Thanks so much for following along this year, I really appreciate each of your comments and likes – stay tuned for more adventures in 2017! Kinokuniya is an awesome bookshop, made even more awesome by the presence of Black Star Pastry’s little dine-in cafe. We waited a while for a table to become free, then ordered a serve of the raspberry and lychee cake, which I hadn’t seen before, to eat-in. The glazed fresh raspberries and lychee on top looked so good dusted in edible rose petals – it was calling to me, what can I say? I had no regrets – this baby is as tasty as it looks. The cake is made up of layers of raspberry marshmellow and vanilla cream, and – surprise! – there’s a rich chocolate biscuit base that anchors the cake literally, and pulls the light, sweet flavours together too. It’s quite a sweet cake, although the raspberries give a nice tartness, and the light, fluffy cream layers are particularly lovely. Mum got the lemon and pistachio zen cake, with lemon curd and pistachio dacquoise, which was also refreshing and scrumptious. You basically can’t go wrong here.
Black Star Pastry, Books Kinokuniya, The Galeries Level 2, 500 George St Sydney, NSW, http://www.blackstarpastry.com.au/
Sadly, Akiba don’t offer their $18 Bite and Bolt lunch in December, but that didn’t stop us heading in for a team lunch. We got a tonne of plates to share (yes!), with some particular highlights. Firstly, the bao/bun. We ordered the pork belly bun ($8 each), served with asian slaw (including pickled cucumber, yum!), char sui and kewpie mayonnaise. The pork was fatty and tender, the bun soft and springy, and the slaw plus sauces packed a great flavour punch. Yum. The next highlight was undoubtedly the Shanghai noodles with pickled shiitake mushrooms, garlic and chilli ($13) – the noodles were thick and looked handmade, and the sauce stuck well to them, making each mouthful fabulous. The mushrooms stole the show, though – plump, tart, earthy and garlicky all at once, I’d highly recommend this dish on any Akiba share table. We grabbed a serve of my favourite Japanese Fried Chicken ($20), and then tried the fried rice ($21) – it all tasted like that wonderful part at the bottom of the pan that picks up all the flavour and crispiness. With a large group, the value is excellent – this food is made to share.
Akiba, 40 Bunda Street, Civic ACT, http://www.akiba.com.au/
Argh, so many posts to catch up on – here’s a fun one from earlier this month. You know it’s going to be a good Christmas party when the lunch part of the party is at Brodburger. We pre-ordered for about 15 people and found a standing table outside in part sun, part shade. I hadn’t tried their baby burgers before, so ordered the Baby Brod Chicken ($10) with a small side of fries ($3). The baby size is such a winner, being just enough food and leaving room for the delicious Brodburger shoestring fries. As always, the burger was cooked to perfection, with a succulent, tender chicken breast, perfectly salty bacon, creamy avocado and the magic homemade chilli aioli that is the x-factor in their burgers. The fresh ingredients plus the well-thought out combination of flavours makes the Brod Chicken one of my favourites: bacon, chicken and avo are meant to be together. The fries could have been cooked a tad longer for my taste, but were nicely seasoned and came with tomato dipping sauce. I’d highly recommend pre-ordering, to save notoriously long wait times and deliver the burger goods right away!
Brodburger, Canberra Glassworks, 11 Wentworth Ave, Kingston ACT http://www.brodburger.com.au
If the Lonely Planet recommendation wasn’t enough, I would have happily fallen in love with the quaint interior of Sur Patagonico, with its beautiful wood beams and glass bottles. My waiter was a former English teacher who happily recommended the mushroom risotto, which I ordered without hesitation. The dish was (as most dishes are here) huge, but oh my. Everything about this risotto was perfect. The rice had just the right texture, and the stock had clearly been house-made, without being too salty. There were several different types of mushrooms (I didn’t get a chance to count them, I ate them too quickly) that enriched the earthy flavours of the dish – somehow, the mushrooms remained plump and juicy. The cheese melted in perfectly and basically I just sat there in foodie paradise. I was even convinced to have a fresh ginger and lemon tea afterwards, to help with digestion, of course. I went at lunchtime, and it was relatively quiet, but the outdoor seats are popular at dinner and so too, I hear, is their Patagonian lamb. Definitely one of my top tips for Santiago.
Sur Patagonico, José Victorino Lastarria 92-96, Barrio Lastarria, Santiago, Chile, no website.
Ok, so one does not go to Argentina to eat Scandinavian food, but when the space is as lovely as Ølsen’s, I couldn’t not. The long block of land is elegantly presented, with garden walls either side drawing your eye to the vast glass frontage. I ordered from the set lunch menu (ARS 170), opting for the pumpkin soup with apple confit to start and grilled fish with potato, saffron and an olive tapenade for the main. To start, the waiter brought a stack of three huge bagels (I managed to nibble at one), before my pumpkin soup arrived. This is literally the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had – the sweet confit apple added so much to the rich, creamy soup that I’m going to try making this at home. Yum, yum, yum. The main was huge too, with a large fillet (unfortunately I couldn’t determine what sort of fish it was) of tender, flakey fish (perhaps slightly overdone). I found the tapenade a bit strong for the other delicate flavours, but the potatoes were every foodie’s dream. Surely double or triple fried, with perfectly crisp skins and fluffy, soft insides, they were heavy but super tasty – I definitely over-ate, and would come back in a heartbeat for more of that soup.
Ølsen, Gorriti 5870 Palermo Buenos Aires, Argentina, no website
Ok, so this isn’t the first place you think of when you think South America, but my flight to Buenos Aires left from a nearby gate, and a girl’s gotta eat. Just like at icecream stores, here you pay for your order first, and then move over to make your flavour selection. I opted for a traditional strawberry iced doughnut, complete with sprinkles on top. Yes, the doughnut grease oozed through the paper bag a bit as I took it onto the flight. Yes, there are probably more calories in that thing than in the other three meals of my day. But oh man, sometimes a doughnut is actually the best thing. The icing was very sweet, with a not-overly artificial, but not-overly authentic, strawberry flavour, and the sprinkles were a fun addition on top. The doughnut itself was delicious, with a springy dough that was beautifully aerated inside and had that perfect doughnut flavour. I don’t want to overcomplicate this – it was what you would expect from a chain-store doughnut, and it was delicious (and kept me awake on my flight). Job done.
Dunkin Donuts, Aeropuerto Internacional Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Av. Armando Cortínez Norte, Santiago
Hi all, I’m travelling next week so won’t be posting again until 19 December. Keep an eye on my Instagram for food adventures in the meantime! I noticed recently that Kingston Grind was no longer Kingston Grind, but the elegantly named Raven & Rose, so stopped in to try the food for lunch. The atmosphere is casual, with a beautiful mural on the back wall and plenty of sidewalk seating. I decided to try the roast chicken and bacon sandwich ($14), with lettuce, tomato, avocado and aioli, which was also the waitress’ recommendation. The sandwich came out in two halves, on a white toasted roll and with avocado clumps pouring out – definitely a good start! I had to swap my bread knife for a steak knife to cut the bread, but once I could cut the bread, it was game on. The ingredients were all fresh, and all the fillings were cold, which was lovely for a warm afternoon. The chicken breast pieces were plump and tender, although the bacon was a little dry. The avocado and aioli were generously portioned and so too was the red cabbage and green leaves. Flavour-wise this was a classic combo, nicely seasoned to bring the best out of the meats. Service was friendly and the sweets on the counter looked great too.
Raven & Rose, corner of Eyre an Jardine Streets, Kingston ACT, no webiste