh herbs and green coriander). Neither my mate or I are too keen on spicy sauces, but we managed just fine by mopping it up with a bit of garlic naan (can’t have Indian without the good old naan bread, can we?!). The price for the two of us was around $40 (we didn’t have dessert or wine, so this helped keep the price down. Oh, and you guessed it – I happened to have an Entertainment Book voucher for the restaurant, so I snagged us an extra 25 per cent off). Great food, great company, and great service: the recipe for a great night all-round.

Siren Bar and Restaurant, Gungahlin – I decided to go here after a particularly big night out. My mouth was dry and my head was pounding. I knew just the remedy: a greasy fry-up and coffee. I’d been to Siren for Tuesday night tapas and wine a couple of weeks earlier (and had read T1’s review about her lunch experience there back in October 2011), so thought I’d give their breakky a go. I was served promptly (it was counter service, so I grabbed a number and plonked myself in the corner with the Sunday paper), and my flat white was delivered within minutes. I’ve gotta say, I really think Siren does the best coffee in the Gungahlin area. I’m not a fan of Coffee Guru (I’ve given them many chances) or Coffee Club, so was pretty chuffed to be served a coffee that wasn’t overly bitter or frothy (I made sure to let the barista know on my departure, and she seemed pretty stoked to receive the positive feedback. I think it’s important to thank the staff if you’ve had a pleasant experience – it can only encourage them to keep up the good work). Anyway, my breakfast spread arrived shortly after I’d downed the coffee and, my-oh-my, did it look yummy. Crammed on the plate was fresh sourdough bread, a generous serving of scrambled eggs, a few rashers of bacon (not crispy – as I prefer – but not greasy either, so I was happy), a crunchy potato rosti, sautéed mushies and a couple of token cherry tomatoes. Yep, as promised, it was certainly a big breakky! I didn’t manage to finish everything on the plate, but put in a stellar effort. And voila, hangover cured! Siren, I reckon you really are a great addition to the north-side restaurant/bar scene. I look forward to frequenting the place more often in the coming months, especially now that I’m a Gunners girl…

And last, but not least:

Asian Noodle House, Dickson – I was fangin’ for a late-night feed after my millinery class had wrapped up at 9pm, but knew that most restaurants would have finished their dinner service by then. Bugger. I didn’t really want to resort to the evil that is KFC, Maccas or Red Rooster, so decided to have a wander through Dickson and see if there was any chance that one of the Asian restaurants was still serving customers. And, lo and behold, good old Asian Noodle House had stepped up to the challenge. I decided on a chicken laksa soup for the road and, before I’d had the chance to bat an eyelid, my order appeared on the counter. Efficiency is clearly the name of their game! I took the soup home and poured the contents into a massive bowl (believe me, I needed a punch bowl to fit it all in – ’twas definitely a very generous serving).  Now, note that I am very familiar with chicken laksas. Before I realised that they’re actually not the healthiest of meals, I used to have one weekly (at the least). So I’m pleased to report that this laksa-loving lass was definitely happy with the quality of the dish. The broth was flavoursome, they hadn’t skimped on the chicken (a pet hate of mine), and there was a good noodles:vegetables:broth ratio. At $12, it was a cheap and easy way to satisfy my grumbling tummy. Yep, I’ll be back for more laksa-loving soon…

… So, that wraps up my autumn dining experiences for now. Which reminds me – it’s just about time to take the cottage pie I’ve been slaving over all afternoon out of the oven. Ahh, nothing – NOTHING – beats a home-cooked meal made with love 🙂

– T2

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5 Responses to “Feasting over Easter with T2”

  1. Gary Lum April 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Oh T2 you shouldn’t put yourself down. Your reviews are great. I wish more Canberra restaurants allowed split bills. If it can be done easily in the USA and Canada why is it so difficult here, especially Canberra with so many visiting officials.

    • inthetaratory April 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Thanks Gary 🙂 T1 actually just told me about your great blog a couple of weeks ago – I knew there was a popular Canberra foodie blog that I had missed on my list! And very true re: bill splitting overseas. It was never a drama when I lived in Canada…

      • Gary Lum April 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

        I just love the T1 and T2 input to ITT 🙂

  2. Geoff April 23, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Dickson Asian Noodle House does the best laksa in Canberra. The Civic Asian Noodle House on Northbourne is the ticket when in Civic and you couldn’t be bothered trekking to Dickson for lunch 🙂

    Great blog and good to see some Canberra action and reviews 🙂

  3. Tegan @ Style Chic April 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Ladies! So good to have found some more Canberra bloggers 🙂 I came across you via Poachers Pantrys FB page. Went to lunch there today.. Ah.mazing xx

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