Food

Canberra Cafe: Urban Pantry, Manuka

urban pantry manuka

It’s Steven’s birthday today and we are of course heading out for birthday brunch to celebrate. But I thought it appropriate, on this day of celebration brunch, that we share our latest Canberra cafe feature – Urban Pantry in Manuka.

It was a few weeks back that Steve and I spent a Sunday afternoon sussing out the newly revamped mainstay of the Manuka cafe scene. Urban Pantry has been kicking around Manuka for a while now, but it had been a long time since either of us had visited and we were keen to check out their new digs.

Their fresh new look is just that – fresh. They’ve gone for a Hamptons inspired interior, it’s laid-back, very white and a space that you want to spend time in. My favourite addition is the new deck outside, where Steve and I were seated after a short wait. It seems we weren’t the only ones who wanted to see what had changed that day.

urban pantry manuka

The menu has had a makeover too and we were faced with a tough choice. In the end, we both went for all-day breakfast and chose the two most indulgent items we could find. I had the madeleine ricotta pancakes ($16) with green apple, fresh berries and vanilla bean yoghurt, which came out light, fluffy and just the right amount of sweet. Steven ordered the brioche French toast ($16) with maple bacon, cinnamon mascarpone and toasted pecans, and by all reports enjoyed every last bite.

But the real hero of the whole revamp, in my opinion, is their new drinks list. With a big range of juices, smoothies, chilled organic teas and house made sodas on offer, they have something refreshing for everyone this summer. Their spiced chai house made soda is my pick of the bunch – an interesting flavour for a cold soda, but if you’re into your chai tea, then you’ll be into this.

Urban Pantry is located at 5 Bougainville Street in Manuka, they are open every day of the week and do all-day breakfast on weekends. You can also find them on facebook and instagram.

Oh, and happy birthday Steve! Love you little bro.

– Bec x

urban pantry manukaurban pantryurban pantry manukaurban pantry manukaurban pantry manukaurban pantry manuka

Advertisements

Three Blue Ducks & The Farm Byron Bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

I’d seen it on instagram, read it in Gourmet Traveller and heard it from friends – Matt and I only had a few days in Byron Bay, but we weren’t leaving without going to The Farm.

The Farm Byron Bay is an 80 acre working farm, with crops and livestock and a big vision. Their motto is “Grow, Feed, Educate” and they are big on sustainability, community and feeling closer to your food. 

The onsite restaurant, Three Blue Ducks, fulfils the “feed” part of that promise, sourcing as much as they can from The Farm, buying local for everything else and serving up delicious seasonal dishes for breakfast, lunch (everyday of the week) and dinner (Friday to Sunday).

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

Matt and I went for a leisurely breakfast on our last morning in Byron and were not disappointed. I had the most delicious porridge with toasted coconut, rhubarb and berries, and Matt enjoyed the baked eggs. Being a seasonal menu, it has since changed so you can’t have what we had, but I’m confident that anything that comes out of that kitchen would be pretty damn good.

When it comes to drinks, their coffee is great, they have a couple of different juices on offer each day and if you’re up for a boozy brunch, they serve alcohol from 10am onwards. Perfect.

Three Blue Ducks also runs The Produce Store out front, stocking fresh produce straight from The Farm and the local region. There are also a number of other micro-businesses that make a visit to The Farm all the more worthwhile. There is a florist onsite, regular yoga classes and permaculture courses on offer.

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

Then there is the smell of freshly baked bread from The Bread Social that greets you as you enter The Produce Store. It’s an artisan bakehouse selling freshly baked goods everyday, from loaves of organic sourdough to delicious buttery pastries. I tried to convince Matt we needed some pastries for the road, but his self control won out.

If you’re ever in Byron Bay, or just passing through, a visit to The Farm should be at the top of your list. Find them at 11 Ewingsdale Road in Ewingsdale just outside Byron, and on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

three blue ducks the farm byron bay

Canberra Eats: Akiba

akiba canberra

It didn’t take long for Akiba to shoot to the top of my favourite restaurant list when they opened up late last year. With a modern, fresh take on Asian cuisine, a killer drinks list and the best vibes going around, Akiba always leaves me wanting more.

A few weeks back, I found myself there once again. This time, it was a family affair to celebrate my dear Dad’s birthday. Not a family to shy away from a celebration, we ordered a round of drinks to start and then about a million dishes.

The drinks list at Akiba is exceptional. I introduced Mum to one of my favourite cocktails – the Stiletto, a simple but delicious combo of vanilla vodka, passionfruit and sparkling. The boys went for the non-alcoholic strawberry & mint “Akiba Pop”, which is made in house and comes with the option to “make it BOOM”. In this case, “BOOM” equals bourbon.

akiba canberra

The food at Akiba is designed to share and the dishes come out when they’re ready, even if you’re not. That night, we’d ordered so many that we were having trouble keeping up.

As the vegetarian, I made sure we had my favourites on the table – the shiitake and water chestnut dumplings with red vinegar and chilli oil ($10 for 4), the sweetcorn pancakes with chilli caramel and togarashi ($8 for 2) and, on the side, a serve of the smoky potato with dill, black garlic and mayo ($9).

From the raw menu, we ordered the oysters with ume mignonette ($10 for 4), the kingfish sashimi with coconut, nam jim and coriander ($14) and the snapper sashimi with jalapeno, yuzu and honey ($14). The pork belly buns ($8 each), the satay chicken sticks ($6 for 2) and the Japanese fried chicken ($16) kept the carnivores among us happy.

akiba canberra

Speaking of the Japanese fried chicken – this has got to be the favourite Akiba item among the men in my life. I once went out with three of them and they fobbed off the rest of the menu and just ordered a plate of chicken each. It comes served with lemon braised onions, parmesan and the option to go supercharged, which means a slathering of sriracha sauce for an extra $2. And yes, they always go supercharged.

Akiba’s dessert menu is pretty on point too. As if we hadn’t had enough to eat already, we ordered one of each dessert to share. There were three – the chocolate-filled steamed bun with passionfruit ($8), the lemon tofu cheesecake with anzac crumb and pandan jelly ($8) and my pick of them all, the chocolate coffee tart with shiso pickled strawberry ($9).

But it’s not just the drinks and food that keep me coming back to Akiba, it’s the pumping but relaxed vibes and consistently great service. The staff are always happy, helpful and super friendly and if you’re a fan of 90s RnB, the music will never disappoint.

If you haven’t been yet, then get yourself along to Akiba (40 Bunda Street, Civic) and check them out on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

akiba canberra

akiba canberra

akiba canberra

akiba canberra

akiba canberra

akiba canberra

akiba canberra

akiba canberra

Canberra Cafe: Sweet Bones, Braddon

Sweet Bones has been kicking around the trendy Braddon precinct for a little while now. Originally located in the old Lonsdale Street Traders (now a fully fledged construction site), this little organic vegan cafe and bakery can now be found just down the road on the corner of Lonsdale and Elouera Street.

As a vegetarian, it’s probably not surprising that I’m a big fan – having free reign of an entire menu is not a luxury I normally get – but Sweet Bones isn’t just for those with plant-based diets. It is a seriously good little cafe, vegan or not. And for any skeptical carnivores out there, you don’t even have to take my word for it – Matt and Steven, both meat-eating young men, have only good things to say after our visit a few weeks back.

It seems that many in Canberra agree. It was Sunday afternoon and we were out for a leisurely lunch in Braddon. Sweet Bones was absolutely pumping, but after a short wait, we managed to hawk a table inside and settle in with some drinks and baked goods to start.

While Sweet Bones do a pretty mean coffee (and they don’t charge extra for soy!), it’s their smoothie menu that really keeps things interesting in the drinks department. Matt ordered “The Elvis”, a peanut butter, chocolate and banana smoothie, which had both Steve and I envious from our respective sides of the table.

The chocolate chip cookies and delicious brownie more than made up for it though. I’m not even kidding, the cookies are that good that we went back for seconds before our lunch had even arrived.

Speaking of lunch, the menu at Sweet Bones is almost entirely Mexican-inspired. In fact, the whole place has a Mexican feel to it, with sugar skulls for table numbers, cute cacti in pots on all of the tables and the whole rock ‘n’ roll desert vibe going on. I love it and their food is seriously delicious.

I got the “Big Breakfast” ($18) with hummus, tomato, avocado, coconut bacon, sourdough toast and the best tofu scramble going around. Matt was also a pretty happy camper with his “Nacho Mountain” ($16) made with homemade refried white beans over corn chips and all the other vegan nacho goodies.

Steven got amongst it too. Not usually one for fake bacon or cheese, I think he was surprised by how much he enjoyed his “Bacon Cheeze Burger” ($15) with a marinated tofu patty, smoked coconut bacon and cheddar-like “cheeze”.

We all left with smiles on our faces, full bellies and happy feels right down to our bones. Sweet Bones is a great little cafe for vegans and non-vegans alike. Open every day of the week, you can find them at 8/18 Lonsdale Street in Braddon (entry on Elouera Street), or on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

Note: This article was originally published on the RiotACT as part of their Weekend Cafe Hot Spot series (see here).

IMG_0057

Sydney Eats: The Grounds of Alexandria

IMG_9901

The City2Surf has become a bit of a tradition for my family – once a year, we all go to Sydney, run a casual 14km on a Sunday morning and spend the rest of the weekend eating and enjoying the warmer Sydney weather.

This year, on our way out of Sydney, we stopped in at one of my favourite places in Sydney – The Grounds of Alexandria. I’ve written about The Grounds before (see here), but I’ve only ever been on a Sunday when they have their gorgeous market stalls out in the courtyard. On the weekends people are absolutely everywhere and the wait for a table at the cafe is hours long.

While their market stalls are full of delicious goodies, I was keen to try the cafe this time. For a Monday morning the place was surprisingly busy, but after a short wait for a table, we were seated inside and treated to a killer brunch.

IMG_9906

The photos pretty much speak for themselves – good coffee, chilled vibes and delicious everything else. I had the berry hotcake with vanilla marscapone and it was all kinds of light and fluffy. Everyone else enjoyed their meals too – the baked eggs were cooked to runny perfection and Steve was impressed that his breakfast burger came with a side of chunky polenta chips.

Their attention to detail is one of the best things about this place and they are killing it on all fronts  – everything looks good, tastes delicious and always delivered with a smile.

I definitely recommend a visit, even if it’s just for a wander through their gardens and courtyard. They have a gorgeous florist on site and if you’re into cute farm animals, you can’t leave without saying a quick hello to Kevin Bacon, the Grounds’ resident piggy.

The Grounds of Alexandria is located at Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street in Alexandria. If you’re into a little bit of food envy, they also have the most drool worthy instagram feed.

– Bec x

IMG_9911

  

IMG_9898


IMG_9913

IMG_9910