Category Archives: LFW Food&Wine

Baked in the morning, cooked at night

Baked on Mort Street, Braddon

When bragels first hit Canberra we headed out to brunch on them, fascinated by this cross between a bragel and a brioche. This trademarked product was the invention of Baked on Mort Street in Braddon. The place was new. The bragel was new. And the concept of this new French patisserie was new.

Over time Baked has matured and expanded and is now an official ‘brasserie’, fully licensed and offering up exquisite dishes that are a tasty combo of the owners’ French heritage and modern Australian living.

Owners Clement Chauvin and Abel Bariller are both seasoned and award-winning operators. Abel is more or less at the helm of Baked Brasserie these days and Clement is still cooking up a storm around the corner at Les Bistronomes.

Duck French crepes with braised duck–sensational

Baked’s interior has changed a fair bit since our first visit—it’s smarter looking with fun features dotted about the place, including some sweet colourful cushions shaped like donuts (OK, they aren’t exactly bragels but they’re funky).

The menu has expanded and it’s a delish read from top to bottom. It was lunchtime and we couldn’t wait to dig in. The pork rillettes are just as fabulous as they are at Les Bistronomes when they’re on the menu. Repeat. ‘Just as fabulous’.

This dynamite duo is famous for the amazingly creamy and decadent duck liver parfait, this one created with a sensational sour cherry compote. Super yummy.

Donuts or bragels? Actually, they’re cushions.

These dishes were both from the small plates menu and were sensational so we decided to keep sharing, next moving on the melt-in-the-mouth cured Atlantic salmon, served with crunchy squid ink crackers and also ponzu, soy and sesame—with none of the flavours overpowering the salmon.

We could have chowed down all day on small plates but need to road test the large plates. Tip: do not go past the duck French crepes with braised duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber, shallots and coriander.

We wanted to leave a wee bit of room having explored the wonderful display of sweets at the front of the brasserie. We ended our Baked experience sharing a generous slice of gluten-free almond cake, which is truly a Baked specialty.  And did we mention sharing a couple of gorgeous looking tarts?

It’s fabulous that Baked is now licensed (you can also byo for $15 a bottle). Abel is a wine aficionado (actually that’s not quite true, he’s an amazing wine expert and a Knight of Cognac). The wines on the menu are quirky and super reasonably priced (we’ve spotted some in other restaurants for much more moola).

A sweet ending …

A fabulous option, if you’re in the Braddon area for brekkie, is the banquet served until noon (minimum of two people). You start with coffee or tea, croissants and jam, move to granola and then scrambled eggs on toast with bacon or cheese. You can wash it all down with juice if you’d like. The concept is super for business people who want to concentrate on meeting time and not fussing over a menu.

The bragels aren’t lost at Baked. Indeed, they’re as popular as ever during the day. Dinner is when they quietly disappear…but no matter because the line-up of options for evening dining is impressive. Once more, Baked offers small and large plates and you can indulge in a dinner-only degustation (minimum two people) for $65—a great deal for a seven-course chef menu.

Check out the desserts.

On our visit we chilled listening some cool tunes (jazz) and loved watching the world go by. We sat inside but could easily have enjoyed sitting outdoors. It’s a spacious space that enjoys the sun.

Baked is open except for Mondays. Breakfast, lunch, dinner Tuesday to Sat and breakfast and lunch Sundays. 6179 8812. 44/38 Mort Street.

Easy eating.

Meet the Murrumbateman Makers!

The annual Murrumbateman Moving Feast is on again this weekend! From 29 – 30 September a number of Murrumbateman and Yass wineries will be serving up mains and desserts with a matching glass of their vino. You can tantalise your taste buds with this roving degustation of fine local wines and delicious tasting plates, and if it’s anything like last year, it will be fantastic—and crowded, so book now! Here’s a sample of what you can expect.

Eden Road Winery are offering a trio of Arancini with goat cheese and pesto, braised beef cheek with chilli jam, and wild mushrooms with feta, matched with 2015 Syrah or 2017 Pinot Noir. Indulge your senses with a triple choc brownie with home-made Baileys Ice Cream served with an East Lake sparkling or 2017 Canberra Riesling.

Yarrh Wines are serving up wood roasted butterflied leg of lamb with leeks in wine and walnut aillade, with a vegetarian option of roast sweet potato with chilli lemon sauce and mushrooms, paired with a 2017 Shiraz. For dessert taste test their famous pear and almond tart with a 2018 late harvest.

Dionysus Winery Who doesn’t love sliders followed by a salted caramel mousse! Dionysus have slow roasted pork belly with sriracha (hot chilli sauce) and slaw; and grilled haloumi, pickle, lettuce and Kewpie mayo, matched with their own Reisling. Followed by a rich salted caramel mousse made with Lindt chocolate and served with a dollop of salted caramel and cream—that’s got to be a winner! And comes beautifully matched with a Cab Sav.

Kerralee Vineyard was our favourite last year, and although much smaller than most of the others, family owned Kerralee is well worth a visit. Offering a Pot pie of beef slow cooked in Kerralee Merlot, topped with puff pastry, served with salad garnish, and comes with a wine of your choice. Their house-made cheesecake on a gluten free nut base topped with fresh seasonal fruit is totally yum! Matched with pinot noir rosé or my personal fave, their merlot rosé.

Delish slow-cooked beef pie 

But that’s not all … a total of 19 wineries are participating in the Moving Feast event, and you don’t have to just stick with one. You can choose your favourite main from one winery, and pop over to another for dessert. Savoury dishes are $25 and desserts are $20 and all come with the vino, and you get to keep your lovely Riedel wine glass worth $20. What are you waiting for?

Go to Murrumbateman Moving Feast to check out full details and book your tickets.

Your Meadow in the City

A Meadow has popped up in the city.

The new Meadow café, tucked away in Odgers Lane, celebrates a sustainable way of life, making a difference in its own way and enabling customers to do the same. Meadow’s menu offers honest plant-based food that is kind to the environment and good for your health and soul.

The brain child of Manager Nathan Sami, and Carlo Krikowa, who owns sustainable furniture company boyandgirlco with his wife Anita, Meadow has a relaxed and down-to-earth vibe. It’s where Loading Zone used to be and, with respect to the environment, the team behind Meadow repurposed the space instead of tearing everything down and starting all over again. Dining is undercover outdoors and plans are underway to hang heaps of plants under the awning.Meadow 1

Meadow’s kitchen is tiny but that doesn’t stop it from pumping out innovative dishes all-day. One dish that will make you weak at the knees is the cheesecake pancake (short stack $12 and double stack $16). It’s a buttermilk pancake with maple comb, cream cheese mousse, ginger nut crumble and sambucca berries. A real treat for those looking for a sweet kickstart to the day.Meadow 2

The tasty Meadow roll is proving popular ($13), created with fried haloumi, sous vide egg, chilli jam and chipotle on a brioche bun. Also packing a punch with flavour is the Taco ($16)—salsa fresca, turtle beans, charred bell pepper, avo and parmesan crisps on tortillas. Thai toast, a teriyaki burger and other dishes also spice matters up.

Nathan has a fair bit of hospitality experience under his belt, having worked at several establishments while studying in Sydney, including at Pablo and Rusty’s Coffee Roasters and at Anvil Coffee Co. He came to Canberra and worked as a pastor for four years. He then worked at boyandgirlco making furniture out of recycled timber pallets. Nathan isn’t vegetarian but loves the food at Meadow anyhow. “You don’t even think about meat with our menu,” says Nathan. “The food, created by chef Adrianne Davo, is about creativity and taste.”Meadow 3

For convenience, Meadow offers an online lunch order option—a toastie and drink neatly packed in a brown paper bag. Choose from the Ponzu pear, Reuben or Three cheese toastie. Place your order by 10.30am and pick it up when you’re ready.

Meadow welcomes mums, bubs and prams and is breastfeeding friendly. The kid’s menu is perfect (and inexpensive) with the little ones enjoying options like cheesy soldiers ($7), frog in a hole ($9) and a bento lunch box of falafel, tempura veggies, edamame and cheese dip with fruit salad ($12). Drinks include a babycino and choco milk. Adult drinks include smoothies and a wide range of cold pressed juices by Canberra’s The Fix.

