Review: This Cafe, Gungahlin – Re-Opening

Last July I wrote about my favourite cafe closing which was sad but also OK because they’d be opening in again in 3 months in a new location.

This Cafe new logo - from the inside of the cafe
This Cafe new logo – from the inside of the cafe

Fast forward twelve whole months (well 11.5) and they finally are open again. Throughout the year I was told there were delays and they weren’t opening in October but in February, then April, then June and then finally July and fortunately, while playing Pokemon Go, we walked past last weekend to find out they were opening on the Monday after.

So of course we decided to go there today! We weren’t sure what to expect, they don’t have an online presence and I hadn’t seen much of anything to say they were re-opening and I wondered if it would be quiet.. on the plus side that would mean we’d get a booth seat!

Mini Gallery on the wall
Mini Gallery on the wall

As it turned out, the place was packed! We didn’t get a booth seat (next time) and there was only one 2 person table left so we quickly sat down and took it. I guess other people had also missed the cafe! As it turns out the table was ok, they have new chairs now which are much more comfortable than at the old location.

So, how was the food?

The menu was very similar to the old one, just a bit more condensed but they appeared to have all of our old favourites. We were concerned things would change and we wouldn’t like it anymore but that wasn’t the case.

Chocolate Thick Shake ($5.90)
Chocolate Thick Shake ($5.90)

It was mostly about the shakes. Were they still going to be sweet, thick and delicious? Yes! And they are also the same price as when I last reviewed This Cafe in February of 2015. Given the explosion in crazy shakes at the moment it is nice that some places just do your standard chocolate thick shake without the frills and for a very good price.

French Toast ($15.90)
French Toast ($15.90)

The first time I ever ate French Toast was at This Cafe in 2014. For some reason I never tried it before that and now I try if everywhere! It was also the first time I jumped in and ate my bacon with maple syrup and it was so good! Which everyone in existence knew except me. I considered going with the pancakes but opted with the French Toast for this visit and out it came with a crater of maple syrup. Bananas are much more bearable when covered in maple syrup!

This has a good combination of all the things I like with French Toast; berries, bacon (hard to see in the photo but it’s hiding between the two slices) and maple syrup with the added bonus of yoghurt and banana. The bread was well cooked and not soggy like you sometimes get with french toast, would definitely go back and try it again.

Brekkie Wrap ($11.90)
Brekkie Wrap ($11.90)

Jarrod has been going crazy for bacon and egg rolls with hashbrown in them so decided to go with the brekkie wrap which, based on my previous review, is now $3 cheaper! It doesn’t look the best in the photo, I suppose it’s hard to make a wrap with bacon, egg and hashbrown look overly appealing while hashbrown oozes out of it but it was hot, tasty and filling.

Overall it is the same food in a new location. I’m happy to have This Cafe back and am excited to see what new seasonal additions and specials they add to the menu.

This Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarah

Review: Social Bean Cafe, Belconnen

Winter has been slowly approaching us and that means I’ve been on the look out for somewhere that will make me excellent Hot Chocolate at a reasonable price. Last year I was going to Max Brenner most of the time and while that is tasty it is also quite expensive. I don’t really want to spend nearly $8 on a Hot Chocolate when the feeling arises.

Small Hazelnut Hot Chocolate ($4)
Small Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with awesome foam art! ($4)

One afternoon I was considering Max Brenner but I had no cash on me and they have an eftpos limit so I thought I might give Social Bean a try and hoped that they wouldn’t have an eftpos limit. They’re a bit hard to find if you don’t know where to look as they’re nestled under a government department building but they are worth hunting for. On this particular day I got to the counter and asked about an eftpos limit and my eyes lit up when the answer was “no eftpos limit” and that is when my love of Hazelnut Hot Chocolate began.

Another Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Awesome Foam Art!
Another Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Awesome Foam Art!

I’m so glad I decided to give them a try because the hot chocolate is one of the best I’ve found from a cafe. Generally places that make great coffee tend to make mediocre hot chocolate but that is not the case with Social Bean! It is hot but not so hot that it burns your face off when you first attempt a sip. As soon as it is handed to you, you can sip it and it will be perfect!

There is a good amount of foam (and if you decide to have it there it will have some great foam art!) and it actually tastes good. So many times I have bought hot chocolates and found they just taste like warm milk. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that over the last month I have been to Social Bean at least twice a week for a hot chocolate. This is quite a lot for me!

French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup
French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup ($13)

Now I’ve raved about the hot chocolate for 3 paragraphs I thought I might move onto the food. After finding their hot chocolate very good I thought I might see how the food was. It didn’t hurt that they would serve me French Toast for lunch as that is a thing I do now, apparently.

The food came out quite quickly and was pretty good. Nice and syrupy with a bit of a crunch on the outside and nice and squishy on the inside. There was also a good amount of maple syrup to dunk my bacon into. For some reason I always thought maple syrup and bacon would be a terrible idea. I’m glad I decided to try it because it is so amazing!

Chicken Burger with Chips ($15)
Chicken Burger with Chips ($15)

On my second lunch visit I decided to try the Chicken Burger and asked for it with chips (an additional $3, the burger alone is $12) which came out as a massive mountain! They were crispy and fresh and satisfied my craving for chips for the time being (it always comes back, chips are awesome!). The burger was also well made with grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheese, baby spinach, tomato and aioli. It came out on a massive toasted piece of turkish bread that I couldn’t actually finish. It was very tasty and also incredibly filling.

