Aubergine Restaurant

Aubergine is a quiet little restaurant tucked away at the Griffith shops in Canberra. It has a small outdoor garden area and many tables for two inside facing alongside the floor to ceiling windows.

Before December 2015, we had only been here once as a couple because it is a very popular fine dining restaurant (therefore expensive), and we have been attempting to try all of the fine dining restaurants in Canberra (without blowing the budget!) We decided to return to Aubergine for our anniversary so we could celebrate in style and with some delicious food and wine.

Continue reading

Taco Tuesday at Honkytonks

When I heard about Taco Tyesday at Honkytonks I got pretty excited! $10 gets you two tacos and a beer… Even though Indon’t drink beer, this sounds like a pretty tasty deal to me, especially on the day before payday.

For those who have not been to or heard of Honkytonks, it is a Mexican themed bar and restaurant right in the heart of Canberra’s city in Garema Place. The place often plays Mexican music during the day, with the windows opened up to the street, and more seating outside under a marquee. They have the largest selection of Telquilla in Canberra, and the also make delicious cocktails and sangria!

I decided to do a catchup dinner with one of my friends who is also a little bit obsessed with Mexican food. We were both excited to try out Taco Tuesday and took a while to decide on what eat. Luckily the bar staff quickly served us with a drink so we could chat, drink and eventually decide on which two tacos to try.

There are lots of choices on the menu. I didn’t see anything specifically gluten free, but to be perfectly honest I really wanted to try the tacos so I didn’t care if they were gluten free or not. I eventually chose a beef taco and a pork taco, and my friend chose two chicken taco’s. So many choices! I wish I could have eaten them all!

I also decided to order some chips and salsa, because who doesn’t like corn chips with sour cream, salsa and guacamole? Plus I wasn’t sure how filling the tacos would be, and I was super hungry!

In the end I’m pretty glad I ordered the chips and salsa – the two tacos definitely did not leave me satisfied. I was actually pretty disappointed in the tacos. Firstly, the soft tortilla tasted like a savoury, doughy, thick pancake. Definitely not what I was expecting. It reminded me of Greek gyros, but nowhere near as satisfying or delicious. I would have thought the tortilla would be thinner, and my friend agreed on this.

Because there was so much dough to the tortilla, it definitely took away from the rest of the meal. But this may also be because there was barely anything in the tortilla. There was a small scattering of meat and a sprinkle of salad… Not the generous serving of Mexican deliciousness that I was expecting.

Out of the beef and pork I definitely enjoyed the beef more. The mixture of corn and salsa was a good pairing with the meat. The pork had hints of orange and was fresh with crunchy cos lettuce, but was definitely missing something. I suppose this is to be expected when you are getting a “tight-arse-Tuesday” kind of deal. But even if you expect that the establishment might be a bit stingy on the food, you still hope for a full tummy at the end of your meal…

Then we moved on to the chips and salsa. There was probably way too much sour cream for my liking, but there was plenty of tomato salsa to have with the chips, the guacamole was also nice. To be perfectly frank, there was nothing amazing about the chips and salsa, but it was definitely a nice addition and left us feeling full (finally) after our disappointing tacos.

I was glad that the $10 2 tacos & beer deal allowed us to swap our drink for house wine. Whilst I can’t remember what brand the wine was, it was fairly nice for the house Sauvignon Blanc. I ended up getting two glasses!

The service was also good, fast and friendly. All the staff members were helpful in deciding on either what to drink or what to eat. I have always found this with the staff at Honkytonks, even when they are busy at the bar on Friday and Saturday nights. This is one of the reasons that I would go back to Honkytonks again – whether this be for food or for drinks – I definitely would still go back to this place as one disappointing dinner hasn’t outdone the other good experiences I have had with Honkytonks.

My rating of Honkytonks Taco Tuesday

Atmosphere: 4/5 | Customer Service: 4/5 | Speed of Service: 4/5 | Presentation of Food: 3/5 | Taste: 3/5 | Value for Money: 3/5

Total: 21/30

Overall thoughts: I would return to Honkytonks, but I would definitely have something else on the menu and skip the tacos next time.

