Tag Archives: Restaurant

Buvette Petit Feast, Barton*

6 Jun

* I attended the Buvette Petit Feast as a guest.

It’s a dreary Canberra morning – one that it’s easy to despite but photographers love. The light casts just right. There’s no glare or overshadowing and the pale grey backdrop is just perfect for that picture.

While it’s too cold to sit outside, we’re offered a table near gorgeous lengthy windows at the new Buvette Wine Bar and Bistro at the bottom of Hotel Realm. It’s in the space of the old Mavi (kebab-loving public servants will know what I’m talking about) and another restaurant space where seemed to be to go through a few hands. The result is a dining area which reaches, stretches out; as we walk in it’s not clear where it ends and the numerous doorways remain – closed today (and a tad confusing to know where is the actual entrance), but potentially thrown open in warmer weather.

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Our view outside is Autumn’s last echo – sparks of green against burnt orange and roar-red – and we drink it in while we’re served the complimentary glass of Mt Majura rose to start our petit feast.

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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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The Green Herring, Gold Creek

4 Oct

I don’t know much about Green Herring except that it’s quaint, it has a solid menu, and that it’s somewhere in Gold Creek. The only place I have a vague idea where it is is the aviary, so on this Friday evening it takes me a little time to find the car park attached to the very rustic cottage – The Slab Hut built in the 1860 – in which Green Herring resides. (It turns out it’s just behind George Harcourt, but you could have fooled me at the time in the dark – it’s really not very well lit!)

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Muse, Kingston*

17 Sep

* I visited Muse as a guest

This humble little blog recently celebrated four years – four years of eating, drinking, reviewing and peeling back the layers of Canberra bit by bit. While still being hosted entirely by WordPress after all this time (yes, yes, there are moves afoot to discard wordpress from my URL!), I’ve also seen a lot in this time and the only thing that’s surprised me recently is that this city still tolerates bemusing degustations.

But then I experienced Muse, the definition of which might be ‘Food, Wine and Books’. (That’s what the wine glass tells me, anyway.)

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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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Marble & Grain, Braddon*

16 Apr

* I attended this experience at Marble & Grain as their guest.

Hopscotch. Black Fire. Marble & Grain. Braddon restaurants have a thing about clever names and I was particularly excited when Marble & Grain launched, expecting a high-end gastropub, with gorgeous, delicately-marbled steaks and sides and a range of excellent beers to match. After its soft opening late in 2014, I watched first with interest, then surprise, as respected reviewers and friends emerged from their experience and gave Marble & Grain a resounding thumbs down.

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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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La Rustica by the Lake, Kingston Foreshore

16 Jan

Kingston Foreshore feels almost ‘filled out’ now. The empty shop spaces are filled up and – at least in these summer months – each venue seems brimming if not bursting with people on these storm-filled afternoons.

If La Rustica sounds familiar, it is – for many years it was a mainstay of the Kingston dining scene on Kennedy Street but has been lured down to the foreshore. Like many of the establishments, it’s got a huge, sprawling space. Early Saturday afternoon we’re offered to sit wherever we like – but this doesn’t mean it’s quiet; we just find our seats amongst the busyness!

We have enough time to pore over the menus to result in major decision issues: I’m tempted by fettuccini salmone ($22.90), gnocchi gorgonzola ($23.90) and patate pizza (starting at $16.90 for a small) – and don’t decide on any of them. Our wines are served in large portions.

It’s a short, reasonable wait before our generous portions are served hot and fresh.We’re offered parmesan which is served in a bowl with a spoon (I love that we can keep adding spoonfuls!).

My Spaghetti Nero ($22.90) is perfect al dente; tangy mouthfuls are made moreish thanks to a creamy base, and heat the back of my tongue between bites.

Spaghetti nero (ie with squid ink)

My friend’s Balmain Bugs ($26.90) has three big bug bites, but the white wine sauce with shallots and garlic – while okay – doesn’t pack quite the flavourful punch she’s expecting.

Balmain Bugs spaghetti

As we finish the rain starts rocketing down. Other establishments scramble to rescue tables and shares, but La Rustica simply closes its roof. That said, rain has a habit of slicing sideways and we’re offered to move inside to any seat we like. We do.

We’ve been offered dessert menus. I’m a nooooooo toooooo fuuuuuull kinda person (although I wouldn’t refuse another glass of wine), but the time it takes between receiving the menu and having someone coming back to take our orders has me more than locating my dessert stomach (read: it’s a long time). Once ordered, our desserts arrive quickly.

Profiteroles ($12.90)

The custard-filled profiteroles are no match for my friend, who delights in them. I’ve never had panzerotti (sweet ricotta-filled fried dough) and the casing is probably a little too tough for my tastes (but this isn’t a restaurant issue – I think they’re supposed to be like this!). The vanilla bean ice cream served in a small dish surprises me: for presentation it’s pretty (see for yourself!), but it’s painful for practical purposes.

Panzerotti with vanilla bean ice cream ($14.90)

For a solid meal and very reasonable wine prices at a pretty lovely location, I’d recommend. A few hours of our Saturday comfortably slip by.

Date: Saturday, 10 January 2015

Where: Kingston Foreshore

Cost: $110.60 (including two mains, two desserts, two sauv blancs and two rieslings)

Value for money: Reasonably high

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile

Want more? Out In Canberra can fill in blanks.

La Rustica By The lake on Urbanspoon

Chifley’s Bar and Grill, Barton*

19 Dec

* I dined at Chifley’s Bar and Grill courtesy of the restaurant. In what must surely be the one of the busiest years of restaurant and cafe openings in Canberra’s history, historic Kurrajong Hotel is capping off 2014 and meeting 2015 head-on with the opening of Chifley’s Bar and Grill (Tuesday night) and the relaunch of the hotel (early February). Chifley’s is named after former PM Ben Chifley who preferred to reside at Hotel Kurrajong (believing it would save taxpayers money) and – unsurprisingly – regularly dined there. Continue reading

Pho Hub, Belconnen

14 Nov

There are two things you should know before I start this post:

1) I loved Pho Viet on Beissel Street in Belconnen. I was saddened when it closed (but couldn’t be unhappy when Belconnen got its own Asian Noodle House in its place).

2) I think Belconnen has great amenity. The high rises – whatever you think of them – have space underneath, and many of the newer ones like Altitude and Sentinel, and even Oracle (Benjamin Way facing) have the potential to create a real street and cafe culture. Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters and Chatterbox have helped to kick that off.

Look, Belconnen will never be a Braddon – hell, we don’t want to be; we’ve got our own vibe – I think there’s the same sense that opportunities are emerging. There’s space to do things – not land to be developed necessarily, but there’s room to move and create. And hey – compared to Braddon, Belconnen has tonnes of parking. 🙂

With that in mind, here’s the review:

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