Review: 8bit., Melbourne CBD

In the week leading up to our Melbourne trip I started looking into good burger places in Melbourne. It turns out the city has exploded with fun burger places but through all my searches one place kept popping up and that was 8bit. A few days before we left I also asked The Drunken Bear team (food & travel vloggers) for the best shake place in Melbourne (something that appears to be lacking in Melbourne – my recommendation would be the Tim Tam Slam at Trunk) and they also mentioned 8bit so we definitely needed to give this place a try.

We went in search of it on for lunch on our first day in Melbourne and, although it was a Sunday (in my experience that means the CBD is dead but apparently not so much anymore) the place was packed! It is only very small with about 15 seats but they also do takeaway. In hindsight we probably could have ordered takeaway and eaten it on the grass at the beautiful State Library but we decided to come back another time… dinner that same night!

8bit. Burgers and drinks
8bit. Burgers and drinks

8bit is basically fastfood but the burgers are more like your local takeaway than McDonalds. With a name like 8bit you can guarantee that there is a old school game theme to the place from burgers named after video games to arcade machines in the stores. The website may also cause you to go blind.

I ordered an 8bit with Cheese ($9.50) which is basically a cheese burger, and Jarrod ordered the Double Dragon ($14.00) which is double everything. I love how they are presented. Initially, I thought it was weird to have burgers come out on their sides – wouldn’t all the ingredients slide down? – but everything stays in-tact and it’s actually really easy to pick them up and eat them when they’re like this.

The burgers were so good. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten a burger that delicious and they were, comparatively, quite cheap and the service was quick even though the place was packed. I left wishing that they’d open a store in Canberra (hint hint).

They have some unusual flavoured shakes and in the end I opted for the Strawberry Cheesecake shake ($7.50). I was pretty scared about this as I don’t like strawberry milkshakes so it could have ended up terribly. In the end it was a good idea as it was like drinking a liquid cheesecake. Yum! Jarrod went with the Chocolate Bar shake ($7.50) which has a featured chocolate bar each week, at the time that was a Bounty bar. It was also very good. Not overpoweringly coconutty and nice and thick.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to fit in the chips and I completely forgot about the softserve! I was really looking forward to trying it, or at least checking out what the weekly flavours are. That just gives me motivation to go back there some time!

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8bit.- CBD Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah

Event: Click + Connect

I’ve written previously on how I find it hard to meet and keep friends in my local area. As it turns out, I’m not alone in this thinking. Many people in Canberra (especially if they’re new to the city) find it hard to fit in and find friends.

Her Canberra, a website that keeps people up to date on the goings on in Canberra, published an article last year on finding friends in the city and were amazed at the response they received from people saying that thought it was difficult. As a result of that they started the Click + Connect events to get a bunch of women in the city together to meet new people.

Some of the guests of the event at Guild.
Some of the guests of the event at Guild.

It was 2 days before the event that I found out about the event and I thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. I also found it quite a terrifying  idea when I thought about walking into a restaurant full of strangers. I didn’t buy my ticket until the night before the event and was still pretty scared about doing it. There was an ‘interests’ survey when buying tickets so they could try and match you with similar personalities however I couldn’t tick any of the boxes and had to use the dreaded ‘other’ option. I wondered if I was going to be that quiet weirdo in the corner.

There were more than 50 women that came to the dinner and many others who couldn’t make it because of availability. Part of me thinks it’s pretty amazing feat for Her Canberra and Guild to cater but they did a great job of it. Another part of me thinks it’s a bit sad that so many people (who knows how many more are in the same situation and just don’t know about Click + Connect) have a hard time making friends in this city.

While I did feel a bit like the odd one out wearing my jeans and pop culture reference t-shirt, where most of the other women actually looked like grown ups, I didn’t feel like I was excluded and everyone was very friendly and interested in knowing about everyone else.

Banquet menu and cards from game Timelines
Banquet menu and cards from game Timelines

The dinner was held at our local board game restaurant (it’s the only one we have and opened in January), Guild, which I was also a little hesitant about. I mean, aren’t board games for nerds? It may be that I underestimated the many different types of games that come under the banner of ‘board game’ and that, in fact, they were pretty fun. It was actually an excellent idea to run the event here as it was the perfect ice breaker for all of us shy strangers (although some were less shy) sitting at a table together.

Lavender Lemon Fizz - Vodka in Lavender infused Lemonade
Lavender Lemon Fizz – Vodka in Lavender infused Lemonade

As part of the event, we had a banquet dinner that included a free drink. I, obviously, went for the one that included Vodka. Plus it had lavender infused lemonade! I had to find out what that was about – as it turns out, I am much more adventurous when trying new food than meeting new people. Both me and the girl next to me ordered this drink and marvelled over how pretty it looked. In reality, it was much more purple (you may even say, lavender) than this photo shows with little bits of lavender floating around the glass. Once I got over the fact that I was about to drink some lavender, I gave it a try and it was actually quite decent and really did taste like lavender. I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Zombicide Pizza - Pepperoni, smoked ham, herbed lemon chicken breast, smoked bacon and housemade BBQ sauce
Zombicide Pizza – Pepperoni, smoked ham, herbed lemon chicken breast, smoked bacon and housemade BBQ sauce

I was quite impressed that we were all able to choose our own pizza. It was an amazing feat by the pizza chefs to get so many pizzas out in such a short amount of time. I went with your typical ‘meat lovers’ style pizza which, in this case, was called Zombicide. All the pizzas had game based names, e.g. the 4 cheeses was called Connect 4 which I thought was cute.

The toppings on the pizza were pretty great but the base let it down a bit. It was quite crunchy and sort of biscuit like. I’m not sure if this is because they had to cater for so many people in such a short timeframe or whether this is their standard base. That being said, it didn’t ruin the pizza but it could be improved on.

Guild bar area
Guild bar area

The staff were great at Guild and they had people roaming around whose job it was to come and make sure everyone’s game was going ok or to check if they wanted a new one and in some cases come and play the game with you. It’s a nice service and you can tell they really enjoy what they do. It is definitely a good place to go with a bunch of friends, family or basically anyone (as we found out that night).

Her Canberra put together a pretty great event. It was well organised and a lot of fun. After I made the walk down the stairs to Guild and was introduced to my ‘early bird’ table friends I was less anxious about it all, I knew we were in capable hands!

I’m not sure that I made any lifelong friends this time around but I enjoyed going out and trying something a little different, as well as getting a chance to check out Guild with a big group of people, something I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.

I’m definitely interested in going to future events and recommend their facebook group for anyone in the area to keep an eye on for next time.

Sarah

Review: Dobinsons, City

A few weeks ago Jarrod and I had nothing much planned for Saturday afternoon lunch and were considering where to go. Jarrod had made a trip to Dobinsons earlier that week to try out their thick shakes and thought I needed to give them a try so off to Dobinsons we went. As a side note, this was the cafe and not the little shop in the Canberra Centre.

Oreo Shake ($6.50)
Oreo Shake ($7.50)

First up were the aforementioned shakes with some tasty mini oreo’s on top, yum! These were really well made, the shake tasted very much cookies and cream, they were topped with cream and also had chocolate syrup drizzled down the sides of the glass.

Original Beef Burger - with Iceberg lettuce, tomato, spanish onion & housemade burger mayo ($13.95)
Original Beef Burger – with Iceberg lettuce, tomato, spanish onion & housemade burger mayo ($13.95)

Jarrod chose the beef burger which overall he described as bland. The mayo was all hiding in the middle and overall it was Ok but not great. There really could have been more toppings on this, maybe some cheese. The chips were great though (I wonder when places will stop with the gimmicky things like chips in fryer baskets and shakes in mason jars) and the salad was ok. Nothing exciting though.

