Exploring South Indian dining in Canberra – First stop Binny’s Kathitto

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Hankering for some much missed Kerala cuisine, I was delighted when Elissa from Five Beans Food suggested Binny’s Kathitto for dinner where Majeesh from Kottayam is cooking appams, puttu, idyappam, Kerala parotta, moilee, aviyal, pollichathu and so much more!

It’s been lovely watching Binny take his specialty Indian street food from the Hamlet pop-up to his bricks and mortar home on Lonsdale Street.

The decor echoes Binny’s warm welcome backed up by the rest of the team, Rose and Khush.

Elissa’s been experimenting with Marsala Dosa…

…so we needed to try that for entree..

Masala Dosa $16 – a crepe wrapped around a savory filling of mashed potatoes, onions, crackled mustard seeds, and tempered spices with sambar and coconut and tomato chutneys.

As there were four of us we shared another three dishes with breads, all of which were very delicious!

Erachi Puttu with Chicken Curry $19 – a steamed rice cake layered with meat masala, along with pappadum and served with a gravy (perhaps my favourite as I loved the puttu)

Kanava Roast $23 – squid cooked in traditional Kerala spice with ginger, fried chilles, onions, tomato and squeeze of lemon with a Kerala Parotta – puffed softbread made from flour $4. Loved the tender squid and it went well with the parotta (thanks for the tip Khush).

Tharavu Curry $23 – duck cooked in coconut milk, green chilli, ginger and spices flavoured with curry leaves with an appam – a Kerala style hopper pancake made of fine ground raw rice and grated coconut $3. This was a very generous serve of, fall off the bone, well flavoured duck meat.

Good news for Canberra Entertainment Book holders, Binny’s now offers a 25% discount up to $30.

Binny’s is licensed and also offers BYO wine at $10 corkage a bottle.

This wasn’t my first visit to Binny’s Kathitto but this time I had a much greater appreciation and understanding of what I’d ordered.

So looking forward to trying some more dishes!

Binny's Kathitto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Christmas in July at Contentious Character – Passionate, warm and personal

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My favourite foodie events are those where I glimpse the passion of the makers. But Christmas in July at Contentious Character Winery last weekend, was so much more.

Packed with passion, the night was the clearly the culmination of a huge effort from Tony, Ross, Ben and Jeremy, the team behind Contentious Character…..

….and Felicity whose Executive Events Solutions, pulled it all together.

The wine flowed generously, matched to three fine courses from the kitchen of Chef Tom Stoneham…

A glass of Pinot Gris 2009 on arrival (my favourite of the night) was followed by..

Entrée: Parsnip and local chestnut soup (delicious) paired Glass of Riesling 2005 or the Whisky cured salmon with chive hollandaise with Chardonnay 2016 or the 2016 Pinot Gris…

Main: Roast Turkey with all the trimmings (and Union 2008), Terrine of local nuts and mushrooms (with 2004 Chardoannay (very nice!) or 2006 Pinot Noir) or Fresh market fish, baked with vegetables and lemon verbena butter, with a glass Chardonnay 2016…

Dessert: Christmas pudding with brandy custard or Classic sherry trifle paired Glass of 2010 Sweet Patch…

…with lovely mulled white of red wine also on hand!

Mike of the Christmas Emporium had decked out the newly refreshed venue….

…. and live entertainment (with carols) roamed the tables.

It was professional and well done, but very personal and relaxed.

Picked up at the door, we were transported to Wamboin but the warm and freindly Kayne, supporting his partner Felicity also delivering her handwritten welcome note and goodie bag.

Most, I enjoyed the conversations and meeting  both creators and the partners who support them. Like Kayne, again, who quickly changed from bus driver to wine waiter.

Passionate people have such inspiring stories like Mike’s whose love of Christmas is grounded in deeply meaningful childhood experiences.

And speaking of inspiring stories, Can who is the passion behind Canberra Instagram photo project, The Embassy of Kindness shared his great story and treated me to an Embassy interview! I was very impressed by how a few thoughtful questions and some careful listening can not only discover a complete stranger’s meaningful story but also leave them blessed by a few minutes of self-reflection and self-kindness.

Thanks Can for the photo!

Great to catch up with fellow food bloggers on the So Frank table it was just a very lovely night, well priced at $135 for everything including the door to door service.  Perfect on a cold mid-winter Canberra night.

