Urban Pantry @ Manuka, ACT

We were in Canberra for a weekend and looked up cafes to visit via google & Instagram. This café caught our eye and we are glad it did. We headed down to Mankua area, which is thriving with cafes, which we were pleasantly surprised about given it was between Christmas and New Year’s.

The Urban Pantry occupies a corner location just by a small open arcade. Its big swinging doors greet you from the front and it’s interior styling has a white cottage chic vibe going on, very pretty, with plenty of greenery. You can also sit alfresco.

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It wasn’t too busy and we were seated quickly. The food being served to other diners looked fabulous and the menu is very approachable so we had a very difficult time deciding what to order. Breakfast is until 11:30 or all day dining on weekends – we were brunch visitors but the lunch meals also looked very appealing, in particular the house made gnocchi or meat skewers. This will be for another time!

For the breakfast choices, their sweet dishes include Brioche French Toast and buttermilk pancakes. There’s also plenty of amazing choices to make that are savoury. Whether it be the chef’s pan or urban avocado, mushroom bruschetta or an omelette, you will find something to suit. We decided on their spring onion crumpets, topped with campari cured gravlax, creme fraiche and a toasted grain panagratto. The crumpets were light and fluffy and the topping was a lovely flavour combination. We really enjoyed this dish.

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I had the summer fruits – a plate of mango, dragonfruit, kiwi fruit, watermelon, pineapple and a coconut yoghurt pancaotta with macadamia granola. It was lovely and refreshing for summer. Could have done with a more generous serve of the granola for the crunch factor, but that said it was a good dish.

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To be honest I’m slightly regretting not ordering an open toast; the option that had oven roasted maple pear, basket ricotta and Majura Valley Vanilla honey is still calling my name. At least, it gives me a want to return!

The coffees are good too – we enjoyed an iced coffee, on what was a scorcher of a weekend.

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We really like that this café is not one of the typical cafes we often see in Sydney with their run of the mill bacon and egg rolls or over the top sweet colourful insta worthy dishes. We like that they are inventive and creative, making delicious dishes with beautiful fresh ingredients in an interesting way. Everything was stunning and we are super keen to revisit when in the area.

Urban Pantry

https://urbanpantrymanuka.com.au/

5 Bougainville St, Griffith, ACT

Urban Pantry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushi boats and more @ Umi Sushi and Bar, Haymarket

We were lucky enough to be asked to join some our fellow foodies for a banquet of Japanese food at Umi Sushi in Haymarket.

Umi Sushi have other locations in Darling Quarter and Town Hall.

The Haymarket store is super big with a bar to sit at, a range of smaller tables and also some private rooms that also have karaoke. It is conviently close to central station and also the capitol theatre for those theatre lovers amongst us. 

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We sat in a booth, ideal for the 6 of us in a quiet spot and the waiter served us a few cold Asahi’s, perfect to accompany our first course – an array of sushi and sashimi. This was served in a huge sushi boat, which would be suitable for a party so you can try a few things. It was filled with kingfish carpaccio, smoked Toro, and a few types of nigiri sushi – fois gras, scampi, Umi, salmon belly, kingfish as well as a purple soft shell crab roll. Our favourite was the toro (salmon belly).

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It also had two new dishes, their Umi chirashi waffle ice cream cones, filled with sashimi (salmon or tuna), avocado and topped with konbu cream and a lotus chip. What a cool idea!

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We then got a mix of hot and cold dishes in including Truffle cabbage, mentaiko omelette, grilled cheese scallops, grilled quail, mixed skewers and a wagyu steak platter.

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The final savoury dish was a soy milk broth hot pot which came with premium wagyu beef and a huge platter full of seafood and dry ice smoking from it for theatrics. We cooked this ourselves and mixed it all together while we waited.

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Ending on a dessert platter, we enjoyed some ice cream, matcha green tea cake and cheesecake. We were certainly satisfied by the end of this.

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We’d like to thank Rnb Diary for inviting us, as well as Washuko lovers.

Umi Sushi & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flour drum is now open for dinner in Newtown

From its humble beginnings at the quirky end of King Street, Flour Drum has flourished into a local Newtown favourite, renowned for it’s creative flair. With a new dinner service, diners will be able to hangout at Flour Drum both day and night.

Drawing ‘foodspiration’ from around the globe and elevating the experience of home-style meals, the dinner menu will offer a nostalgic dining experience with classic throwback dishes complimented by inventive takes on comfort foods. Is all about those simple, delightful guilty pleasures we all love. It celebrates nostalgic memories, traditions and childhood favourites. With Executive Chef and co-owner John Ageletos to take the helm of the kitchen, diners can expect his signature slow cooked style to be front and centre. Dessert will offer a trip down memory lane with the likes of Bombe Alaska and Cookie Dough Skillet. A selection of Australian-focused bio-dynamic wines and a good mix of homegrown Aussie beers will provide the perfect compliment to any culinary combination.

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By day, Flour Drum continues to offer up refreshing interpretations of breakfast and brunch classics. Local favourites including the velvety banoffee pancakes with dulce de leche and Anzac biscuit crumble, Moutai-cured Atlantic salmon, fusion style ravioli wontons and the popular house-made pappardelle lamb ragù (with a subtle Asian twist) will remain staple all-day items.

A treasure trove of rotational baked goods also remains, including reinterpretations of two Australian classics: the humble lamington (with flavours ranging from creme brûlée to black forest and red velvet), and the pavlova cake. The new range of giant plate-sized cookies is also here to stay.

Flour Drum’s interior is rustic and eclectic. The front room is a cosy coffee/wine/dessert bar with banquette seatings. It opens up into a diner-friendly space with individual and communal tables alongside a dramatic 12-meter mural depicting a quintessentially Australian pastoral scene by Sydney’s infamous street artist Scott Mash (famous for his Kanye West and Tony Abbott murals). Group functions are easily hosted here with a capacity for 50 seated or 70 cocktail reception.

Small Share Dishes

You could start the night with a unique fusion of two world famous comfort food, ravioli from Italy and wonton from China. The dish, a BBQ Duck and Shiitake Mushroom Ravioli Wonton is Chinese on the outside and Italian on the inside. The wrapper of this dumpling is traditional Chinese, inside however, is a smooth as silk ravioli style filling. They are deep fried and served with Black Chinese Vinegar.

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Another small share dish on offer is the Beetroot, Goats Cheese and Thyme Terrine served with a sweet mix berry compote, Charr Walnuts and Caper Berries. Creamy and tangy, it is an imaginative recreation of a common but amazing combination of beets and goat cheese.

Next up to share small palate is the Smoked Salmon Rillette. Rillettes are coarse, pâté-like French spreads typically made from duck, pork, or rabbit. The salmon version is a lighter take on the traditional dish made with fresh and smoked salmon and severed with pickles and Flour Drum’s rustic housemade artisan bread.

In coming months they will be introducing a lot more small share dishes.

Housemade Pastas

All pastas are made in-house at Flour Drum daily with extra fine premium Italian Drum wheat flour. Choose from a more traditional big flavour Slow Cooked Pork Belly Ragu with Pappardelle or try the Lime, Chilli and Parmesan King Prawn Angel Hair Pasta served in a rich and deeply savoury Seafood Bisque. Vegetarians can enjoy our Peas, Mint Ricotta, Sheep’s Cheese Angle Hair pasta.


Large Dishes

More ambitious diners will want to tackle a Slow Cooked Whole Lamb Shank served on the bone. If you love the look of a hunk of meltingly tender meat wrapped around the bone you will love this. It will hit your carnivore g-spot! The meat on these lamb shanks is so tender that it falls off the bone, served on a bed of mash potato and mushy peas for the ultimate comfort food supper.

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Another Chef Johnny’s signature slow cooked is the Slow Braised Beef Cheeks in Green Peppercorn Shiraz served with delicious Parmesan Polenta and Crisp Parmesan Lace. Beef cheeks, when cooked long and slow result in tender, juicy and flavoursome beef. When paired with creamy smooth parmesan polenta, doused in a rich sauce spliced with a parmesan crisp , you have a dish made in heaven.

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Those who prefer something light, simple, healthy and fresh should try our Grilled Salmon with Season Greens. Grilled to perfection, the Salmon is crispy on the outside and slightly pink on the inside.

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Desserts

Bombe Alaska, the ultimate sweet treat combination of ice cream, meringue and sponge cake. Their take on this classic dessert contains the perfect pairing of goat’s milk gelato, toasted hazelnuts, dulce de leche, sponge cake and Italian meringue, spectacularly flambéed at your table with Cointreau.

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The desserts at Flour Drum are large enough for two to share. You can try this for size… the Giant Molten Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Skillet is massive, served in a hot skillet, the giant cookie dough is cooked to order, served warm and gooey in a hot skillet topped with house-made creme brûlée icecream and drizzled in Nutella!

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Call beforehand or check the boards for the vegan options that will be based on seasonal produce. The sticky date pudding for dessert is a must try!

For those new to Flour Drum dinner, trust in the promise of their current brunch and baked offerings because their dishes are turning out to be just as irresistable.

Flour Drum is located at 531 King Street, Newtown.

Opening hours from August:

Breakfast & Lunch : Mon-Fri 7am-4pm. Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Dinner: Thur-Sat from 6pm

Quality food by the sea @ Clovelly Social House

Clovelly is a beautiful beachside town situated in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. It is a great spot to visit if you want to head to the beach for a swim or do the coastal walk or have a beer at the local pub.

However if you are looking for somewhere to have a meal, look no further than Clovelly Social House. Located close to the beach and opposite the pub, you will find parking easily and it’s also free. Clovelly Social House offers a relaxed dining experience, quality food and a great place to catch up with friends and family, or just dine with that special someone. Clovelly Social House is open for breakfast lunch and dinner and on this occasion we visited for dinner.

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This place could be described as a cafe by day, bistro by night. At night, the food on offer is a good mix of modern Australian/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern. With a new winter menu that will help embrace the cool weather, to be enjoyed with a nice glass of wine from their list.

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The mixed board is a must and a great option to share. This board is a tasty mix of salmon croquettes, lamb kafta, grilled haloumi chorizo and mushroom arancini. The sauce served with the mushroom arancini was so good it should be bottled.

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For our mains, we shared the pan fried gnocchi served in a delicious creamy truffle sauce and we almost put in a requst for some bread to mop up any sauce left behind because we loved it so much. We also shared the crispy skin salmon which had a middle eastern flare and a bit of a spice kick to it.

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Thankfully we managed to spare some room for dessert, the tiramisu was nice but the blueberry cheesecake literally took the cake. It is worth visiting Clovelly Social House for this alone. It is a lighter version of cheese cake that is not overly dense, it was a beautiful dessert with a creamy cloud like texture and one of our favourite desserts of the year thus far.

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The staff at Clovelly Social House were friendly and hospitable and you will enjoy your visit here.

Clovelly Social House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Musou Yakiniku – new Japanese BBQ

Musou Yakiniku, is a new Japanese BBQ restaurant located on Pitt Street. This restaurant occupies a large space scattered with fluorescent signs and touch screens for ordering, very reminiscent of restaurants in Japan.

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Japanese BBQ is one of our favourite ways to dine out. We love the ability to order as we wish off the touch screen, and you can do this for a la carte menu or buffet. Everything is uploaded on different tabs to select your meat, sashimi, sides, desserts or drinks.

Make sure you bring your appetite! The $85 buffet is undoubtedly the best value as for two hours, you can order as much food as you please, without wasteage. Dine the buffet menu for 120 minutes, with your last order at 90mins. The food comes out so fast, it’s really only necessary to order on the screen as you need or want it. The only benefit of al a carte is if you’re not super hungry, or there are some even more superior cuts of meat.

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The buffet does have a number of extremely varied and fine cuts or 9+ Wagyu beef, you will have a number of condiments choise from used a dipping sauce to enhance the natural flavour of the meat. Altough the high quality meat on offer needs nothing more added to it.

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We tried the Wagyu beef rib, Wagyu tri tip (our favourite) and the Wagyu outside skirt as well as flap meat. Other meats are also available like chicken, pork rib, duck breast, beef liver, pork loin, pork sausage and more.

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Seafood is also included in the buffet squid, mussel, and scallop. We tried the cooked prawns, which came in their shell. We also ordered some delicious salmon sashimi, but other sashimi options are also available.

Select a couple of fresh and healthy sides to accompany your meat. We selected a mixed vegetable plate, buttered mushrooms and corn and some butter lettuce. Some crispy lotus root chips are also great for snacking.

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There were some amazing side dishes to be selected, including a delicious cold soba salad and the most amazing wagyu tartare with a running yolk atop. Honestly, one of the best we’ve had. Some other options available include porridge, karage, curry, udon (hot and cold), takoyaki and more.

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Their mission is not only to serve quality food, but also provide outstanding service, and that they certainly did. The staff were extremely welcoming, friendly and the food came out almost as fast as we clicked ‘order now’.

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We also got some dessert, included in the buffet price – we tried black sesame ice cream and also the roasted tea ice cream.

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You will certainly leave extremely satisfied and we thoroughly recommend a visit. A great date night and the bench seat set up makes Musou Yakiniku perfect for a fun group dining experience.

Musou Yakiniku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

For some tapas, drinks and cool vibes, visit Donny’s Bar.

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Donny’s Bar is a great bar/eatery just off the Corso in Manly. Donny’s Bar is set up with a loft and a few tables out front to be enjoyed when the weather turns on. Once inside, the first level has the main bar and a hidden private bar out back. The kitchen and dining area occupy the upstairs space. The drinks are on point and the food is of a high standard. The food has a homely approach and perfect tapas to enjoy with a drink or two. Even better, they have a range of great daily food and drink specials, like $5 steak night on Tuesdays!. Check out date night and half price Sunday deals which are superb value.

We visited on a Sunday evening and they had a half price tapas menu and also a corresponding happy hour which runs from 5pm-7pm every day. There was also live music put on by the venue from Thursdays to Sundays, making this joint ideal for a Sunday Sesh.

Donny’s have good beer on tap and a quality selection of cocktails and the sticky date espresso was a definite ‘must order’.

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Foodwise, there a number of tapas plates, perfect for sharing (but keep in mind you will want it all yourself!) The crumbed camembert was incredible; you simply cannot go wrong with fried cheese. This is accompanied by a sweet spice and chili infused date paste. 

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The leek and Manchego croquettes were beautiful, absolutely delicious and full of flavour and another good option to snack on with a drink.

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There are larger plates, if you are something more substantial. With a range of quality options, to suit all diners . The crispy skin salmon was very inviting, nicely plated and perfectly cooked.

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We were advised the chicken skewers were marinated for 24 hours and are a popular menu item. These did not disappoint, they were tender, juicy and very flavoursome.

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Donny’s bar is a cool join with a relaxed vibe, a great spot to catch up with friends enjoy a drink, some good food and entertainment. The specials are extremely good value. Make sure you check this joint out if in Manly.

Donny’s Bar

7 Market Lane
Manly, NSW 2095

Tel: (02) 9977-1887

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