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French Toast ($15.90)

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

Another Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Awesome Foam Art!

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

Oreo Shake ($6.50)

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

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

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.

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

Mars Bar Cheesecake ($7.50)

Review: Via Dolce, City

Last weekend Jarrod decided to take me out for breakfast (well, brunch.. we’re not really usually awake for what most would consider breakfast) in the city. We didn’t have a plan and figured we could wander down Bunda St and see what it could offer. Initially, we were opting towards Dobinsons but Jarrod didn’t want something traditionally breakfast like (it was about 11:30 by this point) or burgers which pretty much ruled out Dobinsons, unless we wanted to sample their range of cake.. which we probably could have done.

Via Dolce inside - all the delicious cakes!
Via Dolce inside – all the delicious cakes!

In the end we decided to take a walk past Via Dolce and see if anything took our fancy. And while the photo above shows a delicious array of cakes, it isn’t why we decided to eat here. It was their woodfired pizza!

Salsiccia & Patate Woodfired Pizza - Tomato base, mozzarella, Italian Style pork sausage, thinly sliced potatoes, rosemary - $16.90
Salsiccia & Patate Woodfired Pizza – Tomato base, mozzarella, Italian Style pork sausage, thinly sliced potatoes, rosemary ($16.90)

We have been once before and loved the pizza crust so much I knew we’d be back one day. Their menu has changed (the menu on their website is actually old..) and I don’t believe this pizza was on it last time. I think I would have noticed. I love potato on a pizza and I won’t say no to Italian Sausage so this was perfect! The crust was a bit crunchy but mostly nice and chewy, the potatoes soft and the italian sausage slightly spicy. It was delicious and I wish we’d bought more than one!

Chocolate Milkshake ($8)
Chocolate Milkshake ($8)

To quench our thirst we also ordered some chocolate milkshakes. These are quite decent milkshakes with a more darker tasting chocolate than your usual shake and they have chocolate gelato in them but for $8 I’d expect fantastic. I really enjoy them, perhaps one of my favourite milkshakes, but I don’t know that any milkshake is worth $8, that is usually the pricier end for a thick shake let alone a milkshake.

Via Dolce's Cake Display
Via Dolce’s Cake Display

While waiting for the pizza to come out (and it did take longer than I expected) I couldn’t help taking a look over at the cake display. I wanted to try all of these mousses and pretty much everything they had in the cabinet. Everything looked quite amazing.

Mars Bar Cheesecake ($7.50)
Mars Bar Cheesecake ($7.50)

After we had finished our pizza we decided we couldn’t leave without trying one of those cakes and I’d seen the Mars Bar cheesecake going out to another eager customer while we were waiting for our pizza. It was really great cheesecake, I much prefer baked cheesecake and this had a deliciously creamy texture with a bit of chocolate ganache, caramel and a mini slice of Mars Bar on top. Mmm, divine. As we were eating this though, someone at a nearby table got an amazing looking piece of chocolatey deliciousness, unfortunately I have no idea what it was otherwise I probably would have bought a piece of that too.

I enjoyed our visit to Via Dolce, I am not too sure how often I’d go back for the pizza. It tasted great but their selection isn’t for me, however I’d definitely go back for another slice of cake and to try some of their gelato options.

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Via Dolce Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato