Black Market Coffee Roasters – a very handy spot to know on Enmore Road!


Black Market Coffee Roasters are new to Enmore Road and just a few minutes walk away from The Urban Hotel.

Perfect for a quick coffee or light brekkie I had flagged it for my next visit.

The crumpets with honey, marscapone, mint, summer fruits and nut butter $12 were top on my list.


As I waited I enjoyed one of their very popular coffees and watched the locals drop by to pick up theirs.


The crumpets arrived and were beautiful, but sadly not house-made as the prep area is tiny.

Next visit I’ve got my eye on the fig and cranberry fruit toast, a bargain at just $4.50 sourced from the Bourke Street Bakery’s Bread and Butter project – an artisan bakery and also Australia’s first social enterprise bakery with 100% of profits being reinvested into baker training and employment pathways for refugees and asylum seekers.


I’ll be back!

Black Market Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

No. 10 – Woden’s new spot for a worker’s weekday lunch


Number 10 is the new kid on the block in the Woden Departmental District and clearly very popular for pre-Christmas catch ups. It’s taken over from Smoque at the bottom of the Abode Hotel on Bowes Street.


It offers three great $15 lunch specials and I particularly like the look of the salad and the steak.


In + Out Lunch $15

Skirt Steak – Chargrilled skirt steak with Café de Paris butter and fries

Fish + Chips- Beer battered fish and chips with No. 10 remoulade sauce and a cucumber and fennel slaw

Roast Pumpkin Salad – Salad of roast pumpkin, roast sweet potato, cos lettuce, pine nuts and fetta

However, on my first visit we were road testing the two salads listed under the small plates.

My Beet Salad was excellent! A perfect amount and full of tasty, well balanced flavored and textures. A great light lunch but some may want to order a side of bread.


Beet Salad – Pickled beetroots with goats curd, candied and pickled walnuts, radish, celery hearts, honey vinaigrette $17 ($24 main size)

My dining partner tried the Calamari Salad – also a good choice.


Calamari – Flashed fried squid with citrus salt, caramelised pineapple, coriander, cucumber, mint and orange syrup $18

Also, very popular for lunch is the Chicken and Waffles – Buttermilk & Bourbon fried chicken with waffles, maple aioli, cress and lemon $21.


But I do think I’d have to have the Beet Salad again next time I’m back, it was so very good!

Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills – SMH’s Good Food Guide’s 2017 Cafe of the Year


Never missing an opportunity to try a Good Food Guide hot tip, we braced the rain to try the Paramount Coffee Project, an easy walk from Central Station, on Commonwealth Street, for breakfast.

Wanting to try some of the innovative dishes we shared the very delicious Creole Jambalaya with chorizo, smoked barramundi, charred squash smothered cabbage and caramelised lemon $19.50


….. and the Key lime pie waffle with coconut lime and pepper slice, macerated berries, salted Nutella ganache and green apple $19.50, very moorish, but definitely best shared.


The open spaces are very welcome and while very popular, it’s not too hard to grab a table.

The Paramount Coffee Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Claypot Chef – in my top 10 for Canberra!


The Claypot Chef has been on my wishlist ever since Karen Really Likes Food did that magnificent piece on Chef Udaya.

Now that the warm weather is here, it was a perfect time to head to the Farrer Shops to sit out front with a lovely no corkage BYO wine and a bunch of friends to share some of the best Sri Lankan food I’ve ever had.


When we arrived Udaya was busy in the kitchen preparing that Sri Lankan signature dish Kothu Roti. The sound of chopping on the hot plate brought back many fond travel memories.


However, Udaya is the consummate host and he quickly arrived at our table with wine and water glasses and complimentary pappadoms. In fact he keep the water filled all night and returned with more pappadoms.


Based on our past enjoyment and Karen’s recommendations – we chose for our group of six, one dish each of the Green Bean Curry $11 with spices and coconut milk…


…Sri Lankan Black Pork Curry $17…..


…Devilled Chicken $15….


…one large rice $3…..


…one roti each $2 each…


And we doubled up on then Lamprias, that classic Dutch Burger Sri Lankan lunch box in a banana leaf oven-baked with a pork/chicken, a fish ball, deep fried egg, potato, eggplant, seeni sambol and spiced rice – delicious!

img_9561 img_9564

The real stand out stars were the Pork and Green Bean curries, roti and Lamprias. Udaya also arrived with some complimentary Coconut Sambol (usually $5) which was a perfect condiment – I will get that every time!


Nothing was too much trouble for Udaiya and to complete our meal he brought us some complimentary traditional Portuguese settler inspired Love Cakes – delicious!


