9 hearty meals to warm you up in Canberra

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1. Spit-roast What's more warming than spit-roasted meat? The lamb souva ($16) from Wood and Coal's lunch menu comes with a massive side of the best chips in town - crunchy as anything and super hot. One of the best value Civic lunches in my opinion.

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The_Food_Avenue_wood_and_coal

2. BBQ Ribs

Grab some delicious ribs smothered in BBQ sauce at PJ O'Reillys in Civic - available every Saturday night. $35 for a full rack and a jug of beer or $25 for a half rack and a jug of beer. Probably the best value ribs I've had in Canberra.

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The_Food_Avenue_ribs_PJs

3. All you can eat BBQ

Sitting right in front of a barbeque is sure to keep you warm at Yummy Chinese BBQ in Civic. You can grill your own skewers on the awesome barbeque contraption that automatically rotates the skewers. There is also a mini hot pot and a hot and cold buffet. $35 per person for the basic buffet, $45 per person includes seafood options.

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The_Food_Avenue_yummy_bbq

4. All you can eat hot pot

If you prefer hot pot (also known as steam boat) over barbeque, Up To You Restaurant in Belconnen is just the spot. It is also a cheaper all-you-can-eat option at $25 per person. Their huge range and seemingly endless supply of hot pot ingredients is impressive. I've also heard their clay pot rice dishes are great too.

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The_Food_Avenue_up_to_you

5. Noodle soup

Feel like some hot soup but don't want an extravagant all-you-can-eat meal? There are some great noodle soups to warm you up. Noodle Cafe in Civic does $11 lunch specials which include a filling laksa and a flavoursome beef pho that never disappoints.

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The_Food_Avenue_noodle_cafe_laksa

6. Steak

Arguably, the best steak in Canberra is at Chifley's Bar and Grill in Barton. The menu dedicates a whole page to different types of steak, so you know they're serious about it. Good quality steak cooked perfectly. The meat was tender and juicy and I just loved the rich sauces that accompanied.

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The_Food_Avenue_chifley_bar_grill

7. Pasta

Pasta is the ultimate comfort food. The Loft Bar and Grill in O'Connor does pasta with elegance. Get the Lobster Risotto. You won't regret it.

Want a luxurious dish? This lobster and fennel risotto with saffron butter from The Loft Bar and Grill will hit the spot! #restaurantlaunch #invite #restaurantaustralia #Canberra #Australia #thiscanberranlife #visitcanberra #localscan #restaurant #food #foodporn #foodphotography #lobster #risotto

A photo posted by The Food Avenue (@thefoodavenue) on Apr 2, 2015 at 3:27am PDT

8. Curry

Possibly the best curry dish in Canberra is the Chilli jam crispy soft shell crab at Kinn Thai. It doesn't sound like a curry, but there is definitely a delicious curry at the bottom of the gigantic bowl of soft shell crab. Yum!

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The_Food_Avenue_Kinn_Thai_Canberra5

9. Pizza

Pizza is another warming dish - perfect for winter! Briscola Pizzeria has a fantastic pizza recipe. The base is beautifully al dente in texture and topped with the right amount of ingredients and balanced flavours.

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The_Food_Avenue_briscola_pizzeria

What did I miss? Where are your favourite hearty meals in Canberra (or your city)? Let me know in the comments below!

First look at Kinn Thai Canberra Centre

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After waiting a week for their Grand Opening (after they announced it), Kinn Thai Canberra Centre finally opened yesterday. Macgyver Boyfriend and I took advantage of the 25% off discount last night. The_Food_Avenue_Kinn_Thai_Canberra

Sandwiched between Sammy's and Wood and Coal, where Wagamama's used to be, Kinn Thai is located in the North Quarter of the Canberra Centre in Civic.

It's a Thai restaurant with a modern interior and an exciting menu. They already have other Kinn Thai restaurants in NSW and QLD. I had been poring through the menu online prior to dinner (drooling over every item) and had pretty much decided what I wanted to try that night. I liked that the menu had vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free tags next to each menu item (for those with specific dietary requirements). MB suggested a few dishes that he wanted to try...like the satay chicken skewers and the wagyu beef but I had other plans! I wanted to get the duck pancakes, the scallops, the crispy pork belly, the soft shell crab and the crispy whole barramundi. He gave in to my demands but commented that it was a lot of food. Clearly, I had eyes bigger than my stomach and wanted to order ALL THE FOODS! MB gently talked me out of ordering the barramundi right away and by the end of the meal, I was glad he did!

We got a couple of mocktails ($9 each) and they were fantastic. MB had the Koh Sumui Sunrise (left) with pineapple juice, passionfruit, touch of citrus, and a dash of grenadine. I ordered the Pineapple Mint Lychee Daiquiri Mocktail with blended fresh pineapple, mint, lychee. Lovely tropical flavours that were beautifully balanced.

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The first entree was the pan-seared sea scallops with spicy chilli and lime sauce ($9). The scallops were perfectly caramelised. The sauce was quite a bit spicy and while it was only 9 degrees outside, I was thankful for the refreshing drink to cool my mouth down (being the chilli wuss that I am).

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They had sold out of the duck pancakes so we got the Crab prawn roll instead. As we were already getting crab for the main, MB wondered if we needed double crab. But when we took a bite of the crab roll, the answer was obvious. We TOTALLY NEEDED DOUBLE CRAB! For only $7, you got four amazingly crispy deep-fried spring rolls, filled with crab meat and aromatic Thai herbs, served with plum sauce. I just adored the plum sauce, which coated the crispy roll so well when you dipped the roll. It was thick but not sickly sweet and just a bit of sourness. I may have been spooning the sauce directly into my mouth after the rolls disappeared...

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As a hardcore pork belly fan, I was dying to try the Crispy pork belly ($24). I was not disappointed. The crackling was indeed crisp and the capsicum chilli sauce was a unique and tasty accompaniment. Later that evening, a friend texted me saying he was at Kinn Thai and that they had run out of this dish. We may very well have had the last pork belly dish that night...oops! :P

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While the pork belly dish was MB's favourite main (he loved the capsicum chilli sauce and the crispy crackling), mine was hands down the crispy soft shell crab ($23). On the menu, it was called the Chilli jam crispy soft shell crab, but out came crispy soft shell crab in a bowl of what looked and tasted like a thick red curry sauce. I certainly wasn't complaining as it was delicious (crab was crispy and not oily, sauce was magical) but I did wonder whether I was missing out on an even better chilli jam sauce.

By this stage, I was feeling pretty satisfied and content. I guess I didn't need the crispy barramundi dish after all, but boy I really wanted to try it.

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I also really wanted to come back and try the wagyu beef and the pork ribs...

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I really liked that the menu covered a range of dishes and prices. I could see myself popping in for either just a light snack or a hearty three-course meal. The food also came out quickly after we ordered so it would also suit those who need a quick dinner.

The wait staff were always friendly and attentive, which was great to see. I was worried that being seated outside that we might be forgotten but the wait staff was constantly walking around, our water glasses were always topped up and they even served the rice onto our individual plates for us.

For two mocktails, two entrees, two mains and rice, it came to $43.50 per person (with the 25% discount, only $32.60 per person). Even without the discount, I thought this was a very reasonable price for a good quality two-course meal in Canberra and I couldn't wait to come back to try more menu items!

*All dishes were paid for by The Food Avenue.

The Low-Down on Kinn Thai Eatery type: Thai restaurant What to order: Crab roll, Crispy soft shell crab, Crispy Pork Belly Best for: Quickie dinner before a movie or theatre show Website: http://www.kinnrestaurant.com.au/ Phone: 0262471277, 0477422203 Address: Shop FG08, 125 Bunda St, Canberra

Kinn on Urbanspoon

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