Top 6 Picnic Spots in Canberra

Picnics are a great way to see a city, spend time with friends, or have an inexpensive celebration.

After living in Canberra for over a decade, I went on many picnics in many different locations. Some were with groups of friends or family, and some were dates with my partner.

I found that there are plenty of undiscovered or underrated places in Canberra with beautiful scenery where you could enjoy a picnic.

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Enlighten Canberra & Night Noodle Markets

Anyone who says that Canberra has nothing to do is someone who is seriously mistaken. I know I keep saying this, but seriously there has been so much on lately: one weekend was the Canberra show, then the multicultural festival, then Enlighten… And these are just the “big” events.

These big events are some of my favourite things to do in Canberra. Enlighten was an event I hadn’t yet experienced so I was really keen to

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Exploring Gibraltar Falls Canberra

There’s many reasons I love living in Canberra. It’s like a big country town, but with everything you get in a city – from boutique shops to malls and outlets, quirky cafes to classy restaurants, events like Fashfest and Floriade, and so much more!

A lot of people from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane say that it’s a boring place to live, but that is far from the truth. One of the reasons I love Canberra is because there is such a variety of things to do on the weekend and week nights.

One of those things you can do is explore the natural beauty of the nations capital. People are often amazed at all the beautiful natural wonders they can find only a short distance from the heart of the city. A favourite place of mine is Gibraltar Falls.

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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.

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Kinn Thai Canberra

Kind Thai is a fairly new restaurant situated in the Canberra Centre restaurant strip on Bunda Street. It took over the spot that once was Wagamama. I believe that Kinn Thai is part of some kind of chain of restaurants.

I recently went there for a group dinner to catch up with a lot if my friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Asia. Food restaurants are generally good for catchups with large groups because of the casual and relaxed dining, the variety of options, the speed of service and of course the price point is always good. It was definitely a good choice for a group of 16 people!

I really liked that the menu was available online to look at before dining, because unfortunately gluten free people like myself have to see what options there are before dining. Otherwise we are often left surprised or unprepared (mentally, money wise and even left feeling hungry!)

I knew before I was even having dinner that I would be having the Pad Thai – it’s one of my favourite dishes and I struggle to make it properly at home, so it’s always a nice treat to get a delicious Pad Thai dish when eating out.

We were seated near the entrance Of the restaurant where a few large tables had been moved together. I think they did the best the could to seat us. They were fairly attentive by giving us water and asking if we wanted drinks, however I felt rushed when it came to making my order – they seemed pretty keen to get us in and out very quickly! I don’t think it really mattered though because we all just ended up pretty quickly. A few other people also ordered the chicken Pad Thai after hearing that I was ordering it.

I also ordered an entree and being Asian food I expected good value for money, but unfortunately, my entree was just one bite. One prawn. On a leaf. It would have been nice if the wait staff told my when ordering that it is a small entree, because I would have ordered more!

The food came out sporadically but it was pretty quick inbetween each dish being brought out so we were essentially all fed at once. Two of my friends had the great idea of sharing dishes with some steamed rice on the side. If I was to go back to Kinn Thai this is definitely what I would do – it’s a sharing kind of environment and that way you can fill your tummies up pretty quickly!

The only problem was that when my friend started eating her Pad Thai, she noticed a nice long strand of black hair matted into the dish. She was not going to say anything and was just going to put the dish aside because she could no longer eat it. However, my other friend knew this was not acceptable and walked up to the counter with the dish to show them. Before she even said anything the wait staff said “oh, there’s a hair in there, isn’t there?”

All I could think is: wow…Seriously? If you know that there will be a hair in someone’s dish then it shows that there are some serious problems with the hygiene practice in the establishment. They offered to make another one, which they did, but my friend could no longer touch that food without feeling sick. When it came to paying for the food, my friends had to make sure that they were not being charged for that dish, whilst it was something that just should have been taken off the total bill.

The restaurant itself is quite large, and it looks like it is best for large gatherings or group dinners. I wouldn’t recommend coming here as a couple or just with one or two friends as it seems like it is more of a group restaurant place. It is licensed as well as BYO, and from memory corkage was around $3 each, which is pretty reasonable when I brought along my $5 Aldi Moscato to drink! (Which I highly recommend because that Moscato is delish!)

Overall I was a little disappointed. There had been a bit of hype about this new restaurant but I don’t really think it was worth all the talk – it’s just another Asian restaurant in an already crowded market. It offered nothing new to me and the experience was not a good one.

My Rating of Kinn Thai Restaurant Canberra Centre

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

Total Score: 18.5/30

For more information on Kinn Thai to their website: http://kinnthairestaurant.com.au/canberra

Have you been to Kinn Thai Canberra? What’s your favourite Thai dish to order when eating out? Tell me your thoughts or show me links to your reviews!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie

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

Cupping Room Friday Lunch

There’s been a lot of buzz around The Cupping Room in Canberra City. Everyone is always posting Instagram pics and checking in on Facebook at this location, plus there are a heap of blog posts on this place.

Although it is just around the corner from my work, I never really think about going there for lunch, or even just for coffee. Probably because the last time I went there was in October last year and it took me 20 minutes to get a takeaway coffee…

However the other day a work friend suggested we go get lunch together. She mentioned the cupping room and we decided to check it out. She did warn me that it is expensive, but at least the food is really good.

When we got there it was around 1.15pm and the place was packed. It was no surprise that the staff told us that there would be a wait. I was surprised when this wait was less than a minute! We were seated over by the window on the bar like stools. This gave us a great view of the passing people and traffic – I always love a bit of good people watching!

The first word that comes to mind when describing this place: hipster. It is full of skinny jean man bun wearing male staff, androgynous female staff with heavily adorned with tattoos. Despite this look, another surprise was that (most) staff were super friendly. I did get a vibe of I’m-too-cool-and-I-don’t-care-what-you-think vibe from one staff member, but he was still helpful in explaining how their coffee system works.

Which is another interesting point: they don’t do your standard cappuccino, latte, long blacks etc for your coffees. They have these special blends that they like to use. To be perfectly honest, it was a lot of information at once and I got a little lost, so I just ordered a chai latte instead.

This was deliciously creamy. I often don’t like chai lattes with full cream milk, and instead opt for the soy milk option. But this was the first chai latte that I thoroughly enjoyed. It had a strong spicy aroma to it. There was also a lovely honey taste to it that I noticed just as I was finishing my sip.

My friend and I both ordered the winter salad, and I got mine with chicken.

It took quite a while for the food to come out. I actually chose a salad for the very reason that it should be quick! After all, not everyone is a public servant with super flexibility about how long they take their lunch break for!

When it did come out, I was pretty happy, because with it being 2pm, I was starving! I am not entirely sure it it looked generous because of the presentation, or if it actually was a large serving. It was layered with baked beetroot and Brussel sprouts, thin shards of deep fried sweet Potatoe, rocket, capers, and three chicken tenderloins strategically placed on top. There was also a creamy sauce in small spoonfuls around the dish, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Brussel sprouts! I don’t remember what they taste like as we rarely had them when I was a kid (I guess I was luckily like that!). They appeared to have been baked as they were slightly crunchy on the outside. My friend I even started discussing how much we enjoyed them and that we wouldn’t know first thing about cooking Brussel sprouts!

They were a great combination with the baked beetroot and the creamy sauce. The baking of the beetroot meant that it was not sweet and juicy like the tinned variety. This is exactly how they should be for this kind of dish.

All the tastes and textures complimented each other in this dish.

The only thing I would criticise is the use of the thing sweet potato shards. They were so thin that you could not get them on your fork without crushing them into tiny pieces. Or if you did manage to get some on your fork, then they would somehow escape the fork before reaching your mouth. So it made eating the dish a little difficult.

I’ve decided to introduce a new method for rating my restaurant and cafe review posts – hopefully this will give my readers a clearer idea about the restaurant and a snapshot for anyone who feels lazy and doesn’t want to read the whole post 😉

Atmosphere: 3.5/5 | Customer Service: 3.5/5 | Speed of Service: 3/5 | Presentation of Food: 4/5 |Taste: 4.5/5 | Value for Money 3.5/5

Overall Score: 22/30

I enjoyed my Friday lunch at The Cupping Room and I think I will go again to try out some more food as well as eventually try their different style of drinking coffee.

 

 

 

Honkytonks Night Markets

Going to the markets was something I did quite often as a child. My mum and Grandma used to love going to the local markets on the weekends: there was the one of a kind jewellery, home cooked jams and relishes, unique artworks, cute knitted clothes and some random trash and treasure.

It was always fun going and checking out the markets with the family. However I think the treats like ice cream were probably the reason why I loved it so much!

I still love the markets, but now it’s a different kind of appreciation. I love seeing eutreprenuers establishing their business. Everyone starts somewhere and a lot of people start their business at the markets.

There are a few different markets in Canberra: the Old Bus Depot Markets every Sunday in Kingston, the Belconnen Trash and Treasure Markets also every Sunday, and Fash’n’Treasure Markets once a month out at EPIC.

Something that I have not seen in Canberra before is the Honkytonks Winter Night Markets. They were held on Wednesday 19 August, right in the centre of the city in Garema Place, in the marquee that usually holds the patrons of the bar.

The marquee had been extended for the night, tables and chairs had been removed, and lanterns were hung under the walkway. It was a cute and funky setup.

There were only small stalls and it was a tight squeeze trying to get around, but everyone was polite in manoeuvring around one another.

I had a quick wander around and a bit of a chat with different stall owners. I also found a few things to buy:

1. Resin Doll Collar Chain

Resin Doll was so cute and so very vintage. This stall had so many things I wanted to buy! I first saw the collar chains and decided I simply must buy them. The were also so many cute broaches like ice creams and cats. Then I saw the sunglasses adorned with jewels and diamontes. After speaking to the store owners, I found out that each pair of sunglasses are decorated by hand, and are all unique. I’ll definitely be buying more from this store!

2. Body Food Honey Soap

When something smells so delicious, it’s hard not to buy it. I am obsessed with delicious smelling body care goods, so it was definitely hard not to resist the goods on display! The owner said this was her first markets, and she was already sold out of her grapefruit scrub (which by the way, the tester asmelt devine, so it’s no wonder it sold out so quickly!)

3. Meraki Body

Another stall with delicious body products. The scrubs smelt so yummy, and the charcole face mask looked like it would work wonders on tired, dull skin. I found a strawberry lip scrub hiding away, and I decided that this is definitely something I should purchase. It was only $5, so I thought why not let my lips enjoy a nice tasty exfoliant?!

4. Pawscents Anxiety Calmer for Cats

Anyone who has met my cat knows that she is a tad crazy. I came across this stall just as I was leaving, and at first I just thought they were handmade candles. But after talking to the stall owners, I found out that the candles are for calming anxious cats and dogs. There are different types depending on your pet. Plus all the candles are uniquely designed with a cute cloth covering, just like old school homemade jams! I got a small Pawscent that can be used in an oil burner, and I’m curious to see if it calms down my crazy cat.

Although it was a quick visit to the markets, there were lots of stall with a variety of goods available. There were also records, vintage clothes, handmade jewellery, homewares, artwork, children’s goods and more. There was even a taco stall set up outside the entrance to Honkytonks. And of course, people could still go into Honkytonks to enjoy a drink.

I hope that these night markets run again as it was great to be able to do something fun and different on a weeknight, without it having to blow the budget.

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie

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

Urban Pantry Wins Again

My partner and I decided to go out for breakfast on Valentines Day. We didn’t want to spend too much money and thought this would be a nice date for the two of us.

We headed into Manuka on Valentines Day and went to wander around to find a cafe that was free. The first cafe we saw is actually my favourite breakfast stop: Urban Pantry. We have been here multiple times for breakfast and always have a delicious feed.

We thought about wandering around to find another cafe but decided to stick with old faithful. We were greeted by friendly staff who seated us immediately, even without a reservation. I was busy, but pretty much every weekend is. I think because of the constant business, the staff are competent in managing lots of people and orders, and do it all with a smile. They definitely have good customer service skills here, which certainly makes the experience a good one.

The thing I like about Urban Pantry is that there are so many options for people like me: there’s plenty of gluten free dishes, as well as dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options. But the meals aren’t “weird” or “out there” – there are still plenty of great dishes for the everyday person.

Coffee is delicious, as always. I also love the freshly squeezed orange juice from here as well. I am tempted to try the ‘Raspberry Rush’ juice next time I go to Urban Pantry – the combination of ingredients sounds delicious and fresh and would be perfect for a warm summer morning.

My partner was able to get his bacon and fried eggs with toast and a serving of mushrooms. I ordered my all time favourite breakfast: eggs benedict with salmon, gluten free bread and a serving of spinach leaves. I still can’t properly poach eggs, and smoked salmon is too expensive, so this is always something I get for breakfast when dining out.

Once again, the meal at Urban Pantry was delicious. The experience was also great, as always, and I’ll definitely go back to my favourite breakfast spot for my all time favorite breakfast!