Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Doubleshot - Deakin, Canberra

Double Shot is a great cafe addition to the Deakin shops. It's a fairly large space, with ample indoor and outdoor dining areas, and it's quite busy on a Friday morning. Doubleshot has been on my Canberra hit list for a while, so I take the opportunity to try it out during my last day of a week long work trip. 

Most people are here for their morning takeaway coffee fix, though the seats also start filling up pretty quickly as the morning progresses.

Service is friendly but on the slow side, not sure if they were understaffed on this particular morning.

I'm dining with my mum and we opt to share two dishes - one savoury and one sweet. For the savoury option, I choose a healthy hot smoked salmon with quinoa, greens and a poached egg. It feels good to get an intake of vegetables during breakfast, plus it's pretty hearty thanks to the quinoa and salmon.

My eyes lit up when I saw the french toast special on the blackboard; coconut crusted french toast with strawberry mascarpone, ripple yoghurt, vanilla cream, meringue and strawberry curd. It's fruity and light, with just the right balance of sweetness. 

Enticed by the display of sweets, I get this nice cream to go. It's a vegan 'ice-cream' filled with chocolate mousse and is the perfect snack for the plane ride home.

Double Shot Deakin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Cupping Room - Civic, Canberra

The Cupping Room is a firm brunch favourite when I go back to Canberra. Judging by the lines on any given weekend, I'd say it's also pretty damn popular with the locals.


I've probably mentioned this before, but the coffee at The Cupping Room is either ordered with milk or black, no choice different varieties eg. latte, piccolo etc

Soul shake

This is honestly the best shake I've ever had. The vegan soul shake consisted of a fruity and refreshing blend of watermelon, lychee, coconut and chia. Usually I have a few sips of a shake and start feeling full, but this was so bloody good I had to refrain from finishing it in two seconds - fingers crossed this shake is a regular feature on their menu.

Salmon tartare

Crumbled haloumi burger

The salmon tartare comes with beetroot puree, a poached egg, creme fraiche with salmon roe and thin slices of crispbread. The haloumi burger comes with a batch of hot chips - can't go wrong with chips. I would've preferred the slice of haloumi to be less thick or pan fried instead.

The food is always consistently good and it's never too much of a wait for a table, despite the occasional long line.

The Cupping Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Road trip to Orange

Happy New Year! It's been a while, hasn't it? 2016 has honestly flew past in the blink of an eye.

Now, to a post that has been on my to-do-list for a while. It's been somewhat of a new annual tradition to head to Orange every April for the Orange FOOD week to attend the array of amazing events that are held for the regional food festival.

Last year, we stayed at a cute AirBnB in Millthorpe and ate our way around the Orange Region.

In the heart of Orange is Byng Street Local Store. It's a charming cafe, open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch. It's our first stop after a long drive from Sydney, so we decide to have brunch and a wine here.

The food here is simple, with menu items such as sandwiches and wraps. There's a focus on using local produce from the Central West region. We order the zucchini fritters and a vegetarian toasted sandwich, filled with zucchini, roasted pumpkin, baby spinach and pesto.

Zucchini fritters

Vegetarian toasted sandwich

Byng Street Local Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Next stop was some wine tasting at Philip Shaw wines. The cellar door is open everyday from 11am to 5pm, and there's a lovely outdoor area to sit and enjoy the scenery (and a wine or two!) The wine tastings are $10 and reedemable against any wine purchase.

The Idiot Shiraz

I've previously tried The Idiot Shiraz so knew it would be a great choice. Also, most of the wines at Philip Shaw have the most adorable artwork on the labels, which you can see the originals of at the cellar door.

We grab a seat outside and enjoy a substantial cheese platter, which came with a very generous serving of bread and lavosh.

Strawberry tart

We also stop past Racine Bakery so I can have a stickybeak at the delicious pastries on offer. I end up getting this strawberry tart for later.

Racine Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

After much researching for a more casual dinner option, we decide on Percy's Bar & Kitchen, a small bar that aims to showcase the best of the Orange region.