We had food left (may have only needed one Lamprais) all for less than $16 per person.


Claypot Chef has won a firm spot on my top favourites in Canberra.

Do drop by over Summer and try it for yourself.

Closed Mondays and Christmas to 11 January for a break – Claypot Chef is usually open Tues to Thurs for dinner 4-8pm and Fri-Sun 10-8pm for lunch and dinner.

Take-away is also hugely popular.

Phone: 62868081 or 0404074440

img_9540 img_9541

Claypot Chef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Poacher’s Pantry – a perfect Country Lunch for a very special day out!


Poacher’s Pantry, just out of Canberra, on the Nanima Road is looking very beautiful after her recent makeover.


With extended opening hours for the Christmas season and a special tasting menu, I was very impressed by how well they have created a very relaxed and gorgeous lunch experience.


Whether you choose to go for one of the shared platters, or the full $59 four course menu I’d really recommend taking the lovely opportunity to meet Sarah, Cellar Door Manager, who will help you choose your Wily Trout Vineyard Wine.


We were very impressed with the locally grown (as in just down the road) wines and bagged several to take home.


Wily Trout Premium Pinot Chardonnay 2013 $35 , Blanc de Blanc NV, Wily Trout Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $25, Wily Trout Chardonnay 2014 $25, Wily Trout Rosé 2016 $24, Wily Trout Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $25, Wily Trout Pinot Noir 2015 $28, Wily Trout Shiraz 2014 $27

Our absolute favourites were the vintage pinot chardonnay, rose and pinot noir.


However, the rose was the perfect match for our Christmas Tasting Menu…

$59 per person

Carrot & ginger gazpacho, seared yellow fin tuna, passionfruit


Pissaladière bread, green asparagus, wild rocket leaves, tallegio cheese, Poachers classic prosciutto


Ocean trout, tomato chilli jam, smoked garlic aioli, eggplant, oven dried tomatoes



Poachers smoked chicken breast, cos, pear, cottage cheese


Baked chocolate mousse, strawberries, coriander, cream, cherry sorbet


All amazing dishes!

Wine pairing is also available at $25per person

Trading Hours

Smokehouse Restaurant

Brunch Sat & Sun 9:30 – 11:30am

Lunch Fri – Sun 12:00 – 3:00pm

Christmas season only

Lunch Monday 19th – Thursday 22nd 12:00 – 3:00pm

Lunch Monday 27th – Thursday 29th 12:00 – 3:00pm


Boxing Day, 1st – 3rd January 2017

Poachers Pantry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Briscola Pizzeria, Canberra City – still as good as ever


It was great to see how popular Briscola Pizzeria has become with Canberra locals.

Even mid-week it was hard to get a table. Well deserving of its fans, Briscola has positioned itself well as a mid-range Italian eatery offering warm hospitality and good food.

Gianni was as helpful as ever as we created a shared menu for seven of us. He was right, the salads are huge, the Pulcinella is still a fabulous pizza choice, and his mum’s ravioli is indeed very good.

We went for maximum variety within our $25 per person budget and chose:

To start:

Antipasto di salumi affettati -antipasto & charcuterie board w/ salami, prosciutto, mortadella, pickled

giardiniera, fresh buffalo mozzarella, stone baked focaccia $25

..with an extra stone baked focaccia with herb + sea salt – $12  for this size

1 x Pulcinella pizza – mascarpone + gorgonzola + pancetta + fresh pear $30 (large)

For mains we ordered:

Casareccia pasta – chicken, pancetta, shallots, brandy cream, macchiato sugo $22

Egg pappardelle, three meat ragu, chianti, basil, grana padano $24

Mum’s roast pumpkin & ricotta ravioli, burnt sage butter, amaretti $26 for five and $5 each for extras

Buffalo mozzarella caprese, tomato, basil, virgin oil, aged balsamic $15

Shaved fennel, baby leaves, blood orange, mint, citronette $16 size

Rocket, grana padano, caramelised walnuts, fresh pear, aged balsamic $16

The real standouts for me were the Pulcinella pizza, Casareccia pasta, Buffalo mozzarella caprese and the soft baked focaccia that came with the antipasto.

Gianni was right, we didn’t need so much salad and next time we would skip the Shaved fennel salad – most of which was still left when we’d finished.

The Linguine, banana prawns, mussels, rock lobster meat, tomato, chilli, white wine $29 looks excellent on the way past too as did the take-away gelato outside.