Chicken Schnitzel - with Oregano chips, fresh garden salad and gravy ($13.95)
Chicken Schnitzel – with Oregano chips, fresh garden salad and gravy ($13.95)

For some reason I had been craving chicken schnitzel when we went so decided to give theirs a try. Firstly, why do restaurants place the schnitzel on top of the chips. How are we expected to eat it? I resorted to pulling out chips one by one, jenga style, until the schnitzel had some plate room of its own. I really enjoyed the chips from Dobinsons and if I’m honest, I could have just eaten a whole plate of them by themselves and not had the chicken.

The schnitzel was odd. There was something not quite right about it. The chicken didn’t taste or look like breast chicken (I’m not sure if it was, there is no mention of it on the menu) and I think it had too much batter. I think that is what the problem was anyway, it was hard to pinpoint the reason I didn’t really like it. It just wasn’t great. Overall, an average schnitzel that was saved by the chips on the plate.

I think if I were to take another visit out to Dobinsons it would be to have a shake and one of the delicious looking cakes they have in their display window and make an afternoon tea of it rather than a lunch. Or just a big bowl of chips!

Facebook | Website – not sure if this is updated. The menu is out of date.
Dobinsons Bakery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah

Review: Kingston & Co., Belconnen

Since I started working out in Belconnen I have been trying to find some good places to eat lunch but haven’t been finding much inspiration (where are the good burger and pizza places for lunch?) however, I decided to investigate Kingston & Co. as it was easy to get to and always smelt delicious when I had walked past previously. One day I decided to look them up online and see if their menu was any good. As it turns out they had Nutella French toast and something called a Frozen Bounty listed on the menu online so it seemed like it was meant to be.

Unfortunately, it looks like the version online (which is still up on their website) is an older version of the menu and they no longer had either of the items. So that was somewhat disappointing (will I ever know what Nutella French toast tastes like?).

Chocolate Thickshake ($7)
Chocolate Thickshake ($7)

Instead I decided to start with their chocolate thickshake and hoped for the best. What came out was this incredibly thick, chocolatey goodness. It was in a MASSIVE metal cup and I almost needed a spoon to “drink” it. It was exactly as thick shakes should be. Alas, it was so thick and so large (that’s what she said) that I wasn’t able to finish it in my lunch break and had to leave about a third of it behind. I didn’t make the same mistake on my second trip though and ordered it in a takeaway cup instead. It still came out in a massive cup and so I was still able to enjoy it when sitting back at my desk at work.

Butterscotch French Toast - Brioche French Toast Slice, Walnuts, Butterscotch Mascarpone & Salted Toffee Popcorn. ($17)
Butterscotch French Toast – Brioche French Toast Slice, Walnuts, Butterscotch
Mascarpone & Salted Toffee Popcorn. ($17)

As I wasn’t to be having Nutella French Toast on this day I decided to try their new French Toast offering. I was a bit hesitant as I wasn’t sure how popcorn would go with the toast and it is true that I scraped most of it to the side, it was just far too chewy which I guess is because of the salted toffee. I have to admit when I saw this 1 slice of toast come out I was pretty disappointed, I was paying $17 for it after all. As it turned out, it was so rich that I wasn’t even able to finish it so I guess it is perfect size and if you’re a bit faint-hearted you might want to share it with someone. Overall it was excellent, the butterscotch was so tasty and the walnuts added a nice little bit of crunch. I also found out that Mascarpone (it might be the first time I’ve had it in a dessert like this) was so much better than ricotta for dishes like this! Why did I waste all that time trying pancakes with ricotta? Mascarpone is where it’s at! Sweet, smooth and delicious! I would definitely recommend trying this but maybe share with a friend.

American Cheeseburger - Freshly Ground Beef Patty, Cheese, House Pickles, Sweet Mustard, Ketchup ($15)
American Cheeseburger – Freshly Ground Beef Patty, Cheese, House Pickles,
Sweet Mustard, Ketchup ($15)

On my second trip I was looking for something a bit more savoury and decided to try one of their burgers. This is just their basic cheeseburger which I described to Jarrod as “McDonalds if it was decent”. It was quite bready but overall tasted pretty good. I especially loved the sweet mustard and pickles, yum! The fries were very moreish and although I was quite full I just kept eating more and more of them until I had finished them all. They were nice, fresh, hot and crispy!

The food has really proven to be quite decent at Kingston & Co. with everything tasting fresh and well made. The only downside is the seating system is a bit strange. They have table service but you go and pay at the counter which can be difficult as the tables have no numbers on them. I decided to sit at the same table the second time because I knew what number it was. I wonder though if this type of system could lead to some people leaving without paying.

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Kingston & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah

Review: The Knox, Watson

A couple of weeks ago Jarrod and I decided to go to Cherryripe Brasserie in Watson because I had heard some good things about it. When we arrived at Watson Shops there were a lot more cars than I was expecting and hoped we would get a seat. As it turns out, it was pretty quiet and I wondered where everyone was. Little did I know that just around the corner was The Knox and that is where everyone was hiding.

Delicious cake display!
Delicious cake display!

Curious, I looked up The Knox and the menu seemed much more our type of thing and made me realise it was where we should have been eating on that weekend at Watson. So we decided to go the week after to see what all the fuss was about. It was a fairly gloomy day (Canberra has had nothing but rainy days for weeks leading up to this weekend) but all the tables outside were taken, we walked inside and were fortunate enough to grab the last tiny table for 2 they had. The table was very small and somewhat rickety but we made do and where more excited about the food than the unstable table.

Cookies & Cream & Choc Mint Fudge shakes ($7 ea)
Cookies & Cream & Choc Mint Fudge shakes ($7 ea)

But lets be honest, you know we came here to try the shakes! And we weren’t disappointed, Jarrod went with the Cookies & Cream and I chose the Choc Mint Fudge, they were nice and thick and very flavoursome. The cookies and cream one was quite sweet and very cookie like but not too overpowering and the Choc Mint was so minty but not too minty, just the right amount plus look at all that chocolate syrup drizzled down the sides!

Double egg & Bacon Roll ($9)
Double egg & Bacon Roll ($9)

Jarrod opted for the Bacon and Egg roll which, to me, looks like it has eyes. It’s staring at me… It was also presented in a strange way (I’ve never seen eggs done this way before but it is a clever idea) with the roll open and a pot of tomato relish on the side to pour in as much as you like. It was all served on a brioche roll (which I guess is just the standard now) with massive piles of bacon underneath. Initially Jarrod thought it might be a bit small but he was pretty full by the time he devoured it all. Everything was well cooked (assuming you like very runny yolks) and tasty!

Ricotta Hotcakes ($16)
Ricotta Hotcakes ($16)

As soon as I saw the menu I knew I wanted these hotcakes. I don’t even know why, I generally won’t buy pancakes when I’m out at a cafe because I find they’re overpriced but these ones had to be mine! Again, an unusual presentation but I actually felt happy about this because it looked like something I’d present at home and made me feel better about my presentation skills. Even though these came with caramelised banana (I don’t particularly enjoy banana) I still wanted them. Yes, I would have much preferred if they had been topped with berries (perhaps I can ask next time) but it was all still nice. There was a big blob of vanilla flavoured whipped cream and a little pot of maple syrup on the side. The hotcakes themselves were quite dense (maybe because of the ricotta? This was my first experience with ricotta hotcakes) but still fluffy somehow. They were very tasty and quite filling and, although a little too much banana for my liking, overall I really enjoyed them.

One thing of note about The Knox is that they try to source all their ingredients locally and are always looking for more suppliers. I think it’s great that they are trying to involve the community in their venture. I would definitely go back again to try other meals and, of course, some of those cakes in the display!

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The Knox Made In Watson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah