No-one warned us that Gami sells their Korean fried chicken by the whole chook. Seriously. We spent a good minute freaking out before seeing the smaller serves (phew!). Mum and I were hurriedly shown to a table upstairs, where we were ignored for quite a while before having our order taken. Yes it was busy, but the vibe wasn’t exactly customer-friendly. We ordered the half chicken ($18) with soy garlic sauce plus a kimchi pancake ($14) (because I have no willpower). We snacked on the complimentary pickles until the pancake arrived – it was perfect, with just the right amount of spice and a great dipping sauce. Yum, yum, yum. The chicken came out not long after, with 9 pieces (assorted cuts). My first impression was that the sauce may have let the dish down – it left some of the skin soggy rather than crispy, taking away the contrast with the tender meat within. However, it was sweet (honey-like), and so moreish. On the downside, the chicken was very oily and also quite salty. I would give them another try as you can order the chicken without sauce, but I was disappointed by the service and the ‘churn them through’ vibe, so it’s probably not at the top of my ‘to revisit’ list.
Gami, 100 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC, http://www.gamichicken.com.au/
#icecreamthurs is best in winter! Koko Black isn’t my favourite chocolate shop (Bracegirdles in Adelaide wins that accolade), but I was keen to try their winter menu, so a friend and I stopped by after dinner one night. I couldn’t go past the Strawberry Sorbet spectacular ($9.50), served with a crisp lime meringue. Intriguing! The sorbet arrived in a chilled glass, with two large scoops and the flat meringue perched artistically on top. The sorbet surprised me on first scoop – remember how I raved about how amazing the Movenpick strawberry icecream is, with a strong strawberry jam flavour? Well, fellow lactose-intolerant folk, get down to Koko Black, because this sorbet achieves pretty much the same effect without the dairy. I was delighted by the sweet-but-not-too-sweet buzz of strawberry flavour, with that intense concentation I so love at Movenpick. Of course the creaminess isn’t really there, but when the flavour is this good, ou don’t miss it. The lime meringue added another level of delight, bringing sharp, tart lime flavour to counteract the sweetness of the strawberry, as well as adding textural contrast. Highly recommened as we all try to pretend it’s still summer.
Koko Black, Canberra Centre, Civic ACT http://www.kokoblack.com/
There are egg and bacon rolls, and then there are egg and bacon rolls. This is a top-of-the-food-chain egg and bacon roll, as one would expect from the expert kitchen at Ivy & The Fox. On a chilly Saturday I started out with the Pink Lady smoothie ($8.90), with watermelon, pear, pineapple and mint. Disappointingly it was more like a juice – it still had great balance of flavour, but I had hoped for a thicker texture. The egg and bacon roll ($11) wiped away my disappointment. Beautifully presented, this is the sauciest roll I’ve ever had. Topped with spicy relish and perfectly oozy egg yolk, there was plenty of bun to mop up with. The relish had such a great flavour – spiced with parsley and topped with tiny curls of cheddar cheese, it was well-seasoned and basically perfect. The eggs were huge and cooked just right, and the giant slab of bacon on top was nicely cooked (although it could have been a tad crispier at one end). The staff were friendly and the atmosphere was cozy by the fire. Definitely one to come back for.
Ivy & The Fox, Old Canberra House, ANU, Lennox Crossing Acton, ACT, http://ivyandthefox.com/
When I saw on Instagram that Doughnut Time, of the delightful Vegan Fox doughnuts, was offering a new flavour with an equally fun name, I couldn’t help but stop by. The Melon Degeneres (get it?) ($6) is exactly what it sounds like – a vibrant doughnut iced with a watermelon flavour and dotted with cacao nibs. We lined up at the cute Degraves Street shopfront, eyeing off all of the delicious, temption options – but no, we stuck to the mission. We actually carried this one around for a bit before eating, which may account for the oozy nature of the icing by the time we got around to eating it. The main feature of these doughnuts is that the doughnut itself is light, delicious, and not oily at all. This flavour was no exception to that rule, the icing hiding a perfect, tasty doughnut. Unfortunately, I found the watermelon icing a bit artificial, especially compared with the lovely vegan chocolate on the Vegan Fox. Yes, you can definitely identify the flavour as watermelon, but the sort of lolly ot candy watermelon that doesn’t quite do justice to the fruit. The cacao nibs added a nice touch, with a bit of textural contrast. I’d probably try something else next time, but I will be back.
Doughnut Time, 5 Degraves Street, Melbourne VIC, http://www.doughnuttime.com.au/#doughnut-time
The Pedlar has a fabulous weekend vibe, full of life an energy on a rainy day. Sticking to my ‘order the most unusual thing on the menu’ philosophy, I was very excited to see that they offer Pan-seared Sardines on their weekend brunch menu. Sadly, they were out, so I made do with the Fried Duck Egg ($18) with sweet corn fritters, whipped goat’s curd and roasted tomatoes, plus a fresh orange juice ($6.50). The juice came out quickly and was a good size, although it did have a lot of ice in it. Brunch was beautifully presented, with the huge fried egg in the centre and three clusters of fritters, tomatoes and greens around it. My first thought was that I would have liked some bread of some sort to mop up the perfectly runny yolk with – it had a surprisingly salty tang, which boosted the flavour overall. The fritters were also well-seasoned, and had just the right balance to avoid being dry or soggy, and went perfectly with the very tasty goat’s curd. The tomatoes were a nice touch too, and I left feeling well-fed. The staff were really friendly and welcoming – I’m looking forward to trying the sardines next time!
