Housh Fallah checks out the newest gastro pub in Dickson.Read More
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.
All content, including images, on this website are the property of the author. Rights to the use of these images (for web or print) are available for purchase.
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!