If you missed this opportunity do keep an eye out for other events that Executive Events Solutions or Contentious Character offer, or drop by the Winery for brunch or lunch on the weekends.

Bringing the Tastes of Two Regions to Canberra! 11-13 August

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A foodie weekend exploring the wineries and produce of the Rutherglen and King Valley regions is right up there on my wishlist! So I’m very excited that those lovely wines and foods are coming to me in Canberra!

King Valley vineyard

Last year’s Taste of Two Regions was brilliant! And this year I am invited again!!

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I loved the wines last year, but it was meeting the people behind the wines that was really special! The stories of these passionate families was inspiring. Wendy Killeen and her daughter Natasha (the seventh generation of Stanton & Killeen wine makers) brought along their  wonderful range of Muscats….img_1078img_7606

…. and Tanya from Brown Brothers Wines introduced us to the King Valley Prosecco market leaders in this wine.

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This year Taste of Two Regions is promising more than 200 wines and dozens of local foods from more than 25 regional artisans at their expo at Pialligo Estate on Sunday 13th of August. There’s two sessions 10-1pm and 2-5pm. Masterclasses run all day, but these are filling fast.

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There’s also a King Valley Prosecco Breakfast, an Italian Family Lunch and Dinner with the wine makers (also very popular).

My favourite wines through life have always come from the Rutherglen of King Valley regions. I can remember the first time I tasted a Durif, from Campbell’s Winery, and a time when my favourite wine was Brown Brothers’ Crouchen Riesling and how I loved All Saints Moscato.

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So my expectations are high and I’m looking forward to discovering what my new favourites will be and enjoying a gorgeous relaxed day of fine wine, foods and inspiring wine-makers and producers….a taster for that long awaited foodie weekend!!!

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For a quick look check the Brochure Tastes of Two Regions 2017. All the details are on the website.

Program of Events

Tastes of Two Regions Exhibition

Sunday 13 August, Pialligo Estate

Tickets $35pp

Alternative Varieties Dinner with Winemakers of Rutherglen (Booked out sadly)

Saturday 12 August, Otis Dining Hall

Tickets $130pp

King Valley Prosecco Breakfast

Sunday 13 August, Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Restaurant

Tickets $55pp

King Valley Italian Family Lunch

Saturday 13 August, Yarralumla Woolshed

Tickets $85pp, children play and eat free

Monster Kitchen – deserves Canberra’s top spot 

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Monster Kitchen is Good Food’s number one Canberra restaurant – and it’s not hard to see why.

Quirky and welcoming, the eclectic decor is engaging.

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But it’s the food that is the real star.

Our lunch dishes were perfect! Beautiful, well priced and a unique combination of ingredients and textures.

The two of us first shared the:

Fried tofu with pickled shitake, boito soy, spring onion oil and sesame $18

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Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame $20

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Pulled lamb shoulder with pistachio, yogurt, vine leaf, pomegranate and brik $30

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I especially liked the pairing of the goat’s curd with the eggplant and the yogurt with the lamb shoulder. Thses gave the dishes a delightful creamy highlight. But I also loved the salty elements of the soy with the tofu and the katsuobushi with the eggplant.

The textured coating on the tofu had a lovely light crunch. I loved the colour and crunch of the pistachios and pomegranate with the lamb’s shoulder and the gorgeous green tinge on the tofu.

We finished with a dessert of Soft chocolate with mandarin, almond and rosemary $20.

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This was also a perfect balance of textures and flavours, especially the ice-cream that came with it.  The crisp garnish was excellent as was the puree garnish but the fresh mandarin would be better preserved.

Still on my wish list for another time is the Yabby Waffle $20, the Boxgum grazing beef tartare $23 and the Green tea dessert with coconut, raspberry and mille feuille $18.

I also want to try the Monster Light Lunch that offers specials like Spagetti with wagyu tongue, peas, capers, reggiano and chilli $17, Baby beet salad with wild rice, pear, walnut $16, Pork belly banh mi $13 or Boxgum grazing ham, pyengana cheddar and green tomato pickle $15 sered 12-5pm daily.

Monster Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jugiong – Canberra’s new destination dining spot? 

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The Southern Highlands is popular for getaways from Canberra. But head west down the Hume instead and you’ll come to Jugiong, a small country town reinventing itself as a boutique foodie day trip destination.

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Kim has arrived from Western Australia to open up The Sir George – country charm with style and fun.

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Bringing his artisan baking secrets with him, he serves up the most wonderful Bakers Lane sourdough bread that you can team with delicious share plates and tapas.

