From Grill Forty One G41 at the Lord Elgin Hotel
From Grill Forty One G41 at the Lord Elgin Hotel
Regular readers will know that I have a liking for all sorts of food. Fine dining and bulked up comfort and truck stop food. One day I will write about my grand parents and their Chinese restaurant at one of the biggest truck stops in Australia.
On Wednesday night Bron and I went to Onred Restaurant. This is regarded as one of the finest eating places in Canberra. Today we had lunch at Central Cafe in Queanbeyan. This is regarded more broadly as the place with the amazing mixed grill challenge. I don’t think it’s in the league of Man v Food but it’s pretty sizable and it certainly takes a good attitude to eating to finish the plate, or at least in my case, complete the meat eating.
The philosophy at Onred is many small serves to enjoy the flavours. At Onred they recommend choosing three or four entrée sized dishes from their menu and then enjoying a dessert each. The way the meals are served, sharing between diners is encouraged.
I think many readers will be surprised that I did not capture any images of food. The ambience of the restaurant was not conducive to me pulling out my iPhone with each course. Given we had seven dishes and then two desserts I would have spent the whole night with my iPhone out. I can describe what we ate.
Polenta fried calamari w cauliflower and almond puree and eggplant chips [8/10]
Pan fried sweetbreads w bread sauce, celery, parsley, hazelnut and sultanas [9/10, I really enjoyed the sweetbreads]
Baked parmesan scallops and scallop ceviche [10/10]
Chicken, sage and bacon crepinette w parsley puree, roast cherry tomato and fried capers [7.5/10, it was okay but a little bland compared with everything else]
Salted pork belly w bacon dusted grapes and radish salad [8/10, pork belly is now ubiquitous and it's not as special as it once was]
Char grilled sirloin w black pudding, smoked onion puree and pickled onion rings [8.5/10, the sirloin was a little tough, the black pudding was spectacular with the onion]
Szechuan glazed duck breast w confit duck, confit orange and lemon and coriander buckwheat [9/10, the duck was superb, I'm not a fan of the buckwheat]
Caramelised pineapple w ginger cream, sable crumbs and lemon myrtle ice cream [9/10, the flavours were fresh and tropically sweet. I loved it]
Crushed flourless chocolate cake w liquid chocolate, orange and mandarin puree, honeycomb and orange ice cream [Bron had this. It was a generous dessert and it look luxurious and comforting. It looked like a loving hug on a plate]
The restaurant is on the second story in a building on top of Red Hill. The views of Canberra are very good and the room itself was relatively quiet given the harshness of the glass surfaces. The service was good. It was attentive but unobtrusive. It was a very nice evening. I would definitely return for another meal. My favourite dish was the scallops. They were near perfect and the one dish I’d want to come back for for a larger serving to enjoy myself.
Today we had lunch at Central Cafe in Queanbeyan. This is an institution in Queanbeyan and well known in Canberra. When I first started working in Canberra a work colleague mentioned the place to me and the mixed grill challenge. He was a power lifter and said it was one of the few substantial meals for a reasonable price anywhere in the Canberra/Queanbeyan district. So after four years of thinking about it I finally tried it.
Okay, so no surprise I went with the mixed grill. If you read the menu you will see Mixed Grill – A serious Challenge for $29.50. Famous around Australia for its size, weight and quality, our Mixed Grill is NOT FOR THE FEINT HEARTED! Have you got what it takes?
The plate is a full dinner plate and it is covered in food. I was disappointed there wasn’t a lamb chop or cutlet. There were two steaks, two sausages, two pieces of ham, a bacon rasher, four pieces of liver, and a piece of crumbed veal. I started well and felt confident I’d finish the meat in terms of a high protein low carbohydrate challenge. I ate a few chips and all the cauliflower and broccoli.
It wasn’t until the end, towards the piece of veal which I was keeping for last that I started feeling full and my brain was giving me signals to think about slowing down.
I didn’t eat all the chips and carrots. I was feeling a little full. Rather than make myself feel full or force myself to eat I felt comfortable stopping after eating all the meat.
This was a good meal. It was worth going to Central Cafe and enjoying lunch. It’s another milestone in my Canberra bucket list.
Well I wouldn’t think of Onred and Central Cafe as chalk and cheese. That suggests one is bad while the other better. Both of these places is good. Both of these places serves a purpose. I’d return to both places. If you’re new to Canberra and want to take someone out to a nice dinner in a pleasant environment with a good view, Onred is a good start. If you’re new and you like big hearty meals, try Central Cafe, you won’t be disappointed.
Canberra has a really good and very active group of tweeps. There are circles within circles. I’ve found myself spending a lot of my twitter and facebook time with a small group of friends based in Canberra. We’ve met a few times already and have become firm friends. Some of us know each other through listening to @markparton on @2CC and others have work connections. Mostly though it’s through twitter and facebook. In addition to this group we also have some close twitter buddies in Queensland and Victoria who one day we will visit.
Each of us had in mind something to bring along while @macjam1 and her husband provided an excellent venue and more meat that we could throw a stick at. The weather ended up being great after forecasts of rain and cold. The afternoon and evening air was fresh but not cold. The sound of mosquitoes was held at bay with Aeroguard and Citronella candles.
The food was heavily influenced by most of us recently taking to various weight loss programs. Some are doing variations on low carbohydrate systems, others are exercising like crazy (cycling and Zumba are popular) and there are those on combinations. We started with combinations of spicy sausage and mushrooms cooked on the barbecue along with a cheese ball and Turkish bread and dips. Then @NatMcNazz brought along these awesome Parmesan cheese biscuits flavoured with chilli and fennel.
This image reveals @tinythecabbie ‘s hand
Here is a close up of Fred and his partner Cork
The tooth picks later became popular with the kids who lit them in the candles and then played with fire (all under close adult supervision of course).
There was so much great food. By the time it was dinner time, I’d already eaten enough for a few nights anyway. Our gracious hosts and other friends had brought along enough to feed us all including children and then some.
The coleslaw brought by @Bron99 was awesome and not traditional. I the potato bake was fantastic. Creamy and good. I haven’t had a snag and hamburger for ages. So this image has been captioned Plate one for me because I ended up going back twice more. My second plate was piled high with coleslaw and potato bake and a piece of honey soy chicken. The third plate was mainly coleslaw and another piece of chicken.
Then came the desserts. I’ll just list them through photographs.
I can never resist pavlova. It brings back so many happy childhood memories.
@Bron99 made this lovely white chocolate cheesecake which came with a strawberry coulis.
I confess my eyes were bigger than my belly. I wanted apple pie but after the pavlova and cheesecake I could not go back for the apple pie.
I do not know what this is called but @TinyTheCabbie brought them. So colourful and everyone raved about them.
I have with much sadness and self condemnation have to admit I could not finish this lovely plate of food. My grandmother’s voice echoes in my head about the starving children in Africa, but after the gluttony of snacks and then three plates of dinner, my dessert stomach (also known as the œsophagus) failed me and certain sphincters sending signals to my brain to stop eating or eject food upwards.
At the end of the evening, we had a tweet up photograph which I won’t upload because I don’t have everyone’s permission to share. Suffice to say it is a great photograph and it was a wonderful and happy evening.
I think I can safely post one blurry image of a subset of us who preferred the company of mosquitoes so they could talk about the others
It really was a fantastic evening.
This morning I woke up feeling full. What better way to celebrate a new day than with brunch. Off to Black Pepper we went for a Black Pepper big breakfast.
Did I say there was lots of bacon?
Yep lots of bacon.