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
One of the many new openings over the last month, Rye brings a refreshing taste of seasonal produce with a Danish twist to Lonsdale Street. The Scandi-inspired space is minimalist but welcoming, and the menu is simple but well-executed. Dad and I waited a bit for service, but it was amply made up for – our order of 2 each of the rare beef and smoked salmon smorrebrod ($8 per sandwich) came out within moments, along with fresh squeezed orange juices ($7 each). Both open sandwiches were served on dark seeded rye (soooo tasty), and the toppings will change according to seasonal availability. The salmon was my favourite, with thick spinach leaves, fennel, salmon, boiled egg and roe on top. There was plenty of salmon, and the mix of textures (fresh, crunchy, doughy, and pop!) was a delight. The rare beef was also delicious, with what had to be a housemade bearnaise sauce and a cornichon perched on top. The fresh radish batons were perfectly sliced and the whole combination was like an upmarket gourmet sandwich. I’d be keen to see more Danish-inspired dishes on the menu (something Canberra certainly lacks) and perhaps some sweet options (I’m told they’re coming!). I’ll certainly be back soon for post-work snacks.
Rye, 9 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, http://www.ryecafe.com.au/
I’ve been spending a bit of time in Sydney recently, so this week’s posts are all from our larger northern neighbour-city – hello #sydneyweek! When life gives you the opportunity to eat a pork belly and kimcheese burger before a three-and-a-half hour bus ride home, you should definitely take it. Located conveniently close to Central station, Haven was surprisingly busy for a weekday late afternoon. The staff were very happy to rush our order through (I only had 40mins until the bus departed!) and the food arrived in plenty of time. The signature burger ($20) presented a challenge to eat, laid open on the plate – it definitely required cutlery, and even then mess ensued. The pork belly was beautifully fatty and tender, and basically flavour heaven. I’m a huge kimchi fan, but paired with cheese (the ‘kimcheese’), the flavour and great kick of heat from the kimchi was diluted a bit too much for me. Having said that, all the flavours worked well together and the serving was so big I couldn’t quite finish it. The coriander really made the dish, adding a bite of freshness along with the texture from the radish slices. Next time I’m keen to try their Hong Kong-style egg waffles. But maybe with a bit more time before getting on the bus!
Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously, 30-34 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills NSW, http://havenspecialtycoffee.com.au/
I may have forgotten that stopping in at Hoi Polloi requires one to take a long lunch from work…oops. Anyway, my friend and I dined in one long weekday lunch, both keen to try something we hadn’t eaten before on the menu. I was sorely tempted by the burger (created by the awesome Bec), but instead I was drawn in by the sandwich option – essentially a reuben, with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. The sandwich came out and I realised what a task I had ahead of me. It was huge! Not only that, but it came with a large serve of chips, which I can’t resist. To be totally honest, I found the sandwich a bit disappointing. The beef was rather bland, leaving the cheese and the sauerkraut to do all the heavy lifting on the flavour. I know that corned beef can be like this, but I found the blandness exacerbated by the weirdly homogenous, smooth texture of the meat – it was clearly broiled. I did appreciate the good quality bread, but I probably wouldnt order this again. The chips were really tasty though, and my friend enjoyed a noodle special with tuna; one for two on this visit.
Hoi Polloi, Old Parliament House, King George Terrace, Parkes ACT, http://www.hoipolloioph.com/
I was so impressed by the variety at the Portrait Cafe that I really struggled to pick only one things for lunch – gourmet pie? Beetroot risotto? African stew? They have it all! I ended up going for something more classic – a Cuban sandwich ($15) with grilled ham, pork belly, sweet potato, gruyere, onions, pickles, aioli and mustard. Yeah, that’s quite a lot of delicious things packed into one sandwich. Luckily they all went together perfectly – pork is a perfect meat to pair with slightly sweet things, so the soft sweet potato and the sweet burger bun complemented the double pork hit perfectly. The pork belly had so much flavour and the saltiness from the ham was amazing. I’m also a bit aioli fan, so really this was a winner on all fronts. I hadn’t realised it also came with chips, which were nicely cooked (perhaps a tad soft for my taste) and generously heaped onto the plate. This was a great value, delicious lunch, and whilst I couldn’t finish all of it, I’d definitely come back to try some of their more exotic offerings.
Portrait Cafe, National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT, http://www.portrait.gov.au/content/cafe-and-shop
Manchester Press’s lunch menu is all about the bagels (oh yeah), so after a delightfully perfect soy hot chocolate (seriously, I had to confirm that it was dairy-free, it tasted so good), I ordered the Reuben closed bagel ($14), with smoked pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and pickles. Also – bonus – the bagels are served with salted pretzels and a pickle. Yum! The bagel itself was firm but not too dense, and you get a sensible, serrated knife to eat it with dignity. There was so much pastrami on this bagel I couldn’t quite believe it – I particularly liked the spicy kick of the seasoning (it reminded me of spicy togarashi), but be warned that it isn’t for the faint-hearted. The meat was tender and tasty, just as it should be, and I loved the way that the pickles served in the sandwich were diced up and mixed throughout the creamy dressing. Mmm. The sauerkraut flavour was a bit lost amongst the strong tastes of the pastrami and the dressing, but there was enough of a tang to know it was there. Basically I’d happily eat this any day with no complaints – #cometocanberra?
Manchester Press, 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne VIC, no website
I jumped at the chance to eat at The Latvian Lunchroom in the Adelaide Central Markets for something completely different. Dad and I shared two meals, starting with the Latvian Snack Plate ($12), which included three pirags (soft pastry filled with bacon, onion and pepper) and our choice of three Smalk maizītes, or open sandwiches. My favourite by far was the deviled egg with anchovy – topped with tiny bubbles of fish roe, the anchovy added a pop of salt to the creamy egg and the dense, flavoursome bread. The smoked salmon with horesradish cream was equally rich and luscious, but in comparison the sausage with mustard was a bit bland. I ordered the Beef Kotlete and Mushrooms ($14) which was incredible value – my plate was piled with sauerkraut, beetroot vinagrette, potato salad, a large beef kotlete (rissole) and some of the tastiest mushrooms I’ve had in a long time, not to mention gherkins. The kotlete was tender and wasn’t dry, and went perfectly with the tang of the sauerkraut. I honed in on the beetroot vinagrette, spiced up with dill and celery it was heavenly. There was so much food and all of it was amazing. I feel a trip to Riga coming on…
The Latvian Lunchroom, Adelaide Central Markets, Adelaide SA, thelatvianlunchroom.com.au/