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

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

Pialligo Estate – excellent for lunch in the Garden Pavillions

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Pialligo Estate is one of my three favourite Canberra spots for fine dining.

It is blessed by the most gorgeous setting, so close to town.

And Pialligo Estate does food and wine so well, enjoying it’s own vineyard, winery and smokehouse.

I especially love the Garden Pavillions that truly make the most of Pialligo Estate’s assets.

So I was especially pleased to be there to try a group set menu lunch, a new experience for me at Pialligo.

Our delicious meal began with…

Three Mills Sourdough, Pialligo Estate Olive Oil

Pialligo Salmon Gravlax, Dill Pickles

Burrata, Early Season Tomatoes & Rocket Pesto

Smokehouse Meats, Condiments

…progressed to….

Spit Holmbrae Chicken, Pazanella

Whole Roasted Lamb Shoulder & Chickpeas

Potatoes in Olive Oil, Rosemary

Leaves in Aged Vinegar

…..and finished with….

Cheese Platter & Condiments

Vanilla Panacotta with Coffee & Chocolate

This pannacotta was the most lovely I’ve ever had and the star of the meal.

I will need to enjoy  that again!

The set menu we enjoyed is excellent value at $70 per person for three courses with sides and cheese platter

This was beautifully complimented by a great selection of wines

I do love all the innovative things Pialligo Estate gets up to.

They are currently renovating the Farmhuse Restaurant and Rohan has more plans in mind.

The new Masterclasses are on my wish list.

So exciting to see the offerings from Pialligo Estate  constantly evolving with new delights.

Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Canberra Food Bloggers road test the new menu at Pod Food!

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Canberra has a lovely and lively community of people writing and posting about food!
The food bloggers are an especially social bunch and we love to get together for lunch every couple of months and enjoy some of Canberra’s wonderful venues.

This week Bizzy Lizzy took us to try out Pod Food’s new menu, in the conveniently close but relaxingly rural Pialligo.

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Sam Kildea, fabulous host that he is, set us up beautifully in Pod’s delightful garden…

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….but at Pod, there are just so many cute and cozy nooks to choose from.

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The most difficult decision of the day was whether to enjoy two ($50) or three ($60) courses!

Second most tricky was which of the gorgeous options to choose.
Some went with entrees: the Prawn noodle (yes, noodles made from prawns), with a soft 65 degree egg, parmesan, bacon and avruga caviar (which they raved about!)…

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….and the very decorative Pork sausage with pickled peach, mushroom cream, capsicum and chilli jam.

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Other choices on the menu were Asparagus spears, with beetroot, caramelised onion, goat’s cheese and rye cracker or Duck rillettes with pickled raspberry, crispy chicken skin and nashi pear.

We covered all the mains with the sirloin being the standout dish (along with very popular chilli and rosemary salt baked potatoes and aioli, which Sam thoughtfully threw in for us).

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Seared sirloin with fennel, dutch carrot with saffron potato foam

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Mushroom and chicken roulade with wasabi jelly, shimeji, chorizo and pea

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Pan fried market fish (swordfish this time) with potato, chermoula, wild rice and a lovely spinach soubise

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Wombok wrapped nut and lentil with pumpkin, tomato and radish

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And hugely successful were the desserts….

My Lime cheesecake with raspberry, lime get, macadamia, raspberry meringue and pineapple sorbet was a delicious balance of tart, sweet, crunchy and creamy – wonderful!

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The others loved their Pan perdu cooked in a very aromatic clarified butter with apple tarte tatin ice cream, brandy apple puree, blackberry and white chocolate!

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Also tempting was the sour cherry ice cream with coconut and oat crumble, chocolate jelly and cherry marshmallow.

As we chatted about cookbook launches, restaurant recommendations, writing opportunities and of course the wonderful food and atmosphere that Pod Food offers – the new Pod menu was declared a great success!!

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

Chifley Bar & Grill, Barton – the new summer menu

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The Hotel Kurrajong is all decked out for Christmas and the Chifley Bar & Grill has a new summer menu.

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The starters include Pork Cheek Croquettes with green Apple Slaw $20…

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..and a Grilled Haloumi and Mint Salad with halloumi cheese, orange, mint and roasted walnut $20.

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The Chilled Gazpacho with Poached King Prawn $20 also sounds good.

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The website menu is not up to date, but here’s the latest!

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Chifley's Bar and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

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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.

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

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https://www.instagram.com/number10restaurantandbar/

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.

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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.

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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.

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https://www.instagram.com/number10restaurantandbar/

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

Barbers’ Inc – open to the public!

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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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.

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