Tag Archives: Belconnen

The best Belconnen Christmas lights – 2016 edition

21 Dec

After the success of last year’s Best Belconnen Christmas lights, I had to get back out and again experience one of the things that really makes this time of year feel like Christmas to me. Here are my Top 3 picks for 2016!

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Why I’m a Belconnen candidate in the ACT election

22 Aug

Next week marks In The Taratory’s fifth birthday.

It’s a fitting time for the blog to officially take a hiatus.

Here’s why.

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Ha Ha Bar, Belconnen – revisited*

23 Mar

* I visited Ha Ha Bar as a guest.

Belconnen Town Centre’s Emu Bank is something special – or it has the potential to be. Facing (what I think is) the best lake in Canberra, with the Arts Centre at one end and one of the world’s best skate parks at the other, Emu Bank could be a promenade in Canberra’s north.

But it’s not quite there yet. While the restaurant quality is mixed from the average to the very good and caters from takeaway to pub to formal dine-in, it’s been missing a high-quality restaurant to anchor the area and attract similar ventures.

Ha Ha Bar is one of those venues that’s always been very good. I’ve always enjoyed the food (in addition to plenty of brunches and dinners there, you can read my first review in 2011 here, and 2013 here) even if the service left a little to be desired, but it hasn’t been what you’d necessarily call a fine dining experience.

I genuinely think that’s about to change.

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Pizza Artigiana, Jamison

16 Feb

It’s increasingly common these days for me to first get notice of a new restaurant through Facebook: friends liking the page, or a sponsored post. So it was for Pizza Artigiana which I first heard about through its common presence in my newsfeed since back in May last year. It boasts of handmade pizza and imported beers and, being so local, made it onto my ‘must try’ list. After months I made my way there – but, happily, it won’t be months before I’m back again.

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Jaffle Degustation at 54 Benjamin

12 Feb

In the last few years, the Belconnen Town Centre has grown and changed in more ways than many of us could have imagined. One of the best parts about that has been the number of new businesses that have opened. 54 Benjamin is one of these: a hole in the wall cocktail bar at the bottom of the Churches Centre which just recently celebrated its first birthday. Its wide-ranging menu, convenient location and late-night jaffle menu makes it a favourite among residents and workers alike – and I’m proud to call it my local!

I have to say it wasn’t until Two Before Ten started showing up with their van and breakfast jaffle menu at the Aranda Shops – as it was developed to make way for the new cafe and the Bolt Bar that I was reminded of just how good the humble jaffle is. It’s the warm sandwich that doesn’t fall apart, with no end of delicious fillings. The only risk is a burnt tongue depending on your fillings – tomato, I’m looking at you – but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

54B – as it’s known – has brought jaffles back in a big way, with butter chicken jaffles and alphabetti-cheese jaffles proving a hit: so much so that 54B decide to shake things up a bit by kickstarting their Thursday night ‘event’ series with a jaffle degustation.

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The best Belconnen Christmas lights

19 Dec

Every year I see the published lists of Christmas lights in Belconnen, and every year I feel overwhelmed by the choice and limited time to see them all (especially when I leave it to the last minute/week).

For me, the perfect Christmas lights experience is getting in as many ‘Wow, that’s awesome!’ houses before I get annoyed listening to the GPS and/or too many hours go past. Achieving this means knowing where the best houses are. Once you’ve knocked these over, you can enjoy the fantastic efforts of so many contributors throughout town – every house offers something magical!

So, if you’ve only got a limited amount of time before your patience runs out, here are my top three picks in Belconnen (and they’re all pretty close together!).

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Cafe 2617, Belconnen

2 Aug

Belconnen Town Centre’s Urban Roast has undergone a revamp: the ownership hasn’t changed and the cafe is still bright and roomy, but there’s a new, streamlined menu and the shouting to the kitchen and back has thankfully stopped. The outfit seems calmer and more organised. The lunch menu has completely gone – replaced with blackboard menus which change every three or four days to allow the kitchen to take advantage of what’s fresh and seasonal and be more creative. And, of course, the name has changed.

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Hidden treasures in Dunlop Grasslands

12 Jun

Blogging has introduced me to some of Canberra’s very best, and that includes people like bushwalking legend John Evans. John has an extremely popular website where he documents every single walk he takes with plenty of detail and maps. John’s simple goal is to inspire people to resist sedentary life, head outside and enjoy some fresh air, and appreciate our surroundings. I look on in awe at his commitment to providing as much information to make that possible for people.

John and I have been on a few walks together – Mt Coree and Urambi Hills. As well as being knowledgeable, John is a gentleman and has a great sense of humour. When he offered to show me a part of Belconnen with which I wasn’t yet familiar, I jumped at the chance.

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Pot Belly, Belconnen

7 Jun

It seems everyone has a story about visiting the Pot Belly in Weedon Close in Belconnen. The bar sits in the same street as other Canberra institutions – Turkish Delight, Laser Tag and Can Tho – and has been a haunt for generations of uni students and Belconnen residents. But the last few years of its decades-long history have been a little shaky.

Let’s be honest: as many Canberrans will attest, the Pot has always been a dive bar. Its lack of natural light and dark wood throughout lends itself to an ‘English pub’ descriptor. It’s also familiar – the customers are familiar (which can be a bit daunting if you’re visiting for the first time), the beers are familiar (the only craft beer offered was Roger’s), and the location hasn’t changed in 40 years. In the last few years it took on the name Pot Belly Bar and Bistro, operating a small restaurant which was open most days of the week – but it was empty. Few people knew about it, and if they did, they rarely took advantage of it.

Pot Belly had been for sale for around a year when finally there was a taker – or takers. Six people – or three couples – now co-own this skinny pub in the heights of Belconnen’s Town Centre. Within a few days the new owners stripped the taps and replaced them entirely with craft beer (and I’m not talking Roger’s). The structure is entirely the same, but oddly-framed live act memorabilia that crowded the walls has disappeared. I think the most interesting thing to watch over the coming months is whether the usual customers will disappear – and, if so, if they’ll be replaced.

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Cafe Okrich, Kippax

24 Mar

Cafe Okrich comes to me as a recommendation from one of my readers, who frankly isn’t sure about sharing the secret of what she describes as “the best new cafe in Belconnen”. I’m so glad she does!

My Sunday morning starts with a large breakfast at Local Press in Kingston. Local Press’s food is really tasty, but I do wonder how I end up paying close to $30 for breakfast.

Early afternoon I’m peckish again, so we head down the road to Kippax. Next to Kippax Fair at the bottom of the reasonably new apartment blocks (between the Magpies and Aldi) are a large range of new eateries and shops, including Quan’s Kitchen, the Kippax Cake Shop (large cakes are under $30) and Cafe Okrich.

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