The Pedlar, 65 Constitution Avenue, Campbell ACT, http://thepedlar.com.au/
I couldn’t only go to Gelateria Primavera once. I mean really, their gelato is that good, I was eager to try more of their exciting flavour range. We stopped by after dinner one night, joining the queue before the theatre crowd arrived for an intermission treat. This time I opted for the plum sorbet, putting it in the category of exotic flavours hard to find anywhere else. For $5, the scoop is generous and the quality is outrageously good – their sorbets are just so creamy! The plum sorbet has a beautiful, saliva-inducing tartness that is rounded out nicely by the natural sweetness of a sorbet. This flavour is enhance by the tiny flecks of plum skin throughout – for me, this is the mark of a good flavour, showing it has been derived from authentic, rather than artificial, sources. The intensity of this flavour was impressive, not fading at all throughout the portion. Whilst there aren’t a lot of seats, we enjoyed pulling up a stool inside Spring Street Grocer to enjoy our dessert. I wish I lived in Melbourne, to be able to treat myself to a take-home pack. Yum, yum, yum. Gelato perfection found.
Gelateria Primavera, 157 Spring Street, Melbourne VIC, http://www.springstreetgrocer.com.au/
I very rarely take any of my leave in Canberra, so when I do, I always struggle to decide where to eat out! After much deliberation, I organised to meet a friend at Double Shot in Deakin for a long lunch. I’m always impressed with the friendly service here, and this visit was no exception. We were shown to a cozy table in the back half of the restaurant, and I ordered the Soft Shell Crab Burger ($23), which has tempura crab, wasabi slaw and microherbs on a brioche bun. The burger was huge and had a huge serving of fries with it, so already winning on the value front. The brioche was a good choice, adding a nice amount of sweetness to balance the fried crab and the tangy slaw. The crab was beautifully crisp and had great flavour – there was also plenty of it. I enjoyed the pairing of the slaw, which was fresh and went well with the Kewpie mayonnaise. The fries were nice, although could have been a bit crispier for my taste. Double Shot is reliably excellent on all fronts – flavour, service and atmosphere – a great stop for a lazy lunch.
Double Shot, 18 Duff Place, Deakin ACT,
I knew I had to eat here when I saw the Instagram pictures of the hedgehog dumplings – could something so cute really be edible? Could it really be delicious? Yes, and yes. My friend and I ordered both serves of the cute dumplings – the Snow White Rabbit Dumplings ($13.80) and the Manga Dumpling (‘Hedgehog’) ($12.80), plus a serve of roast duck with plum and basil ($25.80). Firstly, this is way too much food for two people – we couldn’t finish the duck. The rabbit dumplings were packed full of prawn (yay, my favourite!), asparagus, bamboo shoots and homemade creamy soup, with a chrysanthemum-infused dough. I found the flavour of this dumpling to be much better than the hedgehogs, although the skin was a little bit thick for my liking. The Hedgehogs had a surprisingly sweet flavour from the baked dough skin, which overpowered the subtle flavour of the various mushrooms inside. Whilst both were cute for the novelty factor, for quality they don’t have a patch on Lotus. We absolutely loved the duck, though – tender, incredibly tasty and fun to eat, I would order this again for sure. Overall the food was nice, but a little overpriced for what you get.
Luyu & Yum Yum, 196 King Street, Newtown NSW, http://luyu.com.au/
Canberrans rejoice! Ok, well, people working in Barton, rejoice! There is finally a (relatively) cheap Japanese place for lunch! I popped in to Genki for a weekday lunch and had trouble picking which of the many favourite Japanese comfort-food dishes to pick. In the end chose the tonkatsu udon ($14), which is a big bowl of udon noodles in broth with crumbed, fried pork on top. For this pricepoint, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the broth, although the dish isn’t exactly authentic. I did really enjoy the vegetables served in the broth – snowpeas, broccoli, mushrooms and carrots, plus the liberal sprinkling of not-very-Japanese crispy eschallots. The tonkatsu was nicely crumbed and drizzled with the appropriate sweet sauce, and the serving was really quite generous. I am a sucker for udon noodles, and these were just what I wanted on a chilly afternoon. Plump, soft and chewy, they hit just the right note for comfort food. The service was a bit abrupt (very little explanation of the system – pay and wait for your number to be called), but this is a very welcome addition to the Parliamentary Triangle’s limited dining scene.
Genki, 48 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT
Hello #icecreamthurs! Let’s eat icecream to pretend it’s still summer. I love Cow & the Moon – it’s pretty much the best gelato I’ve ever had – so I’m always happy to go back and try more of their fabulous flavours. On this visit, I chose two of their fruity sorbets to try, one new and one old favourite. The new flavour was the peach sorbet, which I sampled and fell in love with. The peach flavour is sweeter than other peach sorbets I’ve tried, so the effect is more like eating a sweet, ripe peach, which I really liked. The texture is perfection – as creamy as any dairy-based icecream – and the flavour is beautifully intense. I also went for an old favourite, the black and blue sorbet, which tastes just like a blackberry chewy lolly. This is the kind of flavour that gets the saliva going, it’s so sweet and tart and bold. Dad ordered the World Gelato Championship-winning Affogato flavour, which I tasted too – oh my. There were caramelised almonds in it, as well as the perfect coffee and vanilla flavours. Swoon. Must visit for anyone heading to Sydney.
Cow & the Moon, 181 Enmore Road, Enmore, NSW, no website