To help with budgeting Briscola offers a 25% discount for Canberra Entertainment Book holders and BYO – Corkage $4.5per person, Cakeage $2 per person

Briscola Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aubergine, Griffith – Canberra’s two hatted restaurant


Aubergine is the Good Food Guide’s number one pick in Canberra, described as one of the country’s best restaurants. It remains the only two-hatted restaurant in Canberra.

I had it saved for a special celebration, and last week I finally had the chance to try the dynamic and changing menu that prides itself on innovative combinations of local produce in new and imaginative ways.

The decor and service set the scene for elegant fine dining and Cyril, Aubergine’s French sommelier, deserves all the praise he receives in reviews.

We were also well looked after by Marta, who was equally knowledgeable about the menus, warm and thoughtful.

The menu is a set four courses for $90 with an additional chef’s starter plate of savouries. These were one of the highlights of the meal.

Parmesan crisp with cheese fondue

Smoked potato crisp and raspberry salt

Nori cracker with cured blue mackerel, almond cream and cucumber

……all very delicious.

The next course was also fixed, and equally good, sweet and sour sardines with asparagus, grilled avocado and quail egg.

For Entree we chose:

Kingfish ceviche,green mango, nectarine, tomato and kaffir lime

There was the option to add some sea urchin for an additional $8 per person – which I don’t think we would worry about doing again.

Seared wagyu sirloin, smoked eel cream, eggplant jelly and daikon

I didn’t realise that this was a beef tartare dish or I may have chosen the Quail ballotine with purple carrots, beetroot, iso and ume plum sauce instead.

The Mains we selected were the:

Poached John Dory, braised lettuce, celtuce, seaweed and mussels

and the Lamb rump with sweetbreads, caramelised endive and black garlic.

But the pick of the mains was the Pork belly grilled over charcoal, with roasted and pickled fennel and cherries as this had the best flavours.

The bread and cured butter was also lovely.


Desserts that we chose were:

…the Brown butter ice cream, almond praline and frozen lemon myrtle milk. It’s easy to see why this is the signature dish that remains constant on the dessert menu..

..and the Capsicum sorbet, red fruits and berries , tapioca and shiso.

There was also the options to swap dessert for a cheese course.

However, the Chocolate Ganache Cake with ginger cream, maple and miso ice cream at another table looked particularly magnificent.

An excellent choice for a special night!

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

The Boathouse by the Lake, Canberra – excelling at private functions!


The Boathouse by the Lake may well be Canberra’s best spot for function dining. This is where they really excel. Food and wine is elegant, delicious and well priced. Staff and service is delightful. The setting is perfect. But most of all, they offer a real sense of generosity.

A well set out Private Dining Function Brochure explains the options well.

Choose from three rooms, East End looking more towards Kingston Foreshore…


…Walters, looking more towards Kings Avenue Bridge and Russell…


…or West End, looking straight across the lake and more towards Kings Avenue Bridge.


All have access to lovely decks, although East End and West End are larger.

The minimum spend, particularly at lunch time, is very reasonable – $1,100 for lunch January and April to October, $2,500 in peak times of Nov-Dec and Feb-Mar.

Menu Options start at $77 per person for 3 courses. The beverages packages are particularly good starting at $31 per person for three hours for lovely Canberra wines, draught beer, juice and soft drinks.

Also good value is the Corporate Two Course Luncheon with 2 hours of beverages for $90 per person.

We were there for a Christmas Party dinner for 23 people and after much consideration we chose:

6 savouries $21 per person (3 is $12) to allow for plenty of time to mix and mingle on the deck…


… before being seated at the round tables.


3 courses with alternate entrée and a choice of three options for main and dessert – $87 per person

3 hour silver drinks package – $31 per person

Dan and Lauren took great care of us with drinks and savouries and this set the scene for a wonderful evening.



Pea and Haloumi Fritters


Persian Fetta Mousse and Tomato Puffs


Avocado and Cherviche Tarts


Roast Pumpkin, Leek and Cheddar Quiche


Popcorn Prawns with Sriracha Mayo


Marlin Rice Cracker (the highlight)


For entrée we chose two alternates:

Spiced pork belly with avocado, white balsamic, togarashi


Seared prawns, butter milk, chlorophyll juice, charred baby gem


Mains were a choice of three:

Chicken breast, pea puree, baby potatoes, roast, chicken jus


Black angus striploin, burnt onion, asparagus, potato mash


Slow cooked pork, cauliflower puree, currant & fried cauliflower salad, coriander

The brioche bread buns and cured butter was excellent too!


For dessert guests could choose from:

Banana parfait, dark chocolate, peanut brittle, Chantilly cream

Malt ice cream, caramel ganache, honeycomb, dehydrated milk


Mango mousse, coconut sorbet, caramelised white chocolate, passionfruit


Everyone was very impressed with their choices and the evening was a great success.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Boathouse by the Lake for all the ingredients of a successful event.

Boathouse By the Lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barbers’ Inc – open to the public!


Barbers’ Inc. at the bottom of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on Kings Avenue opposite the National Archives, is a great spot for a casual lunch catch up.


However, many don’t realise that it’s open to the public and everyone is most welcome.

Now the good weather is here, it’s lovely to sit outside.


The Spring-Summer menu includes some interesting dishes like…

Crispy Fish Tacos – nachos crusted fish with a roast corn, tomato salsa and lime and sour cream aioli, wrapped in a soft taco $15


Sweet Potato and Chickpea Falafel with parsley and quinoa tabouleh and carrot raita $15


Roasted Pepper Pear, Blue Cheese, Walnut and Rocket Salad $15


The Grilled Beef Salad Bowl with seasonal fresh salad, vegies, romesco and brown rice looked especially good on the way past – quite substantial and with lots of colour and salad/veg $16.90.

The menu isn’t on-line so here’s a peek at the current breakfast and lunch menus. There’s always plenty of daily blackboard specials too.

img_8538 img_8541

Gerard’s Bistro – a top Brisbane pick!


As Queensland’s best restaurant in the 2016 Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants, Gerard’s Bistro has been on my wishlist all year.


Tucked away off Little James Street in Fortitude Valley, there’s a mix of indoor and outdoor seating.

img_8188 img_8166

The menu is filled with interesting and innovative dishes based on Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese cuisines.

Before my visit, I’d trawled the reviews and Instagram and come up with a fine short list.

Smaller Plates

Laham nayyeh, harissa, preserved lime, shallot, pickled cucumber, egg yolk $24

Grilled octopus, carrots cooked in black garlic, coal oil, almonds $26

Bekaa wings, kishk yoghurt, rose $18

Larger Plates

Confit southern squid, mussels, hazelnut milk, warrigal greens, kishk $32

Fried cauliflower, tahini, ras el hanout, pomegranate, almond $16

Slow-roasted wagyu brisket for two with seasonal accompaniments $62


Sheep’s yoghurt sorbet, honeycomb, milk and orange blossom $16

Charred eggplant sorbet, tahini crumb, cacao and Arabic coffee $16

Valrhona chocolate ice cream, candied chilli, Aleppo pepper ganache $18

Plant and non-plant dishes are separated and the menu is perfectly designed for sharing.

So I knew I would be challenged because I was dining alone! What to do??

I was immensely jealous of those around me who were choosing from my short list too, but had fellow diners to share with. But I was just glad to finally be here and was determined not to waste this precious opportunity.

Being a great sweet tooth, I toyed with the idea of just maxing out the desserts, but landed on the signature dish Fried cauliflower, tahini, ras el hanout, pomegranate, almond…


…and the intriguing Charred eggplant sorbet, tahini crumb, cacao and Arabic coffee crisp.


The cauliflower was wonderful and great value for just $16. Only lightly fried the cauliflower was fresh and still had a little crunch. The tahini sauce was a perfect match and the pomegranate was a tart burst contrast. But having said that, it is best shared as a full plate for one is not ideal. I think maybe I should have gone with the confit squid, octopus or laham neyyah or indulged that thought to try the Fried lambs brains, quail blood morcilla, warm tahini, dried yoghurt $26 or the Smoked lamb sweetbreads, mushroom and white garlic, almond, buttermilk $23.

The eggplant sorbet did indeed have a charred flavour, as promised and was a little less sweet that I’d expected. But the generous sweet tahini crumb, like a halva, was a lovely accompaniment. The cacao and coffee crisp was also a wonderful addition. Not for everyone I’m sure, but I still remember enjoying it with great fondness and would absolutely need to order it again next time.

And next time – I need to take lots of friends with me!

Breakfast on the weekend would also be awesome – again – next time!

But perhaps the most impressive aspect, besides the food, is the service. It’s impeccable! Dining alone is never easy, but the staff made me feel special and incredibly welcome even though I could only order so little. From the eye contact and smile when I arrived, to the timey attention and concern about my enjoyment and satisfaction. I was immensely impressed by the staff.

PS if you need somewhere great to stay with a pool nearby that you’d feel comfortable walking to Gerard’s Bistro alone, try M&A apartments. 


Open for dinner – Mon: 6:00pm – Late
Open Tues – Sun: 12:00 pm – Late
Open for breakfast – Sat & Sun: 8am – 11am

Gerard's Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato