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: Caffe Cherry Beans, Gungahlin

A few months ago I noticed a new cafe had opened in Gungahlin. I didn’t realise at the time that Cherry Beans was a franchise that had cafes all around Australia. When I did find this out I was a bit put off on going. I imagined it to be like The Coffee Club which I’d found to have slow service, mediocre food and high prices.

Caffe Cherry Beans Counter
Caffe Cherry Beans Counter

Last weekend, after wondering where else I should try, I decided we should give it a shot. We walked in around Saturday lunch time and it was packed. There were only 2 tables available in the whole place. We took a seat next to a family of 4 who had mounds of delicious looking food covering their table and we hoped it would taste as good as it looked.

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

Although Caffe Cherry Beans doesn’t offer thick shakes (our standard go to at a new place) they do have milkshakes and frappes. I decided on the milk chocolate frappe (they come in white, milk and dark) and Jarrod went with the chocolate milkshake. When they came out there was a distinct difference in the colour to the point where the milkshake looked like it was coffee. Jarrod was slightly disappointed but then he took his first sip and it was actually thicker than expected and quite chocolatey tasting. It definitely tasted better than it looked (if you expect a chocolate milkshake to be quite brown in colour).

Out of the two, the frappe was definitely the winner though. It was blended perfectly (no icey chunks like you find in some places), it was creamy and the taste was chocolatey without being too sweet. We went back again this weekend and both knew we’d be having the frappe again. It’s probably the best frappe I’ve ever had anywhere.

French Toast - Served with berry compote and maple syrup ( $13.50)
French Toast – Served with berry compote and maple syrup ( $13.50)

I decided on having the French Toast – I believe this is the 3rd review I’ve done where I ate french toast and yet, I had never even eaten it 12 months ago – when it came out it smelt like donuts but didn’t actually taste overly sugary or full of cinnamon. It was actually quite plain tasting, slightly sweet but not overpowering. Firstly I tried it with the berry compote which was quite tart. I nearly decided I didn’t like it but after combining it with the maple syrup it was actually quite good. The sweetness of the maple syrup countered the sourness of the berries and made a very nice combination.

Aussie Burger with Crispy Chips ($15.90)
Aussie Burger with Crispy Chips ($15.90)

Jarrod decided on the Aussie Burger which came with amazing chips. The burger was a massive tower of ingredients. This is basically their version of a burger with the lot. Jarrod had a hard time working out how to start this and it was one of those burgers you can’t put down once you pick them up. The best part would be that it had pineapple AND beetroot. This is pretty unusual where burgers are concerned.

Hawaiian Melt with Crispy Chips ($12.90)
Hawaiian Melt with Crispy Chips ($12.90)

We decided to go back yesterday for a quick/light lunch at 3PM because were expecting a massive home cooked meal at Jarrod’s parents at around 6:30PM  (it was indeed quite huge) so Jarrod chose the Hawaiian Melt with Chips. It doesn’t look like much but Jarrod walked out quite full. He also really likes that you don’t have to ask for sauce with your chips, the meals are just provided with it.

Beer Battered Fish & Chips ($14.90)
Beer Battered Fish & Chips ($14.90)

When we went the first time a woman at the table next to us ordered the fish and chips and it looked quite good so I decided on that. Not knowing that it would include 2 large pieces of fish as well as a massive serve of chips. It also comes with aioli, tartare sauce and tomato sauce, as well as a slice of lemon. The first time we went the woman left behind half her meal and we couldn’t believe she’d leave so much behind but when this came out I understood why that probably was.

The fish was crunchy and hot and didn’t feel or taste greasy. The chips were as delicious as the first time around and there was quite a lot of them. Of the sauces the one I most enjoyed was the tartare which is strange because I generally don’t like tartare at all. It was refreshing and slightly sweet and tasted great with both the chips and fish. I ate as much as I could and passed on the salad (except the cherry tomatoes) because there was just so much. For $14.90 this was an incredible serve.

Overall, we really enjoyed our meals at Cherry Beans and would go back (even if that is just for the frappe and the chips.. but I probably need to try the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake they have in the dessert cabinet one day too) to try something new. Breakfast and lunch are available until 3 at which point the kitchen closes until 5 (when they are open for dinner which is Wednesday – Saturday). We were lucky enough to just make it in for lunch and ordered at 2:55 but they didn’t have any issues with that and the food was as fresh and delicious as the first trip.

Website
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Sarah

Review: The District, Crace

Recently, Jarrod and I celebrated our three year anniversary and decided to check out The District in Crace for dinner that night. You don’t hear a whole lot about Crace (given it’s just a suburb in Gungahlin) but there has been a bit said about The District and being that they have  a “2 pizzas for $20” on Monday nights it was a pretty good chance we were going to give them a try.

The night we went was pretty gloomy but still warm enough that people were sitting outside, we booked a table and were seated inside in an area that has quite low lighting. I don’t know if this is for a pub feel or mood lighting but it did feel a bit too dark to be eating dinner.

The District - hidden away at Crace shops
The District – hidden away at Crace shops

We took a look through the menu but as the pizzas normally cost more than $20 each and we could get 2 for $20 that night it was pretty unlikely we’d be eating anything else from the menu. For the main meal anyway. We decided to try the Buffalo Wings as well because, you know, a pizza each just wasn’t enough!

Spicy Buffalo Wings with blue cheese dipping sauce ($15)
Spicy Buffalo Wings with blue cheese dipping sauce ($15)

Well, what can I say? We should have known by the name that these were going to be spicy but we went ahead and tried them anyway. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re not too keen on spice so maybe we should have given these a miss but as we don’t mind Buffalo Wings thought we’d see how they were. Oh man, they were SPICY! Like, my mouth was on fire. I know some people enjoy this sensation but not me, I’m happy with mild and not have my mouth feel like it’s melting off my face. This doesn’t mean they were bad, they weren’t so hot you couldn’t taste anything but they were too hot for us. I was a bit hesitant about the blue cheese dipping sauce, I’ve never been much of a fan of stinky blue cheese (obviously this has been ingrained into my since childhood) but it was creamy and paired well with the heat of the wings.

Meatlovers Pizza - Salami, Chorizo, Bacon, Onion, Mushrooms, Mozarella Cheese & BBQ Sauce ($23.90)
Meatlovers Pizza – Salami, Chorizo, Bacon, Onion, Mushrooms, Mozarella Cheese & BBQ Sauce ($23.90)

It’s pretty unlikely we’ll go to a place that has a meatlovers pizza and not try it. In this instance we requested to remove the onion and mushroom because, well, it’s a meatlovers pizza.. who wants vegetables on a meatlovers pizza! This was a perfect meatlovers, bbq sauce and a bunch of different meats all melded into one by mozzarella, mmm. The crust was thin but not incredibly crunchy, just the right amount of crisp.

BBQ Chicken Pizza -  Chicken, Bacon, Pineapple, Aioli & BBQ sauce ($19.90)
BBQ Chicken Pizza – Chicken, Bacon, Pineapple, Aioli & BBQ sauce ($19.90)

While I really enjoyed the meatlovers pizza this was the high point of the night. For those of you that don’t enjoy Pineapple on a pizza you’re missing out. It was so good with the aioli and chicken. Juicy and sweet and amazing. I usually steer clear of pizzas with mayo or aioli on them (probably from nightmares of Dominos and Pizzahut pizzas with mayo from childhood) but it worked really well here. The ingredents went together perfectly and I wanted to eat the whole thing to myself! I’ll definitely be back for another one of these.

James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider
James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider

Lastly, we decided to have a glass of cider each with the pizza. I’m not really sure why, we very rarely drink cider or beer but decided to go for it on this night. I’ve never bought a glass of cider in my life and had no idea what to ask for. Fortunately, the girl on the bar could help out with useful questions like “want that in a schooner?” to which I just nodded and hoped for the best. It was sweet and tasty but a schooner each was probably a bit optimistic I think we ended up drinking about half each before giving up.

Overall, The District was a good place to eat, they have specials most days of the week and the food is pretty tasty. I’ll most definitely be back on another Monday night for the pizza deal!

Website | Facebook

District on Urbanspoon

Sarah

Review: Thai Herb, Gungahlin

Recently Thai Herb expanded into a new building near us. A few people had mentioned how we should give it a try and one Thursday night a few weeks ago we decided to see what this place was all about. Thai Herb is in a great location and looks lovely too. Nice and modern although, as we discovered on our second visit, it is quite loud and hard to hear other people on your table depending on where you get seated.

Thai Herb - View from the table
Thai Herb – View from the table

Once we got inside we were quickly seated, but that was pretty much the only time something happened quickly. It took 15mins to get served and then more than 30mins for our food to come out. We asked for entree and mains to come out together but our entree came out even before our drinks and about 20mins or so before our mains. Fortunately, we weren’t in too much of a rush but it is a bit longer than we’re used to. On our second trip we wondered whether there would be any improvement on this, it was pretty much the same. There seems to be some issue with how their orders are taken and how that information gets to the bar because it took going and reminding them about our drinks before we received them. Where slowness of service is concerned, it seems like they might be a bit overwhelmed with the size of the space and also balancing their takeaway orders. Hopefully once they’re all settled in that problem will go away.

Although the service was slow there was one woman buzzing about trying her best to get to everyone. She was quite tall with brown hair and was nice and friendly although obviously very rushed. She brought out most of our food and was apologetic about the wait.

Satay Sticks (Satay Gai) - Grilled chicken skewers served with Thai Herb's peanut sauce ($7.90) (4))
Satay Sticks (Satay Gai) – Grilled chicken skewers served with Thai Herb’s peanut sauce ($7.90) (4))

When entree came out we were mostly interested in the little spoon. The cutlery was quite heavy and we thought the spoons would make excellent spoons for getting icecream out of tubs as they were so sturdy. Once we moved on from the little spoon it was time to try the sticks. The chicken itself wasn’t as tender as expected and a bit chewy but still tasted fine and when you added the peanut sauce they were much improved. We both agreed the sauce was the highlight of the dish.

Although Jarrod had wanted a chocolate milkshake (we wondered why it was on the menu) they didn’t have the chocolate syrup available so we both went with Lemon Lime and Bitters. It seems as though no one place makes a Lemon Lime and Bitters the same and they all have different ratios of the flavours depending on who pours the drink and Thai Herb was no different.

Lemon Lime and Bitters
Lemon Lime and Bitters

This one was VERY orange, I’m not even sure why as it was more sweet than bitter so I’d be interested to know what was in it. It was my second mason jar as a glass experience in as many days, which is a trend I still don’t understand and it also came with a stirrer, which all Lemon Lime and Bitters should come with! It was quite average tasting and I probably wouldn’t get it again. The second visit we stuck with Coke and Sprite.

Crispy Chicken (Gai Pad Med Ma Moung) - Thai Herb's original recipe, deep fried battered chicken thigh stir fried with a special sauce ($18.50)
Crispy Chicken (Gai Pad Med Ma Moung) – Thai Herb’s original recipe, deep fried battered chicken thigh stir fried with a special sauce ($18.50)

Finally, it was time for the mains. I have to admit I was checking the time and commenting on how long it took as I served up some of the Crispy Chicken and then I took my first bite and the annoyance with the wait instantly disappeared. This might be my new favourite chicken dish. It is incredibly tasty. Sweet and crispy and delicious. It also comes with some chili (although it wasn’t hot in the slightest) and a generous serving of cashews. So many cashews in fact that we couldn’t finish them. It was an excellent dish. As soon as we started eating this we decided we’d be coming back, although we might choose takeaway instead of dining in.

Pad Thai - Thin rice stick noodles are wok tossed in Thai Herb's special Pad Thai sauce, with roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, chives, egg and tofu ($14.90)
Pad Thai – Thin rice stick noodles are wok tossed in Thai Herb’s special Pad Thai sauce, with roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, chives, egg and tofu ($14.90)

You might have noticed by now that Jarrod and I are spice wusses. We can deal with mild dishes but aren’t adventurous enough to try something a little hotter. Fortunately, Pad Thai is mild and delicious. We decided on Chicken Pad Thai and it was quite nice. The chicken was soft and delicious, the bean sprouts were fresh and crunchy and everything tasted as you’d expect a Pad Thai to taste. It was quite tasty but our hearts were pretty much set on the Crispy Chicken by this point.

Overall the food makes this place worthwhile, regardless of the wait. It was really fresh and delicious and we would go back (obviously, as we have gone back already) although we would probably go with takeaway or delivery instead. They have an online ordering system which I’d be interested to try – Any restaurant that has an ordering system where I don’t have to phone is a plus for me (as well as having their menu online.. Thai Herb has this too!).

 

Website | Facebook

Thai Herb Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sarah

Review: This Cafe, Gungahlin

In April of last year, Jarrod and I moved into our new house. On the day of the move we were so hungry by the time the removalists had left that we had to go and source some food, and fast. The Gungahlin shopping centre has many cafes and restaurants that were open but also a bit pricey. That day we ended up with a place called The Coffee Club which, unfortunately (and also fortunately) wasn’t for us. The seating was uncomfortable and squishy, the food was incredibly slow to arrive and with the exception of the shake the food was pretty average.

That led us on a hunt to find the cafe that would become ‘ours’. The place we’d go on the weekend when we were too lazy to make breakfast/brunch/lunch ourselves, that was well priced and had good food. Previous to moving to this house we lived in an area that had a huge amount of food places within a 5 minute walk so we were quite spoiled but we were determined that we could find something just as good again.

Enter, This Cafe which, other than having a neat name “want to go to This Cafe?”, has very fast service and tasty food. I believe our first visit to This Cafe occurred on a cold Sunday afternoon at 3PM where we were still able to order Bacon and Egg rolls (all day breakfast), this was the place for us.

Since then, we have been going roughly once every fortnight to eat there. In fact, we went there last weekend AND this weekend.

Cream Cheese Ricotta Crepe - Crepe stuffed with ricotta & cream cheese served with raspberry puree , almond syrup, banana & whipped cream ($13.90)
Cream Cheese Ricotta Crepe – Crepe stuffed with ricotta & cream cheese served with raspberry puree , almond syrup, banana & whipped cream ($13.90)

Last weekend, I decided to take a look at the specials menu and see if I’d like to try something new, I decided that I did and ended up choosing the crepe. It may not have been the best decision as the cheeses just didn’t work for me. Also, look at that mega mound of whipped cream! Although it was delicious it sort of took over the whole meal. I had hoped the cheese would have a softer, gooier consistency. Given that this was my first ever crepe stuffed with cheese, maybe my idea of how it should be is completely off and they all have this crumbly texture. The syrup and the puree were lovely and sweet but I just couldn’t get past that cheese.

 

Deluxe Chicken BLT & Chips - Bacon, lettuce, cheese, tomato,  grilled chicken breast  with aioli  sauce ($16.90)
Deluxe Chicken BLT & Chips – Bacon, lettuce, cheese, tomato, grilled chicken breast with aioli sauce ($16.90)

Jarrod decided to go with the Chicken Burger on the menu. Now, this is where I need to pause and ask, why do places use boards in place of plates/bowls these days? What purpose does this serve and who thought it was a good idea? When eating a burger, I want to know I have something underneath it catching all the juices and be confident they’re not going to slowly slide off and onto me. This Cafe used to use plates for burgers but a couple of months ago switched to clipboard menus and boards for burgers. Apparently that is just what cafes do these days.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean the burger was bad because Jarrod said it was delicious and it had a generous amount of aioli and the chips at This Cafe are always good, fresh, hot and crispy. You do need to ask for a side of sauce though if you’d like it (which Jarrod does). I am yet to try this burger but it looks so good that I will probably have to. Grilled chicken in burgers is so good!

Chocolate Thickshake ($5.90)
Chocolate Thickshake ($5.90)

One thing we pretty much ALWAYS get when we visit This Cafe is a Chocolate Thick Shake. They are incredibly good, always cold and so thick you have to suck your hardest to get it out of the straw… just how we like them. There’s nothing worse than the disappointment felt when you order a thick shake from a place and it’s basically just milk. These places have no right to call them thick shakes. When trying somewhere new, we have ‘The Straw Test’ where you stick the straw in the middle and see if it falls to the side or how fast it sinks in. The slower the better. This shake definitely passes the test. The thick shake is one of the things we keep going back to This Cafe for, to the point where they have Mango slushies and although I really want to try, I haven’t.. I can’t risk losing the thick shake.

So, after feeling a bit sad about my crepe adventure of last weekend, we decided to go back again on Saturday. We did a lot of people watching of men (mostly) walking by flowers in hand (it was Valentines Day) and one guy had 3 single roses and we wondered what that was all about! Obviously the assumption being that he had 3 girlfriends.

Breakfast Wrap - Toasted wrap with bacon, egg, cheese, hashbrown and BBQ sauce ($14.90)
Breakfast Wrap – Toasted wrap with bacon, egg, cheese, hashbrown and BBQ sauce ($14.90)

This time, I played it safe (although I’ve only had this once before) and went with a breakfast wrap.. mostly because it was before 11am and that is when their lunch menu starts. I might not have been so safe had the lunch menu been on offer. The combination of bacon and eggs and hash brown work really well, as it’s toasted too it keeps it’s heat for a long time. I ended up burning my mouth in my impatience. It’s a good size too, not too heavy or filling but filling enough that you don’t want to snack on anything else afterwards.

Bacon & Egg Roll - Bacon, egg, cheese and BBQ sauce on a large roll ($10.90)
Bacon & Egg Roll – Bacon, egg, cheese and BBQ sauce on a large roll ($10.90)

Jarrod went with our regular, if you’re really hungry or can’t work out what else you want the fallback is always the bacon and egg roll. It’s massive, unlike the wrap you might find yourself struggling to finish this. Piles of bacon, 2 eggs (usually runny, but we ask for them to be hard as dripping yolk isn’t our thing), cheese and bbq sauce on a massive black pepper and parmesan roll. So good when you’ve rolled out of bed at 10AM and are starving for breakfast but too lazy to make anything yourself. Not only that, but it’s also an excellent price, one of the cheapest things on the menu and quite possibly the most filling.

Obviously, we really enjoy this place and have been multiple times and will, no doubt, visit again.

This Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sarah