The Food Avenue contributor Scott Wyatt checks out the new menu at Stones Corner Hotel...
The summer-time swelter has arrived in Queensland to remind us of one of the very few downsides to being in the sunshine state... however a group of precocious apple enthusiasts from Batlow in New South Wales are here to help. Batlow Ciders have introduced their new Pear & Apple blend to an eager cider audience. Using only locally grown Batlow apples and adding a 30% blend of pears, this delicious new option is refreshing without being either too dry or too sweet as many imported ciders can be.
Also heading into the summer months with a sparkle in their eye, the Stones Corner Hotel are introducing a new menu which manages to straddle the line between traditional Australian pub food, European alfresco selections and decadent American inspired desserts. The new menu pairs well with any of the selection of craft beers on offer or their Batlow Cider offerings.
Their antipasto platter with zesty prosciutto, deli ham, chargrilled vegetables and more puts some of the smaller offerings of Brisbane restaurants to shame. With fresh takes on the traditional Waldorf salad, a healthy quinoa feta affair and deconstructed seafood salads in lettuce, Stones Corner Hotel offers real variety for the health focused crowd.
Carb lovers will delight in the cheesy fries with diced bacon and chorizo or the decadent pulled pork nachos! In a nod to the Aussie love of fish'n'chips, the seafood stack includes morsels such as fresh moreton bay bugs and delicious oysters along with crumbed succulent fish, prawns and scallops all rounded out with fresh fruit, salad and chips. Truly a well rounded choice!
And the metaphorical cherry on top; an icecream and nutella filled donut - make sure you get one each as you won't want to share!
The newest bar in Canberra has a playful and funky name and a cool neon sign near the street (presumably so you don't miss it). Located on Lonsdale st, where a car dealership, a hair salon and a fishing tackle store used to be, Hopscotch bar serves beer (hops), scotch, and wood-fired food.
So, it seems more like a gastropub than just a bar, which is perfectly fine by me!
According to the Canberra Times interview with the owners, Hopscotch has three beers on tap that no other Canberra establishment has – a Pikes Clare Valley, Illawarra Brewing Company pale ale and an Endeavour Brewers Reserve.
But after a long day, I was in the mood for something a bit stronger. The knowledgeable bartender had a bit of a chat to me about my preferences and poured me some of this wondrous liquid - the Glenkinchie 12 year old single malt. It was just perfect.
It came from an impressive line up of whisky bottles on a laden shelf, which I'm sure could have easily lead to a very enjoyable evening of whisky tasting were it not a week night!
We then decided to test out some of the bar snacks (all food is ordered at the bar).
The well-seasoned strips of Tajin spiced calamari ($15) were crisp and deliciously tender. And it came with a side of the most amazing kimchi slaw. Can't recommend this dish enough. I haven't had calamari this memorable since the famous "marshmallow calamari" from the Narooma Oyster Festival!
On this particular night, the Crispy buffalo wings with hot sauce and blue cheese ranch dressing ($14), unfortunately, were a bit of a soggy disappointment after the delightful calamari dish. The wings weren't at all crispy, seemed a bit lukewarm and under-seasoned. I would have liked a bit more spice and complexity to the marinade. The blue cheese part of the blue cheese ranch dressing was not very prominent either.
The parilla grill looked very impressive from where I was sitting and there were some exciting-looking menu items that I'll definitely be trying out at my next visit (photos of the menu below).
Also, Hopscotch's Facebook page promises a delicious Pig on the Spit in the beer garden on Sundays, so that's a definite drawcard!
Live music by local Canberra talent will play every weekend. Here is the lineup this coming weekend: Friday - Josh Veneris / DJ Liam Ryan Saturday - The Advocates / DJ Dylan Thomas Sunday - Sorrel Nation
Have you checked out Canberra's newest bar/pub/gastropub yet? What did you think? Leave a comment below!
The Low DownAddress: 5 Lonsdale st, Braddon, Canberra Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: 02 6107 3030 Website: http://www.hopscotchbar.com.au/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hopscotchbraddon Hopscotch takes bookings for parties of 6 or more people. They serve lunch from 11.30am and dinner from 5pm.
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I was bombarded by news of the opening of BentSpoke Brewing Company on Twitter and Facebook today. The microbrewery and Canberra's newest brewpub is located on the corner of Mort and Elouera streets in the hipster area of Braddon. Swept up in the excitement of it all, I gave in to my FOMO (fear of missing out) and spontaneously decided to check it out after work. I did some intelligence gathering on Twitter while I was leaving work to gauge how much time I had before it started filling up on opening night. Not very much time at all, according to Tara.
— Food Avenue (@TheFoodAvenue) June 6, 2014
This was the lineup when I got there just before 5pm!
The interior had a very cool, industrial feel to it - a very appropriate vibe, given that the beer was produced on site!
Local craft beer is exciting, but drinking boutique beer that has been freshly made on site is even better! Especially when it has been brewed by the genius behind the craft beer at Wig and Pen, Richard Watkins.
Those in Canberra who decided to stay for the long weekend seemed to think so too, as they all appeared to be at BentSpoke Brewery tonight!
As it was so crowded, we decided to see if we could share a table with other people and ended up having a great conversation with three lovely ladies - Georgia, Louise and Cassidy!
The beers had very clever names! Through the generosity of the fantastic company around me, I got to try all of the beers on offer tonight! My favourite? Well, they all had great unique qualities, but I immediately took a liking to Mort's Gold for its crisp, fresh taste.
Fun fact - it turns out that the friend I had invited along had a housemate who worked at BentSpoke Brewing Co (I had no idea before tonight!) and apparently, the oregano used in the Barley Griffin beer was from my friend's own house!
The substantial-looking food menu looked very tempting, particularly the dishes containing beer braised onion! We didn't get a chance to order food tonight but perhaps at my next visit, I'll get to try some of the food!