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WARM LOCAL & ITALIAN OLIVES $8

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HOUSE TERRINE $16 & DUCK LIVER PARFAIT $15

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KIM’S CHEESE SELECTION $18

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ANCHOVY BOARD TO SHARE $40 (spanish whites, rizzoli in extra virgin & salsa picante) – as Kim promised, bread dipped in the tin was divine.

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Team this with an excellent bottle of $30 Italian prosseco or some hill tops wine by the glass very reasonably priced from $7.

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Or perhaps choose a main dish like the great looking fish and chips $19.

Enjoy the tables outside ….

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….or one of the gorgeous heritage nooks inside.

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Open 10am until late, Sir George is closed Mondays.

Then there’s also the famous Long Track Pantry next door open 8-4 every day except Tuesday and serving an interesting and varied menu.

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Browse the giftwares while you’re there.

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Or around the corner are a couple of lovely home decorating shops including Tillia’s brand new The Yard full of gorgeous art and flowers.

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If you’d like to make a weekend of it there’s some good Airbnb options.

Also, Sir George has exciting plans for boutique accommodation which I can’t wait to see.

I have a feeling Jugiong will just go from strength to strength. It’s a great discovery for those looking for something new which is close enough to Canberra for a spontaneous country lunch or weekend getaway.

Sir George Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Treated to amazing Pakistani cuisine at Cooking Circles Canberra

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Last Sunday Cooking Circles hosted a small in-home lunch when Hina introduced us to her passion for Pakistani cuisine and treated us to a delicious lunch of dishes lovingly and delicately prepared.

Hina is originally from Pakistan where she grew up. She first learned cooking from her mother and now continues to learn from cooking shows, recipe books, the internet and shared recipes from others. Cooking is her passion and her we would say…her gift!

As Hina created and chatted we enjoyed wine and canapés and often jumped in to work along side her.

She started on the Rasmalai dessert as it needed to chill in the fridge. It is a dough of full cream milk powder, ghee and egg  rolled and flattened into small discs and poached in milk and sugar reduced and infused with cardamom.

Next Hina started of the Beef Seekh Kabab, roasting and grinding spices and chickpeas to add to the mince, chill and shape for frying.

Lastly the complex dum style Chicken Biryani. Rice boiled with spices is layered with chicken and potatoes (first boiled with spices) cooked in a fragrant spiced yogurt and tomato gravy, along with crisp onion and other flavourings.

It is topped with a special essence and some orange food colour (in lieu of the expensive saffron). Lastly it goes back on the stove with the lid for all the flavours to infuse through.

Wow! What a feast we enjoyed.

And as Hina said “I can’t believe I made that”!

How lucky were we that Cathy introduced her friend Hina to Cooking Ciricles. Can’t wait for Hina to cook for us again!

Many thanks to Ruth Ellison who generously shared her photos!

Canberra’s best breakfast – Pod Food Pialligo! 

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I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of Pod Food a couple of lovely times lately, but now, after trying their breakfast, I’m a total fan! It must be the very best spot for breakfast in Canberra!

Even in this chilly weather, the garden setting is gorgeous and beautiful from the cosy verandah.

It was just perfect on a winter Canberra weekend.
To be honest, I’d only ever heard about the $40 four course breakfast degustation which I’d flagged as a special occasion event. But now I know that there’s a whole other a la carte menu with average Canberra prices, but way beyond average dishes……in such a lovely setting, served by Sam’s top class team, I wouldn’t ever want to go anywhere else!
Hard as it was to choose just one dish (hence the allure of the degustation) I was very pleased with my Field mushroom bruschetta with miso, smoked ricotta (so good), baby spinach and sourdough $19.


Every mouthful was a joy!

But the Srambled eggs with Jamon, fennel and herb salad and Three Mills seeded sourdough $19 also looked very good.


Those who chose the Potato and bacon wrapped egg with salt baked potato, pecorino and capsicum relish were delighted, $20.


And for those times that you just want something light, the $12 Three Mills seeded sourdough toast with Pialligo honey, preservatives and whipped butter was perfect.


Even though we were just coming for breakfast, Sam called to check special diet needs and confirm the booking. There’s nothing ordinary about breakfast at Pod!

And, you won’t believe this, if you have the Canberra Entertainment Book, there’s even a 25% discount!
This is fine dining standard at mid range prices!

Pod Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato