Festival of India in Oz, Canberra


Last Saturday, the Canberra Theatre Forecourt was host to Gilles Chuyen, Bollywood dance teacher, as he lead a crowd of enthusiastic Canberrans, eager to learn a few fun dances.


The free Bollywood Workshop was part of the Festival of India in Australia.

Indian street food vendors like Shareb, Lavina and Preem, from Chilli Grill Chai in the Hamlet, Braddon…

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….offered hungry dancers classic delicacies like a wonderful Butter Chicken…


…and their Samosa Chat $10 (also available at the Hamlet).


I was very pleased to learn that Chilli Grill Chai has a permanent home on Lonsdale Street as they have such great food. I have a return visit on my wishlist!


And do look out for the other free Festival of India Canberra event on the afternoons of 2nd and 3rd October – the Pung Cholom in Commonwealth Park.



A wonderful Bangladeshi Cuisine Cooking Circle Canberra at Taste of Bangladesh, Manuka


Last Saturday Shafique and Farhana hosted Cooking Circles Canberra to an amazing introduction to Bangladeshi cuisine at their Manuka restaurant, Taste of Bangladesh.

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They lead thirty of us through the delicate flavours of Chicken Dum Biriyani, fragrant with spices of Cumin, Star Anise, Chilli, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove and Mace…


…along with ginger and garlic, ghee, fried  onions.


The spices were ground and mixed with yogurt to marinate the chicken which was then cooked..


…before being layed with the separately cooked rice for the final cooking, that allows the flavours to penetrate layers.


While the Dum Biriyani was cooking, Shafique showed us how to prepare the wonderfully delicious classic – Gulab Jaman.


His shortcut method is to mix a dough using milk powder and baker’s flour (softened with cream) which is rolled into balls…

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….and cooked in oil before being added to a sugar (and cinnamon stick) syrup.


Farhana told us about the traditional (lengthy) method used in Bangladesh to prepare this dessert, using paneer. When a new baby is born into a family, the new parents send this special sweet to friends and neighbours.


While we were waiting for the Dum Biriyani, Shafique also showed us an Eggplant Pakora (Beguni) entree.


He first thinly sliced the eggplant…


…then mixed it with spices – chilli, mace and garam marsala…


…and then chickpea flour and water to coat it in batter before frying it.


We were all so eager to enjoy this delicacy that no-one captured any photos whatsoever!

As the meal deliciously came together we chatted and enjoyed mango lassis and glasses of wine…


…but when the Dum Biriyani was served, perfectly matched with yogurt raita, the flavours were wonderful to savour!


And the Gulab Jaman was a perfect end to a excellent meal, with fine company and much pleasure for all the senses, discovering another lesser known world cuisine!


Taste of Bangladesh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Road testing the Thali Lunch at Taste of Bangladesh, Manuka just $13


So pleased that Taste of Bangladesh are doing Thalis at lunch again!!

Monday to Friday 12-2pm, they are offering what must be the best value lunch in Manuka.


$13 buys a large serve of rice, large pillowy naan, poppadom and three curries – a vegetable kadhi and two others that change each week.

This week it was a delicous butter chiken and beef vindaloo…so good!!

And if you fancy a glass of wine or best togo with yor Thali, just take it along, there’s no corkage charge!

Taste of Bangladesh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Soi Noodle Bar, Canberra City – ticks all the boxes @soinoodlebar


The Soi Noodle Bar is a perfect spot for a pre or post movie drink and casual meal. Located in the Canberra Centre close to Dendy, parking is easy and it’s open every day until late.


Not licensed, it very helpfully offers BYO wine at $3 per person.


You can choose from differently sized Japanese, Thai and Korean dishes to suit your appetite and budget.

It’s great value, offering a 25% discount for Canberra Entertainment Book holders.

Service is swift.

The decor is chic, with some very impressive branding…

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…that even extends into the kitchen!


Soi Noodle Bar has  a friendly atmosphere and it’s the kind of place you can chat to fellow diners. At the table next to us we met Tam, Minh, Jenny and Tam who were lovely.


They are studying at ANU and enjoying Canberra, especially its food culture.

When it came to the menu, I loved the interesting mini-dishes especially the soft buns (3 for $15, $5 each for any extra).


These buns are teriyaki chicken, but the soft shell crab, spanner crab, prawn tempura or lamb all sounded great too.

Other great choices were the spicy edamame beans $5….


….and the delicious miso eggplant $10.


One order of each of these would be perfect to share between two with a glass or two of wine ($18 each including corkage or $13.50 with the Entertainment Book discount).
However, there’s also larger main meals on offer like the..

SLOW COOKED BEEF CHEEKS With salad & black rice $24


Or if you’d like, you can create your own noodle, curry, ramen or rice dish from a range of ingredients for around $14 (vegetable) to $19 for combination meats.

Serve sizes are very generous, ideal for sharing.

Thai green curry with coconut milk zucchini, eggplant, green beans, bamboo shoot & sweet basil (medium spicy)


RAMEN – Chicken broth ramen noodle soup, topped with the meat of your choice, wakame, nori, chopped shallot, bamboo shoot, boiled egg and fish cake.


PAD SEE EW – Stir-fried thick rice noodles with Chinese broccoli, egg & sweet soy sauce


YAKIUDON – Udon noodles with soy, oyster ,fish sauce, cabbage, chopped shallot, onion, carrot, mushroom, egg and topped by bonito flakes & sesame oil.


The staff were friendly and accommodating.

They even sent us out some complimentary slushies to try –

LYCHEE SAKURA – lychee, lime & mint, 

COCO-MANGO – coconut, mango & mint, 

WATERMELON SUIKA – watermelon, mint & lime 


Usually $6 each they were a perfect way to end the meal.

Soi Noodle Bar ticks all the boxes for me and will be my ‘go to’ pick when I’m heading to the movies.

Soi Noodle Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kusina, Weston – Seriously good!


Kusina at Coolemon Court Weston is Canberra’s first Filipino restaurant offering some truly fabulous dishes.
This wonderful, warm and friendly family run business is headed up by Leilani, ably assisted on the night we visited, by her son Bailey….

….and Leilani’s dad.

Leilani is a wonderful hostess and she helped us choose some delicious, unique dishes that are already on my Wishlist to go back for again.

The most memorable were the Kare Kare $23.80 – a traditional Filipino stew of braised beef cheek, bok choy, eggplant and snake beans in a peanut sauce. Fantastic already, it was made perfect by a shrimp paste condiment ( a little like vegemite).

I also loved the Chicken Inasal – half a grilled chicken marinated in lemon grass, ginger, garlic and soy sauce $22.

As for sides, my favourite was Pinakbet $8.80, snake beans, pumpkin, okra, bitter gourd and eggplant with shrimp paste.

These dishes went perfectly with plain rice $3.30 per person (we had two serves)…

….but we also tried the more buttery Java rice at $4.40 per person (two serves).

As there were five of us we ordered the green papaya salad $8.80 as a side …

…and five pork and prawn spring rolls for $9.80 which were perfect for a small starter.

And we couldn’t resist the desserts so we shared a Brazo Mercedez, soft meringue with a custard centre, a great choice at $8.

Corkage was $4.80 per bottle.

As we were using the Canberra Entertainment Card, we also were offered a 25% discount, so the meal was also terrific value at about $16.50 per person.

Kusina has big plans to build on its booming popularity.

It’s branching out to the Northside, starting in the Hamlet by the end of the year before settling into one of the new Braddon developments.

Great news for northsiders!

Kusina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chez Kimchi, Canberra City


Chez Kimchi has been on my wishlist for a while so it was great to try the highly popular fried chicken

…and some dumplings to go with it…

Very friendly and helpful staff..

…and clearly popular…

but next time I do think I’d try a soup, korean pancake or stew..

..or share a hotpot…

Open Sundays for lunch.

Chez Kimchi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Daana – heading to Curtin, the start of an exciting new venture! @daana_canberra


Daana has gained a strong following of lovers of regional Indian cuisine since Sanjay and Sunita opened in Westside Acton late last year. Serving great street food from a both north (Sanjay) and south (Sunita) India, they’ve added comfortable wet weather seating for customer comfort.

