Canberra is shaping up to be a bit of a foodie destination for an easy weekend getaway from Sydney, at least in our books. We visited in winter for the Truffle Festival and went back again in summer to see what our nation’s capital has to offer.
Our base for our summer roadtrip was the boutique One of a Kind Apartments in suburban Dickson, which features 6 contemporary, spacious serviced apartments with an eco-chic slant. Each of the apartments is themed around an international city – ours was the “San Francisco” apartment which was very roomy for a one bedder (there are also 2 bedders which are great for groups) – it was large enough to have its own study nook area, and had bright splashes of yellow throughout the decor to fit with the “creative” San Francisco vibe.
The decently sized bedroom features a comfy queen bed accesorised with an artistic wooden headboard which evokes the spirit of the American city and we were happy to see that our hosts had prepared fluffy towels for us too. The modern bathroom is kitted out with Sukin Australia toiletries, keeping with the eco-chic and natural ethos. There’s also a small laundry which is handy for those who are staying for a bit longer.
The fully stocked kitchen also had all the essentials ready for some home cooking if you prefer to stay in (cutlery, pots and pans, cooking oil, condiments), although we didn’t end up using it since we dined out while we were in town, but the separate dining and living spaces was more than comfortable for two people or more if you want to invite guests over.
The keyless entry into the carpark, building and your apartment makes staying here a breeze (an entry code is emailed to you by the apartment manager before you arrive) and the cosy apartments in the quiet residential street make the experience more like you’re slipping into the Canberran lifestyle at your own pad for a weekend rather than visiting from another city. These comfortable apartments are a great alternative to a hotel in the capital (especially if you prefer having more space/are travelling with a group) and are a great base to explore the city from.
Excuse Me Waiter stayed as guests of One of a Kind Apartments
The bustling cafes of Lonsdale Street in Braddon are just a short drive away from One of a Kind Apartments, so we headed over to grab brunch at Elemental, a trendy cafe with sleek, dark interiors and an open kitchen.
We were originally looking for breakfast fare, but were enticed by their heftier all-day dining offerings which ended up being more like lunch for us based on their generous serving sizes and tasty, savoury flavours.
The Sweet Potato Nachos were a big hit, with a hearty serving of bolognese, fresh avocado salsa and a dollop of sour coconut cream served with a generous handful of wafer thin sweet potato chips. While they were a bit messy to eat (in true nacho fashion, I heaped on bits of bolognese, salsa and sour cream onto the little sweet potato chips), they were a serious flavour explosion that we couldn’t get enough of and great value for the price too.
Sweet Potato Nachos, $16
We also tried their soup of the day, which was Bacon and Mushroom on the day we visited. I was expecting a creamy mushroom soup with bacon pieces, but instead a beautiful broth was served, infused with essence of mushroom and a smoky bacon. This comforting broth was absolutely delicious and we also opted for the additional protein bread, which was pleasantly soft (unlike crusty breads we’re used to getting with our soups) and seems to be baked with various grains or seeds for that extra protein hit.
Soup of the Day, $12 with protein bread +$3
We loved the dishes at Elemental and were pleasantly surprised by the high calibre of the dishes here, considering the reasonable price points for the serving sizes.
Dickson Asian Noodle House
For dinner, we didn’t wander too far from the base, staying in the same suburb and heading to Canberra’s version of Chinatown in Dickson for some noodles from Dickson Asian Noodle House, which is a bit of an institution by all accounts. They lived up to their name with a dizzying range of noodles on offer – running the full spectrum from noodle soups (laksa and egg noodle soups) to stir fried noodles like char kway teow, Singapore noodles, Hokkien noodles and Pad Thai, as well as crispy noodles. You name it – they’ve probably got it.
We ended up trying a bit of everything, with their Steamed Duck Noodle Soup emerging as the winner, with a generous serving of duck leg, springy egg noodles and tasty broth sealing the deal. Their Prawn Laksa lacked fire and was a bit too heavy on the coconut milk for our liking, but their spicy Char Kway Teow with Seafood and wok fried flat rice noodles managed to hit the spot (their non-spicy option didn’t tantalise our tastebuds as much).
Steamed Duck Noodle Soup, $16
Prawn Laksa, $16
Char Kway Teow, $14
The flavours at Dickson Asian Noodle House seem a bit subdued compared to the South East Asian fare we’re used to having in Sydney, but the dishes were a quick and satisfying meal for a relatively reasonable price compared to other dining options around.
The insane Freakshakes from Patissez burst onto our Instagrams earlier this year and we made a point of dropping by this time to try them out for ourselves. There’s still a bit of a crowd at the store in the quiet shopping strip at Manuka, with a wait for tables even when we visit late in the afternoon and a wait for the takeaway shakes too.
They had run out of the Cookies and Cream and Nutella shakes by the time we got there, so we ordered doubles of BanoFreak and Fruity Freak shakes to share. These super indulgent shakes are pretty much sugar overload with the richer Banoffee featuring slow cooked toffee, oven roasted bananas, banana chips, whipped butterscotch cream and topped off with some banana chip crumbs and a toasted house-made marshmallow and caramelised banana kebab.
BanoFreak, $13.90 and Fruity Freak, $13.90
The amount of elements for one of these shakes is staggering and they are best shared (especially since they’re quite pricey) – with the exception of the lighter Fruity Freak which is actually quite refreshing since it’s watermelon based, with a strawberry and lime gel, blushing rose scented whipped cream and accented with a watermelon strawberry and rose sorbet pop-slide which is dipped in white chocolate then dusted with freeze-dried strawberries.
We were slightly underwhelmed by the overall experience at Patissez – while the shakes definitely pack a punch, they’re not cheap and the service was a bit lacking (a mix-up with the number of shakes we ordered meant that we weren’t charged for the correct number of shakes nor were we given the correct number of shakes). As it turns out, it seems that some things may be best left on Instagram.
21 Bougainville Street, Griffith ACT 2603