The Forage, NewActon

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Last week we battled with the cold Canberra winter and headed down to Hustle & Scout and The Forage to check out the awesome Canberra fashion and food. There is no fashion in this post but there is plenty of food! This was my second time at The Forage. The last one back in April was the first time they introduced food to Hustle & Scout and I absolutely loved it. Last time there were only a couple of food stores but this time The Forage has really expanded to include heaps of different goodies to try including Mr Papa with their awesome Peruvian treats, Mocan & Green Grout making Vietnamese banh mi, Cherville with their French goodies, Little Oak Sanctuary fundraising with super tasty vegan dogs, Nookie with coffee and sweet treats, Hardcore Carnivore from all the way in Bega with meaty goodness, Poachers Pantry with their smoked goods, Lindsay & Edmunds doing hot chocolates, the Canberra Cake Club feeling yummy sweet treats, Bing Bang with their mulled wines or other alcholic goodies and other awesome food stalls that I’ve probably missed.

Last time, I only tried a couple of goodies including Mr Papa’s pork belly bun. This time we were determined to try out as much as possible and I think we did pretty well! Onwards to the food!

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First up, I grabbed a Vegan hot dog ($8) vegan dog, tofu cheese, vegan sour cheese and avocado from Little Oak Sanctuary. Little Oak Sanctuary is an animal sanctuary based a little out of Canberra. Apparently they take in all sorts of animals and care for them while they’re healing up, on the night they were at The Forage selling these goodies to fundraise. I’ve never had a vegan hot dog, actually outside of fake meat, I’ve never really tried imitation foods before, I find that they don’t really taste exactly like they’re supposed to be imitating, they’re similar but delicious in a different way.

Though I don’t usually do imitiation foods, this dog was amazing! The vegan dog was flavoursome with hints of herbs and tomatoes to it, it was also really nice and moist. The cheese was super interesting! You could definitely taste tofu but the texture was similar to shredded cheese but just a little softer and it was super creamy. The sour cream and avocado added extra creaminess to the whole dog and really balanced out the flavour of the dog. If vegan food tastes this good all the time, I could totally stop eating animal products! Ouk probably couldn’t give up meat though.

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Next up, the Beef and ricotta meatballs ($9) from Dinner Rush. These were yummy, a little cold but I can’t blame them, everything just froze up the minute it hit the chilly air, even my soup was lukewarm! As for the meatballs themselves, super tasty! they were super flavoursome but with no overpowering tomato taste to it which is a risk that I tend to find with meatballs. There were big chunks of ricotta cheese that was just sitting amongst the sauce which I really appreciated, instead of having it melted into the meatballs or sauce. This way you could just take bites out of delicious cheese if you wanted, and could see the quality ingredients going into it. The bread was from Silo and it was fantastic, it had garlic baked into it and just really complimented the strong flavours of the meatballs really well! This was a really messy dish to try and eat like a burger, things just kind of fell apart as soon as you tried to grip it, no structural integrity to the bread sadly, but regardless of how annoying it was to eat it was extremely tasty!

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Couldn’t go past the Braised BBQ chicken wings ($5) with mushroom ketchup and almonds from Cherville. These weren’t huge, we joked about where the wings came from because when I look at a chicken wing, I don’t see anything that looks even remotely like this, we wonder if it came from like a quail bird or something. Not great value for money but absolutely still worth it because they were really tasty. The chicken wings had a really strong satay flavour and the meat itself was really moist and tender, it was great. Also, I need to give props to whoever thought of the concept of a mushroom ketchup! Absolutely wonderful! It was really creamy and really balanced out the richness in the satay flavours, it was like a strong mushroom soup but a lot thicker. The almonds were also a nice touch, giving the wings texture and nuttiness.

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Next up, a Pulled pork bun ($10) with Southern style smoky BBQ sauce and aioli dressed slaw on a panini roll from Hardcore Carnivore. Apparently these guys are based out in Bega! I either overheard someone say that or saw it online somewhere, can’t really remember. Nevertheless, pretty cool to be getting treats from outside of Canberra as well. This pulled pork bun was on the sweeter side with a touch of acidity to it. The pull pork was nice and tender, and also quite sweet and acidic which made me think it had been through some apple cider vinegar, the slaw was really creamy and added tanginess to the richness of the pork. The bread was quite dense and helped balance out the rest of the rich pork flavours. Overall, this bun was really quite sweet and sour, which some people might be into, if you’re one of them, then this is for you! 

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Another plate from Hardcore Carnivore, the Greek lamb and goat meatballs ($10) on a feta, white bean and rocket salad with Tzatziki and flatbread. These were really nice, the meat was really heavily flavoured in Mediterranean spices and flavours. As with most Mediterranean dishes the spices took centre stage and this was no different! Lamb was a perfect choice for these balls as the spices went perfectly in balancing out the naturally strong lamby flavours. These balls went perfectly with the tzatziki sauce with fresh diced cucumbers, though in the cold weather, we were lamenting any sauce that pre-emptively cooled down a hot dish. There was also a lovely fresh salad of feta, rocket and pine nuts which really freshened up the whole dish and made it feel really light in the mouth. Really summery, I wish the weather complimented the food more!

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Something to warm up from the cold, a Celeriac and truffle soup ($6) from Cherville. This was amazing! I wish it was a little warmer but everything got cold the moment it hit the cold Canberra air. The soup was super creamy and savoury. I’ve never really had celeriac much before so I’m not quite sure what it is meant to taste like, but if everything with celeriac in it tasted as good as this, I would definitely be happy to add celeriac into my veggie routine! There was a generous shaving of truffle which added a lovely smokiness and earthiness to the soup. I wonder if I can get this soup anywhere else in Canberra, so tasty and warming.

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Finally, something delicious and sweet, Egg tart and lemon meringue tart ($3.50 each) from Street Bites. Apparently Street Bites is a collaboration between the guys at Nookie and someone who owns a couple of cafes in the Parliamentary Triangle area. The sweets are from the first half, the Nookie half. There was a delicious egg tart which was warm and oozing with eggy goodness. The pastry was fluffy, light, flakey and buttery, absolutely delicious! The egg was creamy and just perfect. For $3.50, its quite an affordable egg tart and much tastier than the stuff you get from Bread Top and etc. The lemon tart was great, the lemon curd was quite tangy but this was nicely balanced by the very sweet meringue topping.

Totally wished we got to check out Poachers Pantry, they had an awesome looking dish with flat bread with some meat. Or Bing Bang bar, some warm mulled wine would have been an awesome way to warm us up that freezing night. Well, there’s always next time. Absolutely cannot wait to see what you’ll have installed for us next time at The Forage and Hustle & Scout.

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