Wednesday night ribs @ Legends in Manuka, Canberra

Edit on 10 March 2013: I rang up Legends to book in for another ribs night and they said they don't do ribs anymore! :(


Have you got 20 bucks to spend for dinner? Do you like ribs? If you answered yes to both questions, then you need to do yourself a favour and get yourself to Legends for their Wednesday night ribs. It will be the best $20 you’ve ever spent on a meal in Canberra. I’m not even kidding. But don’t forget to book and let them know you’ll be ordering ribs when you book. They only make a limited amount.

When the wait staff came round to take our orders, I ordered ribs and was horrified when she told me she’d have to check if there were any left. It wasn’t even 7:30pm and the place was half empty! I would have gone home and cried if they’d said they were out. Luckily, the person who had booked our table had also pre-booked our ribs. Huzzah!!!

They say ribs are best eaten without cutlery. After tonight’s experience, I beg to differ. The meat was so succulent and tender that it was IMPOSSIBLE to eat it without cutlery! I didn’t even need to use a steak knife – the meat was literally falling off the bone and I had to use cutlery to pick it up.

Right, onto the hero of the dish – the sauce. After one bite, a friend proclaimed matter-of-factly, “This sauce is my new happy place”. Someone else said this was a way of eating sauce. I agreed with everyone’s assessment of the sauce; it was spectacularly well-balanced between sweet, sour, tangy, smokey flavours. The meat was simply a (delicious) vehicle for the perfect barbeque sauce.

To be honest, I was a bit too caught up having a magical moment with the delicious ribs to care much about what else was on the plate. Legends was very generous with the amount of chips and salad. I know this because every time I moved anything on my plate, a bit more salad fell onto the table.

My one critique in an otherwise superb dinner was that the amount of ribs per plate was not the same for each person. In a party of 7, most people (like me) received a decent portion of ribs, however, not all of us were as fortunate. Also, it was a bit tricky to make eye contact with wait staff as it was a fairly busy night for a Wednesday (the tables had filled up by then); however, we never had to ask for our bottles of water to be replaced, which was a pleasant surprise.

I hate to tantalise and leave you hanging but unfortunately, Legends does not do their weeknight specials in the month of December, which means I only just sneaked in for the last ribs night for 2012. Luckily for you, they open again first thing in the new year on 2 January 2013!

Food Avenue rating: 9/10

For my review on other dishes at Legends (including their tapas and paella), click here.

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What a legend!

I’ve been to Legends Spanish Restaurant in Manuka a few times since I moved to Canberra in 2008 and it has never let me down. The first time I went was a romantic evening for two.  He ordered the garlic and chilli prawn tapas to share and they were unforgettable. I had never had prawns that amazing in my life before and I don’t think I have since.
The restaurant has evolved over the years. It used to be upstairs, above a nightclub called Minque. Legends has now taken over and renovated the space that Minque used to occupy. I didn’t take any photos of the restaurant, but it now has a modern and vibrant interior.
Legends has always been a “special occasion” kind of restaurant for me. When my parents came down to Canberra, I took them to Legends. When Taiwanese visitors came to Canberra and they asked me where they should go for dinner, I suggested they go to Legends. Everyone I know, who has been, is always impressed by the quantity and quality of their banquets. A friend, C, who has heard me speak highly of this restaurant was keen to try it out and organized an outing, the subject of this review. It had been over a year since I had last visited, so I wondered if the quality of the food was as good as it used to be. I hoped so.
Naturally, we ordered a banquet. We chose the $40 banquet, which came with a selection of tapas to share and a paella for the main. Lucky for me, the garlic and chilli prawn tapas were on this banquet menu and I was keen to see if they were still as delicious as I remembered them to be. Unfortunately, the prawns lacked the intense flavour I remembered, but I’m not sure if that was because I had since built up the memory of them as better than they actually were…
Anyway, the rest of the tapas (potatoes, mushrooms and chorizo) were all excellent. The chorizo, in particular, was full of flavour and had just the right amount of spiciness (in my opinion).
At this stage, I have to mention the service. It was flawless that night. It was easy to catch the attention of the wait staff to order more drinks and delivery was prompt.
The main event, the paella (we picked the traditional one) was impressive when it arrived. It was topped with a variety of delicious-looking seafood such as crab, scampi, clams, mussels and prawns.  The worst thing you can do with seafood is to overcook it, but I needn’t have worried because each piece of seafood was still tender and juicy – exactly how it should be. I did, however, notice that the mussels were quite shriveled up. But the scampi (oh my goodness) more than made up for the less than average-looking mussels.
The delicious meal was finished off with a glass of sangria (not included in the banquet). Some of my friends said that the drink had been heavily watered down and there wasn’t much red wine in it. But not having had real sangria before and not being a red wine expert, I thought it was quite nice and very easy to drink.
It was a huge relief that Legends was still up there in my list of “special occasions” restaurants. I was also glad that, given all my glowing recommendations, it delivered on quality of food (save for the mussels) and service that night. I can still say that Legends has never let me down!


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