Ever wondered where those in the biz head to for great eating and drinking? We’re often asked so we headed to our #youngexcellence almuni for the lowdown and the insider’s guide to eating/drinking….Canberra with AKIBA & Sages Andy Day.
Where do you go for coffee before work/after work/not at work?
We’re spoilt for choice in Canberra with great local roasters. Right in the centre of Canberra is Coffee Lab, run by ONA Coffee, which is my favourite spot for a pre-work coffee. A bit further afield and a crazy-busy weekend favourite is Redbrick Espresso in Curtin who also do great food, and Highgate Lane in Kingston put their roaster on full display so is a fun and busy spot with great service.
Favourite places for breakfast and brunch?
Brunch is kind of my thing because I’m probably at work for most of my other meals! My fiancée and I really like the food at TwoforJoy in Kingston, it’s always changing and is really creative and generous. Likewise at The Cupping Room, I’m a sucker for Central American food and their dishes are always on point.
Favourite restaurants in your home state for special occasions?
Canberra punches well above its weight for fine diners and good places for that special time. I love Pod food out at Pialligo; it’s charming, seasonal, has a great wine list and Brent leads a crack team of service professionals. Brunch at Pod is about as fine-dining as brunch can get and it is spectacular.
I also love the dinner experience at Courgette in the centre of Canberra and it’s the go-to for birthdays and anniversaries. The wine list makes celebrating easy!
Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?
A number of small bars have popped up in Canberra over the past few years and getting a glass of something interesting is easy and always relaxing. My new favourite is Vincent, in Barton, which has a daily list of wines – almost all by the glass – that always has something I haven’t tried before. The fun vibe and scrabble-pieces menu is light entertainment to match. Also good for a glass of wine and a snack in the afternoon is Parlour Wine Room in New Acton with a beautiful vintage fitout and sunny terrace is super relaxing. A big nod to local producers and a crafty cocktail list make it a good Sunday afternoon. For an after work beverage the best place for me is Monster. A great wine list, an extremely good negroni, and a kitchen closing at 1am means I can get a second dinner in if I want in the comfort of a fireplace and either my thoughts, good company, or choice banter from the service team.
Where do you go for fresh, seasonal produce and market bargains?
Canberra’s Saturday morning farmers markets at the showground is a highlight of the city. Producers come from all over NSW and Victoria bringing great quality, fresh produce. The markets are separated into those who sell, and those who grow and sell, so if you’re mad keen on knowing the origin of your food you can ask the person selling it to you and they can tell you when they plucked it from the farm. To me that’s the best.
Also good and certainly if your stocks from Saturday run low there are the Fyshwick fresh food markets which house most of Canberra’s fruit & veg suppliers, butchers and fishmongers, so getting quality produce is always easy there. If it means I have to walk via Plonk, one of the country’s best boutique bottle shops, as I shop then so be it!
Where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?
It’s tough to choose between Cutler & Co in Melbourne and The Bridge Room in Sydney. The first time I went to Cutler & Co there were at least three dishes that made the hairs on my neck stand on end, while the service was impeccable and fit-out so comfortable and classy at the same time. I felt so looked after and just shell-shocked by how good a place they had created.
Meanwhile my first, second and third experiences at the Bridge Room took place within a fortnight. I loved it so much on my first mission (a solo birthday lunch) that I rebooked for later that week for my management team and then the week after with my family. When a venue gets everything in harmony like they do its addictive and hard to keep away!
Floriade 2016 runs from 17-Sept to 16-Oct 2016. You can check out the full program here