Monday, December 08, 2014

Overnight in Canberra

Over the October long weekend Dave + I made a last minute decision to hop in the car and spend a night in Canberra for no particular reason other than to get out of town. As usual we stayed at the lovely East Hotel (we first stayed there during the Human Brochure weekend and fell IN LOVE with the place)!


Smoque

Before we checked into the hotel we made a beeline to Smoque for some good ole American style BBQ right in the centre of town.


There's a lot on offer on the menu so in order to try and get a taste of most things we ordered a Combo Platter, namely the Trifecta ($39.00) filled with pulled pork, pork ribs, brisket and a choice of one side (we chose red cabbage coleslaw and added a side of "Mexican Street corn" for $3.90).


Our cornbread was a bit of a (dry) write off but the pork ribs were the shinning star on the platter - super tasty, moist with a great smokey flavour (they do their smoking off site in case you're wondering why the restaurant doesn't smell smokey at all). The brisket was also quite good, but the pork ribs won the day for me.


Because I can't help myself when buffalo wings are on the menu we ordered a side of these too. They were FANTASTIC - super flavourful with a slightly spicy, sticky sauce. And the blue cheese sauce was spectacular...I could eat this all day, every day!


Of course all of this was washed down with a Miller's brewski - though isn't Miller's Canadian, not American?


Smoque is at Baileys Arcade, Shop 2, 131 London Circuit, Canberra. Phone them on 6162 3350.

Smoque on Urbanspoon

Addicted to Fabric

After lunch we went and checked into the hotel and then Dave dropped me off at Addicted to Fabric to catch up with some Canberra sewing ladies I've become friends with; and he headed off to the War Memorial.



I love fabric shopping and this is a pretty great shop! I'm not sure if there are a lot of fabric stores in Canberra, and this is a food blog so why would you give a hoot, right? But just in case you do...I bought this lovely fabric that I hope to make into a dress soon - the bodice using one side and the skirt using the other.

Parlour Wine Room

I decided I wanted to go somewhere a little bit fancy for dinner and we decided to check out Parlour Wine Room, in the New Action area - which offers Spanish style tapas dishes in a luxe, old school style dining room.  It was a bit hard to find this place from the address but it's actually inside the Peppers Gallery Hotel - at the back.


When we first arrived we were sat at one of the lovely chesterfield lounges but after sitting there for a drink (Negroni for me, beer for Dave) I needed to move to a "proper table" as my back couldn't handle sitting on the sofa.


The menu has a number of raciones, or small plates, so we start off with a few of things over (another) cocktail. Nearly everything in this part of the menu appeals to me so it's really hard to pick just a few things...

Pork Crack ($8) - really good, air puffed pork rind.
Cider battered anchovies ($7) - Brilliant! The batter was thick and crisp, almost like a dagwood batter. Perfect for the salty anchovies and creamy, spicy sauce.
Smoked pork butter with bread ($2). This was good, but not as good as the chicken crackling butter we had at Jamie's Fifteen in London last year.
Moving right along to the larger Tapas plates. We initially ordered three of these these but as they weren't overly large and I needed just *one more* to finish off the night. The descriptions of each item is fairly light-on (which is the trend de jour I think with many modern restaurants) so we choose by simply going with the ingredients that sound good to us (those we could identify that is)!

House code, ancient grains, baby turnips + aoili ($19) - very tasty, though I found our cod overly salty. Loved the crunch of the grains and the creamy aoili.
Dusted calamari, squid ink, black garlic romesco, almonds ($17) - really nice, great seasoning on the calamari.
Twice cooked crispy pork belly, px glaze, fried onion, hazelnut ($18) - very delicious, excellent pork though I did find our  glaze a tad salty and thick...it overpowered the pork in a way.
Carrot + onion escabeche, labneh, crushed seeds ($15) - really loved this dish, light, refreshing and delicate flavours.
The Parlour Room is at 16 Kendall Lane, Newacton Pavilion, Canberra. Phone them on 6257 7325.

Parlour Wine Room on Urbanspoon

Me + Mrs Jones

The next morning we decided to head over to Kingston and revisit Me + Mrs Jones. Afterwards we wandered around the area and I spied another great looking cafe, Penny University that I'm keen to try next visit.


There seems to be a few more places to brunch/lunch in Kingston since our last visit so we have no trouble getting a table this time around.  We promptly order coffees and a juice whilst studying the menu.


Dave ordered the Spanish Eggs ($18.00) that was a fry up of A fry up of chorizo, smoked spec,
roast capsicum, olives, roquette and scrambled eggs, served with romesco sauce and linseed toast. It was packed with flavour and to be honest I had BIG breakfast envy!


In comparison to Dave's tasty, flavour packed breakfast I found my Breakfast Quesadilla ($17.00) a little bland.  Squashed between two tortilla warps was a bevy of scrambled eggs and manchego cheese, served with sides of smashed avocado, braised black beans and and house made hot sauce.  I think this dish would've worked better for me if the sauce and beans were inside the Quesailla to give a bit of moisture to this mix - like the Spanish Eggs above which were a medley of flavours and textures all mixed together..


Me + Mrs Jones is at 26 Giles St, Kingston ACT. Phone them on 6162 3355.

Me & Mrs Jones on Urbanspoon

After breakfast we checked out a HUGE craft market that happened to be on during the same weekend we were visiting. I think (ok, I know for a fact) Dave found this SUPER boring but I loved it. It's always inspiring to see others people's creative endeavors. 


We also decided to for a spin before lunch and check out some of the embassy's and fancy houses nearby. Whilst we thought this was fun the AFP, and the guards at the American Embassy didn't seem too impressed at first.  Still...it's a free country and we continue on our merry way picking our favourite embassay's and houses.


Jamie's Italian

Although we have Jamie's Italian in Sydney, Dave was keen to go here for lunch as he'd seen Pavlova on the specials board when we walked past the day before.


Although we been to Jamie's Italian in Edinburgh I really wanted Dave to try Jamie's "famous polenta chips" ($8.50). I LOVE these crispy fried polenta chips that are sprinkled with rosemary and parmesan.


I always love to have a salad when I'm eating pasta. The simple green salad ($7.00) was really lovely, though I found the plating a bit awkward as dressing spilled off the plate. Anyway, our salad of  roundhead and babygem lettuce with a lemony yoghurt, tarragon and  basil dressing went perfect with my pasta, "Jools' favourite tuna fusilli" ($13.50 for a small serve).  I really loved this dish - sustainable tuna, slow-cooked tomatoes, garlic, herbs and cinnamon with crunchy, herby breadcrumbs. I really like the addition of bread crumbs and might try this in my pastas at home.  I'm not sure why Dave forsook Pasta, but he seemed very happy with his Tuscan Wild Boar Sausage ($25.00).


And the Pavlova you may ask? It was more of a Meringue but still pretty good!


Jamie's Italian is at 125 Bunda Street, Civic, ACT (Canberra Centre, under the Dendy Cinema).  Phone them on 6268 0400.

Me & Mrs Jones on Urbanspoon

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And that my friends is the end of our overnight trip to Canberra. I keep hearing people say how boring Canberra is...and to them I say YOU ARE WRONG! There is loads of great food to be had, wineries to visit, galleries to explore, shopping to be had and friends to meet.


Until next time...

6 comments:

  1. What a lovely little weekend away, Canberra really has upped it's dining stakes the last few times I've been. Chairman & Yip is still one of my absolute fave's. :)

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  2. "Pork crack", such a clever name! Smoque looks awesome, I'll check it out next time I'm in Canberra.

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  3. Hilda @ thechroniclesofhildaDecember 8, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    I've had great adventures in Canberra especially when it comes to food. Always a must for me is Brodburger

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  4. We must also go back to Gus'

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  5. Oh my gosh, I love that you posted about Canberra and that you're not one of the people who spouts the tired old "Canberra is boring" line that hasn't held water since the 1980s, but I'm also laughing because at every point my heart went, "Oh, but the place next door..!!!" So next time, my recommendations would be Hotel Hotel instead of the East Hotel, Monster (right next to Parlour and so much better), Wood and Coal (next to Jamie's Italian) or, even better Eightysix just a few minutes away in Braddon, AND DEFINITELY Penny University which is above and beyond better than Me and Mrs Jones. I love that place :)

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  6. Helen (grabyourfork)December 12, 2014 at 1:38 AM

    Whoah so much deliciousness! Deep fried anchovies sound pretty amazing too.

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