Archive for the ‘Canberra’ Category

Fish and Chips at Cape Cod, Deakin, Canberra

Cape Cod Seafood Restaurant can be found in the suburb of Deakin. There aren’t a lot of options to eat at Deakin ‘shops’, there is Cape Cod, a cafe and bakery which were both closed by dinner time.

I have heard wonderful things about this restaurant from a few colleagues at work. Opened in mid-2006 by a Canadian chef Jeff Hudgin. The decor is quite simple, wallpaper on walls, wooden chairs and table sets with white table clothes. The menu isn’t huge but focuses on fresh seafood which is delivered daily. The wine list is not extensive either; however, a wine of the month is available which can be found on their blackboard.

For starters, I couldn’t go past the fresh oysters, half a dozen, 3 natural and 3 with sweet sticky soy and crisp eschallot ($19).

The oysters were fresh, plump and absolutely moorish. The sweet sticky soy and crisp eschallot oysters were probably my favourite, I loved the sweet sticky soy sauce and the crunchiness of the crisp eschallot, it was deliciously yummy.

For mains, I couldn’t decide between the fish and chips or the chef’s special, which was pan fried blue cod on a bed of pumpkin and sweet potato. The fish and chips won – Market fish of the day (either pan fried, crumbed or battered) with chunky chips salad and homemade tartare sauce ($32).

I opted for the crumbed, and from memory the fish that evening was blue cod. Two fish fillets on a mound of chips. The fish was lightly battered, the crumbs thin and crunchy. The fish was fresh, a little on the thin side, but firm and smothered with tartare sauce was wonderful. I heart tartare sauce, and this was one creamy, tangy tartare sauce!

The salad I thought was plain, mixed leaves with capsicum, cucumber, tomatoes and a lemony tangy dressing.

The fish and chip is simple and good. I saw what other diners were having and the food looked amazing and was presented really well. The staffs are super friendly and made me feel welcome and ensured I had everything I needed.

For a weeknight, it was quite busy with family (very child friendly), couples and even suits. I must admit, I thought the fish and chips were a little pricey, but I did enjoy it and exactly what I wanted that evening.

They are open for lunch and if you don’t want to dine in, you can get takeaways and dine in the comfort of your own home.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Cape Cod Seafood Restaurant

Shop 5 Deakin Shops, Duff Place

Deakin ACT, 2600

Ph: +61 2 6282 8697

Cape Cod Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Dieci e Mezzo, Canberra

I have heard wonderful things about this not so new Italian restaurant which is situated in the foyer of an office building in Canberra’s city centre, ActewAGL House (which stands for ACT’s power, water and gas utility). Robert Foster is the Canberra-based designer of this foyer, I love the colourful fluorescent lights. It was what attracted me to the building, and hence, Dieci e Mezzo.

Dieci e Mezzo is the latest project by Fiona Wright, an ACT restaurateur known for The Lobby and Water’s Edge. Fiona teamed up with James Kidman, ex chef at Woolloomooloo’s Otto. I can see the resemblance of food that James Kidman has created at Diece e Mezzo. Otto was one of our favourite business lunch venues so when I heard he’s was here in Canberra with his new rustic Italian fare, I had to try!

The restaurant is very spacious; I thought it would be a bit weird having a restaurant in a foyer, but it is protected from the foyer by removable opaque glass panels. I love the colourful back drop at the end of the room and I can see this restaurant as a great function room.

The menu had variety, although only six different choices for both entree and mains, the choices were vast. Entree ranged from salad, sardines, liver to quail. Mains, fish, beef and pie and pasta, which can be ordered for both entree or mains.

The wine list is quite extensive, however, I wasn’t in the mood for wine. I was afraid drinking a glass of wine would make me sleep ….. at the restaurant!

Started with complimentary rye bread, it was served at room temperature – fluffy and absolutely tasty when dipped in olive oil.

I wanted to try something different, so opted for mille feuille of sardines, cauliflower puree, pickled cauliflower, pine nuts and watercress ($23). This was such a flavourful dish. I know my friend, C, would not appreciate this dish as it has too many greens but the sardines were served at room temperature, the pastry thin and crispy, and the cauliflower puree was creamy and subtle. The pickled cauliflower and pine nuts I loved and the watercress really gave it that lovely touch. It had the sour, the sweet, the tang, and the creamy – it had it all and it worked!

I had to refrain not to order the pork belly! A couple of friends had noted that I ordered a lot of pork, so thought I would order something different, the Whole whiting filled with prawn, scallop, bread crumbs, lemon and soft herbs $36. Yes a whole fish! And yes, it ‘looked’ at me!

Inside, prawns, scallops, bread crumbs infused with lemon and herbs. The fish was incredibly tender and fresh. The prawn and scallop I thoroughly enjoyed. The only problem with eating a whole fish is the bones and this was one bone-y fish! It was good but I think I would have enjoyed it if I didn’t have to pick out all the bones!