For more info on Honky Tonks click here

Have you been to Honky Tonks in Canberra? Do you know of somewhere else that has a great Taco Yuesday deal? Share your thought in the comments section!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

aussie heath products gluten free allergy

Weekday Dinner at Little Brooklyn in Kingston

As many of my readers may have guessed, I love anything vintage and vintage inspired. My favourite decades are the 1920s, 1950s and 1980s. I particularly love how there are vintage inspired restaurants and cafes popping up everywhere at the moment.

Little Brooklyn is a funky restaurant and bar in one of the restaurant suburbs of Canberra: Kingston. It has vintage posters spanning various decades plastered all over the walls. There are cute round tables with red and white checkered table clothes and larger booths up against the walls. It’s cosy yet spacious.

I actually had my “vintage inspired” 25th birthday party here just after it had first opened. It was lots of fun and I had been thinking that I should return again, but I guess I never got around to it.

This time my mum, my sister and myself happened to be in Kingston around dinner time, so we decided to grab something to eat at Little Brooklyn.

From memory, the menu has changed quite a lot in the last 18 months. There was no risotto like I remembered having for my birthday. There also did not seem to be many gluten free dishes available. What is in abundance is a good choice of burgers and lots of American style food.

We happened to be there on a Wednesday which was the $15 wings night. The deal gives you 1kg (that’s right a whole kilogram) of chicken wings, and a drink, for just $15. I was pretty tempted to get it, but no one wanted to share with me and I definitely wasn’t going to be able to eat 1kg of wings for myself… Or could I? Challenge accepted, pending the availability on a later date…

I decided on nachos, because, well, they are my favourite food. They were listed in the “Fingers” section, so I didn’t expect them to be a large serving. The menu didn’t say that they were gluten free, but I was willing to risk it for my favourite meal.

When it came out, I realised that it was creamy sauce-like cheese, not the grated tasty cheese I have come to expect from nachos. I think this is just the American style of food that this place offers, so I probably should have thought about that beforehand.

I’m not a big fan of these creamy sauce cheese. It reminds me of mayonnaise, and I’m fairly certain mayonnaise comes in a bottle… I don’t think cheese should come in a bottle. Cheese is not liquid and comes in a solid block – and I should know – I come from Bega, the land of Bega Cheese!

Anyway, enough about cheese.

So the nachos had a delicious bean and tomato salsa mixture. This was supposed to be mixed through pulled steak…but there was hardly any meat in my nachos. I’m actually perfectly happy with vegetarian nachos, but if I am told that I am getting meat in my nachos, I expect a good meat to chip ratio.

Speaking of the chips, they were not the usual corn chips that I am used to. They had a different kind of aoperance to them – they almost looked translucent. But they tasted pretty good!

There was nothing special about the presentation of food. The nachos and burgers my mum and sister bought all came out in woven baskets and gave it a casual feel. This definitely tied in with the restaurants rustic 1950s look.

My mum and sister both got the Big Brooklyn Burgers. I was surprised the burger wasn’t bigger when it was advertised to be a “big” burger. I was informed by my mum and sister that their burgers were alright, but nothing to special.

The burgers came with a side of chips and aioli dipping sauce. I had some of this with a couple of chips and it was enjoyable.

I left the restaurant not feeling quite satisfied with my meal, but I love the vintage quirkiness of the place, so I guess I would probably still come back… Actually, I do want to try the $15 Wings deal so I will be back to give Little Brooklyn a second chance.

My Rating of Little Brooklyn

Atmosphere: 4/5 | Customer Service: 3.5/5 | Speed of Service: 4/5 | Presentation of Food: 2.5/5 | Taste: 3/5 | Value for Money: 3.5/5

Total Score: 20.5/30

Overall: Little Brooklyn if funky and cute place to go for a casual dinner. I wouldn’t recommend the nachos but I am keen to return for the $15 wings!

For more information on Little Brooklyn go to their website by clicking here

 

Have you been to Little Brooklyn in Kingston? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

aussie heath products gluten free allergy

Friday Lunch at Treehouse Bar Canberra

It seems that I have been treating myself to a sit down lunch at least once a fortnight, normally the day after pay day. While it is good to save money, I work pretty hard so it’s nice to treat myself and properly get away from work for a hour.

Recently I went for lunch with a friend from work and we decided to try the $9 lunches at Treehouse. This little place used to be a dingy bar full of people in black clothes only, sticky floors and barely any lighting. It had an alternative type of crowd and it was sometimes fun to go on uni-night. A few years ago it was done up with the front windows opening up, a funky upstairs area, and a beautiful fairylight tree. It’s still a little dark inside, but definitely not dingy anymore!

I like the welcoming atmosphere of Treehouse and its a nice place to come for cocktails or a bite to eat when having Friday drinks. But lunch at Treehouse is definitely something new to me. I have walked past the $9 lunches sign so often, I would think that I would have dined here plenty of times!

When we came in for lunch, we were escorted to the bar-like-seating around the walls of the establishment. Once seated, two tall glasses of iced water were quickly brought over to us. This is something I hadn’t experienced before and was great to see that they already had the initiative to give us water – I hate having to ask for something as simple as a glass of water!

Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the lunch menu, but there were approximately 5 dishes on there for the $9 deal. My friend chose the linguini and I chose the chicken tenders. I forgot to ask if the tenders were gluten free but nothing stood out as containing gluten and I didn’t get sick afterwards so I am fairly certain they were gluten free.

The food also came out so quickly. The staff apologised for the wait but we were surprised at how quick it was! We actually finished our lunch with 15 minutes to spare before we had to return to work… Pretty sure the food was cooked in less than 10 minutes!

The linguini was a good lunch size – probably around an entree size. If I was eating this I would be pretty happy with this size because you don’t want to feel weighed down and sluggish when having to return to work later.

Mine dish had three smallish tenders of chicken breast and a few large pieces of Cos Lettuce. I’m glad there was the coconut rice with it to help fill my hungry tummy. There was also a generous serving of sauce next to the rice, and I didn’t get to eat all of it so there was definitely enough. There was also lots of herbs over the rice which gave the dish a fresh taste.

The combination of all the ingredients was like a fresh Asian inspired taste. The chicken was cooked well. It was still slightly juicy and definitely not dry. I really enjoyed this lunch, but just wish there was more. Unfortunately I left still hungry. I understand that it is lunch, but for someone like me who prefers to eat lots for lunch and less for dinner, I was a little disappointed with the amount of food on my plate.

I thought the presentation of the food was great, and I suppose more food would make the plate look crowed and messy. It is quite possible that the pretty presentation is the reason for smaller sized chicken tenders.

The service was great. The staff were friendly and I particularly liked that they allowed us to split the bill. I think we may have been talking to the owner about this – he was saying that he will often not go back to a restaurant if they don’t allow groups to split the bill. I think that is very true, and in today’s society were hardly anyone carries cash on them, so we need to cater for that and splitting bills should be a must.

My Rating of Lunch at Treehouse Bar

Atmosphere: 4/5 | Customer Service: 4/5 | Speed of Service: 5/5 | Presentation of Food: 4/5 | Taste: 4/5 | Value for Money: 4/5

Total Score: 25/30

Overall thoughts: I would definitely go back to Treehouse for lunch, but I might have to order a side of chips to keep me from leaving hungry!

For more information on Treehouse Bar, click here

Have you been to Treehouse? Post your thoughts, comments and links to your reviews in the comments of this post 🙂

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

NAIDOC Week Function at Canberra Convention Centre

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a function at the Canberra National Convention Centre. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Aboriginal Hostels Limited NAIDOC Week luncheon. I was invited to go through the work organised tickets and went along with 5 other people from work.

It was a terrible, cold winter day outside, and it was definitely no fun walking in the wind and rain over to the Convention Centre from my work.

Once we were there we realised that this was quite a big luncheon. There were fifty tables of 10 – yep that’s right – 500 people were at this function. The funny thing was that the Grand Hall that we were in wasn’t even full!

It felt like forever before we were served our meals. There was the starter bread, but of course I couldn’t eat it.

A waiter came over and asked me if anyone had any dietary requirements. I told him that I am gluten intolerant and one of the girls is a vegetarian. I assume he forgot about this entirely, or didn’t tell anyone – when the mains came out they tried to give the vegetarian a steak, not just once, but twice!