Also true to its sustainability ethos, Meadow reduces its carbon footprint by sourcing most products from local or regional suppliers, who each practice sustainability in their own businesses. Bread is sourced from Three Mills here in Canberra and honey from the capital’s Honey Delight. Coffee is from Melbourne’s Seven Seeds, and tea from Melbourne’s Storm in a Teacup. Holbrook Paddock Eggs are from Holbrook NSW, and 100 per cent Jersey milk comes from Country Valley in Picton NSW. Meadow is the only Canberra outlet to stock for sale yum pickles, relishes and jams from family run business Cornersmith, Sydney.Meadow 4

Meadow is more than just food and drink. It’s about a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and so the café hosts Laneway Yoga on Saturday mornings (7am to 7.45 am, $10 a session) and Local Sessions on some Saturdays with musicians providing entertainment.

The café will also host a truly engaging dining experience one Saturday each month called Gather Dinner. The curated three-course meal for 60 guests will be held on a pay-as-you-feel basis with all profits going toward the Meadow Matters Program which supports local not-for-profit organisations.

Meadow: Monday to Friday 7am to 2pm; Saturday brunch all day 8am to 2pm. Odgers Lane, Melbourne Bldg. Parking off London Circuit, Corner West Row (1 minute walk).

Time for winter Wine

Seriously, it is so cold in Canberra at the moment that it’s definitely time to try out some warm, spicy wine. Cold nights are perfect for trying out a couple of recipes for mulled wine or Glühwein. But first, what’s the difference …

Mulled wine is the English name for hot, spicy wine, and Glühwein is the German name for … yep, hot, spicy wine. Wine was first recorded as heated and spiced in Rome during the 2nd century. The Romans then travelled across Europe; conquered most of it, traded with the rest, and brought with them wine and viticulture. Mulled wine was first mentioned in English cookery in the 14th century and  included ground cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom, and ‘grains of paradise’ (whatever they may be), all mixed with red wine and sugar, and heated.beverages-mulled-wine-pixabay-972827-4x3

There are many different recipes for mulled wine, and each one may taste totally different, for example, some people may not like, and omit, cinnamon or ginger or one of the other spices. So often the quantity of spice is not noted in recipes, and it’s often just a matter of ‘add a bit of spice and taste test’.

Some recipes suggest full-bodied wines such as Malbec or Syrah, but a red blend—such as a Cabernet Sauvignon—is often a bit cheaper than single varietal wine. And some variations of mulled wine use a white wine such as Riesling or Muscat. But whatever wine you use, mulled wine is basically a matter of heating wine and spices together.

Easy red mulled wine—serves 8

mulledwine2What you need: 1 orange sliced and seeded, ½ cup sugar, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 bottle red wine.

What you do: Heat the spices and water together in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, and divide evenly among the glasses or mugs. You can add a slice of orange and/or small stick of cinnamon to serve.

Impressive red mulled wine—serves 8

LizEarle_MavellousMulledWineWhat you need: 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine, 1 orange sliced, ¼ cup brandy (optional), ¼ cup honey or sugar, 8 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, and optional garnishes such as citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise.

What you do: Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminium saucepan, and bring to a simmer on a medium to high heat—do not allow to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes. Alternatively, you can also place the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheesecloth. Then simply strain and pull out the bundle when ready to serve.

Mulled white wine—serves 6whie mulled wine

White mulled wine has all the flavour of red but has a much lighter body so the taste of spices may be a little stronger. A Chardonnay works well for this recipe. What you need: 1 orange, 5 whole cloves, 3 star anise pods, 1 piece (about 1 inch) of peeled fresh ginger thinly sliced, 1 cup water, ¼ cup sugar, 1 bottle white wine.

What you do: Peel orange into strips—carefully avoiding the pith, and push the cloves into the peel. Combine the peel, star anise, ginger, water and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the wine. Stand for 20 minutes to mull. Warm gently over a medium heat immediately prior to serving. Enjoy!