Dessert, well, I couldn’t really fit any. I ate ‘a whole fish’ as the waitress re-iterated! I was stuffed. I am keen to try their breakfast though, the granola is supposed to be one of the best! They also have a fixed price express lunch menu, a two or three course menu which changes every week.

I love the ambiance, the service, and the food, fantastic! To be honest, I have not been to Otto since James Kidman left. I am keen to try Otto again and compare (so stay tuned!). If you are visiting Canberra, I would definitely recommend this place.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Diece e Mezzo

Corner of Bunda and Mort Street

Canberra City, 2601

Ph: +61 2 02 6248 3142

Dieci E Mezzo on Urbanspoon

Categories: Canberra, Italian Tags: ,

A hidden gem, Sage Restaurant, Braddon

This place was recommended by another restaurant owner. I think it is a place he goes regularly and I can see why. I have read mix reviews about Sage, but for me, it was definitely a hit!

Sage Restaurant is located in Braddon, nestled inside the 1920’s heritage building, Gorman House. The man behind this wonderful restaurant is Chef Clement Chauvin, who has worked in 2 Michelin starred “Pic” and “Nicolas La Bec” as well as Gordon Ramsay’s flagship “Claridges” in London.

The place was moderately busy by the time I got there at 8pm. However, they had no problems in accommodating for one. I love the wooden floors, the intimate lighting and the waiters that evening were absolutely lovely!

The menu is quite simple – five choices for entrée, main and desserts. You have an option of two courses for $55 or three courses for $65. There are appetizers and sides at extra cost should you wish to order them. I was hungry, but it is always hard to eat a three course meal on your own.

Started with complimentary bread, a choice of sourdough baguette, cumin and fennel in a shape of a muffin or white baguette. I wanted something different and opted for the cumin and fennel bread and smothered with a generous serving of sage butter it was absolutely delightful. All the bread are baked freshly on the premises, and the butter, oh my my – creamy and oh so buttery!

Entrée was an easy choice I couldn’t go past slow braised pork belly – trio of compressed melon, white balsamic, crackling and pistachio paste. How can I really say no to that? The crab salad sounded interesting too but it was definitely the pork belly that won my heart.

The pork belly was slow cooked; it was so tender that it just melted in your mouth. The trio of melon – watermelon, honey melon and watermelon were compressed, served at room temperature and cut into perfect circles and then topped with white balsamic jelly which was fantastic! I never really thought pistachio would go well with pork but I was proven wrong. The flavours were fantastic, the tenderness of the pork incredible and the crackle was a little salty but crunchy and superb. However, in saying that, I do prefer my crackle the ‘proper’ suckling way as the crackle presented was a little ‘airy’.

For main, I couldn’t decide between the pan roasted ocean trout or the 12 hour braised wagyu 9+ brisket. I was afraid that by ordering the pork belly and beef would be too heavy but I was informed that the pork belly was a light dish, and it was and that the wagyu would be perfect for a cold wintery night.

I am glad that I ordered the beef. Filet mignon which sat on a thin strip of wagyu brisket topped with parsnip fondant and port braised eschallots. The filet mignon – three words – TO DIE FOR! It was tender, and extremely succulent that it just fell apart; the sauce was rich but not overpowering or sickly. The wagyu brisket, which was braised for 12 hours I enjoyed but it wasn’t as tender as the filet. It was truly a magnificent dish and one I would happily eat again.

I was full and unfortunately had absolutely no room for dessert. Service was fantastic, one of the waiters really made me feel ‘welcome’ and well not all alone! He even offered books for me to read which I thought was very kind. The only downside, the pause between each course was a little long. I understand there were a couple of large groups dining that evening, I guess when dining alone, you really don’t want to wait too long. Regardless, it was still a wonderful evening; I was relaxed and the food was amazingly good!

There are refurbishing the outside of the restaurant, from what I hear, there will be a new open air garden room, recycled timber outdoor deck. Sage is a wonderful restaurant, it was listed in the 2010 Gourmet travellers top ten restaurant in ACT. A ‘hidden gem’.

GA’s rating: 8 / 10

Sage Restaurant

Gorman House Art Centre

Braddon ACT 2612

Ph: +61 02 6249 6050

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Milk and Honey, Civic, ACT

This cafe is located in the heart of Civic, Garema Place, Canberra. It’s quite a retro and funky cafe which serves Modern Australian cuisine with a Mediterranean influence. I noticed there were a lot of cafes in the area, and a place I must explore more regularly.

Milk and Honey is opened all day offering diners breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is opened quite late for those who just want to have something sweet after dinner. It is a spacious cafe split into two levels with seats outside. I love the open area, the brightness of the cafe and the friendly staff.

I started with the juice of the day – pineapple, cranberry and mango ($5). It was fresh and deliciously refreshing.

For some odd strange reason, I was craving steak, so opted for grass fed cowra scotch fillet steak with potato bake, spring onion and red wine jus ($32). The chef kindly gave me two pieces of steak – apparently one piece was just too small! Cooked just the way I like it, it was deliciously tender and succulent. The red wine jus was a wonderful complement and I would have definitely done with more. Unfortunately I didnt’t finish the steak, so no guessing what I had for lunch the next day.

For dessert, I was tempted to get the sticky date pudding but it was the apple crumble that won me over ($8.80). I thought it could have been presented better; however, taste wise, it did not disappoint. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, the apple was sweet, tender and the crumble just melted in my mouth. Oh how I heart apple crumble and this was amazingly good.

Unfortunately the cake I ordered was not made by the chef. I probably should have asked where they got it, but I was too engrossed in my apple crumble.

I did notice a lot of suits dining here, after work dinner perhaps? But as the night went on, I noticed many diners just having dessert. It is a great place for coffee and sweets. They have a wide range of hot drinks, coffee, chai latte, hot chocolate, hot caramel (?!) and many different types of smoothies, shakes and juices.

I can see this cafe as a hang out place for the younger generation, the place was buzzing by the time I left, which wasn’t that late. It’s hip, modern and very colourful. I am definitely keen to try the breakfast here, the brioche and blueberry French toast doesn’t sound too shabby at all.

GA’s rating: 7 / 10

Milk and Honey

29 Garema Place

Canberra 2601

Ph: +61 2 6247 7722

Milk & Honey on Urbanspoon

Courgette, Canberra

Courgette has been awarded a one hat status by the Sydney Morning Herald three years running. Owned by James Mussillon who is also the executive chef. James also owns Sabayon and Waters Edge. Courgette is very similar to that of Aubergine, and I found out later on that James used to work at Aubergine. I can see the resemblance in style and flavour of dishes. However, in saying that, Courgette is rather modern than its older sibling, Aubergine.

The interior is very modern, and very dimly lit which gives that romantic atmosphere. Not so great for my iphone camera though! The place was reasonably busy for a week night but didn’t have difficulty in getting a table for one.

Started with complimentary bread – it was soft, even the crust was soft and fluffy. I think I do prefer my crust a little crunchy.

Amuse bouche – terrible that I have forgotten what it is, but from memory it was prawn consommé with peas puree. It was nice though, creamy, warm and absolutely flavoursome.

For entree, I couldn’t go past the hand-picked mud crab and rare yellow fin tuna sausage, wasabi mayonnaise and crisp rice wafer ($22). Thinly cut yellow fin tuna which was rolled into a ‘sausage’ and then stuffed with creamy and delicious mud crab which sat on generous lining of wasabi mayonnaise. It was fresh, delicious and albeit creamy, was magnificent. But then again, I am a sucker for yellow fin tuna and mud crab! The crisp rice wafer was a nice touch.

No guessing what I had for mains! Sticky pork belly with roasted loin, caramelised apple pear galette, celeriac mash, pomegranate seed, white balsamic and cider vinegar split jus ($38). The loin I thought could be tenderer, but the pork belly just melted in my mouth. The apple pear galette I adored! I could have eaten it by the bowl, it was sweet, gooey and complemented the pork well! The celeriac mash I liked but it was the pork belly and the combination of the apple pear galette that won me over.

I was full, as my friend C would say ‘in the upper range of full’ however, I did notice they had a rhubarb dessert – spiced pear and rhubarb crumble with burnt orange caramel, candied pistachio and mascarpone mille feuille. Writing that now, I am wondering why the hell I did not get it!

I guess this would be a good excuse to go back to Courgette. Courgette has a wide range of wine from across the globe. The food is wonderful with delicate flavours and really interesting variety of ingredients. Definitely a wonderful place to eat, and I am looking forward to dining to the sister restaurant, Waters Edge.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

54 Marcus Clarke St

Canberra, 2061

Ph: +61 2 6247 4042

Courgette on Urbanspoon

Abell’s Kopi Tiam, Manuka

Not to be confused with the Kopitiam Cafe in Ultimo Sydney. A couple of friends at work have recommended that I come here for dinner. I was supposed to be heading home to Sydney, however, due to ‘unexpected maintenance’, my flight was cancelled and hence another night in Canberra. I didn’t feel like anything too fancy, and was exhausted so thought I would give Kopi Tiam ago.

Located in Manuka, Abell’s Kopi Tiam (coffee shop in Malay) serves different type of Asian food, ranging from Indonesian to Malaysian, Singaporean and Nyonya food. I thought it was a tad weird that they also had Western food and did not even look what was on offer. The Indonesian dishes were more appealing as I was craving for it.