Speaking of the timing for mains, it was very haphazard. One main was placed down at our table, then another one came five minutes later and ten minutes after the first dish was placed down was when they finally brought out the remaining dishes. I guess they probably shouldn’t have brought those dishes to our table as there were a few surrounding tables that seemed to have the same thing happen.

Good thing the food was good! The steak was juicy, moist and tender. It looked fairly pink – probably rare. The mash was creamy and smooth, but there was only about a tablespoon of it. I wish there was more! The mushroom sauce was also delicious, but it was very thin and watery.

It wasn’t until we were eating our mains that someone finally came to our table and asked us if we wanted any drinks. Well, he actually asked if we wanted any more drinks, but we hadn’t even been asked for our first round of drinks! Oh well…

When the desserts came out I tried to tell them that I’m gluten intolerant but the wait staff seemed to ignore this. Both desserts were not gluten free, but the Poached Pear at least had the least amount of gluten than the Chocolate Cake Mousse, so I chose to eat the pear. There were some kind of crumbs scattered all over the bottom of the plate, so I picked up my pear and scrapped the crumbs off to the side.

The pear itself was perfectly poached. It also had a tangy taste to it – like a mixture of cider and lemonade. I couldn’t quite out my finger on it, but I definitely enjoyed it. It was even more delicious when it was dunked in the sweet creamy angliase sauce on the side. I could eat this desert all day!

Overall, I enjoyed the experience at the National Convention Centre. But if I was having a wedding or another large important event, I probably wouldn’t pick this place because of the lack of organisation and attention to detail by waitstaff.

Friday Night Sharing Plates at Soju Girl

I remember when Soju Girl opened a few years ago. It was considered a hip new place to go. I went when it was still in its early days with a small group of people. Back then I enjoyed quite a few cocktails as well as the share style meals.

I was invited to go recently, and whilst there certainly were no cocktails involved, it was a lovely dining experience with a group of people from my work.

A Zucchini Flower, as well as trying a prawn and lychee from the Spicy Prawn Dish

The kind of eating at Soju Girl is described as “refined Asian sharing plates”. It’s a similar experience to going to a Chinese restaurant and each person on the table ordering a different dish to be shared with the group, alongside steamed or fried rice.

There are more choices than would usually be expected at this hipster-style restaurant. Surprisingly there are plenty of gluten free options – about 75% of the menu. I love that on the menu it says “the menu has been designed with gluten intolerance in mind” – hooray! I actually have a choice this time and not a forced choice!
The menu also caters for vegetarians and even vegan.

My table consisted of a variety of dietary requirements: gluten intolerant (me), vegetarian, vegan, and two people with shellfish allergies. With that many dietary requirements, eating out can be difficult, often with people feeling left out or feeling like they are that “annoying person”.

It’s good that there is finally a place that caters for all dietary requirements! And I love that it’s a pass-the-dish-around kind of setting. It gets people talking, breaks the ice between people that don’t know each other very well, and truly allows everyone to fill their bellies with delicious food.

The friendly staff always make sure that everyone knows how it works at Soju Girl before they let everyone properly look at the menu.

Essentially there are the large plates and the small plates. You choose a few plates to share around the table, and you can add some sides on as well. The dishes will usually be staggered throughout your time there, so you are not overloaded with too many choices at once, and so the dishes compliment one another.

Crispy Pork Belly

Food reviews

Zucchini Flowers: I’ve got two words for this dish: absolutely delicious. The fillng tasted like minced turkey or pork mince, although it was completely vegetarian (and gluten free!). It came with a ginger, soy sauce and capsicum dipping sauce. They didn’t even need the sauce though because they were so tasty! My dish of the night!

Pan Tossed Prawns with Crispy Noodle Salad: whilst this dish technically not gluten free I ate part of it anyway. The prawns had been mixed with lychees which gave it a nice sweet taste. The prawns themselves had a delicious slightly spicy taste to them. The only problem was that my prawn had not been entirely removed from its shell, causing me to have an uncomfortable chunchy bite into part of my prawn. But the meat of the prawn melted in your mouth. The sauce had a tomato-style-tang to it. It came with a crispy noodle salad, which I obviously didn’t have as it is not gluten free.