Super Easy Warming Winter Puddings!

With winter well and truly settled in, we tested four yummy, and super easy, warming puddings to add to the table on a cold night. You can make all the puddings in one large dish, or split into individual ramekins for a special dessert. Serve each with ice-cream (we use Over the Moo because it’s the best!), or thick cream, home-made custard, or top with fruit and meringue for something a bit different. Enjoy! By Aine Dowling.

Magical Mocha Pudding

mocha pudding 3

Who doesn’t love a chocolate pudding, and this one is super easy and cooked in the microwave. This recipe is for grown-ups with spoonful of Tia Maria to serve (fortunately it doesn’t mention the size of the spoon, so knock yourself out!), but for the kids you can substitute chocolate sauce.

What you need: 150ml milk, 50gm pitted prunes, 2 teaspoons good quality instant coffee*, 50gm softened butter, 50gm icing sugar, 1 large egg, 50gm ground almonds, 2 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon self-raising flour**, and Tia Maria liqueur to serve (optional).

What you do: Measure the milk in a large jug and blend in a food processor together with the prunes and coffee until smooth. Add the butter, sugar, egg, almonds, cocoa, flour and a pinch of salt, then blitz again to make a thick batter. Scrape evenly and cleanly with a plastic scraper (don’t use metal) into 4 x 175ml ramekins, and cook in the microwave, spaced round the edge of the turntable, on Medium for 6 mins. The puddings will still look a bit moist, but that’s fine. Stand for 5 mins before serving. Top each with a spoon of Tia Maria (for the adults) or chocolate sauce (for the kids) and a scoop of ice-cream. *We grind our own beans and make our own coffee blends, but if we have to have instant we go for Gloria Jeans or Illy—more expensive, but much nicer.

Crunchy Caramel Crumble

apple crumbleI’ve always preferred crumbles to pies—not sure why … and the inclusion of caramel gives this a lovely smooth taste. The recipe calls for eating apples but I’ve used green cooking apples which are not as sweet, and make a nice contrast with the caramel. You can also substitute with other tart fruit such as rhubarb.

What you need: 8 apples—peeled, cored and cubed, 6 tablespoons Carnation (Nestle) caramel cream*, 50gm plain flour, 50gm oats, 50gm cold butter.

What you do: Heat oven to 200C. Put the apples into a saucepan with a splash of water, cover and cook over a high heat for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally until just soft. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the caramel, then spoon into individual ramekins. Dot small spoonsful of caramel cream over the apples until only 1 tablespoon is left. Mix the flour and oats together, and rub in the butter with your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the remaining caramel and spread over the apples. Bake for 18-20 mins until golden and crispy on top. *You can buy Nestle Caramel top ‘n’ fill from any large supermarket.

Carefree Clafoutis

clafoutis 1Clafoutis (clafuti) is one of my all-time fave desserts—much be the French in me … This recipe is super easy and although the traditional Clafoutis is made with plums, you can change it to include your favourite fruit.

What you need: 1 cup whole milk, 3 eggs, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons melted butter, ½ cup plain flour

What you do: Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter until the sugar is dissolved. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into a baking dish, and add your favourite fruit or flavouring—cherries, cubed apple or pear, sliced plums, etc. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the Clafoutis is puffed and golden. Serve immediately. Bon appetit!

Basic Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread-and-Butter-Pudding-2An oldie but a goodie—not much more to say really … But again, a super easy recipe and one that allows a few variations to suit you and your family’s taste.

What you need: 8 slices bread crusts removed, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons caster sugar, 300ml cream, 1/4 cup fruit jam or conserve to taste, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.

What you do: Preheat oven to 180C. Spread the bread with jam or conserve and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cut the bread into triangles and arrange in a greased oven-proof dish or four individual ramekins. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and cream. Pour over the bread and bake for 25 minutes.

Variation: Instead of jam, spread the bread with a good quality butter, and sprinkle with dried fruit—sultanas, chopped apples, apricots, dates, or figs. Or you can use fruit bread or buns.

**We use gluten-free (GF) flour in all our recipes.

New Season’s Menu at Les Bistronomes!

I love the seasons in Canberra because I love food. I love new menus and being drawn back to my favourite restaurants to try exciting dishes that celebrate the change in weather—especially winter warmer dishes that help us to take comfort from the cold.

BistronomesMultiple award-winning Les Bistronomes in Braddon has recently launched its autumn/winter menu, with a stack of mouth-watering dishes. It’s a true experience dining at Les Bistronomes and it’s no wonder the restaurant holds two Australian Good Food and Travel Guide Chef Hats. Where do I begin?

Bisronomes Beef burgundy1

Beef Burgundy (bœuf à la Bourguignonne)

I worship Chef Clement Chauvin for his amazing beef tartare and this special version is mandatory. The beef is grain fed and treated with total respect. A confit egg yolk sits pretty on top. All you do is gently mix, pop some mixture on top of the mandolin sliced, micro thin, crispy, gaufrette potatoes (served everywhere in France with tartar) and indulge. The horseradish element is the ‘winter warmer’ part of the dish. Favs remain on the entrée section (Les Bistronomes wouldn’t dare remove some), including the decadent garlic snails—for which the restaurant is famous.

Bistronomes Black pudding3

Black Pudding (Boudin Noir)

New is the black pudding. Don’t hesitate to treat yourself to this dish, even if you’re not sure you’re a fan. Trust me, it’s delish. It’s made with pork and apple and served with a fried free range egg and a salad Lyonnaise, so very French, and, without giving any secrets away, the new French onion soup is delightful. Two of us couldn’t pass by the beef burgundy, a new star on the mains. No need to use a knife to cut through the braised beef cheeks in red wine. This dish is so soul satisfying, especially as it’s served with creamy soft polenta, mushrooms, and slow cooked onions.

Bistronomes Lemon sole

New Zealand Lemon Sole (Sole Limande)

The whole New Zealand lemon sole looks stunning on the plate and the fish, cooked to perfection, was moist and delicate. The forest mushrooms, and chestnut and beef burnt butter sauce ramped matters up considerably. And what about the sides? The kitchen excels at French peas and Les Bistronomes makes the most amazing fries. The simple fine-leaf salad with hazelnut vinaigrette is a perfect accompaniment to any dish.

Les Bistronomes has several mains for two to share (pre-ordering is recommended because they take 25 or 30 minutes to cook). Options include Clement’s signature ash-crusted duck a l’orange (served at the table in a dramatic way) and a Beef Wellington with foie gras.

Desserts are to die for and a feast for the eyes. Plating is so beautiful at Les Bistronomes. One of my favourite fruits is lemon and the Tarte Au Citron with blackberry sorbet and toasted meringue packs a punch on flavour. It’s a perfect texture and is bright and chirpy on the plate. If you’re keen on a traditional apple tart tatin for two, just pre-order. You’ll adore the triple vanilla bean ice cream. When you’re at Les Bistronomes, take time to talk to Sommelier Abel Bariller, a professional French Master Sommelier and a ‘Knight of Cognac’. His knowledge of wines, and how to match with food, is astronomical and he never hesitates to discuss options and motivate diners to experiment.

Bistronomes Lemon tart

Lemon Tart (Tarte au Citron)

Chef Clement Chauvin_Les_Bistronomes_0041

Chef Clement Chauvin


The dishes at Les Bistronomes are fabulous value for money (mains average at around $34; some of Canberra’s better restaurants are creeping beyond mid-$40s). The atmosphere is charming. The furniture is comfy. You simply can’t go wrong. And, beyond the new winter/autumn menu, stay tuned for the special Bastille Day menu (14 July) or the special Truffle Dinner menu (27 July or 3 August).

Pie in the Sky!

