Tag Archives: 2014

Sage Taste & Test, Spring 2014

6 Oct

This is my third trip to Sage Dining Room’s clever concept Taste and Test, where in exchange for a slightly cheaper five-course meal – and you’ve no idea what’s coming – you write out a score for each dish and a short ‘review’ of them right onto your paper tablecloth. The test lasts for four weeks, with the menu changing each week. If a dish gets an average score below 6.5-7 or so, it’s not going to make it onto the more permanent seasonal menu.

Here’s a quick look at the menu from 30 September to 2 October and my thoughts – but a quick summary? It’s really good.

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Murrumbateman Moving Feast 2014

5 Oct

Canberra’s wineries do a darn good job at promoting themselves and making it easy for Canberrans and visitors alike to visit them – and to want to visit them. One such way they do this is the Murrumbateman Moving Feast held over Saturday and Sunday over the October long weekend, where wineries in the Murrumbateman region – a short drive north of Canberra – charge $20 for a home-baked main matched with a glass of wine, or $15 for a dessert (also matched, usually with a dessert wine). You don’t have to have your main and dessert at the same venue; indeed, you’re encouraged to sample different offerings at different wineries, and the tastings are – as usual – free.

Armed with my own tips from last year, at midday on Saturday we set out with a fair idea of where we want to go, having perused the online menu and map.

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Floriade Nightfest 2014*

23 Sep

*Tonight I, along with other members of Human Brochure and the media, was treated to a preview of Floriade’s Nightfest, which begins tomorrow (Wednesday) night and runs until Sunday, 28 September.

It’s hard to put the experience into words – and the photos don’t really do it justice. Here goes:

For those who are wondering – yep, the tulips are out!

We’re first greeted with seas of tulips bathed in changing colours. It’s hard to tell what colour they actually are!

I said sea, right? I meant it.

The flowers are stunning, but Nightfest wouldn’t be Nightfest without doing something pretty damn special. And that’s this.

It’s Alice in Wonderland-esque. Stunning flowers light up in time to the music as we walk through thick fog – genuinely mesmerising. Each enormous flower is slightly different, and the colour show is so varied – after standing there 15 minutes I can’t spot any repetition. Very special.

The attention to detail actually reminds me of Skywhale


We’re not to wander off, but I almost have to be dragged out of this stunning forest. Fortunately, the most beautiful flowers are just outside and their presence is enough to tempt me out.

Towards the lake there are these – lotus flowers? – reflecting wonderfully

Not many things can claim to look as good at night as they do during the day – particularly after a long day at work 🙂

And then there’s entertainment, including some juggling – lit up, of course – but I’m fascinated by these enormous orbs. Yes, they change colour. Yes, I took a thousand photos of all the different colours. You’ll have to see them all for yourself.

Then there’s the piece de resistance – another bed of flowers, surrounded by life-size neon humans, set against a background of the bright ferris wheel.

Canberra’s best photographer (in my opinion) Martin Ollman always goes the extra mile to get the best shots

Good night, Nightfest

In addition to the lights, there’s plenty of stuff for kids and big kids, including comedians and cooking demonstrations. And Philip Jones from The Martini Whisperer is doing Shaken not Stirred. You can check out the program for each night here.

But in all honesty? That Alice in Wonderland-like walk is worth it alone.

(Oh, and there’s free wifi!)

Date: Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Where: Regatta Point, off Commonwealth Avenue

Cost: This was a preview event courtesy of Visit Canberra

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Get tickets here.

First look at Enlighten Canberra 2014

27 Feb

Enlighten Canberra 2014 looks set to be an absolute cracker again. I loved 2013 and there looks to be a lot to love for 2014. I was in the area for another Enlighten event and took a moment to take a few snaps… get excited!

Bright and exciting!

Bright and exciting!

Questacon's projections over two sides of the building are always brilliant

Questacon’s projections over two sides of the building are always brilliant

My favourite institution which displayed projections last year was the National Library… I think it’s my early favourite again!

Like the National Gallery, the National Library uses its Mapping Our World theme - and wonderfully

Like the National Gallery, the National Library uses its Mapping Our World theme – and wonderfully


There are plenty of events on the Friday and Saturday of the next two weeks

There are plenty of events on the Friday and Saturday of the next two weeks

My favourite this year... so far

My favourite this year… so far

I believe this to be the Circle of Light

I believe this to be the Circle of Light




Old Parliament House is always a huge feat with projections stretching across the long building. The “Guys and Polls” montage is excellent.

Guys and Polls

Guys and Polls

Great to see Dave Pope's popular cartoon on the 'big screen'!

Great to see Canberra political cartoonist Dave Pope’s popular cartoon on the ‘big screen’!





See you there?

For more info and events over the next two weeks, try here.

Coming Up in 2014 #1

11 Jan

One of the most regular bits of feedback I got in 2013 was “I wish I’d known about that event you reviewed sooner! I would have attended.” That’s awesome feedback for me in that it means I’m reviewing things you’re interested in, but it also highlights the restrictions on being a review blog.

I’ve said elsewhere, but I’ll state it again: this ain’t a preview blog. I don’t claim to know the scoops around town. Honestly, I usually learn about things opening up when everyone else does.

My main sources of ‘review ideas’ are as follows, in no particular order:

  • Visit Canberra. Look, “Visit Canberra” isn’t the right name for this institution. They should be something like “Visiting and Living in Canberra”. The people behind Visit Canberra showcase all the things on in Canberra – suitable whether you’re a tourist or living here. Their website is pretty easy to navigate, and they’ve got a great presence on social media, and encourage Canberrans to share what’s going on. It will also point you in the direction of the Visitors Centre on Northbourne – even if you live here, don’t be ashamed to stop in.
  • Johnny Boy’s Walkabout Blog. If you’re looking for bushwalking ideas, you’ve got to start at John’s page… or mine. But I will freely admit that John’s page is hands down the best resource for walks in and around the ACT. John is a seasoned walker (understatement!), has a great sense of humour and diligently documents every single walk he’s on. Canberra’s lucky to have John and his website as a resource, and long may it continue. Some of John’s walks are a little bit long for me (sometimes I’m lacking a bit on the patience, time or energy side – or all three!), but he provides critical detail with maps and what you should expect – as well as highlighting things you might have never heard of before!
And one of your humble correspondent in her fashionable bushwalking outfit at the summit on a walk with John Evans

And one of your humble correspondent in her fashionable bushwalking outfit at the summit on a walk with John Evans

  • The Riot-Act is Canberra’s pulse. It’s full of Canberra content, including reviews, advice on businesses in Canberra, images of Canberra (more bushwalking ideas! Or submit your own pics), and a user-compiled list of things to do on the weekend.
  • Twitter. A lot of people don’t get Twitter. For years I just had an account to read Twitter, instead of contributing. Now, I love contributing. Either way, it’s a great source of advice and well of ideas about things to do in Canberra, and what people are enjoying (or not!). Search for the hashtag #canberra to get an idea of what’s on the boil. Through Twitter, I’ve learned of things to do that I might be interested from people including our Chief Minister. And, it was through Twitter that I learned about what became my most favourite Canberra event ever. Can’t argue with that!

With those main sources out of the way, I’d like to start up a semi-regular post on the blog letting you know of things to do in Canberra which have caught my eye and/or which I reckon I might head along to. I’m not sure if this will be weekly, monthly or simply ad-hoc, but I’m sure a rhythm will reveal itself! Without further ado!

Coming Up in 2014 #1*:

  • PM’s XI v England at Manuka Oval. There are still tickets available* for the game this Tuesday, 14 January! *at the time of writing. No idea how good they are.
Me and my dear dad in #likecanberra shirts at Manuka Oval last year

Me and my dear dad in #likecanberra shirts at Manuka Oval last year

  • Sunday arvos throughout January at Old Parliament House / Museum of Australian Democracy. Enjoy drinks at OPH each Sunday in January (including Australia Day), with live performances. Inside on Sunday arvos you can be drawn as a caricature (free!). (We’re still waiting to hear whether OPH drinks will be back on after what seemed like a successful showing throughout December.)
  • The Sculpture Bar appears again at the National Gallery of Australia on Thursday, 16 January. For those who haven’t been, it’s a bar at the back of the gallery amongst some rather lovely mist (perfect on a 39 degree day) and the NGA’s lovely sculptures. Drinks in the past have been expensive. Looking forward to seeing what’s planned with their Peruvian/Chandon theme (in the past it’s been Veuve, explaining the $ tag for drinks). Here’s my review from a few years back.
Drinking in front of a sculpture in 2012 - very refined, I assure you

Drinking in front of a sculpture at the NGA in 2012 – very refined, I assure you

So privileged to go on a behind the scenes tour of the broadcasting service at Parliament House in late 2013

So privileged to go on a behind the scenes tour of the broadcasting service at Parliament House in late 2013

  • Valentine’s Day (Friday, 14 February if you need reminding!). BOOK IN QUICK. Canberra restaurants are starting to issue their pricing plans/menus for the big day, including some tempting degustations at some of Canberra’s best. Before you book, you may want to read what I’d like to describe as my public service announcement for what you should NOT expect for a Valentine’s Day dinner.
  • AfterDARK Grazing Tour at the Botanic Gardens. Includes a tour in the evening and a three course dinner at night. There are still sessions available for Valentine’s Day (~$85) and Friday, 7 March (~$50).
  • Enlighten Canberra is back on between 28 February and 8 March (why they don’t extend it for the long weekend MAKES NO SENSE TO ME. Despite the silly dates, just block those eight dates out. You won’t regret it.
Just a little bit amazing.

Just a little bit amazing.

  • The Mapping Our World expo at the National Library (free, but you really should book online to avoid disappointment – here’s the linky) ends on the long weekend date of Monday, 10 March. This is only two months away. You could spend two months at this exhibition. For this reason, you need to get there and spend time with these remarkable maps as soon as possible.
  • Finally, the Canberra Craft Beer Festival has been pushed forward thie year to Saturday, 29 March (it’s been April or later in previous years). Don’t confuse this with the Small Brewers Beer Fest (dates still to be confirmed for 2014) or Canberra Beer Week (hopefully to be held again in November 2014).
With the Centennial Beer at the Canberra Craft Beer Festival in 2013

With the Centennial Beer at the Canberra Craft Beer Festival in 2013

* Not one of these venues/institutions/events asked me to tell you about this stuff that’s happening – it’s all of my own research/knowledge.

Happy blocking out your calendars!