Boodle Feast @ Kusina, Weston Creek

Andrew and Emelia @ Kusina

When I was a boy I grew up in The Creek!

I love Weston Creek, but it has never been a foodie destination. It’s a wondrous land of bored, delinquent kids and energetic retirees! It’s truly the best mix of Sydney’s troubled western suburbs and a dozy Hobbit village, with the food culture to match.

But lo! I see a change in the air!  Boodle feast at Kusina, the Filipino restaurant is a wonderfully rich cultural experience that may change all that. 

Impressed - we hungrily watch the chefs at work...
Impressed – we hungrily watch the chefs at work…
The chefs are very friendly and will have a chat!
The chefs are very friendly and will have a chat!

We dodge all the daggers and walking-frames being hurled at us as we make our way through the streets of Weston Creek and enter the restaurant. Our senses are filled with the wondrous sights and smells of a Boodle Feast!

I’m not an expert on the Boodle Feast, but it appears to have stemmed from a Filipino military tradition, eaten on banana leaves with your hands – this is large format eating… meant to feed the masses.

The Boodle Feast!
The Boodle Feast!

There is no set items that must appear in the Feast apart from rice, it can be any Filipino cuisine you desire. The only necessity seems to be rice and accompaniments like chilli and sauces.

Look at those smiles!
Look at those smiles!

Emelia sampled the grilled eggplant salad and loved it’s beautiful deep red onion flavours and cloud-like consistency…

The crispy pork belly with salted black beans and banana blossom was as good as one can expect, crackly, moist, sweet and juicy!

Our lovely waitress carefully explains what is what... she has our attention!
Our lovely waitress carefully explains what is what… she has our attention!

The sweet cured pork was my favourite! Large chunks of sweet spicy meat with the ever-so-slight hint of five spice.  Melted in the mouth.

King prawns in lime and coconut butter was nice but slightly too bitter for my liking, it needed the sauce that came with the feast … the sauce improved it a lot.

The solution for kids who don't smile in the school photo: Boodle!
The solution for kids who don’t smile in the school photo: Boodle!

The grilled spring chicken in lemongrass, garlic, ginger and soy was cooked perfectly, and was delicious with the garlic rice.

Hands going everywhere - THATS MY CHICKEN!!
Hands going everywhere – THATS MY CHICKEN!!

Eating with your hands is a great experience, but I got into trouble from Suni, Em’s little bro… I used my left hand for a bit. BIG NO-NO!

The fried whole barramundi with black bean salad was a hilight of the meal for me, the fish was just flaking off, the beans tasted so fresh and added great texture to the mouth, the vegetables balanced out the salty flavours.

Em is good to talk to about such things.  She always has something nice to say :)
Em is good to talk to about such things. She always has something nice to say 🙂

Maddy wanted to try the salted duck egg, Em and I joined her. This is a very difficult mouthfeel to get used to, and something that is definitely an accompaniment to other items on the plate – i don’t recommend trying it by itself!

'I eat Adobo'! YES! the only better slogan on a shirt is 'Where's the beef?'
‘I eat Adobo’! YES! the only better slogan on a shirt is ‘Where’s the beef?’

Emelia remarked on just how good the garlic rice was – perfect! Rice can be perfect, go there and try it, you’ll see what I mean!

The Devastation!
The Devastation!
Sherice and Assad, loving it! Usually Assad is critical, but he had nothing bad to say about this wondrous meal!
Sherice and Assad, loving it! Usually Assad is critical, but he had nothing bad to say about this wondrous meal!

Dessert time! We rarely get dessert… but we saw some amazingly coloured cakes in the display, and some impressive ice cream sundae looking things coming out of the back so we had to try it ALL!

The purple yam cake was actually not as amazing as it sounded, it was fairly dry and the lychee filling was lacking flavour, a little disappointed with this one… On to dessert No. #2.

Purple Yam cake
Purple Yam cake

The Halo Halo is shaved ice, purple yam ice cream, jelly chunks, boiled sweet beans, evaporated milk and kernels of sweet corn. Sounds strange you say? Well for someone who is not used to Filipino desserts it is a little, but the ice cream was seriously delicious! Totally hit the spot. I didn’t mind the entrie dessert, it was nice, but i did get the feeling that the desserts weren’t as sophisticated as the mains.

Halo Halo
Halo Halo

Despite the mild disappointment of the desserts, we love savoury food so for us Kuisina really delivered! Boodle feast is a sensational meal and totally blew everyone’s mind. It’s not just the food and the flavours (which were wonderful), it’s the social aspect of eating with your hands that really breaks down barriers!

Boodle Feast is held once a month, and book early, because it is popular and is already beginning to have a following.

As for Weston Creek… is there a light on the horizon? BIG YES! Kuisina is not the only light at the end of the tunnel, an excellent Gastropub has also popped, but that’s another story for another time! 🙂

Kusina on Urbanspoon

Camellia Sri Lankan Restaurant, Manuka

Kategasma - Entree - So Delicious!

One of the awesome things about being in a relationship with Em is the Sri Lankan food! She and her family cook amazing food; the spices, the coconut, the beautiful broken-down vegetables and meat – and of course, the chilli!

When we heard that there was a new Sri Lankan restaurant in town, we ran over there right away!

“Do you think you can take the heat?” asks Em as we run over to Camellia Sri Lankan restaurant “I’m not white, remember!” I protest. “Thats only a figment of your imagination. I’m cool as a native Sri Lankan when it comes to chilli!” but Em is skeptical, “Yeah right, honkey”.

Camellia is a Sri Lankan and Modern Australian restaurant, I had not heard of many of the menu items and I rubbed my hands together.

Em was so Hangry that day :)
Em was so Hangry that day 🙂
Waiting to EAT!
Waiting to EAT!

I wanted to try the unpronounceable dishes of course, things that are unique and I haven’t tried before, so for entree we chose Kategasma.

I’m glad we ordered exotic – this was dish of the night! It was a wonderful balance of sweet, sour, salty and hot. Sounds like south east asian cuisine right? Right! Em said that this is a modern Sri Lankan take on it. Beautifully cooked fish, sweet and hot devilled sauce with spices – just delicious, but the real surprise was how well the fresh red onion just completed the dish. You might think this would overpower the rest, not at all, it really did work well with the very deep flavour of the sauce. Great dish!

Emelia suggested Kottu Roti. It is like a fried rice or Biriyani with the edition of small chopped up pieces of roti. We had this with the signature beef curry.

Kottu Roti seems to be all about texture, the roti adds a really satisfying chewiness and bite to the dish. The beef curry was very deep in flavour, and for those of our readers who are worried about heat in these dishes, worry not! All the food was mild to medium… Em didn’t have to carry the Whiteboy out in a wheelbarrow! 🙂

Beef Curry-Delicious.
Beef Curry-Delicious.

We really felt like curry this night, so we ordered them all! To be honest they have a lot more on their menu, but lets face it – you come to a Sri Lankan restaurant for the curry. The chicken and lamb curries were equally as amazing as the chicken. As different in flavour as they all were, they shared three common themes: Refined, deep and DELICIOUS!

String hoppers - a unique Sri Lankan accompaniment to food :)
String hoppers – a unique Sri Lankan accompaniment to food 🙂
String hoppers and Chicken curry
String hoppers and Chicken curry
Lamb Curry
Lamb Curry

The service was very attentive and polite and the food was outstanding – and with the moderate price, it is highly recommended by us. Run down there! If you see an over excited Sri Lankan midget named EMELIA and an awesome whiteboy running through the streets of Manuka you know what’s going on! 🙂

I survived the Sri Lankan onslaught of CHILLI!!
I survived the Sri Lankan onslaught of CHILLI!!

Camellia Restaurant Sri Lankan Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Canberra Multicultural Festival 2014

Fans of the Fest!

Em is always late.

In fact you could call her ‘the late one’ in our relationship. Better yet, Miss Latey, or Captain Late-Pants. (N.B. This may be a complete fabrication constructed by the author to cover his own time-management shortcomings.)

Either way, she was once again nowhere to be seen when I arrived at the Multicultural Festival on Friday afternoon to the sound of driving African percussion, the crush of the crowds and the smell of a hundred delicious cuisines!

A bit of background, The Canberra Multicultural Festival is the best weekend in Canberra. It has been happening for over 20 years and just gets better every year! You feverishly seek to eat as many different foods as you can, like a ravenous hound, which are made with love – It’s Canberra’s thank-you to all those cultures that bring so much life to our city.

I went wandering and found a delegation of West Papuans who had been flown over by the festival to raise awareness for their country. They cheerfully offered me books and literature and a quick chat, they also gave me a cup of very special coffee – free of charge, of rare quality and flavour! The crushed beans still in the glass, I felt like I was tasting the freshest and most lively brew, a little bit of West Papua in a cup. Don’t mistake me – this was a premium product par excellence.

After trading emails I moved on, and finally found Em. She had been mobbed by fans of the show! It’s funny, its the first time we’ve really gone out after being on the show, and we didn’t realise that now we cannot go 5 steps without lovely people coming up and saying nice things to us and wanting photos, it’s quite bizarre! But we love you all, thank you for all your kindness and support. Go Canberra!

Meeting new friends!
Meeting new friends!

When we finally got to move on, we tried Croatian meat balls with Avjar chilli Sauce. This was very nice, the sauce was great, a medium hit of chilli and a good starter. We headed off to Sri Lankan stall outside Banana Leaf Restaurant, they were making Kottu Roti (this is similar to Pad Thai, except with strips of roti instead of rice noodle) in front of everyone, quite a theatrical process!

Making Kottu Roti
Making Kottu Roti

While I was in the line waiting for my Kottu Roti, Em wandered off promising to bring me back a morsel of happiness, she struck gold when she brought back some Thai satays and Lamb and Basil curry puffs. The satays were really average to tell you the truth but the Lamb parcels were exquisite! They were made with love… the pastry was flaky, crisp and well-made, the filling was an explosion of hearty lamb mince and aniseedy basil. Such a unique flavour! Just one of those times at the Festival when you strike gold.

We got our Kottu Roti and it was great, although the beef curry that went along with it was a little salty for my palate. Em assures me that Sri Lankan food is usually very salty… Ok well I can accept that 🙂

Lastly, Em saw some friends who invited her into their Sri Lankan restaurant and made us hoppers, Dhal, Pol Sambol and Beef curry, which was all so delicious, and a lovely way to round-out the night.

Multicultural festival is special to many of us Canberrans, what are your Multicultural Festival stories from this year?

P.S. Sorry for the rubbish quality photos this time, we were missing our good camera and were having too much fun! 🙂

Multicultural Festival is incredibly popular, the crowds are so big you are shoulder to shoulder with happy revellers!
Multicultural Festival is incredibly popular, the crowds are so big you are shoulder to shoulder with happy revellers!

BrodPeloton – Andrew and Emelia’s first event!

[quote]In Canberra we love our bikes – the city is perfect for it! We also love our food and friends, we often ride off to different places to eat and enjoy each other’s company.[/quote]

This is the first event we will be running for all who want to be involved, showcasing Canberra lifestyle, places and people. We want to show that today’s Canberra is far from boring, it is the perfect balance of big city things to do, and bush capital peace and quiet. Meaning, you can go out and party, then come home and enjoy a nice quiet cup of tea as you listen to the gum trees sway in the breeze, often without a car to be heard. Canberra is Australia’s best kept secret 🙂

Brodburger is a Canberra institution, you simply must go there if you’re visiting Canberra or a local, get out there! They make the most delicious Beef, chicken, fish and veggie burgers, all with your choice of blue, swiss, vintage or fetta cheese. www.brodburger.com.au – Best to order ahead, they are quite busy!

Anyway to stay posted guys, we will be posting new events all the time so friend us on FB! 🙂