It is so much harder to eat alone when ordering Asian food. You want variety but afraid you won’t be able to finish everything. I started with the grilled chicken satay with cucumber pineapple with peanut sauce ($12.90). Four skewers of grilled chicken, the meat was a tender, however, on the thin side. It didn’t have that wonderful barbeque aroma that I had hoped it had. The peanut sauce was exceptionally good, peanut-y, not so creamy with a hint of chilli.

It has been a while since I had dinner at Mum’s and was craving Indonesian food. Ordered the bali chicken simmered in a tamarind and coconut cream curry sauce with aubergine and French beans ($19.90). For some strange reason I had thought this was going to be fried, however, it was poached chicken in a pool of tamarind and coconut curry sauce. The sauce was rich, coconut-y and spicy which I loved. The chicken, tender and the aubergine was a wonderful complement. I am not usually a fan of coconut curry sauce but this was nice, the coconut was not overpowering and it was very Indonesian and very Balinese – I have had something similar like this in Bali and loved it.

I didn’t want rice, so the lady suggested I get some roti – YUM! Two generous fluffy and pillow-y roti. It was no mamak, but it certainly satisfied the cravings and eaten with the tamarind sauce, it was scrumptiously good.

For dessert, I wanted the pisang goreng (banana fritters) but they weren’t making them due to the high cost of bananas. One of the owners (I think) did say that he was happy to make me some provided I bring my own bananas! I may have to take his offer on that and bring some next time.

The owner and chef is from Malaysia, Abell Ong. I spoke to one of the owners briefly, the place was BUSY, the service helpful and friendly, they knew their product which was good. The wine list is extensive and lots to choose from by the glass. Meals are to be shared of course and reservation is highly recommended. It was a very yummy meal and it satisfied my Indonesian cravings, although, I can really do with some more.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Abell’s Kopi Tiam

Shop 7 Furneaux St

Manuka 2603

Abell's Kopi Tiam on Urbanspoon

Italian and Sons, Canberra

This blog may turn into me eating my way around Canberra than Sydney soon! I was in Canberra again and caught up with the lovely E for dinner. Italian and Sons was another restaurant that’s on her list of restaurants to try. Tucked away in Braddon, Italian and Sons was awarded a one hat by the Sydney Morning Herald good food guide 2011.

I have heard mix reviews about this restaurant, the service can be a bit of a miss and so can the food. It was a busy Tuesday night, E had made reservations at 6pm. The place is relatively tiny buand cozy. I love the grainy wooden wall panels that stretch along the narrow place, the hanging salumi and the extensive formagio selection. The specials are written on the blackboard, including the daily specials and I couldn’t go past the Tuesday specials!

E opted for the Orecchiette with suckling pig, broccoletti, chilli and pecorino ($26). I do love orecchiette pasta – small round pasta that’s roughly shaped like an ear. I love the indentation of it as its great for collecting sauce. The pasta was al dente, the suckling pig tender, and I love the creaminess of the sauce and the chilli really gave it a nice spicy kick at the end. 

I couldn’t go past the Tuesday special – wood roast suckling pig on the bone with apple and sage ‘mostarda’, bitter Italian greens ($32). It was a generous serving of suckling pig – TWO large portions. The pork was deliciously tender and succulent, the mostarda was sweet and really complemented the pork well.

The crackle, my oh my, mouth wateringly gooey, and crispy and by far the best thing about the suckling pig. Sorry the photo is a little dark, my old point and shoot really doesn’t like the dark surroundings. I noticed other diners around me ordering this ginormous tender loving pork.

For dessert, E and I thought we would share the Tira mi su ($12). One of E’s friend dined here the night before and was blown away by the tiramisu. She said ‘it’s what the other little tiramisu inspired to be when they are all grown up’ and I have to say, it was one hell of a tiramisu!

The sauce was thick, creamy and oh so chocolate-y. Inside, delicious and moist cake-like that just melted in my mouth – it was heavenly! I didn’t want it to end, I wanted more and more.

The service was warm and friendly. We didn’t feel as though we were rushed. The food was absolutely wonderful, especially the suckling pig and the tira mi su – heaven in my mouth!

I did notice other diners having wood-fire pizza and it looked good – large servings with wonderful toppings. The signature dish is the rosemary foccacia (with freshly sliced salumi). The other desserts also sounded great, however, if sweets aren’t your thing, they do have a selection of cheeses. The wine list is quite extensive. Both E and I had a glass of the house red wine with our meal which was lovely.

Overall, I thought the meal was great, service warm and friendly and I still dream about that marvelous tira mi su. I may have to drop by just for that! Thanks again E for keeping me out of mischief! No doubt I will see you and J next time again.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

7 Lonsdale Street
Canberra, 2612
Ph: +61 2 6162 4888

Italian and Sons - Vino e Cucina on Urbanspoon