Category Archives: Veggie Bites

Guzman y Gomez

This is a fast food place that offers good Mexican food. I had lunch there on Wednesday with Mel and her Dad. Mel had veggie nachos, her Dad had a spicy chicken burrito (yeah, not veggie) and I had a veggie burrito. The food was out within minutes, as you would expect at a place like this. The food was and excellent, especially when spiced up a bit with some salsa from the condiment station. Worth trying… several times… 🙂

Bollywood Masala (Kingston)

We used to often get takeaway from the original Bollywood Masala in Dickson but it was somewhat inconsistent and the naans always seemed soggy. Perhaps that’s the price you pay for getting takeaway… but we didn’t have the same experience elsewhere. Dining in was always pleasant but the 6pm opening time doesn’t fit well with getting a kid to bed, so we don’t get there often anymore. I’ve had lunch at the Dickson restaurant quite a few times since it opened and have always been impressed.

Today I had lunch with a friend. We started with Bollywood aloo chat – potato fried in some sort of batter, smothered in yoghurt, with tamarind and mint sauces. Heavenly!

For mains we had malai kofta and daal tadka. The kofta had sufficient paneer in them to make them nice and chewy, which I really like. The sauce was rich and tasty. The daal tadka was beautifully spiced and relatively light. The 2 dishes complemented each other nicely. The naans were pretty good… and not soggy at all! The saffron rice was good too.

Very nice food… I’ll keep going back…

Vietnam House

Yesterday Mel and I had lunch at Vietnam House, which is part of the strip of restaurants outside Woden Plaza. The menu in the window showed a nice variety of vegetarian options so we thought we’d give it a try. We were a little taken aback when we couldn’t find the veggie section in the menus we were handed when we were seated. We got a waiter’s attention pretty quickly and she got us the “other” menus. Perhaps they offer a cut-down selection in their lunch menu, without any obvious veggie options? All that said, things got better after that… 🙂

We got an entrée of fresh vegetarian rice paper rolls. They took a little longer than expected to come out. However, they were definitely fresh. Quite tasty, though perhaps not the best I’ve ever had.

For mains we had braised vegetables with satay sauce and tofu with lemongrass & chilli. These appeared quite quickly after the entrée plates were taken away. The first was very good: nicely stir-fried crisp vegetables and a tasty satay sauce. The tofu dish was sublime! Thinly sliced tofu served sweet, salty and spicy in all the right amounts.

We would probably go back for the tofu dish alone. The other dishes were also very good…

Jewel of India (Civic)

Jewel of India in Manuka is regarded as one of Canberra’s Indian restaurants. We’ve been to the Civic restaurant a few times since they opened and the food is very good.

Today Mel and I went for lunch. We were handed the lunch menu and it wasn’t completely clear whether the full menu was available. We both decided on the thali from the lunch menu, which when taken vegetarian comes with the only 2 veggie mains: Aloo Palak and Dal Masala. We asked about alternative dishes but were told that the lunch specials are restricted to just those options. Fair enough! Given that there was only one waiter and the place was far from empty we were a little worried that the service would be very slow but the food came out very quickly.

In addition to the above 2 dishes the thali also came with a pappadam, some raita, a naan and some mango chutney. It was a perfect amount of food. The dal was beautifully spiced with a lingering after-taste – not boring like some dal. The Aloo Palak was fabulous, as was the bread and all of the side dishes. A very good deal for $18 each.

Very good Indian food! We’ll be back… 🙂

Kiwi’s Café – Bungendore

Mel, Sebastian and I were out near Bungendore so we stopped in here for lunch for the second time in a few weeks. This place does good woodfired pizza starting at midday, with a few veggie options on the menu: vegetarian, Mediterranean, spicy vego and a pumpkin one. We has the first 2, with the fetta taken off the vegetarian and replaced with a few extra olives for Sebastian. The pizzas we chose ended up a bit too similar to each other but they were both good. We also had some chips, and Mel and Sebastian shared a milkshake. We probably ordered a bit too much food but it was was all eaten, so it couldn’t have been bad. 🙂

Kiwi’s is a nice little café with a nice vibe and friendly service. The food is good and very reasonably priced, though you probably wouldn’t drive all the way from Canberra just to go there. However, if you’re in the area it is well worth dropping in.

Au Lac

Au Lac is a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant in Dickson that does soy-based “fake meat” or, as it is known in our house, “psycho chicken”. This is one of Sebastian’s favourite restaurants and Mel has learned to love it too, despite her previous protestations against meat substitutes.

Last night we started with shredded tofu rolls, soy chicken nuggets and vegetarian spring rolls. Sebastian loves the nuggets, though he requests plum sauce instead of the sweet chilli sauce that comes with them by default. Last night he also said he wanted the spring rolls, though Mel & I ended eating most of them. The shredded tofu rolls are one of our staples – standard Vietnamese cold rolls with some sort of tofu-like filling added. All the starters were great, although Sebastian didn’t eat all of his spring rolls.

For mains we had stuffed beancurd in delight sweet & sour sauce, fried soy fish with spicy salt & chilli, and Shanton chicken. The stuffed beancurd is a really nice sweet and sour dish with a variety of veggies. The stuffed beancurd itself is done in 1/2 balls and has a texture vaguely reminiscent of meatballs. Au Lac’s soy fish is yummy stuff. I’ve never been a fan of fish but this has the elements that I did like when I used to eat fish sometimes. The spicy salt and chilli coating was tasty but not overpoweringly spicy. The Shanton chicken is one of their crispy soy chicken dishes – nicely done – with a reasonably spicy Shandong-style sauce.

Last night’s meal was very nice and went well with a couple of glasses of the Pinot Gris that we BYOed. We had a nice variety of dishes, though we did end up with too much food. Au Lac builds nicely presented, flavoursome dishes around the fake meat, so it is worth the effort. The food is generally very good but at the more expensive end of the scale for an informal vegetarian meal.

Thai Garden

We have been to this place in Dickson a few times over the years. It has never particularly excited us and today’s lunch was no different. We had curry puffs and spring rolls for starters. The curry puffs were excellent – great flavours and just the right amount of crispness. The spring rolls were pretty good too but not exceptional. For mains we had a Panang curry and stir fried tofu with veggies, garlic, chilli and basil. The curry was fantastic – one of the better Panang curries I’ve had. However, the stir fried tofu was missing something. It had enough chilli and a reasonable amount of basil but it was lacking in flavour. This is usually one of my favourite dishes but sadly this wasn’t among the best I’ve had.

An OK lunch with 2 excellent dishes but the stir fried tofu let the meal down.

Tilley’s

Mel and I had lunch at Tilley’s yesterday.  We shared a couple of the specials: a dhal and spinach curry, and a pasta (pumpkin, semi-dried tomatoes,  …). The curry was fantastically rich while still being fairly light.  I would definitely eat it again! The pasta was very nice but could have been improved in a couple of different ways. Mel thought that it could have used some crunch – perhaps some pine nuts – and I agreed. The dish could also have been smaller given that it was fairly oily, but then we didn’t actually have to eat it all.

2 very enjoyable dishes and more proof that Tilley’s is a good, reliable place to visit for a vegetarian meal.

Turkish Pide House Woden

Mel had a luncheon to attend, so Sebastian and I decided to have lunch together at the Turkish restaurant near where Mel would be lunching.  Sebastian had a plate of humus with Turkish bread.  I had a small mixed dip plate with humus (no, Sebastian wouldn’t shared his), eggplant  and chilli/walnut.  I also ordered some kabak mücver (deep fried zucchini balls).  The food arrived at the table very quickly.  Surprisingly the kabak weren’t incredibly hot – I suspect that they could not have been deep fried and cooled that much in the available time – but they were still tasty.  We both enjoyed our dips, although my tastes seem to have changed and these days I seem to find the chilli/walnut dip to be too oily, so I didn’t eat it all.  Although service has been a problem here in the past, it was good today and we were even offered extra bread without having to ask.

This isn’t the best Turkish food in Canberra – that would be either Turkish Delight in Belconnen or Turkish Halal Pide House in Yarralumla. However, if I am in Woden and I feel like Turkish food then I’d go back here for a tasty meal (we’ve also had the veggie banquet for 2 recently)… unless the service turns sour again.

Blu Ginger

Date: 31 December 2010

Well, we splurged for New Years Eve and got takeaway!! This is a new place in Civic and we have been wanting to try it for a while now and due to a misunderstanding, we didn’t get to try it the night before!

They have a pretty good selection of veggie food as you would expect from an Indian restaurant – although I find it is a bit concerning that the entree’s include veg spring rolls! We decided to try the Palak Patha Chaat – batter fried spinach with chickpeas and potatoes, topped with yoghurt and tamarind sauce. It was ok – I think the batter fried spinach was stale or something because it was kind of chewy. For mains we ordered the Baigan Patiala (eggplant and potatoes), Vegetable Kootu and Palak Paneer. We also had rice, garlic naans, and sides of cucumber yoghurt, tomato, onion and corriander salsa, and banana coconut. The veg Kootu was the highlight of the meal – it had a lovely coconuty flavour and also crunchy but not undercooked lentils. It was great and I could have happily eaten it all by myself! The Palak Paneer had good flavour, but not a lot of paneer in it. I am not a fan of eggplant, so didn’t particularly like the Baigan Patiala, but the potatoes were good, as was the sauce it came in. The sides and the breads were also good.

All in all, pretty good food. I’d definitely go back as I think it is better than some of the other Indian take away food we have had…