But now it’s time to take their great street food from a both north (Sanjay) and south (Sunita) India, to a new home in Curtin.

Following in the footsteps of Binny’s Kathitto ( that recently made the move from their pop up in the Hamlet to a permanent home on Lonsdale Street), Daana is heading to a great stand alone venue previously occupied by Silver Fox and before that Delissio. It has in front free parking very easy a access for Woden workers. The perfect spot for end of year lunches!

But Saturday was the time to celebrate this new venture with Sanjay and Sunita as they served Biriyani for the last time from Acton Park.

They were serving their famous Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani…

$8 for a half serve of Vegetable Biriyani….

$12 for a full serve….

$12 for a half serve of Chicken Biriyani ($18 full serve)

The raita that accompanied the Biriyani was amazing!

(The Malabar Paratha with Chicken Marsala $15 was so tempting…very hard to decide).

There was also Carrot Halwa for dessert $5 half serve $8 full serve.

Other delicious choices included the samosa $8 for two…

Dahl Vada $10 for 4

Idli with Sambar $10

I can’t wait to try the new venue when it opens in September, Tuesday – Sunday lunch and dinner.

Daana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chomolungma, Manuka – good for Nepalese cuisine


Chomolungma in Manuka is a great spot for Nepalese food.

I really like their thali style choices  but this last visit we tried some curries with rice and breads and of course, the momos.

For a light lunch the pork momos are great…

..about $14 for 10…

$11.90 for 6 fried..

But it’s also a good option to share one chicken/lamb/goat or pork curry cooked with ginger, garlic onion, tomato & Himalayan spices $17.50 and rice $3 and a roti $3 with a friend..



Jhinge $18.90 – garlic chilli prawns with Himalayan spices and herbs..

Pappadoms are $2.50 for 4….

Corkage for BYO wine is $2.50 per person.

Chomolungma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charnie’s Noodles & Dumplings, Charnwood, an expert in a classic style!


Finding myself in Canberra’s far north for work last week, I consulted the Canberra Food Bloggers for any nearby ‘do not miss’ spots for lunch.

Unanimously they agreed that I must not miss this opportunity to experience Charnie’s Noodles and Dumplings, a favourite!

And indeed Charnie’s is a specialist in that heritage classic Aussie Chinese takeaway style.

Large serves of deliciousness are very affordable, rice is cheap at $2 per person and you can take along your bottle of wine  at no charge if you want to eat in.

All this service comes with the friendliness and welcome of Sophia and her team who love to see their customers happy.

A steady stream of regulars is a testimony to its popularity with locals.

A very kind man allowed my to photograph one of this favourites chicken fritters with plum sauce $13.80

Sophia apologised for the extra $2 price rise on lamb dishes, but boy was it worth it. The Lamb Satay $17.80 was exceptional, tender slices of flavoursome lamb.

The chicken with ginger and shallots was also very good $14.80, but it was very hard to beat that lamb.

The pork and coriander dumplings $13.80 was soft and tasty, but knowing now that the steamed version comes in a broth I’d like to go back and try the fried….much easier for sharing.

Being so tasty and large, one serve from Charnie’s will go a long way, making it very affordable.

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 12 noon until late, closed Mondays.

A real local suburban gem continuing a uniquely Aussie classic cuisine and culture that’s well worth enjoying and supporting.
Charnie's Noodles and Dumplings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Malaysian Chapter, Belconnen – a great spot for a group dinner

Malaysian Chapter is still as good as ever!
It’s great food and great value (large dishes for sharing and 25% discount for Canberra Entertainment Book Holders as well as $5 per bottle corkage).
There’s also plenty of room for groups and it’s nicely carpeted and quiet for chatting.


My favourites dishes for sharing are:


Roti Canai – Flaky bread, served with Lentil Curry $4

I just love the roti!

(one person person is perfect!)

Nonya Prawn and Pineapple Curry $21.50
Rendeng Lamb Curry $21.50
Assam Fish $20.50
with the absolutely delcious coconut rice $3.50 per serve
Three mains and three rice was perfect for 5-6 people
There’s other dishes to try like the Crispy Chicken and Belacan Fry $18.50…..
….but I still go back to my favourites.

Malaysian Chapter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato