restaurant

Christine Manfield Pop-Up @ Eightysix | Braddon, Canberra

Christine Manfield Pop-Up @ Eightysix | Braddon, Canberra

Travelling overseas always gives you a chance to get a bit of perspective on things – I guess being removed from your usual surroundings gets rid of the blinkers that influence your day-to-day thoughts and decisions, and gives you a bit of cognitive freedom to explore new possibilities. At the same time, travelling overseas also leads to your mind wandering really aimlessly at times – especially when you’re passing time on a train or having a couple of beers in an empty bar at midday (or earlier) - and random thoughts that would normally be reserved for Hollywood’s stoner scenes start to enter you head.

So after a few weeks of travelling through Japan earlier this year, while walking up a little mountain in Miyajima, I started thinking about ethnic foods that would be fairly commonplace back home, but that would be completely foreign to Japanese people. I think it was because almost every restaurant we’d seen over the last 21 days served traditional Japanese food (not that I’m complaining), and there didn’t seem to be much overseas influence on their cuisine.

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Lilotang | Barton, Canberra

Lilotang | Barton, Canberra

The Chairman Group has been one of Canberra’s hospitality mainstays over the last two decades. Since opening in 1992, the iconic Chairman & Yip restaurant in Civic has been serving up refined yet honest Cantonese food, attracting a loyal following of politicians and suits along the way. In 2008, the group (headed by Josiah Li) added the Lanterne Rooms to their stable, followed by Malamay in 2012; and both restaurants have been great successes.

Li’s latest venture, LiloTang, focuses on modern Japanese cuisine, and opened its doors to the public in January 2015. It’s located in Barton’s Burbury Hotel and sits just two doors down from Malamay (with the door in between them being the hotel’s entrance), giving guests at the Burbury not one, but two incredible dining options without having to leave the building. Times sure have changed from when the hotel restaurant was just a buffet of overcooked roast meats and mushy veg!

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L'Effervescence | Tokyo

L'Effervescence | Tokyo

For the last eight years, Tokyo has been the culinary capital of the world, boasting the most number of Michelin-starred restaurants of any city worldwide. Tokyo is currently home to 160 one-star restaurants, 52 two-star restaurants, and 12 three-star restaurants - not to mention the 324 restaurants with Michelin's Bib Gourmand tag, offering "exceptional food at moderate prices".

Spoilt for choice (if you're rolling in Yenjamins, that is).

So when the opportunity arose to visit Tokyo recently, I got into my 'you-only-live-once' frame of mind and decided it would be worth spending a week's pay on one exceptional meal. With so many restaurants, it was hard to know where to start. Should I aim for the three-star restaurants? Do I want a traditional kaiseki meal, or French, or a meal of just sushi or tempura?

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Pâtissez | Manuka, Canberra

Pâtissez | Manuka, Canberra

Fresh off the back of their My Kitchen Rules experience, Canberra girls Gina and Anna Petridis opened up Pâtissez in Manuka just a few short weeks ago. Normally I wouldn't be too excited by ex-reality show contestants opening up their own place, but having seen some of the photos of their food and drink going around I was pretty keen to check it out!

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Ripples Chowder Bay | Mosman, Sydney

Ripples Chowder Bay | Mosman, Sydney

Ripples is one of those Sydney institutions that is well renowned for providing quality food at reasonable prices, topped off with an amazing view. So needless to say I was happy to receive a Ripples gift voucher for Christmas last year!

Located at Middle Head at the end of Chowder Bay Road, Ripples Chowder Bay is one of two Ripples restaurants owned and run by the Sydney Restaurant Group, which boasts a strong portfolio of restaurants including Aqua Dining, Ormeggio at the Spit, LuMi Bar & Dining, and Ripples Milsons Point. As with many of its other venues, the Chowder Bay restaurant is right on the water and provides a stunning backdrop for your meal.

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Akiba | Canberra CBD

Akiba | Canberra CBD

Akiba’s opening in December 2014 was greeted with much anticipation from Canberrans. The concept, the location and the marketing (who didn’t walk past the 2m high decals spanning the whole width of its windows at some point or other?!) was a breath of fresh air and reminded us that it was worth detouring from Lonsdale Street or the Kingston Foreshore to dine in Civic once in a while.

Occupying the space that Dieci e Mezzo previously held, Akiba is neither strictly a bar nor a restaurant – more a space to hang out and have a good time (albeit where you also pay money in return for food and drinks). Its name represents the Akihabara ‘electric town’ district in Tokyo, and the fitout and atmosphere of Akiba reflects this with its neon light features and vibrant colours.

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