Tag Archives: fine dining

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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On Red, Red Hill

8 Sep

Mid-year, Living Social advertises that they’ve got a degustation deal at On Red. For $99, Boyfriend and I can enjoy a five course meal which is normally valued at $94 per person. I snatch it up because it seems almost too good to be true. It almost is: On Red is booked out for most of its weekends and we finally find a mid-week dinner when both the restaurant and we are free, just before the voucher expires.

On Red’s at the top of Red Hill – not just the suburb, but the hill. I always thought On Red was known for its good service, food and its views. The views are certainly on point, and when we name ourselves on arrival, our waiter already knows we’ve got a voucher – a good sign.

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Sage Dining Rooms in 2015*

26 Jan

* I enjoyed this experience as a guest of Sage Dining Rooms.

We’re just back from what I termed EuroChristmas – in two weeks Boyfriend and I packed in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Monchengladbach, Trier, Luxembourg, Brussels and Amsterdam. On its own it was a magical trip simply due to the locations and time of year, but these places are also home to some of the best and most experimental food in the world – as soon as we’d booked plane tickets I was booking us into restaurants. Two of these were Copenhagen  restaurants headed by former Noma staff: Bror and Relae. Relae in particular is consistently just outside the World’s 50 best restaurants list (53rd last year) last year.

These restaurants were great; delicious food, lovely atmosphere. But what struck me is I’d come half way around the world for experiences which were more than comparable to fantastic food I can access at home in Canberra: The Boathouse, the Artisan and Sage in particular. (And the service at all three is better than any of the service we had in Copenhagen!). I’ve always thought we do some truly innovative things in Canberra, and to have it confirmed through these experiences was heartening. To me, there’s nothing stopping numerous Canberra restaurants from making these sorts of lists.

And Sage might well be on its way to being of them. In November it was joined by Damien Brabender who comes with the professional experience of working at Lizard Island (before it got battered by Cyclone Ita) and the six-star Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort, as well as London restaurants. When offered to experience what zing he’s bringing to Sage (which as you know I already rate very highly!), I happily obliged.

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Boathouse by the Lake Redux

19 May

Since our extraordinary dinner at Boathouse by the Lake back in January, I’ve struggled to find something to match it. Until now.

What could possibly be better than that experience at Boathouse by the Lake? Another experience at Boathouse by the Lake!

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Aubergine

3 Oct

It’s a big week in Canberra for me, because I have two very special guests in town: my parents. Mum’s just had a milestone birthday, and I’m graduating from my Masters, so before they arrive they insist we choose somewhere special for dinner to celebrate. I think Canberra’s two-hatted restaurant should fit the bill.

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Malamay in the Burbury Hotel

31 Jan

Overdue for a date night, we turned to our bucket list of restaurants and chose Malamay, another restaurant to have made the 2012 Canberra Top 20.

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Courting Courgette

17 Aug

I won’t beat around the bush – our standard four course dinner at Courgette took 3 HOURS. It’s the key impression I’ve taken away from my experience. Sure, there was superb food, lovely wine and a decent ambience, but for years to come, all I’m going to remember is that it was slo-o-o-ow.

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