Crispy Pork Belly: Not the best pork belly I’ve ever had. It was not a melting in your mouth experience like I usually have with pork belly. The crackling was thin but not too salty. It had a pleasant taste but it isn’t something I would choose again.

Lamb Shoulder in Massaman Curry: This dish was a lot bigger than I expected! There was a very generous lamb shoulder in the middle of the curry dish. It had a medium spice to it, delicious aroma, and was well marinated. We ordered some steamed rice to have with this dish.

Sizzling Asian Mushrooms: The sizzling mushrooms came out like the sizzling lamb dish at Chinese restaurants – in the same kind of plate, with the dish still sizzling away. It was mixed with fried egg, tofu and Asian vegetables. It was another winner dish for me. It was great that this dish could be eaten by almost everyone at the table – it was gluten free and vegetarian, but not vegan. Although the it was not entirely vegan, the vegan diner at our table still ate some of the vegetables out of this dish and it seemed that she enjoyed the taste of this dish as well.

Lamb Shoulder Massaman Curry

I was totally shocked that after all that food it was only $26 per person! And that was even after everyone put in money for the person the dinner was in honour for.

I would definitely recommend going to Soju Girl and I am already thinking about planning another dinner there soon. It would be great for groups of friends or work colleagues to catch up over dinner and share delicious food.

I would say Soju Girl is one of my top restaurants in Canberra.

For the full menu please click here.

 

 

Chocolate dreams at San Churro

image

I recently went to San Churro for a well over-due catch up with a friend. I had never been to San Churro before, and for some strange reason I had never even heard of it! I don’t know how that is when I love my chocolate. My friend told me that San Churro is waaay better than Max Brenner or Koko Black… so I definitely was keen to test out this theory!

I arrived a bit earlier than my friend and was given a seat inside at the comfy couch up against the window. It was raining outside and I could image this being a nice place to sip on a hot chocolate and read the paper when it’s cold outside. There were a mixture of people inside, from couples to mums with their babies to teens having a fun afternoon catchup. It seemed to have a really nice atmosphere inside.

The staff were attentive too, which always makes a difference to the experience.

When I sat down I was informed that they had run out of milk chocolate for their hot chocolates… I was pretty disappointed because a hot chocolate was exactly what I felt like. But looking at the menu I realised there were plenty of other things to choose from.

After my friend got there we decided on what to have. I wanted a Couveture Caramel Hot Chocolate, but as they didn’t have milk chocolate the waiter asked if I wanted white or dark chocolate instead. I had no idea what would be better, especially as I had never had the drink before, so I asked him what I should get instead. He suggested dark chocolate, so I went with that.

However I seemed to get something different. I realised that I received the Hot Ducle de Leche. I think I might have confused the waiter when I was telling him I had never been there before so I was happy for him to make the decision for me (yep, being one of those annoying people…) But what he brought me was pretty tasty. It definitely didn’t have a caramel taste to it, but it is true that it was a ‘sweet satisfaction’. It was thick and creamy and perfect to warm me up on that cold rainy day.

image

I also ordered the Flourless Chocolate Cake. It was presented on a rectangular plate with a dollop of whipped cream and creative chocolate piped across the plate. This chocolate part was all the way to the edges, and although it looked pretty, it was annoying that it kept getting all over my hand when I was trying to ear (I guess I rest my hand on the side of the plate a lot…)

The cake itself was delicious. Very filling. And it wasn’t too dense like many flourless chocolate cakes are. The chocolate ganache on top of the cake was stiff like icing though, showing it obviously had been made a little while ago, but it still tasted delicious. The cream and the nuts on top complimented the cake by bring some nice texture to the dish.

Although the dish is for one, it definitely could be shared. Unless you’re like me… I will just eat the whole thing by myself! Damn, I love chocolate!

Overall I really liked San Churro. It’s just a shame that I can’t eat the churro’s dipped in chocolate, because they look fantastic! If they did gluten free churros I would probably be there a lot more, and I would probably be a little bit rounder in the tummy too 😉

Overall, I would give San Churro a 4/5.

 Vintage Barbie signature