Lunch at the Cupping Room

It had been a while since I visited the celebrated cafe, mainly because it’s so popular the wait queues are ridiculously long on the weekends. Luckily for me, I had a Thursday off work so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to visit the cafe during less busy times. Unfortunately I went a couple weeks before they launched their Spring menu, so a few of the items below are no longer available (the salted caramel and popcorn milkshake and fruit toast still are!)… but you can still ogle at the photos!

Salted Caramel and Popcorn Milkshake

Salted caramel has probably become one of the most popular dessert flavours over the past few years, and I can totally see why.  It’s that combination of sugar and salt that makes it so moorish. Surprisingly, I took a while to drink the entire milkshake as I was preoccupied by the amount of food we’d ordered, but as it sat there waiting to be drunk, the popcorn itself soaked up the liquid while the caramel coating remained crunchy. Each popcorn sort of turned into some crunchy explosion of salted popcorn milkshake. The milkshake itself was really thick too, so it remained cold until the end. It is very sweet, but what else can you expect from a salted caramel milkshake?

pop-shake

Red Velvet Milkshake

Basically a decadent chocolate milkshake accompanied by a classic red cherry on top, this was absolutely delicious. My friend ordered this one and as soon as I had a sip, I was instantly jealous—this was definitely my favourite between the two milkshakes. It wasn’t overly sweet and there were little chunks of chocolate in amongst the smooth and slightly tangy milkshake—I believe it had a bit of sour cream in it. Unfortunately this isn’t available in their Spring menu, but maybe we can petition to get it back?

redvelvet-shake

Charshu Pork

A thirty six hour sous-vide pork belly dish that came with garlic puree, half a soy boiled egg, dollops of kewpie mayo, crunchy charred cabbage and a salmon rice cake. The pork was relatively tender but there was a bit too much fat that hadn’t cooked away or rendered down—I’m pretty easy when it comes to pork belly but I do prefer crispy or rendered skin over solid fat. Apart from this, I couldn’t fault any of the other elements. The cabbage was still crunchy and had a good savoury flavour. The egg was slightly over runny (which I prefer), but my favourite component was the salmon rice cake. It had a crunchy exterior and a soft and flavoursome interior which went really well with the creamy kewpie.

pork

Baked Eggs

The Cupping Room’s baked eggs came with mushroom, silver-beet, leek and double brie, and olive tapenade and toasted sourdough on the side. The baked eggs itself had a super intense mushroomy, savoury, salty flavour, so I thought the olive tapenade was unnecessary as a side dish. The brie helped cut through the intensity of the mushrooms and was a nice addition. I was expecting the dish to come with more sauce to mop up with the freshly toasted bread, but it was actually quite dry. Despite this, it was still a really tasty dish.

bakedeggs

Pumpkin

This was the one dish I came to the Cupping Room for after seeing a post on Instagram (I swear I don’t spend THAT much time on the gram…). This dish consisted of herb-crusted roasted pumpkin, lentils, quinoa, cottage cheese, pickled heirloom radish, orange segments, roasted pepitas and lemon and tahini vinaigrette. With three huge wedges of tender roasted pumpkin, it was more substantial than I initially anticipated. The cottage cheese didn’t add much in terms of taste, and because the other elements weren’t inherently salty I would have preferred some feta or pan-fried halloumi to lift it’s flavour profile. I thought the pickled radishes and orange segments were a really nice addition as they added level of sweet tanginess to the dish.

pumpkin2

Hotcakes

I’m not a huge fan of sweet breakfasts, but my friends insisted on ordering this dish. The dish came with two thick hotcakes, apple and rhubarb jam, a dollop of orange marscarpone, granola and Canadian maple syrup. The hotcakes themselves were fluffy and the granola had a nice spiced flavour but it had bits of dried fruit that were potentially over-dried during the toasting of the granola—rather than soft, chewy pieces of fruit, they were hard and tough. I couldn’t see or taste any rhubarb in the apple and rhubarb jam, but it wasn’t overly sweet and still had a nice mellow flavour. I thought there was way too much maple syrup in the dish, but the orange marscarpone was a nice addition to help cut through that.

hotcakes

Fruit Toast

On top of everything, we also ordered the Three Mills fruit toast with cottage cheese, banana and honey. Unfortunately, the banana was a bit overpowering so I couldn’t taste the cottage cheese or the fruit toast itself. I do love banana, so it was still enjoyable to eat but for the sake of the toast I would have left the banana out or put it on the side. I think they now serve their fruit toast with strawberries, ricotta, honey and almond instead, which I think is a good move—it sounds amazing!

raisin-toast

I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience at The Cupping Room. They not only produce tasty food, but are consistent, innovative and seasonally change their menu. If you haven’t tried them out (although I doubt you haven’t), give them ago!

Details for the Cupping Room:

Opening hours:

Weekdays

7:00am – 4:00pm

Weekends and public holidays

8:00am – 3:00pm

Address:

1/1-13 University Ave, Canberra

Lunch at Muse

I love truffle, and after seeing an Instagram post from Muse about their Truffle carbonara special I knew I had to try it. So, last Sunday a few friends and I ventured out into Kingston to enjoy a relaxing lunch.

Located at the East Hotel and attached to a bookshop, Muse promotes good food, good wine and good books. The restaurant itself gives off a very modern and minimalist vibe with books piled high, cushion-lined booths and a grand piano in the corner.

Table

Chair

Things are done a bit differently here at Muse. You choose either a big or little plate of a main course. The little option gives you a choice of one side salad, and that of the big gives you two choices.

Smoked duck breast

My sister ordered a big plate of the duck breast to which I stole a few bites of… that’s what sisters are for, right? The duck breast itself was absolutely delicious. I’m generally not a huge fan of smoked meats because often I find them too overpowering, but this duck had a subtle but present deep smokey flavour. It came with a carrot purée which unfortunately didn’t have a distinct flavour, but it added a nice vibrancy to the dish’s visual appeal. My sister chose the Asian broccoli, broccolini and green bean and roasted pumpkin and quinoa side salads to accompany her duck. Both salads were served cold which kept the dish fresh, but considering that it’s winter we thought warmed salads would have complimented the dish more.

Duck 2

Truffle carbonara

Both my friend and I ordered the truffle special which was a fettuccine carbonara with mushrooms, pancetta, basil, a generous sprinkling of parmesan and truffle shavings. Yum. We’ve come to the conclusion however, that we are both greedy truffle fiends, so naturally we wanted more truffle. Maybe a bit of truffle oil would have reinforced the truffle aroma considering it is a truffle special. That said, it was a solid pasta dish with well cooked pasta and yummy crispy bits of pancetta.

Pasta

Orange and rhubarb mille feuille

My sister and I shared a towering orange and rhubarb mille feuille spiced with star anise. The rhubarb was deliciously tart which contrasted with the sweet and juicy orange segments. The pastry tasted bit stale but the mascarpone was a really nice creamy addition that cut through the fruit compote.

Mille Feuille

Sticky date cheesecake

My friend ordered the sticky date cheesecake which came with caramalised banana, vanilla bean ice-cream and dulce de leche. She absolutely loved it and I was extremely jealous that I didn’t order it. She really enjoyed the crunch of the caramalised banana and the creaminess of the sticky date cheesecake.

Cheesecake dessert

They do really good coffee too according to my friend.

Coffee

 

Overall, there was a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere which I really enjoyed. The food was good and if you go, I’d recommend the smoked duck breast!

Details for Muse:

Opening hours:

Weekdays

6:30am to 10:00pm

Saturday
7:00am to 10:00pm
Sunday

7:00am to 5:00pm

Address:

69 Canberra Ave, Kingston ACT 2602