Social Bean also do salads (I’ve had multiple!) and wraps and some great little cakes and muffins! I definitely recommend checking them out.

Not only do they do all of the above but they are operated by the Belconnen Community Service and work to get people involved in the community, plus they have ‘suspended coffee‘ where you can buy an extra coffee and someone else who needs it can come and claim it. It’s a great endeavour that I’m happy to support – it’s an added perk that I get all the deliciousness in return!

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Social Bean Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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: 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

My Favourite Things – June 2015

I’ve seen people doing this linkup for a few months now and have finally decided to join in, if a little late (the start is the first Tuesday of the month). The linkup is to talk about your favourite thing/s for the previous month. If I make this a regular thing I’m going to have to start noting those things down :)

My Favorite Things: A Blog Linkup

 

 

June was a busy, annoying and frustrating month. Mostly because of the high pressure at work to get a lot of things sorted for a July 1 deadline. My brain turned to mush and at some points I just wanted to hide in bed and not come out. The brain mush resulted in me leaving not 1, but 2 bags on the bus or bus stop (fortunately, Jarrod went and saved one of them for me) which will result in me having to pay to replace a library book. Apparently, someone wanted the bag and book more than they wanted to be a decent person and hand it in to the bus driver.

Because of this the month was a bit of a blur and the days and weeks all blended together but hopefully I can think of the things that made it better and easier to get through.

Frankie Says Relapse – Amazon

June was the month I received my first purchase from Fishpond and I was pretty surprised to see it arrive when it was meant to as when I bought the book in January from Abes Books I never saw it. Fortunately, with both purchases combined the book still cost me less than $15 with shipping.

Frankie Says Relapse by Siobhan Curham

Caitlin’s life is not how she planned. Her health obsessed hubbie is more organic than orgasmic, her eight year old daughter wishes her mum was Britney Spears and her four year old son Frankie wants to be known as Daphne. On discovering her diary from 1984 Caitlin begins wondering what would have happened had she followed a different path and was still with her first love. As we dip in and out of the eighties via diary entries and memories we discover what changed Caitlin from fun loving teen to hard nosed cynic. Caitlin is also forced to confront her past and we are finally able to find the answer to the eternal question of ‘what if?’

Initially I bought this book approximately 12 years ago at a random book sale and really enjoyed it. At that time (and others) I read a lot of books as a way to sometimes get away from the realities of life and this was one of the books that was able to transport me to its world. Unfortunately, it ended up with a cup of coke spilled on it and was never the same again. It is now out of print and my library doesn’t have it so it has taken me this long to find a copy that I could buy and I enjoyed it as much as I had the first time around and would consider it one of my favourite light reads. Here’s hoping it stays coke free!

Caffe Cherry Beans

The first time we went to Caffe Cherry Beans I was feeling pretty low, it was in the midst of all the brain mush and I was getting a bit angry about all the little things that weren’t going quite right when I needed them to all be going right. Jarrod suggested we go and eat somewhere new so I could have a post for the blog and Caffe Cherry Beans is where we ended up.

Milk Chocolate Frappe ($6.50) & Chocolate Milkshake ($5.50)
Best Milk Chocolate Frappe!

It was very busy but we got one of the last few tables and when I took the first sip of frappe I relaxed a little as it’s tastiness hit me. We’ve been back a few times since the first visit and all of the food has been tasty and with massive serves.. plus one night we went for dinner and got a free waffle! This place perked me up when I was feeling low so I’m glad I agreed to go.

New stuff

I got a few new things in June and I enjoyed receiving them immensely.. even if I did buy them all for myself!

My Splendies subscription box! Who knew it would be so much fun getting new underwear. I received 2 boxes in June and while some of the underwear isn’t a style I’d normally wear (and some of it doesn’t fit, yet) it’s good to receive something different and try styles I hadn’t considered before. I should be receiving another box in July and then I’ll probably suspend it because I really don’t need more than 10 new pairs of underwear!

I also bought 2 new satchel bags. My old one was starting to fray and although I like it a lot I was concerned one day it was going to break (it happened to a previous bag that just happened to have Jarrod’s Macbook Pro in it when it hit the ground.. fortunately the laptop was fine!) so went on a hunt to find a new one. In the end ebay had what I wanted.. it can be very hard to find a decent satchel at a good price apparently.. especially when shopping for women. I ended up looking in ‘mens bags’ to find what I wanted.

Mens Brown Satchel bag
Mens Brown Satchel bag

It’s a really good size! Sort of perfect and is a structured shape. I recently moved location for work and now have to spend more time on my commute and this bag fits everything I need in it really well. I’m considering buying a few more for the future!

Blue 2D cartoon style bag
Blue 2D cartoon style bag

I also decided to get something a bit quirky that I had seen around. The 2D drawing style bag! It’s so cool to look at but not overly practical to put things in. I haven’t used it much yet because there isn’t a huge amount of room in it but I hope to get more use out of it in the future.

And those were my favourite things! I’m hoping I’ll have a few more things to share for July and August is my birthday month so hopefully it is even more awesome! :)

Sarah