I am completely on board with the recent trend of extending cafes/bars/restaurants into the street area. I think it contributes to a more lively and energetic vibe in Garema Place.
Observing the quirky and eclectic decor of the recent additions to the Canberra scene (e.g. Elk and Pea, Me and Mrs Jones, Smoque, Honky Tonks) I have come to a conclusion: there must be only one interior designer working in Canberra.
We dropped in for some breakfast...
It took a little while for us to decide what to order as we were slightly disappointed that our favourite breakfast meal wasn't on the menu (french toast with bacon). There weren't any pancakes nor corncakes with bacon either. Nor eggs benedict.
My companion finally settled on the poached eggs with grilled smoked ham and toast ($13). He also added a side of sausages ($4).
The meal was tasty, but nothing spectacular. I thought it could have done with some sort of sauce.
As it was close to midday, I decided on the pulled BBQ pork with fried egg and cheddar on a toasted bun ($15). I loved the pork in this dish, it was exactly the kind of pork I like, intense flavours, sticky and sweet, some crunchy textures.
The toasted bun was sweet too. "A cross between bread and cake, more like a brioche," was how our waiter described it.
It was a very rich breakfast meal, probably more suited on the lunch menu. On second thoughts, it could very well be the perfect hangover cure... To see what else is on the breakfast menu, click here.
Then we came back to Shorty's on another night...
I'd seen a photo of one of the "packaged cocktails" on Shorty's facebook page and couldn't wait to order one!
I ordered the Candy Striper $15 (vanilla Galliano, strawberry liqueur and ginger liqueur blended with strawberry puree and apple juice topped with coconut cream). I had really high hopes for this drink but it didn't quite meet my expectations - it tasted very diluted (in flavour and strength of alcohol). Perhaps it was an opening-week hiccup.
I did like that they have adopted the same packaging as bubble tea though!
I am a fan of ciders and it is actually my drink of choice when I go out (to avoid disappointing mixed drinks). So I had serious drink envy when my companion ordered the Matso's Mango and Desert Lime cider ($12) because it was soooo good. Everyone else in the bar must have thought so too because when I went to get a second round of drinks, they were already out of stock!
By this stage, I had begun observing plates of food arrive at other tables.
I managed a sneaky shot of someone's Chicken Parmigiana (with smoked mozarella and tomato jam) on a neighbouring table. Looks pretty good, doesn't it?
Just as I was wondering if ours would be out soon, our dishes started arriving!
Instead of ordering mains, we decided to share some smaller dishes. From the "Fingers" menu, we chose the crispy pork knuckle with squash, coriander and chinese broth ($14) - which ironically, you couldn't really eat with your fingers.
The dish was nice, but wasn't really what I had in mind when I read the menu. The pork knuckle was presented as very small chunks of meat rather than as a whole knuckle and the meat was immersed in the chinese broth, which meant that the meat had lost its crispy texture.
The sticky lamb ribs with korean BBQ dipping sauce ($15), however, was the stand out dish. The sticky sweet, flavoursome sauce was sublime, and it was fantastically difficult to get at the meat because it kept falling apart on us - it was that tender!
The tempura soft shell crab with wasabi, pickled ginger and mayonnaise ($15) delivered on the crispy factor, but there was a slight problem - it was raw inside. I showed the dish to a waitress and she immediately whisked it away with the promise that she'd be right back.
After sorting it out with the kitchen (presumably), she came back and reassured us that we would get a new dish. She also said that we could go to the bar to order a complimentary drink. The cider I wanted was no longer available, so I ordered the gingerbread mojito packaged cocktail and my companion ordered the Matso's ginger beer.
Our friendly waitress kept us informed about the status of our replacement soft shell crab and also made sure we got our complimentary drinks. Before long, the new dish arrived and the crab was perfectly cooked.
I was impressed by the willingness of the staff to not just remedy an issue experienced by patrons, but to make sure the patrons were kept up to date on the situation. My hope is that Shorty's enthusiasm is a permanent attitude and approach, rather than only in the first few weeks of opening. Many businesses lose customers when they try to cut corners or do not maintain good quality service.
We couldn't leave without indulging in a deep fried golden gaytime with caramel and fresh honeycomb ($11). The fried ice cream was good, but I couldn't stop going back for more of the caramel and honeycomb!
To find out what other dishes are on the menu, check out my other post here. I'm sure it won't be long before I'm back to sample some more dishes!