This is a public service announcement – Smoque offers 50c wings (yes, you read that right, 50c wings) on Monday nights for dine-in customers. Cue marching band celebratory music here. Three of us headed down to the Woden store after work to indulge – we ordered 25 wings, sides of Mexican street corn and coleslaw, and a plate of poutine (chips with gravy and curd). It was a merry feast, although my friend picked the spicy (not suicidal) wings and as much as I wanted to eat more I couldn’t – clever tactic dude, clever. The wings were freshly cooked and had a nice amount of batter without being super oily. I avoided the blue cheese dipping sauce but apparently it was great, and there were some carrot and celery sticks served with it too. The chicken was tender and fell easily off the bone – so good. The corn was a highlight, fresh and covered in delicious cheese and sauce and a bit of lime, it was a nice break from all the meat. The poutine was my favourite though – the chips were really tasty (must be made from flavoursome potatoes), and whilst I would have liked more gravy, it filled me up after I couldn’t eat any more spicy wings. Next time I’ll be getting the non-spicy ones and smashing plenty more!
Smoque, 10 Bowes Street, Phillip ACT,
I have blogged many times about the need for a good, hearty burger, and that was exactly what I felt like when I met my colleagues at Bobo’s Diner in Frankston. They decided to share a plate of ribs, but I was sucked in by the promise of beef, cheese, lettuce and Bobo’s burger sauce that was ‘the original’. The food came out quickly and whilst the filling of my burger huddled like an island amid the sea of bun, once I got to that filling it was oh so good. The patty was wonderfully thick and packed full of ground beef (definitely not beef mince). The cheese and burger sauce added a huge amount of flavour and I actually did really like the soft but slightly crisped bun. The chips were tasty but nothing to write home about – they needed sauce and whilst the mustard on the table was tempting, I went for plain old tomato instead. My colleagues enjoyed the flavour of the ribs but were disappointed that there wasn’t more meat on them. The diner is open until late, and the staff happily let us work away as we ate.
Bobo’s Diner, 435 Nepean Highway, Frankston VIC http://www.bobosdiner.com.au/
Miss Peaches promises soul food, and that’s what we went seeking on a chilly Wednesday night. Bringing Southern American to Newtown, Miss Peaches takes up the space formerly occupied by the Marly Bar. We arrived as they opened, and snagged a table overlooking the street, after admiring the art in the hallway. Their cocktail list sounds fantastic (will have to go back for that), but we got right into the food. I ordered the smoked brisket po’boy, which comes with onions, pickles, mustard and gravy, as well as a serve of fries. The po’boy itself was a good size, and was packed with thickly-shredded brisket doused in gravy. Mmm. I am a huge fan of pickles and there was a very generous amount in the roll, which was light and just the right thickness. It’s not an elegant meal to eat, but dipping the fries into the gravy was particularly satisfying and delicious. Dad tried the gumbo – it was very spicy, but had a great complex flavour that I would probably have enjoyed more with a touch less spice. We were there very early, but I can imagine a really great atmosphere with some live music on a weekend. Soul food? Fo’ sho’.
Miss Peaches, 201 Missenden Road, Newtown, Sydney http://www.misspeaches.com.au/
On a recent visit to Canberra, I took Mum down to the Kingston foreshore for lunch. We wandered up and down, but both really felt like something a bit naughty – so we indulged in some pub grub at The Dock. Whilst the fish and chips was tempting, we both decided to go for the hot dog on the specials menu. We sat outside looking out towards the water, and after a bit of a wait (we were starting to get pretty hungry by then) our meals came out. The hot dog was a vienna sausage, topped with mustard and tomato sauce, American-style. The roll was sitting on top of a bed of The Dock’s amazing chips, with a side of tomato sauce for dipping (Mum liked the chips so much she said they didn’t need sauce – more for me!). The hot dog was really tasty – plenty of onion underneath – but we both agreed that the roll itself was a bit much considering how much filling there was. Neither of us ate all the bread, but the filling was devoured pretty quickly! We both had a lemon lime and bitters, which was huge and very refreshing. Got to love the great flavours and value at The Dock!
The Dock, 7/81 Giles Street, Kingston ACT 2604 http://www.thedockkingston.com.au/
Lonsdale Street Eatery (LSR’s alter dinner ego) is one of the many serious meat-offering establishments of Canberra. They offer BYO (no corkage charge – we also had to BYO bottle opener!) and have a lovely outdoor seating area, perfect for warmer nights. We went on the first night of their new menu, and the waitress was really lovely about tracking down details for us when we had questions. In the end, we chose the buffalo wings, the ‘pitt bull’ hot dog and the royale with cheese burger, all served in fun, branded, disposable packaging. The wings were amazingly crispy and whilst they didn’t have as much meat on them as other wings I’ve had, the flavour more than made up for it. Caution – the spicy dipping sauce was too hot even for my chilli-loving Dad. The ‘pitt bull’ hot dog was quite good – I enjoyed it more than the one I’d had at Broddogs – with a good kick from the horseradish slaw and jalapeno salsa. But the pick of the bunch was the royale with cheese – this is the mother of all cheeseburgers, with a pillowy soft bun, dense, meaty patty and oozing melty cheese. So, so good.
Lonsdale Street Eatery, 23 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT http://lonsdalestreetroasters.com/
Smoque is somewhere I know I can always get a reliable, good value meal, although their food wouldn’t exactly fall into the ‘healthy’ category. This visit was spontaneous, and the three of us ended up ordering the same meal and some sides to share. We were all tempted by the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, with sliced beef, rosemary aioli, caramelised onion and cheese. I ordered mine with pickles, but was disappointed that the extra pickles weren’t half-pickles like the one on the side, but tiny grated mini pickles – not worth bothering with. My friends kindly gave me their pickles (you guys are the best). That was the only disappointment though – the sandwich was incredible. Packed with far more slow-cooked, tender beef than I’d expected, the rosemary aioli was flavoursome without being overpowering, and there was a perfect filling-to-bread ratio. We also had a side of tater tots (better known as potato gems) with spring onion, sour cream and bacon bits – these were tasty but not as tasty as the hand-cut fries, which were wolfed down and went perfectly with the aioli overflow. The relaxed atmosphere was perfect for a casual weeknight meal.
Smoque Woden, 10 Bowes Street, Phillip ACT http://smoque.com.au/