Cafe

Passiontree Velvet, Macquarie Park

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Now that I’m back in Sydney, I’m retracing all the places I’ve missed since I left, all the new restaurants, cafes and shops. Finally getting a chance to sample all the food that inspired those drool worthy pictures that covered my Instagram feed over the years.

One place that has been showing up again and again is Macquarie Park. Back when I was in university, no one wanted to go to Macquarie University. It was out of the way and everything around it kind of sucked. There was nothing nearby to do or eat. It was just you, your university buildings and lots and lots of trees. Nothing against trees, but you know, you can’t eat em.

Well after a few short years, it looks like that has all changed. It seems like all the new hotness is opening up in Macquarie Park. The latest brands, exclusive stores and amazing restaurants. Because of that, naturally during my first week back in Sydney, I decided to pay Macquarie Park a visit. I was actually keen to try out KIN by us, which is just around the corner from the shopping centre. However, as it was a public holiday they were closed. I probably should have checked that before hand but as per usual, I didn’t. Luckily for me, there was still plenty of goodness on offer, and in particular Passiontree Velvet.

I wasn’t really looking out for this place. I kind of just stumbled on it while lost in Macquarie Centre. This is the first shopping centre that I’ve been to that has half floors. And the difference between a half floor and a full floor is five steps or a small ramp so needless to say, navigating this place sucks. So while I was wandering around looking for Aqua S, somewhere near the Aldi and the Coles, I stumbled across an island that happened to be Passiontree Velvet. To be honest, at the time I wasn’t really looking for it, but I was definitely happy to see it!

Passiontree Velvet is another fantastic export from Brisbane. Now all we need is MOS Burger to finally get exported! This modern looking cafe serves coffees, tea, light lunch meals and cakes. It’s not your typical cafe like The Coffee Club or the like, instead here, you’ll find croque monsieurs, baguettes and macarons, so it’s decidedly French. You can even settle here for a simple high tea with scones and Devonshire cream or the full deal with petit fours and ribbon sandwiches; in hindsight maybe Euro is more appropriate as opposed to French.

But what took my fancy were the cakes. Passiontree Velvet’s cabinets are filled with multiple scrumptious looking cakes, pastries and eclairs. Everything from your classics to more modern and fancy one.

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Instead of lunch, I decided to do the smart thing, and let cake be my lunch! For once, I decided to opt for some of the classics, instead of going for one of the crazy looking ones, like the log which looked like a forest with grass and green moss. Instead, here I went for the Pistachio and berry log ($7.50).

This was a simple treat but a tasty one. An airy and light eclair shell which had a really nice and strong eggy flavour to it, filled with a creamy but rather mild pistachio and nutty almond flavoured custard like fulling. This crispy but doughy like treat was covered in a pistachio and white chocolate which reinforced the nutty flavour of the pistachio and added that much needed sweetness that wasn’t really present in the custard filling. Finally there were a couple of strawberries and blueberries which added that contrasting sourness and really brought this whole pastry together.

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Every time I go to a patisserie, I always try to get a Lemon tart ($7.50). 1) because it’s one of my favourite pastries and 2) because it’s an absolute classic and any place that can’t do a solid lemon tart worries me. That is, I’ll think twice before trying something else there.

Luckily, that was not the case here. This lemon tart from Passiontree Velvet hit the spot perfectly. A perfectly smooth lemon curd with that strong citrus tang and that contrasting sweetness which cut right through it. This was paired with a rich and buttery tart and a sweet and fluffy meringue. This was the perfect balance between sweet, acidic tang and rich pastry.

There wasn’t anything special about this lemon tart but as a classic, its still the perfect treat after a long day with a strong cup of tea, not that I had a cup of tea or a long day, I guess. I mean, I was just shopping, which most people consider leisure or entertainment. But for me, thats a big day!

I’m a little disappointed I only sampled two desserts from Passiontree Velvet. Everything in their dessert cabinet, from the cakes to the macarons, looked so scrumptious. After sampling these two for myself, I think I might be dropping by again in the future for another cake or two!

Passiontree Velvet

Macquarie Centre, North Ryde

Website: passiontreevelvet.com

Facebook: facebook.com/passiontreevelvet/

Instagram: @PassiontreeVelvet

Opening hours:

Monday to Wednesday and Friday

9:30am to 6:00pm

Thursday

9:30am to 9:00pm

Saturday

9:00am to 6:00pm

Sunday

10:00am to 6:00pm

Passiontree Velvet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Ivy and the Fox, Acton

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Over the long weekend (woo right?!) we decided to pop over and try the somewhat newly opened Ivy and the Fox, situated in the extremely beautiful and picturesque Old Canberra House in the ANU. Ivy and the Fox is the newest cafe from the brains behind the absolutely delicious (and my current favourite cafe in Canberra) Fox and Bow down in Farrer. So when I heard that this was opening up I actually got more excited than I normally do when I hear about a new place opening.

The first thing that struck me about Ivy and the Fox was its amazing location. Maybe it’s the emergence of spring but the place surrounding Ivy and the Fox is just so great to look at. Tall leafy trees overlooking the lake in the distance with beautiful grass and shrubs everywhere. It makes you forget for just a moment that you’re literally a 5 minute drive from Canberra’s CBD. It’s one of the perks of this place that’s easy to overlook, the ability to get so close to a really natural setting whilst still being essentially ‘in the city’ is something I’m starting to appreciate more and more as I spend more time in Canberra.

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Ivy and the Fox seems to understand how beautiful its surrounding is, with huge open windows and copious amounts of outdoor seating to let you soak it all in. In addition, I was shown this little crate full of picnic rugs that were available for use as well, so you can sit outside and soak in the sun while dining on delicious goodness from Ivy and the Fox.

The menu here at Ivy and the Fox is quite similar to that at Fox and Bow though with a few key differences to cater for the slight differences in expected clientele. Where Fox and Bow is bombastic and creative, Ivy and the Fox takes a more subtle, nuanced approach, taking much loved classics and giving them a slight twist, which I felt fit perfectly with the surrounds.

As always, enough about things that aren’t food, time for some food talk!

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I was exceptionally hungry that morning, having breakfast at roughly 1pm so I opted for the big boy, the king of the hill, the…well you know. Anyway, this is the Mr. Fox ($19.9), eggs (mine were fried), chorizo, bacon, tomato, avocado, hash brown, toast and morcilla. I’ve mentioned countless times in the past about my love of morcilla and/or black pudding, so it must be no surprise to anyone that as soon as I saw morcilla as part of this dish, everything else just fell away, and I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.

This is essentially the big breakfast here at Ivy and the Fox and it definitely lives up to it! This was a mountain of food and me, in my hungry 1pm state was eager to devour the whole thing. The best part about this dish was simply the fact that it was simple and a classic. I know, weird thing to appreciate but there’s just something comforting about seeing great ingredients being cooked up and just having the quality of the produce do most of the talking. The bacon in particular was incredibly smokey and quite thick cut, so you could tell it wasn’t just the same bacon you get at the supermarket. Another thing I want to draw attention to was the delightful hash brown, which was shredded strands of potato, jammed together and deep fried. The contrast in texture between the crunchy heavily fried edges and the soft inners was just awesome.

All in all, this was essentially a big breakfast, so it’s pretty hard for me not to love something like this, it’s classic and simple, with each piece coming together on the plate bringing its own strong flavour to compliment each other. Did I also mention that morcilla was here? Because morcilla is freaking delicious, especially this one at Ivy and the Fox.

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Here’s our second meal from Ivy and the Fox, the Senorita Fox ($19.9). This is (at least from the name) the sister dish to the above Mr. Fox and shares some similarities, but where Mr. Fox is classic and simple, the Senorita Fox is presented quite artfully and definitely has a lot more creativity around its ingredient choices and plating. When this dish came out, what hit me first was the fantastic presentation. I know how easy it is to get sauce swirls and all that but still!

This comes with two poached eggs, ocean trout, avocado and grilled haloumi, all served on top of a thick piece of toast. This was much lighter and dare I say, more health conscious than the Mr. Fox, with a lot of the flavour coming from a lovely earthy pesto spread around the dish. Something I particularly enjoyed was the addition of the grilled haloumi. I love cheese, pretty much all cheeses, so if you can figure out a way to add cheese to a dish, and keep it classy, then I’m all over it.

Who am I kidding, I don’t really need things to be kept classy, we just need more cheese on everything.

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As always, whenever we order a serve of poached eggs, we play poached or pwned! As you can see in the picture above, (apologies in advance for how destroyed it looks) these came out poached! There was a thin layer of overcookedness to it, but overall a pass with flying colours and one of the better ones I’ve had here in Canberra. Plus, I prefer it like this than outright uncooked. So I’m not complaining.

Overall I enjoyed this dish and it was a great little counter to the heaviness of the Mr. Fox, and it was far better looking too! Which of course is all that matters, right?

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We also needed something tropical to usher in Spring and ended up with the El Macho ($7), which had pineapple, pear among other things (sadly I can’t find the menu online and I’m terrible with these things, so the price might also be wrong). I usually don’t expect much from juices, which is honestly a bit strange since I’ve had so many good ones since I started dining at cafes in Canberra, but this one was, again, a pleasant surprise.

One thing I loved was the presentation, a fantastic juice is one thing, but to give me a cute little umbrella to go with it? That’s impressive! Seriously though, I really liked this. As soon as I ordered it, I already had a few regrets despite the waitress calling this the ‘best juice in the world’ because I thought that perhaps the pineapple was going to be a bit too sour for me. I am happy to report that I was wrong on this, and that this juice was a fantastic way to feel summery even though we’re only in Spring. It was light, refreshing and definitely tropical. I recommend this.

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In what was an extremely pleasant surprise, we were also given complimentary Babycinos to finish off our meals. Earlier in the meal, the owner Alex came by and mentioned that he remembered us from when we had brunch over at his first place, Fox and Bow down in Farrer. At the end of our meal we were told this was to thank us for the continued support which was a fantastic gesture, since who’s going to turn down a free coffee!

First of all, I should mention that I don’t really know coffee, so my take on the quality of this coffee should be taken with a grain of salt, but I thought this was about as good as any coffee I’ve ever had, and I’ve had them from perennial fan favourites like The Cupping Room, Penny University, Lonsdale Street Roasters and many more. One thing that I can comment on is the fantastic little smiley ginger cookie that was included with the babycino! The ginger cookies were fantastic, we ended up chucking ours into the coffee and letting it soak up all that coffee goodness before munching into it. Not sure if that’s the way to do it, but well, we liked it.

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So that’s everything we had here at Ivy and the Fox. I must say, Fox and Bow did something fairly spectacular when it crept up on me and became my favourite cafe in Canberra. With that said, I expected pretty big things when Ivy and the Fox was announced and I’m pleased to say it fully lived up to those expectations. I had a great time here, the food is delicious, the location is beautiful and the service, charming. This is a place that I’d love to go back to, and since I was told they have live music on Sundays, I might have to make that the day for my next journey down here!

Ivy and the Fox

Old Canberra House, Acton

Facebook: facebook.com/Ivyfoxfood

Opening hours: 

Monday to Thursday

8:00am to 4:30pm

Friday

8:00am to 7:00pm

Saturday to Sunday

8:30am to 4:00pm

Ivy and the Fox Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lil’ Orbits, Jindabyne

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I love food and where ever I go, I try to check out the different restaurants, cafes and eateries to see what awesome food options are available, whether it’s a big city or a small country town. When I headed up to Jindabyne for the first time this season, I dragged my camera up with all my gear and snow clothes and had every intention to check out some of the restaurants. I had heard some pretty bad things about the food options around Jindabyne, everything from it’s simply bad, to it being totally overpriced, but as always, I wanted to try it for myself. However, during my first trip to Jindabyne, I didn’t get a single chance to eat out. Instead, after a long day on the slopes, all I wanted to do was sizzle up some sausages, munch on some rolls and head to bed, for another big day the next morning.

On my recent trip to the snows, I wasn’t expecting much different but out of habit, I hauled my camera into the car and figured whatever. Well, two hours into my first day on the slopes, I crashed in an awkward way and ended up spraining my ankle. Sad for me but hey silver lining, I got to check out a couple of eateries around Jindabyne, starting with Lil’ Orbits.

You’ll find Lil’ Orbits in the Skitube terminal, down on the actual platform in Perisher Valley. Its pretty hard to miss, its the only shop down in the Skitube terminal and it’s glowing red. I should mention, these donuts were actually recommended to me by a friend who goes skiing often, and after trying a random set of donuts in Thredbo and being completely blown away, I was pretty keen to sample and compare those donuts to these ones at Perisher. Said friend actually said she preferred these ones from Lil’ Orbits so I was quite excited!

The choices at Lil’ Orbit are simple, they offer a range of cafe goodies including coffees, hot chocolates, slushies, cordials, other cold drinks and of course their signature product, freshly made mini donuts or ‘orbits’ because they look like the rings of Saturn. Much like normal donuts do but…well whatever I guess.

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With the donuts, there are a couple of different choices, from straight cinnamon sugar coated donuts, to iced ones and even some cool little fancy iced ones, yes they’re actually called ‘fancy iced’. You can also get a couple of different sizes from a six pack to a bigger twelve size serving. Of course, you can also mix it up and get a combination of cinnamon donuts with some iced donuts or fancy iced donuts, so there’s tons of options.

We went a few times, and before my injury, I got a mix of eight cinnamon donuts and six iced donuts for $8 but didn’t really get any pictures of it, since we were so keen on the actual snowing. This time however, I got a mix of six fancy iced donuts and eight cinnamon donuts ($8.50). I figured, hey an extra 50c for some cool extra gummies and lollies, why not? I’d already spent the majority of my trip sitting in Perisher Valley watching kids learning to use the t-bar, I might as well reward myself.

I’ve never been a massive fan of most donuts but I actually really enjoyed these. They were either really really good or perhaps after a day on the slopes, everything tastes good. I’m going to go with the former, because even after a lazy day sitting in Perisher Valley, these were still as good as when I had them after a big day on the slopes.

The iced fancy donuts were simple, some fluffy house made bite sized donuts dipped in a chocolate, strawberry or caramel glazed, followed by a sprinkling of 100s and 1000s, rainbow or chocolate funfetti and finally, topped with a lolly. These were pretty nice but to be honest, I preferred the straight iced (not pictured here) donuts over these fancy ones. The gummies added an extra gummy and chewy texture that just went against the soft, airy and fluffy donuts. But, I’m sure these would be great for kids who would love the gimmick factor. Oh also, the iced donuts (including these fancy iced donuts) are not made fresh in front of you, they’re made and stored in the front window. I’m sure they’re probably made daily but its much cooler to see the donuts floating in oil and then two seconds later given to you to munch on.

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Here is the second half of our donuts, the six fancy iced donuts and eight cinnamon donuts ($8.50). While the fancy iced donuts are pretty awesome, these are so much better in my opinion. Who can say no to warm donuts that are made fresh when you order them?! Plus, you can see the whole thing unfold in front of you, from the dough being squeezed out, to the frying and finally, the very generous dusting of cinnamon sugar. Nothing overly complex, just simple, awesomely scrumptious, fluffy donuts.

My favourite part about these Lil’ Orbit donuts was the size. I’ve never been a massive fan of donuts (unless they’re Krispy Kreme donuts) as they’re typically really dense, heavy and can get boring real quick. However, as these are about the size of a 50c coin, super fluffy, really airy and light, they go down an absolute treat. Plus, you can have a whole bag of six or even twelve of these and not feel stuffed.

Overall, these donuts were tasty and I absolutely loved the texture. However, the cinnamon donuts out front at Thredbo are the winners for me, they just blew me away with how good they were. Although there was a cinnamon flavour to these donuts from Lil’ Orbits, the sugar dusting was definitely stronger, almost to the point where you couldn’t really tasty the cinnamon anymore. Even having had that said, I would still get these every time I’m heading back from Perisher.

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Finally, a Snickers hot chocolate ($3.50). This may just look like an inconspicuous take away coffee cup but the content inside this little cup was anything but unremarkable.

Its actually a little strange. Both Perisher and Thredbo seem to really push flavoured hot chocolates, but not just the boring ones you see at your typical cafe or coffee shop like, vanilla, hazelnut or what not. Instead, on the slopes, they seem to like chocolate bar themed hot chocolates. Here at Lil’ Orbits, they had this Snickers flavour while at Thredbo they had Snickers, Mars, Chocolate Mint and other cool things like that.

With this Snickers hot chocolate, you get a shot of hazelnut and caramel flavouring. It doesn’t sound like much but the addition of these two flavours really does take a plain old boring hot chocolate into something really tasty, and this is coming from someone who loves plain old boring hot chocolates! Plus, when your butt, wrist and every part of your body is sore and cold, this is the perfect way to end the night.

Well, that’s all. Some awesome donuts and a tasty flavoured hot chocolate. Not bad for a place that’s meant to be super bad for food and overpriced. I’ll definitely be back next season and I’ll definitely be getting more donuts from Lil’ Orbits. Maybe next time, I’ll be able to grab some photos of the donuts at Thredbo and do a write up about that too!

Lil’ Orbits 

Skitube Terminal, 2 Kosciusko Road, Perisher Valley

Lil' Orbit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barrio Collective Coffee, Braddon

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Another week, another post about a new cafe opening up in the perennial cafe launching pad that is Braddon! It has kind of gotten to a point where I’m looking for reasons to check out and write about places other than Braddon where possible, but I guess it is unavoidable at times. So after over two months, I finally headed over to Lonsdale Street to try out Barrio.

Normally, I’m not overly upset about waiting around to try new places. Places tend to need a bit of time bedding in their processes and to be honest, I just hate living up to the stereotype of a food blogger, where I’m that person just rushing out to try the new place BECAUSE ITS NEW MAN. But every now and then, there will be a place that makes me want to kick myself for not checking it out earlier. Barrio sadly, is one of those places.

Tucked away at the top of Lonsdale Street in a small little store, not measuring more than three by five is Barrio. Barrio is a quaint little place that offers a small menu of breakfast and light lunch options that don’t require a massive cook up. The kitchen is nothing more than a toastie machine and couple of other simple kitchen gadgets from what I can see unless they have a Harry Potter style invisiwall going on somewhere. There is also a long list of different coffee beans, teas and drinks. Barrio Collective Coffee as the name suggests, specialises in coffee but as a coffee newbie, I was primarily interested in the food.

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When we started browsing the menu at Barrio, this dish jumped out at us. Once I saw marrow butter, it was locked in. Sourdough with marrow butter, shallots and a fried egg ($16). As you may know, I love all things meaty, whether its bone broth, blood sausage or bone marrow. If I see one of these things on a menu, everything else becomes white noise.

Of late, these things seem to be so in. Look at any new and hip restaurant or eatery menu and you’ll see either blood sausage, bone marrow or bone broth. As a big fan of all these things, I’m very excited to see this turn of events in the food game. However, after eating many many dishes with these meaty goodies in them, I’ve been left greatly disappointed, especially when it comes to bone marrow. Most places seem to be jumping onto the bandwagon without truly making the most out of the amazing, rich and deep flavour of bone marrow. Instead, it just seems to be chucked on top as some sort of alternate gravy.

Here at Barrio, its a completely different story. The bone marrow is simply amazing and just so strong. It is one of the most meaty, tasty and rich marrows I’ve ever had, and this is in spread form! I’m not sure my words and hopeless descriptions are really doing this bone marrow justice, but this is about as close as you can get to literally sucking the marrow out of the bone. When compared to some of the ‘bone marrow jus’ that a lot of places are doing, this marrow butter at Barrio completely puts them to shame. If you like meat, you’ve got to give this dish a try. The fried shallots, dried onions and fried eggs were a nice addition, adding lovely eggy flavour, crispiness and extra earthiness but to be honest, they’re all just add ons. The star of this dish is the marrow butter and the delicious bread.

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Our second dish from Barrio was the Snowy Mountains trout with pickles and creme fraiche ($14). Although this didn’t have a stand out element like the sourdough and marrow butter dish did, it was still a fantastic allrounder. For some weird reason, while I was eating this, I felt like a fisherman from a small port side town, eating some of my home smoked ocean trout with my homemade pickles on a slab of stone that I picked up outside my cottage.

Everything about this dish felt so rustic. From the presentation to the actual food. There I was sitting in one of the most hipster cafes in Canberra, where the shop owners were wearing flannel with overgrown woodchopper beards but there was no kale, superfood or any of those other hipster buzz items to be seen. This was real. When a bunch of young people with a passion open up a store, this is what you get. Not some preppy rich kids whose parents give them money and they jump onto whatever bandwagon is available. Just a bunch of guys with a love for food and coffee. I might be a tad overzealous about the potential beginning of Barrio, but you know what I mean right?

As for the dish itself? Fantastic! Melt in your mouth ocean trout with a really rich smokey flavoured, couple with a variety of pickled vegetables includes onions, carrots and capers which perfectly cut through the richness and the fattiness of the trout and creme fraiche. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything else this good in Canberra. Simple but delicious.

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Of course, we couldn’t come to a place called Barrio ‘Coffee’ Collective and not get a drink so heres the Gypsy tea ($5) smoked black tea with burnt quince jam and milk. I know its not coffee but hey it’s the next best thing! I also decided to add a stroopwafel ($3) after seeing all these amazing comments by Tales of a Confectionist about stroopwafel, I had to see what this little biscuit had to offer.

But firstly, the tea! I’ve been impressed by everything that I’ve had so far at Barrio and this was no different. Originally I was going to get the chai which came with nut milk, which is Barrio’s homemade version of soy milk but sadly when we were there, they had ran out of nut milk so we opted for this interesting concoction instead. Something about smoked black tea jumped out at me and who can say no to burnt quince jam?

I had no idea what I was in for when I ordered this but on first sip, I was impressed. This tea was different to anything else I have ever had. It had this deep smokiness to it coupled with this berry like sweetness from the burnt quince jam. While I was drinking it, I swear it reminded me or something but I couldn’t put my finger on it. But that night it hit me, it was maple bacon! This smoked tea tasted like a mild maple bacon shake, just warm and delicious.

As for the stroopwafel, it was a pretty cool add. It was like a really thin and crispy waffle with this gooey layer of sweet and delicious caramel sauce in the middle. I don’t know if I was meant to but I ended up dipping the stroopwafel into my smoked tea, this made the caramel all gooey and awesome, but it didn’t end up like a Tim Tam slam or anything. I’d say that dipping is entirely optional.

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Finally, House made blood orange soda ($4) or atleast I think it was, theres also a fresh pressed blood orange on Barrio’s menu for $4 and this was blood orange but I swear the crew at Barrio said this was the house made soda, plus this was fizzy. I guess we will never know.

After having the sweet maple bacon like smoked tea with quince jam we decided to go for something refreshing and this house made blood orange soda hit the spot perfectly. It was the perfect combination of sweet and citrus goodness, coupled with just the right amount of fizz. There wasn’t much and when I finished it I was definitely left wanting more but hey for $4 its not bad at all.

On a side note and completely unrelated to food, so I have no idea what its doing on this post but the cups were really weird so I can’t help but mention it. Barrio uses ergonomic cups! Thats right, you can get an ergonomic cup that fits into your hand perfectly. Each cup comes with a little dint where your thumb can sit perfectly!

So that was my trip to Barrio. I only had two dishes and two drinks but from that tiny sample of Barrio’s menu, I was totally blown away. I’ve yet to be more impressed by another cafe in all of Canberra. This meal even competes with some of the fantastic fine dinning and degustations that I’ve had in Canberra. It was that good. I can’t vouch for the coffee here but I can say hands down best cafe in Canberra for food. This meal took me to another place, I felt like a fisherman in a sleepy town and it was nostalgic, not that I’ve ever been a fisherman living in a small sleepy port town but it just made me feel that way.

If you haven’t been to Barrio and you love good food, this is an absolute must! When I first saw Barrio opening up, I didn’t care to check it out, I thought it would be another hipster dive but one meal in and I’ve absolutely fallen in love. You can too! Ask me how! (Monkey Island fans…no? ok.)

Barrio Coffee Collective

Ori Building, 28 Lonsdale Street, Braddon

Website: barriocc.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/barriocc

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday

7:00am to 3:00pm

Saturday to Sunday

8:00am to 3:00pm

Barrio Collective Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, Liverpool

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Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is a Sydney institution that started on a fateful day in 1938 near the front gate of the Wolloomooloo naval dockyard. It actually has some pretty cool history for a variety of things like how they came up with the name ‘Tiger pie’ (based on the owner being a great boxer) but I won’t go into that too much since it’s all on the website anyway.

Harry’s is probably the one place where I’ve eaten and thought ‘if for whatever reason I end up spending a lot of my time writing words about food one day, then I really want to write words about you, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels.’ So it’s with great joy that I’m able to do this today since it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. There’s something about being able to get a meat pie at midnight that’s unmistakably Australian and it’s something I’ve always appreciated since no one else seems willing to brave some of those cold winters nights to support people who just plain love eating food at all times of the night. Except kebab joints, wonderful, wonderful kebab joints.

Anyway, back when I was growing up, Harry’s was always a place I loved going to, but it wasn’t a place that I went too often, purely because it was just so far away from my house and a complete pain to get to. Thankfully, during my exile in Canberra, Harry’s answered my prayers and opened up a store in Liverpool, which means I can get Harry’s every time I head back to Canberra now. I think my heart hates me for it because there is also a giant Krispy Kreme next to the Harry’s in Liverpool and I always end up getting a crapload of donuts every time I go there as well.

Wow. When I read over that I realise I’m just really unhealthy.

Anyway, here’s some pies and dogs.

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First up we have the classic, the famous Tiger pie ($7.20). This has been voted as Sydney’s best pie and to be honest it’s extremely hard to argue with that. It’s a classic lean beef pie topped with mash potato, mushy peas and gravy. One cool little feature of the tiger pie is that the crew at Harry’s make a little dimple in the peas before they pour the gravy over the top. This ensures that whilst this is still fairly impossible to eat like a normal pie (that is, you must knife and fork this thing), it does make it considerably less messy to eat, and it make you feel fuzzy to know that the staff at Harry’s have your best interests at heart.

The pie itself is pretty standard, nothing gourmet about it, but you can probably tell from the above picture that it’s under no illusions of trying to be either. The crust is crispy and the meat inside is a really high quality beef, though it can get a little dry for me sometimes. One thing that I do to combat this, and I do this every time I eat a tiger pie now; I’ll use the knife and fork to poke a hole in the top of the pie, scoop some guts out, and then start mixing gravy and peas in the carved out pie carcass. It’s pretty fantastic, and I’ve never seen anyone do it so I’m going to try and patent that or something.

I’m not going to go into how the textures play off each other or anything because I figure if you can’t imagine how a meat pie with mashed potato on top of it would taste, then I doubt some words on a screen will help you. You know what will though? Going to any of their many locations and grabbing one of these. You likely won’t regret it, and once you do, you’ll be able to say you’ve had a Tiger pie from Harry’s. I’m pretty sure somewhere out there, there’s a list of things you must do as a Sydneysider. Getting a picture taken looking over your back while you look over Bondi Beach is probably on it, and trying a Tiger pie from Harry’s should probably be there too.

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Secondly, we have the Harry’s Hot Dog de Wheels ($6.50). First off, forgive us if the prices are kind of wrong, we forgot to take a picture of the menu board and the website doesn’t seem to list prices so we’re going off memory here. It’s close though.

The Harry’s Hot Dog de Wheels is Harry’s premier hot dog and is actually my absolutely favourite number one item to get there, just edging out the Tiger pie. I love pies as much as the next guy but this? Look at it! A fantastic wiener, with a big helping of chilli con carne, garlic onions, mushy peas, topped with a swirl of cheese sauce and to top all of that off, a big straight line of chilli sauce.

Everything about this hot dog is pretty fantastic, and again, I should mention that this is not a gourmet dog or anything, nor is it trying to be. It’s a hearty, homely hot dog and if you’re only interested in the kinds of dogs you get outside of the Grounds on Saturday morning, then you may be a bit disappointed. The dog itself is a straight up American style skinless frank, nothing too flashy, but in my opinion these dogs work best with chilli con carne anyway because they’re not trying to overpower things with too much herbs and spices.

One thing I feel I should mention is how big this thing is! It’s filling! I’ve made the mistake in the past of planning a big Sydney food trip and setting up Harry’s Cafe de Wheels as a pre-lunch snack. As you all know, on a food trip the biggest concern is how can you eat at all the places you want to and still keep that precious, precious stomach space. Don’t make the same mistake I did, the hot dog here is big and it deserves to be straight up lunch.

In conclusion, Harry’s is pretty great. It’s not gourmet and it’s not hipster (almost went a whole post without saying that word), but it’s filling, hearty and fantastically homely. One of my favourite places in Sydney and a great place to grab a quick, cheap feed.

Harry’s Cafe de Wheels

Shop 1/20 Orange Grove Road, Liverpool

Website: harryscafedewheels.com.au/

Facebook: facebook.com/harryscafedewheels

Opening hours 

Sunday to Thursday

9:00am to 11:00pm

Friday to Saturday

9:00am to 1:00am
Click to add a blog post for Harry's Cafe de Wheels on Zomato

The Drawing Room, Crace

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Its always nice to see new restaurants opening up in non hipster hotspots. It seems to be one of my favourite past times of late; seeking our suburban foodie gems and writing up about them. I guess you’ve probably heard it to death now from me, so I won’t blabber on about it too much. But needless to say, its probably one of my favourite things about Canberra. Being able to live out in the burbs and still get good food. Its not something you can get easily in Sydney, you either brave the traffic or train system or stick to ethnic food which is readily available outside of the city (awesome but sometimes you just want some flowers on your porridge and kale in your juice).

The Drawing Room in Crace is another one of these awesome cafes outside of your typical hipster hot spots, i.e. Braddon, New Acton and Kingston. Its a new cafe located just before Gunghalin and in the brand spanking new suburb of Crace. When I first saw that we were heading to Crace, I assume we were going to the south side. Oh how bad my Canberra geography is. Like everything else in Crace, The Drawing Room is modern, clean and sleek with elements of hipster here and there but surprisingly very child and family friendly. That was probably the first thing I noticed, lots of big families with young children. I guess The Drawing Room kind of caters to it as well, they’ve got the basics like high chairs and what not but they’ve also got a ‘games room’ where kids can hang out and run a muck, all away from the actual cafe. The game room apparently has two PlayStations as well!

Not only do they look modern and sleek, The Drawing Room is also super tech savvy as well. I know that sounds kind of stupid, who cares right? Well, nothing is more awesome than typing in a new restaurant into your Google navigator and hey presto, you’re on your way. No need to fiddle around on their Facebook page or website to work out the actual address and then typing it in. Not only that, you can also find the full menu online, as well as a Facebook page and an Instagram for all your pre eats research.

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For our trip to The Drawing Room, we decided to munch on a couple of things from their breakfast menu. First up, the Blini ($16) potato and shallot fritter with wilted spinach, tomato chutney, bacon, a poached egg and some lemon infused olive oil. This was a pleasant surprise, and it was entirely due to how uncultured/unknowledgeable I am, so all you blini aficionados out there, please excuse the next couple of sentences. When I saw that it was a fritter on the menu I was expecting something big, chunky and greasy. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have liked that, I love all things greasy anyway but this was much cleaner and actually felt almost healthy which is really hard to do with a big slab of bacon sitting atop it.

I actually thought that this was just The Drawing Room’s take on a fritter since it wouldn’t be out of the question for a nice cafe to try and make things healthier where it can. I didn’t realise until later that a blini is actually a thin type of pancake, and upon learning that it all made sense for me. As for the blini itself, it was flatter than a normal fritter, but still just as fluffy, and much less greasy than a normal fritter, so you can put this away and still feel decent afterwards.

The bacon wasn’t cooked fully crispy but had a nice char to it and to be honest, it was better this way. I generally love my bacon super crispy but it wouldn’t have worked as well for this dish just due to how heavily the textures would’ve contrasted the spinach and the blini itself.

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If there are poached eggs, then there has got to be poached or pwned and here it is for the blini. The poached egg on this blini was perfect! The perfect amount of gooey liquid, not a sign of any hard egg yolk at all and at the same time, not undercooked either. I would definitely pick a slightly undercooked poached egg over a pwned egg any day but lucky here at The Drawing Room, its not something you even have to consider. This isn’t the last of poached or pwned either, more coming in a short second.

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Another poached egg dish from The Drawing Room, the Eggs benedict ($13) two poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on an English muffin, add either double smoked ham, smoked salmon, bacon ($4) or sauteed spinach ($3). Here I went with the smoked salmons for an extra $4. I kind of liked this concept. Pricing for just the plain poached eggs then you can add which ever topping you want. I know heaps of places give you the option between ham, bacon, smoked salmon and spinach but this way, you can get poached eggs with just hollandaise sauce. I don’t know how important it is for anyone but I’m not a massive fan of spinach so if I ever feel like going vegetarian this place is perfect for me.

As for the dish itself? Its pretty awesome. Nothing too special but everything is done well and comes together like a good eggs benedict should. Originally when I saw that this came with an English muffin I hesitated slightly. I like a good English muffin but they can get a little dry. Needless to say, the crew at The Drawing Room know what they are doing. The dryness of the English muffin was perfectly counteracted by the hollandaise sauce and the poached eggs. Well, I guess thats a bit of a spoiler alert for the next section.

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Like with the blini, both these poached eggs were indeed poached! No pwned eggs here at The Drawing Room. Out of the two eggs, both were really good. One was completely poached, with a good amount of gooey egg yolk with no under cooking to be seen. The other egg was ever so slightly overcooked, giving it a 70/30 split between gooey goodness and slightly hard cooked egg yolk. But considering the crew at The Drawing Room got two out of three, thats pretty darn good and better than what I’m used to sadly. Plus, that one out of three that was considered slightly over cooked wasn’t even that bad! I mean, I’ve gotten pwned a few times already in Canberra, even once where I had a completely solid yolk where I struggled to believe that the chefs didn’t notice they were overcooked when it was going out, like the yolk broke and there were hard boils bits spilling out of it!

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Our final dish from The Drawing Room, the Big breakfast ($19) eggs, sausage, bacon, potato, mushroom, roasted tomato and soy and linseed toast. Again, like with the other dishes we’ve had at The Drawing Room, another classic done well. You won’t find any crazy dishes here with popping candy or fairy floss, instead you’ll find lots of traditional and hearty dishes, all of which are done well. This big breakfast is no exception to that rule. Every part of the dish was cooked and seasoned perfectly, from the roasted tomatoes to the bacon. Of course, the best and most important part of this dish? The scrambled eggs of course! These were perfectly cooked with just the right amount of creaminess and fluffiness throughout. Plus, those sausages, man were they good! Nothing like a good old tasting English style sausage, really meaty and tasty – not a hint of herbs or spices here, instead these sausages let the meat do the talking and boy are they good.

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We got a few drinks as well during our time at The Drawing Room and one of our first drinks was a Peppermint tea ($4). This was pretty standard as far as teas go so I’m not sure how much I can say about this one really. It’s served in a mason jar which is pretty par the course for any cafe these days, and is a lovely Madame Flavour teabag. To be honest, I’m not one for fancy tea brands and I’ve always been pretty shocked at how much good tea goes for, but this was actually really nice and would make me actually consider getting nicer tea in the future.

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Our next couple of drinks were the two smoothies, the Tropical mango and passionfruit ($6) and the Berry with banana and oatmeal ($6). These were pretty vastly different so I’ll start with the one I preferred a little less, the berry and banana.

The Berry and banana smoothie was really cool and refreshing, as you’d expect. The little bits of ground up oats in there gave it some fantastic texture as you drank it while giving it some creaminess as well. However, I did find it a bit bland for my taste and whilst the flavour of the fruits in there came out strong, the banana especially, it wasn’t very sweet at all, at least to my taste which is sweeter than most. I actually made a mistake on this one, and it’s a mistake I make fairly often which is a bit embarrassing. When I realised this wasn’t sweet enough for me, I tried to get the sugar that was on the table for the coffee, and tried to sugar up this drink myself. If you’ve never tried this before, I recommend you steer clear, because trying to mix sugar into a cold drink just leaves you with sugar chunks all through it.

The Tropical mango and passionfruit smoothie on the other hand was really sweet and delicious. It was equally cold and refreshing but didn’t have the cool chunky texture from the oats. This smoothie was extremely icy, almost like a slurpee but with a much smoother texture. The mango was easily the most prominent flavour on show here, with the passionfruit a cool sour aftertaste that helped to cut through the sweetness from the mango. Overall, I definitely preferred this one, though I’m sure the previous drink was much more healthy for you, so maybe keep that in mind when choosing what to drink.

The Drawing Room is a great little cafe in a quiet suburb that was surprisingly beautiful when we pulled in. Beautiful enough that we felt the need to actually start exploring Crace on foot after we finished our meal. The Drawing Room was a pleasant surprise and took some basic breakfast staples and just did a great job with them. If you’re someone that’s tired of some of the crazy breakfast options out there today, and just want some bacon and eggs done extremely well, then this is your place! I’ve never seen poached eggs come out as good as the ones I’ve had here at The Drawing Room!

The Drawing Room

Corner of Abena Ave and Galore Street, Crace

Website: thedrawingroomcrace.com.au

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/The-Drawing-Room-at-Crace

Opening hours: 

Monday to Tuesday

7:00am to 5:00pm

Wednesday to Sunday

7:00am to 11:00pm

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

Two Before Ten, Aranda

Last week I finally got the chance to head out to Aranda to try out Two Before Ten. As always, I’ve been meaning to visit for a while now, first when they were still in the city and afterwards when they moved to the suburbs but various things got in the way. Okay mainly just waking up somewhat early and traveling there, which is no excuse in Canberra especially but I got there in the end! I must say, I do appreciate all these awesome cafes in the suburbs, thanks to cafes like Fox and Bow in Farrer, Stand By Me in Lyons, Common Grounds in Gowrie, Little Oink in Cook and the likes, I’ve learnt so much about Canberra’s geography.

Like with these other cafes, Two Before Ten is another fantastic cafe that are making a stand! No more travelling to the hipster hot spot of the city for fantastic food. Now you can get fantastic food out in the burbs. However, Two Before Ten is unique compared to these other suburban cafes. Two Before Ten isn’t located in a small suburban shopping area, instead it stands on its own, in what looks like an old community centre opposite the primary school.

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Two Before Ten’s store out in Aranda is quite industrial with plenty of indoors and outdoors seating for both small groups and larger ones as well. There’s also plenty of heaters and blankets, so you can sit outside and soak in the fresh air without freezing in Canberra’s frosty winter.

The menu at Two Before Ten is pretty basic, with a range of all day breakfast and lunch options, including both sweet and savoury treats. The menu is pretty straight forward, with various traditional breakfast items done in slightly different and interesting ways. However, you won’t find any crazy options or hipster delights here, instead just lots of good old hearty options like eggs, bacon, rolls, burgers, porridge, pancakes and what not. There is an online menu that you can check out but be warned, the in store menu does sometimes deviate from the online one. So don’t have your heart fixed on something before you get into the store or else you’ll risk disappointment.

Luckily for us, we were extremely unprepared and just decided to fly by the seat of our pants and chose something at the venue.

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Our first dish was the Sweet cornbread ($17) with poached eggs, bacon and an avocado salsa. I’m not a fan of bread but cornbread is a whole other story. That delicious doughiness that is super crumbly. Then you have that super crispy edge that just crunches every time you bite into it and most importantly, that delicious corn taste that gives the whole thing just that right amount of sweetness. Taking it from a savoury treat to something closer to an after dinner dessert. The best of both worlds in one fantastic little bite.

It may not be obvious yet but I love cornbread. Hence, when I saw this dish on Two Before Ten’s menu, the decision was made. Plus, not only was there cornbread in this dish, there is avocado and bacon too! Two Before Ten took pretty much some of the best ingredients around and then combined it all into one delicious dish.

Combining the right ingredients is important, but if it isn’t done right then what is the point? Luckily here at Two Before Ten, every element on this dish was spot on. First off, look at those poached eggs. Simply amazing and absolutely still runny. Nothing is worse than cracking open a poached egg and finding it semi boiled and I’ve had may fair share of poorly poached eggs in Canberra. Hence, its always nice to go to an eatery and not be poached egg pwned.

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The fantastic creamy and runny eggs went like a charm with the dense and doughier cornbread. The cornbread was crispy on the top with a nice amount of char to it, sadly the sides of the cornbread weren’t quite as good. It seems like Two Before Ten cook their cornbread in a bread tray and then slice them into rectangles. God, wouldn’t it be good if you got one of those ends pieces?! Even though it wasn’t as crunchy as I hoped it would be, there was still plenty of corn flavour permeating throughout it. The lovely corn flavours were strong enough that you could still taste it when you combined the cornbread with the avocado salsa or bacon.

The avocado and bacon added some nice texture to the whole dish, with some crunchiness from the streaky bacon and some bite and freshness from the smashed avocados and diced tomatoes. I found the salsa really helped to lift into this dish, taking it from a rich and heavy breakfast dish to something a little lighter and also almost lunch tasting.

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Our second dish from Two Before Ten, the Poached egg and bacon ($14) with house tomato chutney and sourdough also available as a role. While the cornbread with poached eggs and smashed avocado salsa was a little different and interesting, this was Two Before Tens take on your traditional, quick and simple breakfast plate but of course with a small twist, if you want to add it!

This dish is quite simple, there’s a little bit of lightly toasted sourdough, which brings that lovely hint of sourness to the plate and balances the richness of the bacon and the creamy egg yolks. Then you have the crispy streaky bacon which adds that porky flavour that we all love. On the side, there is also a decent amount of fresh spinach and a tomato chutney which adds plenty of sweetness, another hint of sourness and a little bit of liquid and moisture, which really helps with the dense and dry sourdough bread. With the combination of ingredients on this plate, you could turn this thing into a bit of a breakfast sandwich if you wanted too. Of course it would be a little messy, with the gooey egg yolk going everywhere but delicious nevertheless.

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Of course, the best part about this dish? The perfectly poached eggs. Like the first set, these two were gooey all the way through, not a single sign of hard boiled egg yolk anywhere. I know I go on about poached eggs a lot but I’ve just had too many semi boiled or almost completely boiled poached eggs in Canberra and nothing is worse than cutting open a poached egg and seeing no gooey goodness run out! Plus, a really good place will ensure that the eggs are still gooey even if you don’t break into them straight away, I don’t normally take the risk but I reckon these would pass that test.

So if you’re a lover of poached eggs, Two Before Ten is Aranda is definitely a safe spot, not only will you get perfectly gooey yolks, the dishes and combinations here are really delicious and seem to be catered to getting the best out of the lowly poached egg. This is especially true if you’re into more traditional breakfast dishes and don’t want anything too crazy like popping candy, fairy floss or what not.

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Our final dish, the TBT burger ($16.50) with a beef pattie, tomato, lettuce and swiss cheese with a side of fries. Okay so it took me ages but about half way through our meal, I realised that the TBT burger stood for ‘Two Before Ten’, so I guess this is their signature burger. Actually, I think its the only burger on their menu so that seems like a fairly safe guess. We noticed later that this doesn’t show up on the online menu so maybe the ingredients in the burger changed based on what they have on hand, who knows.

Nevertheless, the TBT burger, like everything else at Two Before Ten was quite basic. It had the core ingredients that you would find in any traditional burger, so nothing shocking there. I guess what puts this burger apart from others and justifies the $16 price tag, is how well each element worked together. From the crispy green and fresh lettuce to the melted cheese. Finally, there were a couple of slices of tomato, a rich brioche bun and an extremely thick beef pattie.

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Nothing is worse than a pattie that is overcooked. As Anthony Bourbain claims, if a eatery doesn’t let you order your burgers medium rare, than they’re likely on the side of the terrorists and based on this, it clearly looks like Two Before Ten definitely do not side with terrorists. This TBT burger that we got was a fantastic medium rare, and we didn’t even have to request it! Look at that pink centre!

Of course, with any good burger, the TBT burger at Two Before Ten comes with a decent side of shoe string fries. Nothing too special about these, just some good old potatoes with a dusting of salt for extra flavour, so I probably won’t go into anymore detail with those. Plus, the burger is what we’re interested in, right?

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Finally, a Cappuccino with soy milk ($4 + $0.50, small) because, isn’t this what Two Before Ten is famous for? That is, coffee. I’m pretty sure they are, they even have their own beans which are used by other eateries and cafes in Canberra. That must mean they have good coffee beans right?! Well, as you can tell I don’t have a clue. You would think after all these coffees that I’ve had over the years, I would pick up a thing or two. Apparently not. I still cannot for the life of me tell you which coffee is from a chain and which one has been made by a proper barista. I even enjoy and know more about wine than I do coffee, and I started meddling with both at the same time and knew nada about either of them when I started out. Maybe I should go to a coffee appreciation class.

Well after all that, I guess you’re not really going to take my word on this coffee. But I’m going to tell you anyway – I liked it. It was frothy and delicious with plenty of nuttiness from the soy milk. You can also get a large, which comes in a tall cup, almost double this one for another 50c, great  for all you caffeine lovers out there.

Well that was our trip out to the burbs, well Aranda. Isn’t it strange how in Canberra, a five to ten minute drive out of the city is considered the surburbs. I must say I love how close everything is in Canberra. More than that, I really like how Canberra has so many fantastic eateries outside of the city and hipster hot spots. I don’t think any other city really has anything like this.

The food at Two Before Ten in Aranda was solid, traditional and tasty. Plus, the poached eggs were simply perfect every time. This place is definitely worth the drive, skip Braddon, New Acton or Kingston for the week and go to Aranda, you won’t regret it.

Two Before Ten 

68 Bandjalong Crescent, Aranda

Website: twobeforeten.com.au/

Facebook: facebook.com/TwoBeforeTen 

Twitter: @TwoBeforeTen

Opening hours: 

Monday to Friday

7:00am to 4:00pm

Saturday to Sunday

8:00am to 2:00pm

Click to add a blog post for Two Before Ten - Cafe & Coffee Roasters on Zomato

Paleo Cafe, Braddon

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So as you may have noticed, I’m not overly healthy. My diet consist of mainly greasy burgers, flavoursome phos and fatty ramens. So when it comes to health related diets like paleo, atkins and what not, I’m not overly keen or interested. So when I first heard about the Paleo Cafe opening up in Braddon, I didn’t really care that much. However, after hearing that they serve a tumeric latte, suddenly it was a different story! The Paleo Cafe went from your typical healthy eatery to potentially a hipster cafe! So, I decided to give it a go and headed over last weekend.

I must say, I actually had some difficulty finding the Paleo Cafe, its not hidden or anything. I guess I was just expecting it to be in the heart of Braddon and located somewhere on Lonsdale Street. Instead, the Paleo Cafe is situated on Mort Street, towards the north and next to Black Fire or around the corner from Bentspoke.
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When I turned up at the Paleo Cafe, I realised– not only is it located away from all the other hipster joints in Braddon. It actually screams anything but hipster. From the food, to the decor and the overall atmosphere. The Paleo Cafe is anything but hipster. Instead, it feels more genuine. It’s a couple who really believe in the paleo lifestyle and have seen benefits to their health and lifestyle who have opened up this place. Hence, the food here won’t leave you wanting more afterwards. It’s hearty, tasty and absolutely filling. If I knew this was what real paleo food is meant to be like, I wouldn’t hesitate so much every time someone told me they were going paleo.

The Paleo Cafe is open seven days a week and offers a range of breakfast and lunch options, including sweet and savoury dishes. The breakfast menu actually caught my eye heaps more than the lunch one. However, as breakfast ends at 11.30AM, and we are notoriously bad sleeperinnerers we grabbed two lunch dishes. Outside of food, there is also an extensive drinks menu including plenty of different super fruit smoothies and milk based shakes. The Paleo Cafe also offers coffee, plenty of interestly flavoured hot chocolates and organic bottled drinks.

Finally, if you like paleo food enough after you try the food here, you can also buy various paleo treats and ingredients to do it yourself at home.
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Our first lunch dish from the Paleo Cafe was the Beef cheek ($16.50) with a creamy sweet potato and pumpkin puree and braised red cabbage. Before I jump into how this thing tasted. Look at how much food you get! When I’m in Braddon, I don’t really expect my money to go very far. For $16, I would be happy to get a small burger and some fries, if I’m lucky. Here at the Paleo Cafe, you get a feed that’s going to keep you full until lunch, or dinner in our case. Colour me impressed!

Of course, the taste is just as important as the portion size and luckily here at the Paleo Cafe, they have both in spades. The beef cheek was extremely soft, to the point where you could just fork it apart without any need for your knife. The cheek was full of what could be best described as an Asian flavour, which tasted a lot like a sweet soy to me, almost like a black bean sauce or oyster sauce. To top it off, there was a lot more of the sauce on the side to mix into the sweet potato and pumpkin puree if you want to. I honestly thought the dish was plenty rich without the extra sauce.

The puree was sweet and really helped to play down the rich and savoury flavours of the saucy meat. Towards the end of the dish I did find that it got a little much, I started picking at the kale slaw from our next dish to help balance it out a bit.

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Secondly, the Smokey pulled pork ($18.50) with a raw kale slaw and sweet potato chips and a side of lemon aioli. Like with the beef cheek, this was equally as tasty and filling. While the beef cheek was quite rich, this was a lot cleaner and more balanced all round. The pork was well cooked, making it nice and soft while retaining that slight stringiness that you would like to find in any good pulled pork. The pork was heavily flavoured with plenty of sweetness and a hint of savoury meatiness. The full flavour and richness of the pull pork worked perfectly here, complimenting the more basic flavours of the sweet potato chips and the kale slaw.

Although better with the pulled pork, the two sides were pretty tasty on their own and I would definitely consider getting them as an additional side if my dish didn’t come with any. The sweet potato was thick cut and cooked to a slight char. This made it really nice and soft on the inside, whilst the char gave it a slight smokey flavour with that lovely sweetness from the sweet potato itself. To offset this starchy heaviness, there was the the light and fresh kale salad. The kale here wasn’t quite raw but at the same time it wasn’t soft or wilted. Instead, it felt slightly steamed, leaving some nice crunch in the leaves. There was also a mix of shredded carrots and red cabbage for some extra texture and to top it all off, there was a creamy mayonnaise mixed throughout the slaw. I honestly prefer my slaws a little creamier, so I added a lot of the lemon aioli to my kale slaw.

Together the combination of the rich pork, the light and textural kale salad with the sweet and dense sweet potato chips went down perfectly.

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Of course, some drinks. First up the Salted caramel ($8) with dates, cashews, banana, maple syrup, coconut milk and a touch of sea salt. There was a really good variety of super shakes at the Paleo Cafe, including fruity ones as well as milk based one like this salted caramel shake. I naturally opted for this one, not because its salted caramel, like your typical hipster but because there are dates in it! (So, still like a typical hipster) I’ve yet to find one as good as the one from THR1VE nor have I been able to recreate it at home after many failed attempts. Hence, every time I see a place offer a milkshake with dates in it, I’m all there. This one at the Paleo Cafe wasn’t bad. However, it wasn’t 100% what I was looking for. But for everyone else, who’s just looking for a lovely sweet caramel like drink, I’m sure this will hit the sweet spot.

The salted caramel shake at the Paleo Cafe was really flavoursome, with a strong banana taste to it. There was plenty of sweetness to it but not too much or anything sickly. There was a hint of saltiness to the drink but just not quite enough to let you mind bridge the flavours of this healthy super shake to a real, fatty and rich salted caramel shake.

For any of the shakes, there are a variety of different super foods, seeds and other healthy things that you can add in for a small fee, from green proteins to chia seeds, tumeric and even some fancy stuff like MCT oil and other stuff that I have no idea about. I didn’t add any to mine, but its always good for those who are actually healthy and know what the benefit of these things are!

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Finally, the main reason why we headed out to the Paleo Cafe, the Tumeric latte ($4.90, mug). So I may have got this because it sounds totally weird and interesting as opposed to all the health benefits that tumeric brings. Not that I actually know about them, all I know is my parents have been eating this stuff and applying it to scars for as long as I can remember.

Anyway, let me just say, as fantastic as tumeric is for you, it’s definitely an acquired tasted. Well for me it was, maybe its because it reminded me of something that I don’t like. That is, mung bean or green bean. If you’ve never heard of them, they’re a bean thats commonly used in Asian coking, especially for desserts like sweet soups. You can find desserts like these from Meet Fresh. This latte was sweet with this really creamy and bean like aftertaste. You know that aftertaste you get after eating a spoonful of baked beans (minus the tomato sauce). It tasted exactly like that. Or if you know what mung bean tastes like, then you’re probably with me here.

I think you can also get coffee added to this if you’re interested, I saw someone else getting a double shot! Me, I went straight latte, just milk and healthy tumeric. Though I must say, tumeric is quite a mild flavour, so with a shot of coffee, I’m not sure you would be able to taste the tumeric much. Maybe it will be more of a pleasant addition to the taste of coffee!

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So that was my trip to the Paleo Cafe, I was actually a bit disappointed that, that is all I got. The Paleo Cafe actually offers bone broth! I was absolutely so excited when I saw it on the menu and skipped over to order it. Sadly, to my disappointment, they hadn’t yet started serving bone broth because they had just recently opened! I will have to return very soon to try it out. I absolutely love bone broth – not for its health benefits, which I’m sure there are many. Sort of explains why all Western people eat chicken soup when they are sick and Asians have chicken congee. Its all in the bones. But for me, its the pure taste of meaty joy.

But outside of me missing out on some bone broth, the Paleo Cafe was fantastic all around and thats coming from someone who loves Maccas, ice cream, cakes and processed ‘crap’. The prices were good, the food was tasty and the cafe just felt all around homely. The Paleo Cafe here in Braddon is a welcome addition, at least in my opinion. Its a nice change from all the hipsterness that has been running rampant of late.

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Paleo Cafe

44/38 Mort Street, Braddon

Website: paleo-cafe.com.au/

Facebook: facebook.com/paleocafecanberracity

Opening hours:

Monday to Saturday

7:00am to 5:00pm

Sunday

7:00am to 3:00pm

Click to add a blog post for Paleo Cafe on Zomato

Patissez, Manuka

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I must admit, I was pretty sceptical about Patissez when I first decided to check it out over the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I was super excited to see a new patisserie and cafe open up in Canberra but at the same time I was pretty nervous. I love all things sweet but when it comes to pastries, I can get pretty pedantic and picky.

Since moving to Canberra, I’ve sampled tons of goodies from pastry, cake and dessert shops all over Canberra and in my experience, I find there are definitely more misses than hits. I know that sounds horribly negative and ‘food criticy’ but it’s just an opinion. Canberra has some darn fine patisseries but they’re definitely few and far between so whenever I see a new patisserie pop up, I get really excited, hoping that I’ll be able to add to my list of awesome patisseries in Canberra. Of course, at the same time I wonder if I’m about to waste a meal on something not so great. Another thing that raised my level of paranoia about this place was that I’ve never been super keen on Manuka in general, I just never seem to have a great meal there.

Hence, my reservations.

Well, I guess this is a bit of a spoiler alert, but as with Penny’s in Kingston, Patissez is was actually a really delightful surprise and easily a standout amongst its peers. I was sceptical but on sampling the food and the cakes, everything that we tried was pretty darn tasty.

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Patissez is a cosy little cafe nestled in between Ona on the Lawns and Urban Pantry, right on the Manuka Lawns. The shop is simple and quite small with only about two tables for larger groups and a couple of smaller tables for those dining in two or threes inside. Outside, there are a couple more smaller tables. Normally, I try to avoid sitting outside since it gets horribly cold and windy in Canberra but here at Patissez, I opted for an outside table. The tables outside are shielded from the wind, and there is also a heater on each side, keeping us nice and snug. It was also a lot more peaceful as it was quite cramped and noisy inside.

Although the decor is quite simple, the food is anything but. The menu comprises of many traditional dishes, but all with a hipster twist. There are also burgers and a couple of sweet brekkie goodies for those who who like to start the morning on something sweet. Of course, outside of the cafe options, there is an extensive drinks menu, which includes coffee with Belaroma beans as well as a couple of super awesome shakes. Another thing that surprised me was that they had matcha lattes!  I absolutely love them and not enough places do them! Outside of their cafe offerings, Patissez also has a range of vegan, GF and normal scrumptious and playful pastries.

Like with any good foodie hot spot, Patissez sources the majority of its produce locally, with all the meats from Jordo’s Chop Shop, while the bread comes from Canbera’s favourite (or close to) bakery, Autolyse. There are a lot more suppliers, but I won’t take the time to list them all here, suffice it to say they seem to be quite respectable sources.

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When I originally headed out to try out Patissez, I was only interested in their pastries. However, after having a quick squizz at the menu, everything just kind of caught my eye. I just couldn’t say no, so we decided to grab a table and sample of few of Patissez’s cafe options. So apparently, Patissez has only started serving food in the last two days. Prior to that, they were focusing on coffees and cakes. Must say, we definitely came here on the right day!

Our first dish from Patissez was the The Cheesy Scramble ($12), cheesy scrambled eggs with crispy bacon and a potato rosti on a brioche milk bun. Not only does this look amazing, it also 101% lives up taste wise as well. The burger wasn’t overly complex, just three elements but each were done really well and together they made for some delicious mouthfuls. The cheesy scrambled egg was super buttery and creamy, it was cooked perfectly, leaving it in a yolky and moist manner. Cheesy scrambled eggs was something I first experienced over at Penny University in Kingston. It’s something I absolutely fell in love with and here was no different.

The scramble eggs were coupled with a crispy, pan fried bacon which added all the meaty and savoury flavours that you would hope for some a breakfast burger. They gave you probably a bit too much bacon, though I’m sure no one is ever going to complain about that. The visual effect of a burger coming out with giant bacon tentacles coming out of it is a really cool one.

Finally, to top it all off and leaving the best part until last, there was a potato rosti. The rosti was amazing, definitely on the softer side but with bits of crunchiness laced throughout it and best of all, the rosti was just so full of flavour. It was super herby and had a strong shallot flavour to it, this more earthy flavour complimented the savoury flavour of the bacon perfectly. Finally, all the ingredients were nested in a brioche milk bun, that help soften the flavours. The brioche did a good job of not overpowering the ingredients in the bun and making things too bready. One thing I should mention is that this dish is surprisingly messy to eat. You’ve been warned.

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The second dish that we opted for was The Field ($17), portobello mushrooms and poaches eggs on crusty bread with goats cheese, a balsamic reduction, shaved truffle and toasted pine nuts. Like with the The Cheesy Scramble, this was another super tasty dish but unlike the burger, this dish was much lighter and cleaner, the perfect way to start of the weekend.

There was nothing super fancy or complex about this dish but it was different to your typical mod oz brekkie joint. There was just that prefect balance of texture and flavour. The crispy bread with the flavoursome and buttery mushrooms and to top it all off, the creaminess from the egg yolks and this lovely caramelised and earthy sweetness from the balsamic reduction. I also really appreciated the fact that the mushrooms weren’t overly powerful or salty. I find mushroom dishes can get a little too much real quick, especially as they’re salty as hell when it comes to cooking and too many places are just too heavy handed with them, a bit like anchovies but for vegetarians!

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Here is a shoot of the poached eggs. In the tale of poached or pwned, the answer is, very close to poached! They weren’t perfectly poached but no where near pwned or anything like that and considering how some bad poached eggs seem to get in Canberra, I thought these weren’t bad at all. There was still definitely enough yolk to cover the mushrooms and soak into the crispy bread, giving it some moistness.

As a part of Patissez menu, you can add house made hollandise sauce to anything at no extra cost. Woot! I’m a massive fan of hollandaise sauce, that butter and yolky goodness with a hint of citrus at the end. Its like the lemon curd (I really like lemon curd, I have been known to eat spoonfuls for dessert) of breakfast. I of course gladly ordered some, it was given to us in a seperate side bowl next to our burger, I guess it fit a lot better there as far as the plate goes. To be honest, Ouk originally thought it was a cheesy sauce for his burger, and he doused his burger in it. He recommends doing the same because it made the burger absolutely amazing, so keep that in mind out there! For me, the hollandaise sauce added that extra richness that I really enjoy but of course if you’re the healthier type, it may not be to your fancy. But each to their own!

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I was here at Patissez to sample their cakes and I couldn’t leave without sampling at least a few! We got there at about 2PM and the selection was still quite solid. They had sold out on one or two choices but overall they still had plenty of goodness to try. Plus, the variety was great! There were whole cakes that you could purchase in slices, these looked pretty amazing, some were traditional while others were a lot more fancy, like Turkish Delight and peanut butter. I saw one guy eating a slice of the cake, and the cake itself was probably 13cm tall and the slice was 5cm wide. Pretty amazing value. There were also tarts, slices, chia cups and gluten free options as well. A couple of the treats also looked really vibrant and colour with fluro greens, pinks and what nots.

I decided to opt for something a little more interesting and familiar to my Asian palette, the Matcha and pistachio slice ($8), matcha cream coupled with pistachio cream between matcha cake. I love matcha, its up there with pandan and taro for me. When I think of cakes, desserts and sweet treats, these are the flavours that come to mind and make me nostalgic for my childhood, I grew up on these flavours as opposed to chocolate, caramel or strawberry sauce. So, I get very excited when I see it in Western patisseries. In my experience, the Asian palette is quite different, so our traditional cakes and desserts tend to be a lot lighter and fluffier, but a lot less rich and decadent. Hence, its not everyday you get to see the richness of French cooking coupled with amazing Asian flavours. But here at Patissez, you do!

This cake was the perfect balance between Western richness and the delicate flavours of Asian desserts. The flavour of the matcha permeates throughout the cake layer, there is also a good amount of it in the top layer of cream. This strong and almost bitter tea flavour is complimented by a couple of lovely and rich layers and pistachio cream. Between the cream and the cake, the overall slice is perfectly moist and delicious. If, for whatever reason you find the cake a little too rich, there is also a syringe full of acidic apple concentrate which really helps to change the overall feel of the cake.

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Our second treat from Patissez was the Salted caramel pop slide ($6.50) with coconut dacquoise, salted caramel crème brûlée parfait, caramelised saffron apple centre, white chocolate and honeycomb. I normally get pretty sceptical when I see places offering cakes like this. I kind of just assume they’re trying to go for the hipster appeal, but the taste just never seems to live up to the cool appearance. Luckily here at Patissez, this wasn’t an issue.

While the matcha slice felt more intricate and ‘mature’, this was a delightfully rich and decadent treat for your sweet tooth. Although the pop slide was really sweet, it was still extremely well done with many different elements, flavours and textures throughout the cake. The flavours also played off each other really well, helping the cake stay enjoyable right until the end without one element becoming way too much (which happens a lot with cakes like this). The the sourness and fruitiness from the saffron apple centre really helped to balance out the sweetness of the salted caramel. In addition to this, the coconut dacquoise and honeycomb added all the texture that you need to keep the pop slide interesting and exciting throughout.

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Finally the food out of the way. Of course, we couldn’t call this complete without drinks and so of course, we grabbed a couple of drinks from Patissez. First up, the Matcha latte ($4, regular). As you may know now, I absolutely love matcha, when it comes to flavours, it’s my red velvet cupcake. So, I get pretty excited when I see it on a menu, especially in Canberra! This is because matcha is more of an Asian flavour and there is a smaller (but no worse!) Asian community in Canberra compared to say Sydney or Melbourne, so these types of treats are much harder to come by than I’m used to.

The matcha latte at Patissez is quite unique to others that you’ll find in Canberra and nothing like the ones you can get in Sydney, and I mean this in the most positive way possible. Matcha lattes are mainly served in Asian cafes and restuarants and with the coffee culture only really becoming an thing now in Asian places, you’ll find that most matcha lattes come out really sweet (perfect for me of course) but much sweeter than a normal coffee loving person would prefer. Here at Patissez, the matcha latte comes out with no sugar. Its strong, bitter and full of green tea goodness. I of course opted to add a ‘couple’ of sugars but at least this way, you can adjust it to your own preference. I did find that the matcha latte here wasn’t as smooth as you would expect but it’s definitely better than no matcha! The matcha latte was also slightly lukewarm, that might have contributed to the slightly grainy texture. But this is no Chanoma so I can’t complain.

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Onwards to something that Patissez does specialise in and shine at, the Nutella ‘Shake It’ ($8), cold Nutella shake with whipped cream and crushed salty pretzels.

I love a good, creative and wacky looking milkshake and Patissez delivers. Not only does it look good, it also tastes pretty darn fine too. If you like Ferrero Rocher, this is the perfect drink for you. Although they’ve used a couple of different things to create this drink, in the end of the day it tastes like a crushed up Ferrero Rocher, which is awesome of course! It even has the right texture, thanks to the crushed up satled preztels giving you that crunchiness that you find from the crushed hazelnuts and wafer in a Ferrero Rocher, along with the Nutella and whipped cream that brings you that creamy hazelnut goodness. Very impressed with how they made this taste so much like one of our favourite little chocolate treats by using all different ingredients! One cool thing I should mention is that they slide on copious amounts of nutella over the rim, so if you love licking nutella out of the jar, this ‘shake it’ is for you!

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Finally, our last treat from Patissez, the Banana Matcha ‘Smooth Criminal’ ($8) with Medjool dates, Jahna Greek style yoghurt, raw honey and granola. This wasn’t my favourite drink of the day, but it was still pretty cool. I really liked that you could chose between normal diary milk, almond milk and soy milk for the Smooth Criminal shakes and at no extra cost. Nothing worse than having to pay an extra $1 for almond or soy milk. I mean at that point, I might as well just go to Aldi, put out an extra 50c and buy a litre. I really do appreciate places that don’t try to gouge you at every chance possible. I understand that there are costs in stocking different options that may or may not be used, so I guess I don’t expect it, but I do appreciate it. But enough about my cheapness!

The drink itself although quite bright, green and vibrant, didn’t really have a strong matcha flavour to it. Instead, to me it tasted more like a banana milkshake but milder and without that sweet ending, I guess that is thanks to the matcha which rounds it off. Although there were a couple of other ingredients, like the Greek yoghurt and the dates but I didn’t feel like the flavour really came through which was a bit of a shame because I quite enjoy dates in milkshake. I know dates sound a bit basic but they’re surprisingly tasty. In the end of the day, bananas are an overpowering flavour and it did seem to overpower here.

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So there you have it, our trip to Patissez. I came here not expecting much at all and left feeling very happy and absolutely full. I’m glad to see another good patisserie open up in Canberra, especially one that has some pretty fantastic opening hours. Oh, not sure if I’ve mentioned it previously but Patissez is actually open seven days a week from 7am to 4pm, woot!

Oh, a side note. The food menu just started over the weekend, so when we were there the service was a little haphazard. Everyone was really nice and helpful but they were still getting into the groove of things. Due to this, we found that things took a little longer than expected, or we had to ask for certain thing several times, which was completely understandable for a brand new restaurant but I thought I should mention it just so you guys are aware as well. Expectations are everything after all.

Patissez

Shop 2/21 Bougainville Street, Manuka

Facebook: facebook.com/patissez.pty.ltd

Instagram: @patissez

Opening hours: 

Monday to Sunday

7:00am to 4:00pm

Pâtissez on Urbanspoon

La Sable Patisserie, Mitchell

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So I started hearing some murmurs about La Sable Patisserie on the Internet a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t pay much attention to it. For some reason, when I saw the name and where it was located, I kind of dismissed it. Yes, shame on me. I shouldn’t judge places based on their names and location, lesson learnt. Because of my snobby stupidity, I didn’t get to lay my hands on the deliciousness available at La Sable Patisserie until last week.

La Sable Patisserie is a relatively new pastry stop which has opened up in Mitchell. I don’t know about you, but when I hear Mitchell, I think ‘there can’t possibly be anything good out there’ but I live in Braddon, so that explains a lot about my unculturedness. La Sable Patisserie is located in the industrial area next to a couple of trade shops, its pretty missable if you’re not looking out for it, as you can see in the picture below! It looks like a tradie store if you’re driving by. But once you realise its there and sample its goodies, I guarantee, you’ll be back too!

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La Sable Patisserie is opened six days a week, from 6.30am to 4pm on weekdays and from 7am to 2pm on Saturday, which is great because I love sweets, cakes and pastries but can’t really get out to Mitchell before 4pm on a weekday and I won’t wake up prior to 8am, not even for cake.

La Sable Patisserie offers a range of pastries, cakes, tarts, as well as some pies and coffee. I went a little crazy and grabbed about seven items all up, which I’m sure you may be thinking is a bit much for two people to handle, but I ate it all! I arrived at about noon and they still had a good variety available. However, I did notice that there weren’t many croissants and pastries left. I also watched someone buy the last macaron so if any of this catches your eye, I wouldn’t leave it til past 12.

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So I grabbed a ‘couple’ of things from La Sable Patisserie, including this Espresso macaron and verrine ($6.50) with chocolate, coconut and apricot. Did I buy this because there was a cute little macaron next to a cup of sweets? Yes, yes I did. I can’t help myself. I’m that horrible person who picks what I eat largely based on how thinks look. That kind of hurt me in this particular case (from a non taste perspective) but more about that at the bottom.

The actual dessert was great. La Sable had a couple of different macaron options, they had an espresso flavoured one, a hot cross bun one and another purple one which might have been blueberry, maybe. Since the stand alone macarons had run out for the day, I grabbed this instead to give La Sable’s maracons a taste, and of course I was enamoured with the cute little curvy cup anyway. The macaron here was of the espresso variety and was actually really tasty and was pretty much what you’d expect to find in all good macarons. Nice crispy shell, with a soft and slightly gooey interior. There wasn’t a lot of filling to it, which is usually disappointing but it worked here. The flavour of the espresso was still extremely strong and permeated throughout the whole macaron. The filling gave it just enough moisture.

I’ll talk about the verrine a little further in the post. Since I’m separating it out, it might be obvious what happened, but if you haven’t figured it out yet I might just keep the suspense going for a bit longer.

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My next dessert for the day, a Blueberry and strawberry tart ($6.50). So I kind of thought I was getting a strawberry tart here, turns out it was blueberry. The signage for the cakes and tarts were a little inaccurate and they were a little busy so I didn’t want to ask too many questions. But who cares, because this was probably better then a plain strawberry tart anyway!

This was a great little tart (it wasn’t that small, it might just be inching towards standard sized). The tart was really creamy, buttery and littered with blueberries throughout. I really liked the crust especially, it had a lovely biscuit crumb like crunch to it while the inside was soft and slightly gooey with a ton of buttery smoothness. I also found that the fresh strawberries really added this lovely nice angle to the overall tart, giving it a little bit of texture and some balancing sourness to contrast the relatively sweet blueberry tart. Really liked this.

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Next up the Lemon meringue tart ($6.50). Generally, I find lemon meringue tarts extremely hit and miss. Both parts are so important, if either the lemon curd or the meringue isn’t quite up to scratch, its so absolutely disappointing, especially since I think lemon meringue tarts might be my favourite tart of all the tarts out there. The sticky sweetness of the fluffy, light and slightly crispy meringue needs to perfectly contrast the really sharp, acidic and silky smooth lemon curd.

The best thing about La Sable Patisserie was that this lemon meringue tart was exactly what I just described there. Every element of this tart was done perfectly, and I could not have asked for anything more. The texture was amazing and completely on the ball. There was also a really strong and rich citrus lemon flavour to the curd and to top it all off, the base of the tart was super buttery and soft with little bits of crunchiness here and there. If you’re into citrus tarts, this is a definite must try. Oh, and if you don’t like the meringue part of lemon and meringue tarts, La Sable has you covered, they also do straight lemon tarts.

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So, here is where the mystery comes to an end, I stupidly ended up with two of the same desserts! The Chocolate, coconut and apricot verrine ($4.50). Luckily, it was pretty darn tasty so I wasn’t too upset but still! What a waste of stomach space, it totally could have been used to try out La Sable Patisserie’s other tarts, like the pear tart, which I was tossing up. As it might be obvious by now, this verrine is the same as the verrine that you get with the macaron. To be honest, unless you dislike macarons, I’d go with the other one. For an extra $2 you get a tasty macaron and a much larger verrine. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure that it’s larger, it just kind of looked that way, it felt like I got more in the other version but maybe it was just the way it was presented.

Flavour wise, there were a couple of distinctive, powerful and strong flavours. The flavours worked surprising well together, complimenting and balancing each other out. The verrine starts with a sweet and moist roasted coconut and muesli, this was followed by a creamy and fluffy chocolate mousse. After the chocolate comes another layer of coconut, this time without the museli and more like the inside of a Bounty. You think it would end there but no, this verrine has two more layers, a fruity apricot jam and finally you end with a creamy and silky smooth vanilla custard. Its pretty much anything you could possibly have, all in a little cute, tasty cup.

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If you’re not a massive fan of sweets, that fine because the savouries at La Sable are just as good. First up, the Quiche Lorraine ($4). I should admit that I have a weakness for Quiche Lorraines, even though it’s probably the most uncultured quiche in the world of quiches. When I first arrived in Canberra, I’d regularly travel out to Dobinson’s and partake in their quiches because it was the closest place I knew that had quiches on display (I’m still a bit too weird to try and ask for something that’s not displayed). I’m not sure if any of you have ever tried a Dobinson’s quiche but they’re pretty much a giant pool of buttery goodness, that somehow has egg and bacon mixed into it. That may sound negative, but it isn’t, there’s a part of me that just really enjoys a crapload of butter on things.

So, I guess it’s time I actually talk about the quiche that I bought here and La Sable, well let me start off by saying that the quiche was really good! It’s a pretty small quiche, roughly 15% smaller than most quiches at this price point, but the texture was really lovely. The egg was quite firm and held together well, not gluggy at all. There probably wasn’t as much bacon as I would’ve liked, but this probably ensured the quiche wouldn’t get too oily, something my heart approves of I’m sure.

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Here’s a post bite picture of the quiche, as you can see, the egg wasn’t too oily at all, and it was a pretty good quiche to munch down on. One issue I did kind of have that may be visible in the above picture (albeit barely), the cheese along the top of the quiche eventually stuck together and when I tried biting into it, I almost took the entire layer of cheese with me. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but even I know that if I eat all the cheese in the first bite, the rest of my time will be a cheeseless joyless endeavour. Knowing that, I had to fight to ensure that the cheese stayed on the quiche with every bite. Just a slight annoyance, though I’m sure most people will just fly by the edge of their seat and just take each bite as it comes. I only wish I could be so brave.

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Onto something more fancy, the Gourmet chicken and leek pie ($7.50). This was honestly a shock when I first got it, because man $7.50 for a pie is pretty excessive. I love pies as much as the next person, but yeah, that’s a lot. I should mention that generally, I’m really not a big fan of chicken pies either, they’re just never done as well as beef pies in my opinion. Though this pie has made great inroads into changing that opinion. Now, I’m not going to do a cost to pie ratio, but if I’m looking at this pie purely on the merits of taste and deliciousness, then this is certainly up there with the best pies I’ve ever had (Flute Bakery and Dojo Bread being my current favourites.)

First things first, the pastry needs to be mentioned. It was really quite puffy and flakey, and just a lovely rich pastry to have as part of a pie. One thing that surprised me was how it managed to hold up against all the filling inside it, because this is one of the bigger pies I’ve ever had! The base of the pie was really quite oily, so keep that in mind if you’re not into that sort of thing. I loved it though.

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Chicken pies tend to be quite bland to me, either they use chicken breast meat (the mortal enemy of flavour) or they just fill it with vegetables and hope they do the trick. This is the exception to that rule. The main flavour that hits you with this is pure leek, they’ve clearly cooked the crap out of a lot of leek when making this pie, and the soft onion flavours really make this pie a flavoursome experience. One thing I particularly appreciated was that they cooked the leek really heavily, so that when you ate it, you didn’t end up with tough and chewy chunks of leek getting stuck in your teeth, they all went down really easily.

The sauce inside the pie was extremely creamy, and not particularly runny. This made it a pleasure to eat, because you weren’t fussing about with liquid pouring out and causing a mess. A really great pie, and easily the best chicken pie I’ve ever had, though to be honest I haven’t had very many.

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Finally, ending with a classic, the Beef pie ($5). Now I love a good beef pie more than most things in this world, and this is up there as one of the better ones I’ve ever had, though sadly not the best. The pastry of this pie is fantastic, flakey, soft, puffy, just like the above gourmet chicken pie. The filling is of course a lovely thick gravy, that’s a bit runnier than the cream in the chicken pie, but still completely manageable. Swimming through that gravy are thick 1-2cm chunks of what I can only imagine is grade A beef. I know I’m describing pretty much any beef pie, but I mean, there’s only so much you can do with a beef pie.

I’m going to say something bogan here, but there’s one thing about this pie I wasn’t so hot on, but I’m pretty sure this is a personal preference that isn’t shared by most. I’m just not a huge fan of chunky beef pies. There, I said it. I just don’t really understand why they’re better than mince pies. When you bite into a chunky beef pie, you either get a mouthful of pure gravy, or you get a big chunk of beef. In the latter scenario, you inevitably pull the chunk out and leave yourself with a gaping hole in the pie. Not pretty. I for one am a fan of the consistency of a good old mince pie. I’m sure no one cares, but it affected how I felt about this pie, so figured it was worth saying.

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Here is a side shot of the gourmet chicken and leek pie but the beef pie was also the same side. So, okay have you ever seen a pie this deep!? Its fantastic! I mean, I was a bit shocked when I found out these pies were $5 to $7.50, but really, look at how big they are. This pie pictured above is probably 1.5x the size of the normal pie, so that definitely softened the pain of the price considerably and makes it kind of worth it. Now you have no reason to not sample these amazing pies.

There you have it, another amazing patisserie in Canberra and most importantly, it’s open on the weekends! I mean I love Flute Bakery as much as any other Canberran, but there are only so many days I can have off where the entire purpose is to eat pastries. I’m very glad La Sable has opened up to fill in this gap. So, if you were hesitating because you didn’t want to trek out to an industrial zone, don’t let that stop you, because you’re totally missing out. This stuff is amazing.

La Sable Patisserie

6/83 Lysaght Street, Mitchell

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/La-Sable-Patisserie

Opening hours: 

Monday to Friday

6:30am to 4:00pm

Saturday

7:00 am to 2:00pm

La Sable Patisserie on Urbanspoon