Thick cut chips

The chips look a tad pale, but are actually nice and crisp. The chips are seasoned with an oregano salt and served with aioli on the side.

Haloumi and BBQ sweet corn salad

Surprisingly, there are several great vegetarian friendly options, including this asian flavoured haloumi and BBQ sweet corn salad with island slaw and lime vinaigrette. I enjoy the addition of fresh herbs. 

We forego the traditional desserts in favour of something more liquid...

Espresso martini

Freshly brewed espresso, shaken with vodka, Kahlua, Cafe Patron XO. This cocktail is not for the faint hearted and packs quite an alcoholic punch.

Sailor Jerry affogato

This is a DIY affogato, served on a wooden platter with an espresso shot, housemade chilli chocolate ice cream, and a very generous of portion of rum. I wasn't a massive fan of the chilli chocolate ice cream combined with the other elements, it would have worked so much better with plain old vanilla.

Percy’s Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I didn't end up booking any FOOD week events in time, so the only Orange FOOD week related thing we actually did was the Sunday producers markets held in Cook Park. It also started drizzling, so it was perfect timing to grab a few things (including the above delicious slab of cake) and make our way back to Sydney.

I will definitely be more organised next time and book in FORAGE (the signature Orange event where you walk through the vineyards and sample food and wine along the way). It always seems to be immensely popular and sells out straight away!

Check out my previous blog post on Orange FOOD week here:

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Chiswick at The Gallery - Art Gallery, Sydney CBD

The space around the Art Gallery is such a lovely space, surrounded by the Botanic Gardens and the Domain. I often go for scenic lunch time walks around this area and feel very lucky to work close by. 

Lovely flowers blooming that we spotted on the walk to the gallery

On this particular weekend visit to the Art Gallery with a girlfriend, we head to check out the Archibald Prize exhibition. After the exhibition, we wander over to Chiswick for lunch. It's conveniently housed within the gallery, which makes it the perfect option for a pre or post art gallery visit.

Strawberry, white balsamic and orange soda

Chiswick has a range of homemade sodas for the non-alcohol drinkers. The flavours are subtle and fresh, with just the right amount of sweetness.

Smoked tuna

The smoked tuna is a delicate and light dish; the tuna is served with puffed rice, fennel and mandarin. I'm not usually a fan of fennel, but it's quite mild and pleasant in this dish, without the strong aniseed flavour.

Fried chicken

We also order the fried chicken since you can never go wrong with fried chicken! The chicken has a nice crispy coating and comes with a creamy mayonnaise. A wedge of lemon and some gherkins help to cut through the richness.

Seared scallops

Another dish that never sets a foot wrong is seared scallops. Chiswick's version is served with asparagus.  The scallops are grilled to perfection.

Hand cut chips 

I love hand cut chips (well, any chips to be honest!) These are thick cut, sprinkled with sea salt and served with a delicious black garlic aioli. 

Coconut pannacotta

The coconut pannacotta is served with thin slices of apple and granita on the side; it's a refreshing end to the meal.

Chiswick at The Gallery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 31 October 2016

Monster Kitchen & Bar - New Acton, Canberra

Monster Kitchen & Bar is located in the stunning Hotel Hotel complex. The restaurant is spacious, with several dining areas. It has a funky atmosphere and is perfect to grab a quick bite to eat before a movie at nearby Palace cinemas. 

There are quirky decorations throughout the restaurant that add a nice touch. It started out moderately busy during our weekend lunch time visit, and the restaurant quickly filled up during our lunch.

The menu is designed to share, with plenty of smaller bar options alongside some more substantial dishes.

Boxgum Grazing beef tartare

The beef for the tartare is sourced from Boxgum Grazing, a family owned farming business, located near Young, that specialises in producing 100% grass fed beef. 

The tartare is served along with miso cured egg yolk, avocado and horseradish, which was mixed in together and eaten with the crisp black rice crackers.

