Snapshot: A. Baker

Tuesday, 18 November 2014



A. Baker is a jack-of-all trades it would seem. Opening from 7am through 10pm, it wears the hats of restaurant, café, bar and bakery. Occupying a part of the New Acton precinct (which was destroyed by fire in 2011), this area now plays host to a entertainment and dining hub. A. Baker is a venue that seems to tick all the boxes, offering a frequently changing menu showcasing local produce and wines. Chefs Adam Bantok and Bernd Brademann are in charge of the kitchen offering dishes such as slow cooked Cape Grim beef cheek, Bredbo asparagus, peas & pickled mushrooms or a dish of Tumut River trout, smoked corn, lardo & sorrel. It all sounds rather enticing...

A sample of the pastry cabinet. A lemon meringue tart (fluffy peaks of lightly torched meringue, um hello?!). It gets me every time...

In case your were curious, A. Baker proudly lists online all the producers and providores from whom they've sourced their ingredients and wines. Sounds like one hell of a shopping list. Another big ticket is their bakery, with their house made sourdough and a selection of pastries available daily. Come for brunch or perhaps in the evening for a visit to the bar downstairs to kick the night off - or Parlour Wine Room is literally metres away. All day dining venues such as this are blurring the boundaries between restaurant/café and bar. I think that suits us just fine! 

The rather versatile dining space catering for brekkie, lunch and dinner

The design of A. Baker is certainly a talking point. With basically a blank state to work with, DesignOffice has turned the space into a functional dining room and bar on a lower level. Evidence of the fire still marks the bare walls adding an extra flicker of character. The open kitchen acts as an arena where all the good stuff happens. Industrial and chic, the space gets the job done and feels hopelessly trendy. 

The stairway down to the bar, punctuated with black and steel

The original interior which had been gutted by fire has been retained giving an abstract-painted kind of effect

Did someone say sourdough?! A. Baker is also the perfect option for the busy work crowd who can duck in for a quick coffee and takeaway lunch

A. Baker is yet another restaurant to add to the burgeoning Canberra scene. Things are definitely looking up for our previously sleepy capital. Focussing on great design, and bringing together the very best produce and wines of the Canberra region - you can't really go wrong. Perfect for any occasion, A. Baker really is a chameleon. Make tracks.

Lunch on-the-go: slow cooked pulled pork pie with vegetables. The pastry was flaky and divine, the filling nice and chunky. All topped with house made tomato sauce. A rather posh meat pie indeed!

Side salad of baby spinach, radish and Spanish onion dressed in a light vinaigrette

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand
A. Baker on Urbanspoon

Snapshot: Brodburger

Thursday, 30 October 2014



In 5 short years, Brodburger has reached cult status in Canberra. Basically, the burgers are reveredI've never heard a bad word against them. What started out from humble beginnings in a fairly dodgy (luminously) red caravan, Brodburger has upgraded in a pretty major way to take up residence at the Canberra Glassworks in posh Kingston. The very clandestine act of purchasing a burger at the edge of Lake Burley Griffin was certainly one way to win some adoring fans (and raise a few eyebrows). The other thing is that Canberra can get bloody cold. Did I already mention that? YES. A roof and heating is definitely a good thing. Opening for lunch and dinner 6 days a week - there are many hungry mouths to feed (hundreds, in fact). 

The original Brodburger. A half pound flame grilled beef patty with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and spanish onions, homemade aioli, swiss cheese (but take your pick) and tomato relish. And let's not forget those French fries (reminiscent of Macca's fries but with less guilt)

So what's all the fuss about?  Them burgers of course! For a face sized burger (no kidding), this is your place. Go when you have a bit of time up your sleeve because you're in for a wait. But before you know it, those red baskets are plonked in front of you and pure joy ensues. Dig in to that thing, with the beef so succulent and the juices running down your fingers. Isn't there something so glorious in that moment of abandon?! The bun is fluffy soft and rather sweet. The salad, the perfect ratio so as not to detract from the patty and super fresh. I was so distracted I even ate the raw onion. If you're up for the challenge (or a glutton), give the Broddeluxe a crack (it's a monster). The burgers are pumped out here as if life depended on it. Come and get your fix.


The new and improved Brodburger, now catering for the masses (no joke). Source: Weekend Notes

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand
Brodburger on Urbanspoon

Mocan & Green Grout

Friday, 24 October 2014



Spring is the in the air(!) and like a moth to a flame, I've found myself straying to the nation's capital once again. Canberra really is a magnificent place at this time of year (and during Autumn for that matter) and what makes it even better is the hipster revival that it has undergone in the past 18 months. With several new hot spots on the map including Kingston Foreshore and the New Acton precinct things are looking up in the ACT. Recently dubbed the best place to live in the world (although I beg to differ when you're scraping ice off your windscreen in the dead of winter) and with a write up in the New York Times, the sleepy Canberra of old is making a name for itself. My next few posts will attempt to explain why. 

A cappuccino keeps the grumpy away. Lapping in the sunshine on a Sunday morning is what it's all about.

Mocan and Green Grout (there's some sort of accent there somewhere) has stayed the course since 2011, with ever increasing popularity from the early morning cyclists to non-chalant Bohemians. Starting out as a hole in the wall (basically), they have come a long way now with a dinner service to boot and a bonafide waitlist to get a table (say, whaaat). Perched on a corner of a fancy apartment complex in New Acton, Mocan & Green Grout makes a fair go of serving fair trade coffee and sourcing local produce. Eggs from the South coast, anyone? They also make bikes, if you're into that kind of thing. 

Sun drenched and lovely, the front is a hodgepodge of greenery. The vibe, genuinely laid back

Let's face it, this café is inescapably small but the wait is brief as the turnover is speedy. There's no need to join a mob ready to swoop, like there is in the big smoke (atrocious). It's all rather civilised and relaxed, the people watching is a bonus. The café features reclaimed materials along with commissioned artworks, fostering local creative talent. Kind of like chilling at a friend's house, but appreciating the extra effort that's gone into the coffee and eggs ;)

There's only one word for this and that is: cosy. A place where the kitchen and dining space happily blend

Smashed egss, mushrooms, Goats curd, black garlic. Just a few of my favourite things rolled into one dish. The black garlic was a rather funky addition, roasted and creamy (one only wishes there was more!). The eggs were just the way I like them, runny enough so the toast can mop up the rest

Fried eggs, chorizo, corn, avocado, hot sauce. Another rendition of a brunch classic, the chorizo was cooked well. The avocado features as more of a purée, dotted daintily on the plate

If there's one thing that's reassuring about Mocan and Green Grout is their confidence in doing their own thing. Starting out 3 years ago, they already have a head start and the queues speak for themselves. The food is exactly what is says and isn't pretending to be anything fancier; simple with a streak of refinement. Do be wary though that the wait for food during peak times can be somewhat drawn out (be patient though and it will pay dividends). What's nice at M&GG is the lack of pretension or hype which can make Sydney brunches almost traumatic (I simply refuse to wait 1.5 hours for breakfast). Don't be disheartened if you can't don't get in because that's the other thing, there are now options!

The herb garden right at the entrance, freshly picked and in your breakfast!

My fascination with signs and typography continues; no doubt this one was hand painted, with love

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand
Mocan & Green Grout on Urbanspoon
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