I don’t know how I feel about this post. I was super excited to try the burgers from Everybody Loves Ramen – they look beautiful and having lived in Japan, I had high expectations. I chose the Yuzu Burger ($14), given a) yuzu is one of my favourite Japanese flavours and b) the patty is made of my all time favourite Japanese food – okonomiyaki. Now, perhaps these facts set the bar a bit high, so I was really surprised when I bit into my burger and discovered that a) the yuzu glaze was actually yuzu icing, making a sweet layer on half of the bun and b) the ‘okonomiyaki’ was a tiny food-court style patty. Whilst disappointed, I did eat the filling – the bun was just too weird a combination of sweet and savoury for me – the classic kewpie mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce combination always work delightfully, bringing the okonomiyaki up a notch. I did enjoy the random popcorn hiding beneath my burger, but to be honest I probably wouldn’t order this again – it was trying to be too much all at once, so wasn’t great at any one thing.
Everybody Loves Ramen, at the Night Noodle Markets, Reconciliation Place, until 13 March 2016, no website.
I adore Lilotang, one of Canberra’s modern Japanese restaurants, and was very excited to see that they’re offering lobster rolls as part of the Night Noodle Market. Stationed right by the entrance, the staff were proudly claiming to have Canberra’s best Japanese as we approached the stall. I ordered the lobster roll ($11) and Dad went for the pork belly bun ($10) beng offered by stall-partner Chairman and Yip. Both dishes were served within 5 minutes of us ordering them, which I was super impressed by! The lobster roll looked small, but don’t let that deceive you – there’s plenty of delicious lobster filling packed within the two sides of that sweet, soft brioche bun. The mixture was designed to bring out the lobster flavour, with chives and onion added as highlights. This ranks up there with the Supernormal one as a must-try. The pork belly bun had two huge, fat strips of boiled pork belly resting atop a simple coleslaw – Dad added some hoisin sauce (help yourself at the counter) and it really brought the whole dish to life. The pork pieces were perfectly fatty and tender – an indulgence indeed.
Lilotang, Night Noodle Market Reconciliation Place, Parkes until 13 March, http://lilotang.com.au/
I bucked the trend at my most recent visit to the Hamlet and ordered a schnitzel from a bratwurst place. Yep. That’s how I roll. It was probably my best decision of the day – the Brathaus is one of the more recent additions to the Hamlet and offers tempting sausages and schnitzel in true German style. I picked the ‘Chicken Schnitty Burger’ – not part of the main menu, but handwritten on a whiteboard out the front (so apologies if it’s not a regular menu item – it should be). The schnitzel is without a doubt the best I’ve had in Australia – plump, tender chicken with a beautifully crispy panko crumb. My friend watched them cook hers and she said the secret is that they pop it into the oven to crisp up after frying. The bun was light and whilst there was plenty of salad, it compressed down nicely and wasn’t too hard to eat. The serving size was just right for me, although you can choose to have it with chips for an extra $3.50. My friend ordered the chips (fries) and we ended up sharing them – the serving was really generous. Definitely stop in to try the schnitzel if you can, it’s a winner.
The Brathaus, 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, no website
Broddogs is one of the more prominent, well-known food trucks at The Hamlet, originally set up in Belconnen, and I couldn’t go past it for my first visit to the food truck enclave. On recommendation from Fine Eating, I went for the Omi Dog – vienna frankfurt with a salad of onion, gruyere and mayonnaise dressing – and a side of chips. I waited about 5 minutes for my order (not bad at all really) and the first thing I noticed when sitting to eat was that the bun of the hot dog was hot, but the filling wasn’t. It made for an interesting contrast, with the sausage sliced up and mixed through the cold salad. I liked the raw onion flavour cutting through the otherwise creamy salad, but probably won’t order it again on a work day! The hot dog was very filling and the bun was nice and soft. Note to self: the serve of chips is massive and should be shared. They’re the same shoestring fries as Brodburger, with some magically delicious seasoning and no dipping sauce required. Whilst not as blow-your-mind good as Brodburger, Broddogs offers an affordable, filling hot dog served fast.
Broddogs, The Hamlet, 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, no website
Donuts are something that I associate with my childhood – my brother was (actually, still is) a donut fiend and as such it was often the treat we would end up getting from the local shops. It has been many years since I’ve had a good iced donut, so when I visited The Hamlet and saw that Chasing Mr Morris (whose Instagram account I adore) had beautiful iced donuts, I was in. I picked the Earl Grey flavour for myself, and picked up a couple of Salted Caramel for my colleagues. On first bite, I was instantly transported back into childhood – that familiar donut flavour is right up front, with just the right hint of cinnamon and buttery richness. Mmm. I found that the Earl Grey flavour was quite subtle – I had expected stronger bergamot overtones – but that this didn’t stop me devouring every crumb. My colleague found the same with the Salted Caramel – the salty flavour only started to come through towards the end – but from all accounts it was equally delicious. Chasing Mr Morris has a fabulous food truck, full of succulents and granny blankets, and is doing an awesome job bringing donuts back!
Chasing Mr Morris, The Hamlet, 16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, no website
My next choice at Fork on the Road was the sliders from Delectaballs. There were a few flavours on offer, but I opted for the Moroccan lamb with minted yoghurt. While they were being freshly cooked, the lovely gentleman wearing an ‘I like big balls and I cannot lie’ cap chatted to each customer and then used my order to demonstrate to someone who didn’t know what a slider is. My model sliders were well-sized and oozing with tomato sauce and the minted yoghurt, so were good advertising! I was expecting the bun to be a bit too much, but it cushioned the giant meatball nicely and was thankfully quite light. The meatball itself was perfect – well-cooked, high quality lamb mince with a mix of spices I couldn’t quite pick. There was just the right amount of sauce to prevent the slider from being dry, and the rocket made me feel slightly healthier about eating such a big serve of meat! I was surprised by how filling the slider was – I needed a good digestion pause before trying the next thing. Next time I think I’d try the eggplant and parmesan slider – I’m definitely a fan of Delectaballs!
Delectaballs, changing locations around Adelaide, SA http://www.delectaballs.com.au
Oh Adelaide, how I adore your food trucks! They conveniently gather together on the odd occasion for an event called Fork on the Road, which is where I tried Mamachau’s incredible bao. At only $3.50 each they felt like a real steal, and we picked two of the three flavours on offer to try. I had the KFC (Korean fried chicken) bao, with kimchi mayo and Asian coleslaw. The chicken was to die for! Crisp, fresh and tasty, it was definitely the winning choice, with incredibly soft meat inside the fried (but not oily) skin. The kimchi mayo didn’t add as much spice as I expected, but there was plenty of self-serve Sriracha sauce for extra chilli. The slaw was packed in and the bao was springy and not too dense. We also tried the master stock pork belly bao with peanuts and pickled vegetables, which was a great flavour combination, but which paled in comparison to the KFC bao. The pork belly was tender, flavoursome and complemented the coriander and hoisin sauce perfectly. Luckily they also have a store on King William Street – added to my ‘to visit’ list.
Mamachau, Shop 3/118 King William Street, Adelaide SA http://www.mamachau.com.au/