Or in the Southern Highlands …

 Who doesn’t love a good pie? Especially on a cold June day. If that’s you, get yourself to the Southern Highlands this June when you can eat your way through the Highlands as they celebrate the great Aussie pie with Pie Time!

beef and veg pie

Home-made beef and veggie pie with filo pastry – photo by LFW

“The Southern Highlands has a large saturation of quality pie producers with everything from your top-notch gourmet pies, to family winter warmers and deliciously sweet dessert pies,” said Steve Rosa, Manager Tourism and Events, Destination Southern Highlands. “What better way to demonstrate some pie parochialism than with a pie festival, pie trail, pie competition and related pie events featuring over 30 local pie sites including bakeries, cafes, restaurants, hotels and associated businesses in the Southern Highlands. In essence, we’ll become the Southern Pie-lands throughout June.”

chicken leek and bacon pie

Chicken, leek, and bacon pie – photo by LFW

Pie Time has four components. The Pie Time Festival—featuring pie tasting, beer and pie matching, cooking demos, competitions, and music, and will be held on 24 and 25 June in Bowral’s Corbett Gardens. The Southern Highlands’ Best Pie Competition—for professional and apprentice bakers is on 22 and 23 June, also in the Corbett Gardens. The Pie Trail and Dine with a Pie includes pie sampling at hotels, cafés and restaurants during the month of June.

Pies will also be available at key attractions including the Illawarra Fly, Bradman Museum’s Stumps Café, Fitzroy Falls, and galleries, pubs, and restaurants in the region.

lamb pasties

Hearty lamb and veggie pasties – photo by LFW

You can also get a Pie Time break package—a ‘pie-cation’ at the iconic Peppers Craigieburn in Bowral where you can enjoy their signature pie and wine for two people, plus a welcome drink on arrival—from 1 June to 31 August. Pie-cation packages, and Southern Highlands’ hospitality, is also available at The Robertson Hotel, Peppers Manor House, Mildenhall Guesthouse, Fitzroy Inn Historic Retreat, and Gibraltar Hotel Bowral.

Pie eaters can also win an Ultimate Pie Lovers Experience including a gourmet pie lunch for 10 people at award winning Centennial Vineyards Restaurant, simply by buying a pie or pie dish, throughout June, and entering the comp on

Pie Time

So lock this fun event in your calendar now!

For more information on Pie Time visit  To book your stay in the Southern Highlands for Pie Time 2017 visit or call 1300 657 559.

Bella Agostinis!

It’s relaxed, playful and a celebration of Dan and Dion Bisa’s ‘Italian life’. I’m talking about Agostinis, the latest addition to the food and wine scene at the award-winning East Hotel.

Kitchen from Hotel lobby Agostinis

This is the realisation of a dream for the Bisa siblings, who created Agostinis around their international dining experiences, their love of Italian food and all it represents, and their adorable and inspirational mum, Marisa—the matriarch of the family.

Chef Franceso (Frankie) Balestrieri, who always seems to be grinning from ear to ear, has created a menu that is simple, honest and not expensive given that virtually everything is made in-house—pasta, sauces, marinades, ice cream and even fairy floss.

The antipasti line-up is absolutely delish and will get your taste buds yelling ‘bellisimo’.

Italian Books on Tables Agostinis

Learn some Italian with Chef Francesco

The calamari is soaked in buttermilk before being lightly fried and it truly melts in the mouth. So too does the cured beef, which is sliced ever so thinly (it’s almost transparent) and served with textural elements such as crispy parmigiano and roasted hazelnuts. It’s a divine combination.

One of my absolute faves from the ‘primi piatti’ section, is the intriguing square-cut spaghetti (all pastas are served beautifully al dente). Frankie says this is a ‘true Sicilian delicacy with the taste of the Mediterranean Sea’, and he’s not exaggerating. The dish is created with love, by combining salty cured fish roe, garlic (what’s an Italian dish without garlic?), chilli, lemon and fresh parsley. Simply superb.

Another fave is the oh-so-classic, peasant-style spaghetti. It’s created with three elements—tomatoes that pack-a-punch with flavour, garlic and aromatic basil. That’s all it takes for an Italian masterpiece.

