Akiba

Andrew and I had been planning to go to Akiba since it opened.  When it first opened in early December we wanted avoid the hype and crowds and wait until they sorted out their teething issues like every brand new restaurant.  Last night we rode our bikes into Civic and tried the Tokyo inspired restaurant.

As soon as you enter you feel the energy pulsing through the place.  There were wait staff busily delivering orders and taking them.  You can feel the passion of every one working there.

Our waiter for the evening was Jed.  He was so enthusiastic about the food and was happy to describe all the flavours and ingredients for us.

Andrew perusing the menu
Andrew perusing the menu

 

Andrew and I were famished.  We have just started riding our bikes again and it was a little later than we usually have dinner so we were keen to order.  We ordered what felt like EVERYTHING!  We’ll have all the foods please!!!

All the plates are designed to share, which we love.  A little taste of this, a little taste of that.  Tiny little morsels of happiness to enjoy.

We started with their home made soft drinks, I had a Sour Cherry and Vanilla Soda and Andrew had the Pineapple, Lime and Chilli Soda. His was the clear winner, the flavours were fresh and intense.

We had the Sydney Rock oysters with a ume Migonette.  These were fresh and light and were great given the humidity of the night. A great start to the meal.

natural oyster, ume mignonette $10 for 4 oysters
natural oyster, ume mignonette $10 for 4 oysters

Once we had ordered everything came out lighting fast. This restaurant works like a well oiled machine. The kingfish sashimi was amazing!  We were careful to gather every single drop of that sauce. It was salty and sweet and spicy.

kingfish sashimi, coconut, nam jim, coriander $12
kingfish sashimi, coconut, nam jim, coriander $12

We had a variety of other dishes that we really enjoyed.  The dumplings had a great salty, sour, hot sauce to slurp up with them.  All the flavours were surprising and worked together very well.  I love water chestnuts the texture is what makes this dumpling work.

The Bao were great we especially loved the pork belly one.  The sauce was delicious and sticky.  The soft shell crab had great crunchy texture but the filling wasn’t really enough for the amount of bread we got. That was really only a minor complaint in comparison how good everything else was.

 

One of my favourites was the Kimchi Pancake.  It didn’t look like much when it came out but ‘wow’ the flavours punched you in the face.  The texture of the pancake was soft and chewy and the spicy Kimchi came through.

Emelia
I’m so excited about digging into those fluttering little bonito flakes! YUM!!!

All in all we had a great night out.  The food and service was amazing.  The atmosphere was fun and we went home completely stuffed!  Surprisingly it was cheaper than we had expected too.

We can’t wait to go back and try everything else!!!

 

Akiba on Urbanspoon

Capitol Bar and Grill – QT Canberra

A few of my friends and I thought it might be a great idea to check out the new and improved restaurant at the new QT Canberra (formerly known as Rydges Lakeside)  many of us who work in the hospitality industry have been waiting with bated breath to see what QT Canberra has to offer.  To our delight the hotel has really embraced Canberra’s political focus and it has a tongue in cheek air about it.  On Fridays they often have Burlesque dancers in the their underground speakeasy – Lucky’s.  Lucky’s is a laid back 1920’s Chicago style bar that has great snack foods and amazing old school cocktails.

Sheree, Paula, Kate and I met up for dinner on a quiet Thursday night looking forward to casual catch up at Capitol Bar and Grill.   The menu was extensive, there were so many things on offer, from steaks, pastas, pies and salads.  We were overwhelmed by all the choices and weren’t sure what to try.  All the options looked amazing!!!

Now to Capitol Bar and Grill.  The old establishment Locanda, was known for it’s amazing steaks and I think Capitol Bar and Grill is still going to be able to cater  for that market as they have very solid steak menu. They dry age all of their steaks in house.  They have been really clever and used it as a feature of their restaurant where you can go see your steak before it’s cooked being dry aged – AWESOME!!!!

We started off with a bread basket to share.

The best part about this bread basket was that they have especially churned butter from Pepe Saya!  It was delicious and super cute!!!

We Thought we would split a plate of the Capitol Bar and Grill’s antipasto plate.  We had seen quite a few of them going around and well, we wanted one too.  When it came out.  It was laden with house made mortadella, prosciutto, anchovies, mini black truffle omeletes, parmasen,salumi, tuna stuffed bell peppers, skewers with melon, bocconcini, tomato and basil. We had a lovely waiter with an Italian accent explain what everything was to us.

It was a cold Canberra night and we were in the mood for a hearty pasta.  Sheree and Paula ordered the Homemade Ravioli filled with pork and veal ragu that has been slow cooked for 6 hours, it was served with a burnt butter sage sauce and truffled pecorino.  From all accounts this was a delicious dish.  The girls raved about how favoursome the filling in their ravioli was and how well the pasta was made.  I think the truffled pecorino was a great accompaniment to this dish.

One of my favourite things about the Capitol Bar and Grill are their plates.  Each plate has a little picture of Parliament House or Old Parliament House on it.  I thought it was a really nice touch.  I really wanted to steal a set for my own personal collection but I resisted the urge.

I really felt like some robust meaty flavours and my eyes wouldn’t go past the Rigatoni Salsiccia – a promise of meaty Italian sausage in a spicy tomato sauce.  Did someone say spicy???  I say SOLD!!!!!

Kate ordered something completely different with the Veal Cutlet.  It came out huge on the plate served with some lemon and asparagus spears.   It meat was tender and juicy and the crumb looked golden and cooked to perfection.  Kate seemed pretty happy with her choice.

Now on to the desserts….  Normally I’m not one to order dessert.  I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I like to save my sweet tooth tummy for more savoury deliciousness.  This time was an exception, Kate and I decided to split the Chocolate profiteroles and Sheree and Paula chose the donuts with syringes filled with jam and custard.  It’s safe to say that neither option failed to deliver. We were so excited about profiteroles when they hit the table.  It was just like an Easter surprise.  The dark chocolate sauce was slightly bitter and luxurious.

The donuts came out piping out and coasted with delicious cinnamon sugar.  The syringes were really cute and the jam was delicious.  We all got a taste of these.  They were delicious!

All in all our dining experience at Capitol Bar and Grill was great.  The service was attentive and professional the wait staff knew all the dishes on the menu well and were able to make very good recommendations.  We found that this was a reasonable well priced restaurant too.  We each paid $60 for dinner and wine.    I’m looking forward to going there again and sampling some other things from the menu.

Capitol Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

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

EightySix Restaurant Braddon

Em and Andrew greedily waiting for their food at the bar

[quote]EightySix is built for a new generation of foodie – a highly adventurous, food conscious and quickly bored generation![/quote]

 

The chefs seem to be as restless as the clientele, not a menu to be found on the tables, instead dishes are scrawled on the walls and seemingly rubbed off again as quickly as they appear.

We arrive to a very well lit and great smelling room full of people and are seated at the bar. Well, not really a bar more like a portal into the open kitchen for all to see – the centrepiece of the restaurant. The chefs are busily cooking and assembling the meals and it’s a pleasure to watch this well-oiled machine. We order glasses of Pomerey, the essential drink to have at 86, and soak in the atmosphere…

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First entrée was local oysters, the Sydney rock variety has been unfairly given a bad wrap compared to the larger Pacific oysters, but these had been hand-picked by the chefs and tasted fantastic. Love a good natural oyster!

Local Sydney Rock Oysters... Yum!
Local Sydney Rock Oysters… Yum!

The Scallops on cauliflower and fennel puree was an amazing combination of soft textures. The scallops were beautifully cooked with a golden kiss on each side. The chorizo crumbs were a really nice touch, really lifting the dish with a nice hit of salty, savoury goodness!

Scallop on cauliflower and fennel puree
Scallop on cauliflower and fennel puree

The prawn ceviche was the only mildly disappointing dish of the night, because the prawns were lacking a bit of flavour. We think that’s because the prawns were out of season. Whatever the reason, the prawns were getting lost in the rest of the ceviche – which was delicious – but we did want to taste those prawns.

Prawn Ceviche with Cumin Flatbread
Prawn Ceviche with Cumin Flatbread

The Duck Ragu was outstanding. I can still taste that slow cooked duck, spices and subtle tomato flavour. The texture of the homemade papardelle was outstanding… this was a highly satisfying dish.

Duck Ragu with Papardelle
Duck Ragu with Papardelle

 

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The whole night there was one chef who was churning out plate after plate of this delicious, slow cooked then grilled Jerk chicken. We got so curious that we actually changed one of our mains to this one, just to see what all the fuss was about. Lucky we did, it was spicy, sweet, charcoal grilled and melted off the bone. To Jerk or not to Jerk? When it comes to EightySix ALWAYS JERK!!

Jerk Chicken
Jerk Chicken

This Pretzel Banoffee Pie was very nice and Em was loving it. While I thought the execution was great and the pie was technically good, I wanted the perfect marriage of banana and caramel, and it was almost there. I think the bananas weren’t up to the pie, if you know what i mean! But this was very minor and I did enjoy it.

Pretzel Banoffee Pie
Pretzel Banoffee Pie

 

One Happy Chappee!
One Happy Chappee!

 

Eightysix on Urbanspoon

Burmese Curry Place – A Canberra Institution

Burmese Curry!  This place is an institution in Canberra. A lot of people know about it, but it really is one of Canberra’s unsung heros.  It has a basic menu of 9 dishes that are available every week day for lunch or dinner.  The basic concept is that you can choose two dishes and it’s served on a bed of steamed rice.  The curries are spicy and salty and they hit the spot every single time.  You can make them more spicy if you like, the Burmese Curry Place provide you with extra chilli to give your curries some extra kick. They have the same curries every day

[unordered_list style=”star”]
  • Prawn and Chicken Curry
  • Fish Curry
  • Chicken and Potato Curry
  • Sweet Pork Curry
  • Fish Cake Curry
  • Egg Curry
  • Vegie Curry
  • Chicken and Bean Curry
  • Beef and Potato Curry

Andrew with his Fish Cake and Beef Curries - Loving Life.  Andrew with his Fish Cake and Beef Curries – Loving Life.

One Wednesday Andrew and I were at a bit of a loose end looking for a quick bite to eat before we went for a walk around the lake when we thought BURMESE CURRY! We love it so much.  It reminds us of a little Asian street eat place, right here in the heart of Canberra.  I had the Chicken & Prawn Curry and the Fish Curry.  Andrew had the Beef Curry and the Fish Cakes.  DELICIOUS!

Where else can you get better value? $10 for a delicious meal and a drink.

Me eating a delicious prawn from my Prawn & Chicken Curry!
Me eating a delicious prawn from my Prawn & Chicken Curry!

Burmese Curry Place on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Delissio in Braddon – A Sunny Sunday Breakfast date!

Delissio's delicious take on Eggs Benedict with avocado for the win!
Delissio’s delicious take on Eggs Benedict with avocado for the win!

 

A few of us went out for breakfast on the weekend and we thought we would try somewhere that none of us have been to but has been there for a long time.  Delisso.  Andrew looked up the breakfast menu and there were quite a few things that caught our eye!

Ze German breakfast – looked like a heart attack on a plate but one we had to try! The Quinoa porridge – Corinne is on a health kick and thought this one would be a great one to try.

German breakfast with Pork Belly, Potatoes, Spinach and Apples
German breakfast with Pork Belly, Potatoes, Spinach and Apples
Quinoa and Berry Porridge
Quinoa and Berry Porridge

Overall the food was really good and pretty good value for money.  I think we’ll add this to our regular rotation list.

Delissio Brasserie on Urbanspoon