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Local foodies share their top Canberra dishes

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Here at HerCanberra, we like to think of ourselves as an important source of food news for Canberrans.

But we’re not alone. Across the city, there are many foodies with their fingers on the pulse—and we love what they do.

Here’s a small taste (sorry) of who you should be following, as well as what they recommend you try across the city.

Michelle Brotohusodo of Brontosaurus Bites (@brontosaurus_bites)

Why did you start your account and when?

As some might know, I’m an active contributor to the HerCanberra Food and Drink Facebook page [Editor’s note: This is an understatement, Michelle is the lifeblood of that page]. The COVID-19 lockdowns last year obviously had a big impact on HC and dining out.

Additionally, personal circumstances also meant I spent an extended period of time in Sydney last year. I missed posting about food on social media, and also wanted a way to share foodie experiences I’d had in places other than Canberra.

So I set up my account on Facebook and Instagram. Its name came from a nickname I’ve had at every school I went to and because I like alliteration, and one of my very talented friends, Wita Puspita (who is now also my favourite baker in Canberra), designed the logo for me.

What are your two top Canberra dishes right now?

It’s really hard to pick just two top dishes, there are so many eateries and dishes in Canberra that I love, but here are two of my favourites:

Otoro + Tarutoretto at Raku (otoro tartare, salmon roe, lumpfish caviar, shortbread tartlet)


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I first had this dish when it was trialled on the menu as part of Good Food Month earlier this year. It was incredible—I’d never had anything like it before.

All of the elements separately would have been delicious on their own, but to combine the different types of seafood and encase them in a sweet shortbread, WOW.

I ordered it again next time I went to Raku, and the impact was the same. Definitely one of my favourite dishes, and a very pretty one too!

Beef brisket noodle soup at Flavours of Jiangnan


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There is so much to love about this dish—the tender beef brisket, the rich broth, and not least, the handmade noodles, which have a wonderful texture and flavour and balance out the dish nicely.

It’s really hearty and satisfying, and perfect for the cold weather (or any time, really!).

Michelle from CanberraFood (@canberrafood)

Why did you start your account and when?

I think I made the account after the first Night Noodle Markets in Canberra in 2015 because it was when I started noticing the foodie scene in Canberra really pick up, and I wanted to find out about all of the capital’s hidden gems, local favourites, and new upcoming endeavours.

What are your two top Canberra dishes right now?

Burrata, walnuts, pomegranate from @barrochford


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Honestly, Bar Rochford is one of my favourite places to go to, I go for dates, dinner catch up with friends or a swirl with the girls.

I chose this burrata dish because even though the flavours they add to it varies, I always order it when I can and I’ve never been disappointed. I mean, it’s gooey milky cheese with the Rochford flair.

I think the current menu has it with cucumber, cucamelons and @under_bakery milk buns—another Canberra business we love.

Handcrafted spaetzle with gruyere, 63-degree egg and truffle from @monsterkitchenbar


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I think I thought of this dish because of the cooler weather since it’s the absolute comfort dish. The small pasta-like dumplings are the perfect vessel for their cheesy mushroom-y sauce.

Matched with the fireplace and the parmesan churros on their menu (which is entirely vego!) and you’ve got yourself a lovely dinner.

Amelia Bidgood from Eat Canberra (@eatcanberra)

Why did you start your account and when?

I started the Instagram account in 2015 but I can’t remember the date. I worked in hospitality for about eight years and food has always been a really big part of my life.

I love to eat it, cook it, share it with others, write about it, talk about it and take photos of it. I also studied journalism and I’ve worked in a range of comms roles for more than 10 years.

When I moved to Canberra I found it difficult to find a platform to help me discover where to eat and things to do. So I combined my skills and passions and started Eat Canberra to help others discover more about Canberra and the region’s food and beverage scene. That’s the short version of the story!

What are your two top Canberra dishes right now?

Oooh, this is a hard one and I always struggle with this question. Just like my life where every day is different, I like variety when it comes to food and I rarely eat the same dish more than a few times.

It also depends on what I feel like eating on the day. I also like sooooo many different types of food BUT I’ll give you a few of my many favourite dishes and experiences in Canberra.

OTIS Pepper Steak from OTIS Dining Hall in Kingston and I can’t pick a dish from the menu (although the parmesan churros and the beetroot tartare are amazing) but I think the plant-based dishes at Monster Kitchen and Bar are fantastic.


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There’s a reason why the OTIS Pepper Steak is still on the menu after all this time. The perfectly cooked aged-beef is crusted in silk-wood pepper and served with a luxuriously silky brandy jus. The textures, flavour and quality of the dish is incredible.

It’s a really unique experience to eat refined plant-based dishes (feature image) like the ones Monster Kitchen and Bar are dishing up. What they’re doing with vegetables shows the talent and confidence of the team in the kitchen.


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It’s been a controversial move for them to only serve vegetarian and vegan dishes for one year but I think it’s great. I don’t follow any particular diets but I’m all about balance and I don’t think we need to eat meat every day.

I hope people who are opposed to the menu can open their mind and give it a go.

Russell and Cathryn from Experience Eats (@experience.eats)

Why did you start your account and when?

We started Experience Eats to share our best food experiences from Canberra and our travels and also the experiences of our valued friends and collaborators.

After a trip to New Zealand in January 2018, we posted a whitebait omelette that we made for a potluck dinner on NYE and it went crazy with reposts, comments, shares and messages.

That was the moment when we fell in love with sharing and communicating good food and drink.

What are your two top Canberra dishes right now?


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One of our favourite finds from the past year was from Al Manoosh in Mawson, a traditional Lebanese breakfast.

The warm foul (Fava bean dip), fresh from the oven flatbread, pickles and vegetables. It was surprising, comforting and so fresh to start the day.

We regularly crave this dish because it’s not something you can just whip up at home and it is so unique but strangely familiar.

The ultimate incarnation of this same meal but heavily levelled up.

Then there was the mind-blowingly delicious experience we had at Table by Canberra Gourmet. A super special meal was had in the heart of Wanniassa with every dish being a standout on an intimate table for eight.


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Our favourite dishes are a point of contention here at Experience Eats, with one of us claiming it was the stunning smoked mussels and the other insisting it was the sensational creme brulee.

The dishes here have a great sense of seasonality, respect for every ingredient and a representation of Chef Thomas Heinrich collective knowledge and creativity.

Food Porn Journal (@FoodPornJournal)

Why did you start your account and when? 

I love eating food, taking photos of food and telling people about food and the latest eateries to open.

Friends had been telling me to write a food blog (which I resisted) but I eventually started my blog FoodPornJournal in 2014.

Now some seven years later, I’m still at it and am so glad I get to share my foodie adventures with everyone.

What are your two top Canberra dishes right now?

Dongpou pork hand-pulled noodle soup from Flavours of Jiangnan in Dickson


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The noodles are handmade here and always the perfect texture and elasticity. The Dongpou pork noodles come with three slices of thick tender pork belly and plenty of noodles in a flavoursome soup.

The beef brisket noodles are another favourite as well as the dumplings. Everything is lovingly made, the owners are so hospitable and friendly, and the dishes are affordable.

Strawberry watermelon cake from Supersweet Pastry in Isaacs

Credit: FoodPornJournal.

The strawberry watermelon cake is light, not too creamy and fresh. One slice just isn’t enough. If you’re a fan of Sydney’s Blackstar Pastry, this is the next best thing.

The Food and Wine Marshall (@thefoodandwinemarshall)

Why did you start your account and when? 

I started The Food Marshall in March 2014, along with my blog, as a way of putting my recipes up so people could follow them, I kept being asked how I cooked my work lunches!

Then the wine study happened, I was fascinated with the winemaking process, started to help out during the Canberra Wine vintages with friends, and in 2018 I became The Food and Wine Marshall.

What are your two top Canberra dishes right now?

Ooh, that’s really hard, I’ve eaten some amazing food in Canberra, our restaurant scene is world class.

Chilli Yabby stirfry at Co.Bar in Dickson

I eat out a lot locally and like to try smaller family-run restaurants, and there are some I go back to as the food, service and atmosphere is consistently good.

The yabby stir fry with the most amazing sauce that we ate at Co.Bar in Dickson, a very underrated grill restaurant on the strip, was amazing, and they haven’t had it since, even though I ask for it every time I go!

It’s BYO, they specialize in grilled skewers, Asian street food style. They also have grilled pork belly and enoki mushroom skewers which are to die for, you have to have it with their signature spicy salt that’s on every table.

Grilled swordfish and roast potatoes at Capitol Bar and Grill at QT Canberra

Capitol Bar and Grill in the QT Canberra hotel is my go-to for a special occasion or date night. They specialise in meat and seafood, grilling over open fire.

The grilled swordfish steak served sliced on the bone (like a T-bone steak!) with sea vegetables and the best roast potatoes ever, was a bit of a revelation, like the fish dish for the steak lover. Seasoned to perfection with sea vegetables and a deliciously tangy caper butter.

The Mixologist, Vincent, is an absolute legend behind the bar, his seasonal cocktails are worth an hour stopover, and even though my drink of choice is an extra dirty gin martini their QT Martini is an exercise in refined elegance.

HerCanberra (@hercanberra)

Okay, we couldn’t possibly leave this list without some of our favourite dishes!

So we asked our Associate Editor Emma Macdonald to give us her current favourites.

What are your two top Canberra dishes right now?

The Pumpkin from XO

Pumpkin by XO. Photo by Christopher Pearce

Don’t be fooled by the name—this dish is far from simple. In fact, it combines some of the best techniques and tastes of this humble vegetable as I have ever experienced.

It includes spiced pumpkin curry, fried pumpkin, pickled pumpkin, pickled eschallot, salad de fleurs, pepitas, curry leaves and dry spices.

It’s a magical ride of textures and flavours and it works on every single level. I have never been wowed by a vegetable dish as much as this. You have to try it.

Truffle Ramen from White Chaco

Truffle Ramen by White Chaco

Ramen is as much about the broth as the noodles and accompaniments floating around in it.

The team at White Chaco roast their vegetables to steep in their broth for an intense flavour, adding depth with a smoky charred soy sauce and then the magic elixir of white truffle oil.

The dish arrives with an egg that has been marinated in the broth, fried tofu, fungus, Japanese seaweed and braised bamboo.

And it screams to be slurped up right through Canberra’s colder months.

Feature image: Monster Kitchen & Bar. Credit Zachary Griffith, Botanist Creative

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