And, I highly recommend sharing the Bistecca Alla Fiorentina, the most succulent t-bone I’ve had in yonks. Again, simple is best, says Frankie. The beef is prepared solely with salt and rosemary, grilled to medium rare and left to do what a fabulous cut of meat should always do, and that’s rest. The roast potatoes are to die-for and I wonder over and over why I can’t cook potatoes like that.

Tonnarelli Ala Bottarga Agostinis

Pasta Tonnarelli Ala Bottarga

Pizza fans will quickly fall in love with Agostinis. The state-of-the-art, rotating Marana Fornit pizza oven is a marvellous beast that can cook 15 pizzas at a time, in a record 4 minutes. All pizzas are created with a thin crust, made in a special way by Frankie and his team so the dough doesn’t weigh heavily on the tummy. At the top of the list is the famous Margherita, always a winner in my books.

Desserts include a mini chocolate ricotta cannoli with delightful fairy floss, made on a special machine daily. It’s fun to watch the floss being made. Speaking of watching, you can sit at the bar and dine if you’d like. It’s mesmerising seeing the Agostinis’ kitchen team in full swing.

MelanzanePizza Agostinis

Pizza Melanzane – tomatoes, mozzarella, eggplant, and basil

Agostinis has put as much love and attention into its wine list as it has its food. Several 100 per cent Italian-made wines are on tap and Bryan Martin (Ravensworth Wines, Murrumbateman) has been called in to work with the team, including on Beppo’s Blend. Agostinis uses the TAP. System, so wine quality is never compromised.

Al Fresco Terrace Agostinis

Dine al fresco at Agostinis

The décor at Agostinis deserves a whopper of a story in its own right. The attention to detail is unbelievable. Designed by Kelly Ross, who also designed Joe’s Bar at East Hotel, the décor is a perfect pairing of past and present. Ultra-modern neon pink signs mix comfortably with elements that harken back to Marisa’s Italian origins. The colour scheme is intriguing. The tiles are beautiful. The striking feature wall, by graphic designer James Manning, which forms the centrepiece of the restaurant, is loaded with memory and worth studying. Everything has meaning, including the 800 metres of distressed rope, cut to lengths and hung on dowel rods to represent home-made pasta hung to dry in the sun.

Agostinis. East Hotel. Open 7 days. 69 Canberra Avenue. 6178 0048.

Christmas Pampered Pavs!

Why is a pav always round? We don’t have the answer, but we do know it won’t ban you from family get-togethers if it’s not. So for Christmas … be bold and adventurous and take this quintessential Aussie dessert and turn it into a Christmas centrepiece!

Christmas wreath pavlova with berries and holly

Christmas wreath pavlova with berries and mint leaves

It’s amazing what you can do with a pav. Forget round, and make a wreath, a Christmas tree, gingerbread man, or yule log. Check our basic pav recipe below, and just add a Christmas theme, a bit of colour and bingo!—the Christmas Pampered Pav!

Christmas tree pavlova

Christmas tree pavlova

What you need: 6 egg whites, 1.1/2 cups caster sugar, ½ cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons cornflour, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus cream and berries, or whatever else you want, for decoration.

Yule log pavlova

Yule log pavlova

What you do: Step one (and before doing anything else) is to place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray, and draw the outline of the shape of the pav onto the paper, and pre-heat fan-forced oven to 180 degrees celcius*. Then … beat the egg whites until stiff shiny peaks form, and add the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, to the egg whites and mix until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Mix the white sugar and cornflour together and gently fold the mixture and the lemon juice into the egg white mix. Spoon the mixture into the drawn shape on the baking paper, turn the oven down to 150 degrees, and bake for approximately 1 hour until dry to the touch. Allow to cool in the oven with the oven door slightly open. The meringue should be dry and crisp on the outside and slight soft and gooey on the inside. When cool, decorate with your choice of fruit, and cream or custard.

Christmas wreath with red berries and holly

Christmas wreath with red berries, cherries, pomegranate, and holly

*Different recipes suggest different temperatures and timing, but we have used Nigella Lawson’s (aka The Goddess of Baking) temperature and timing.

Individual mini pavlova with berries and custard

Individual mini pavlova with berries and custard

‘Tis the Season to be cheery!

It’s summer and it’s holidays; time to kick back, put your feet up and relax. So cocktails or mocktails—what’s your favourite? Here at LFW we’re sort of into healthy eating (and drinking) so in the interest of keeping healthy we cut out the creamy cocktails and added fruit and fruit juice—well, it’s fruit right … so it must be good!

Classic Cocktails

Tropical Mai-tai and Magarita

Tropical Mai-tai and Magarita

Here’s our pick for some classic cocktails  to celebrate the season or welcome 2017! So get your shaker and little parasols ready and read on! Cheers!



Bellini Cocktail—although this was invented in Venice, Italy in the 1930s, it’s a great Aussie cocktail using fresh Australian summer peaches. Get a couple of nice soft’ish peaches and peel and chop. Place in a blender and whiz until pureed. Pour into a champagne flute and top with chilled Prosecco.

Classic Champagne Cocktail (serves 6)—place a sugar cube in each champagne glass and drizzle with four drops of Angostura Bitters. Cover the sugar cube with brandy, and top with chilled champagne or sparkling wine.

Daiquiri—this is super easy and you can whiz up in a blender. Start with 50ml of white rum (Ron Bacardi is a good choice), then add 10ml of freshly squeezed lime juice, 5 ripe strawberries, and sugar syrup to taste. Whiz it up with 4 ice cubes and pour into a Margarita glass. You can find sugar syrup at any good wine shop.


Mai Tai

Mai Tai

Mai Tai—this is one of our all-time fave cocktails!  What you need: 30ml white rum, 30ml dark rum, 30ml orange juice, 30ml pineapple juice,15ml Triple Sec. What you do: pop a few ice cubes into a cocktail shaker, and add all ingredients. Shake well and pour into a tall glass.

Margarita (serves 4)—in a large jug combine ¾ cup tequila, ½ cup fresh lime juice (between 4 and 6 limes), ½ cup Triple Sec or Cointreau, ½ cup water. Dip the rims of four Margarita glasses in lime juice then into salt to coat the rims. Add a couple of ice cubes to the glasses and pour over the Margarita. Garnish with lime slices.



Mojito—another of our all-times faves, this is nice and light and summery, and super easy to make. What you need: 1 fresh lime cut into pieces, 10ml sugar syrup, 2 tablesp fresh mint leaves, 50ml white rum, soda water, and 1 sprig of mint. What you do: place the lime, sugar, and mint into a cocktail shaker and muddle (mash) with a muddler or wooden spoon. Add the rum and stir well, then pour into a tall glass and add soda water until the glass is full. Garnish with the sprig of mint.

Classic Mojito

Classic Mojito

Magic Mocktails

Mocktails are non-alcoholic cocktails and are great if you’re the designated driver and don’t want to look like a wimp sipping on a mineral water.

m-blueberry_smashBlueberry Smash—a handful of blueberries, 10ml sugar syrup, 25ml fresh lemon juice, 100ml sparkling mineral water. Gently muddle the blueberries and syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add lemon juice and ice and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into a tall glass, top with sparkling mineral water and stir to combine.

Lemon Island Iced Tea—make the tea beforehand and chill in the fridge. When cold place in a cocktail shaker with 50ml lychee juice, 10ml sugar syrup, 10ml fresh lemon juice. Pour over crushed ice into a tall glass and decorate with a stick of lemon grass.

Mockito Cooler

Mockito Cooler

Mockito Cooler—looks just like a Mojito! Combine together 4 cups of coconut water, 2 cucumbers (thinly sliced), ½ cup lime juice, ¼ cup sugar (optional if you like your drinks sweet), and ¼ cup chopped mint leaves. Chill for up to 2 hours before serving.

Pineapple Cobbler—this is a really neat non-alcoholic drink and looks great if you dress it up with a little umbrella or some small pieces of fruit on a toothpick and placed across the glass. Shake together 10ml of lime juice and 75ml of pineapple juice, and pour over ice into a tall glass. Add soda water to about ¾ of the way up the glass, and gently pour the strawberry juice on the top so it floats.