Heirloom carrots

The carrots are roasted with a harissa flavouring and absolutely delicious. The almonds add a nice crunch to the dish, and the pearl couscous makes it quite filling. 

Yabby jaffles

A nostalgic dish made with a twist - the good old jaffle definitely reminds me of primary school days. Monster Kitchen & Bar's version has a decadant yabby filling, with horseradish and crème fraiche. 

Pork belly

The Lost River pork belly with boudin noir, pear and hazelnut did not hit the mark as much. Whilst the pork belly itself was nicely cooked with crisp crackling on top, I wasn't a huge fan of the boudin noir (aka blood sausage) and it felt like there was way too much of it to be enjoyable. 

Unfortunately, the service had also slowed down dramatically at this point and I actually had to follow up with the wait staff as it was taking ages to come out. It also took forever to get the attention of passing waitstaff to order dessert.

Blood orange, yoghurt, pistachio, rose and meringue

This fruity and fragrant dessert was the perfect way to end the meal. Blood orange sorbet is served atop pistachio crumble, shards of meringue and rose petals. 

Despite the haphazard service, I still enjoyed the meal thoroughly and would definitely come back for a drink and a bite to eat. Bookings didn't seem to be necessary during lunchtime, but are recommended for dinner.  

Monster Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 17 October 2016

Momofuku Seiōbo - The Star, Pyrmont

Sometimes the best experiences are the spur of the moment, impromptu decisions; such as a last minute decision to dine at the bar at Momofuku Seiobo. Luckily it's a weeknight so we don't have a long wait to sit at the five seater bar.


The restaurant itself is all dark and slick decor, with dim lighting. It's a polished affair from start to finish, with the bar offering something a bit more relaxed. We start off with glasses of complimentary Moët, which was a nice surprise and a great way to kick off our meal.

Chicken skin with mud crab

These little delightful morsels are constructed from crisp chicken skin, sandwiching a mud crab mixture and topped with cured egg yolk. 

Snapper ceviche

Delicate thin slices of snapper are served with jalepenõ, macadamia milk and coriander oil.

Abalone special

This was the first of several complimentary dishes for the night and one of my (many) favourites of the night. The abalone was cut into thin, noodle-like slices and was extremely tender and fresh. 

fried chicken

Fresh out of the fryer, the fried chicken at Momofuku Seiõbo is a highlight; served with a wedge of lime on the side, the chicken is crispy and flavoursome.

Waldorf salad

Due to personal preference, I didn't really like this salad; I found it quite heavy and also have an aversion to blue cheese, which is found in abundance in this salad. 

Kurobuta pork chop

The Kurobuta pork chop on the other hand was nothing short of amazing - served slightly pink on the inside and with an incredible charred flavour. This is a must order and best shared as it's a fairly generous portion of meat.

busted roti

The busted roti is so buttery and flaky it literally just melts in your mouth (and probably instantly clogs your arteries, but it's worth it!)

Kingfish head

I'm pretty much beyond stuffed full of food at this point, but can't stop picking at the food because it's so good. The head of king fish comes slathered in a fragrant hot sauce and is a deceivingly huge portion. There's surprisingly quite a bit of meat hidden between all those bones.

nori caramel popcorn

Since there's ALWAYS room for dessert, we decide to order the coconut turnover to share between the three of us. It takes a while to come out due to technical issues in the kitchen, so we get a dish of moreish nori (seaweed) caramel popcorn to feast on. The savoury seaweed flavour adds a nice balance to the intense sweetness of the caramel.

I'm happy for the gap between the meal and dessert, as it gives me a chance to digest.

coconut turnover

The coconut turnover is brought to our table fresh from the oven and piping hot; the smell was divine. Packed full of shredded coconut and served with a generous amount of icing, it's definitely one to share due to the generous sizing.

I absolutely loved our bar dining experience, and was impressed by every single dish (minus the salad due to issues with blue cheese). The Time Out Best Fine Dining Restaurant of 2016 award is definitely well deserved!

Momofuku Seiōbo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato