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Best Food and Wine in Canberra this Spring
Waters Edge, Canberra
Best Food and Wine in Canberra this Spring

Blackbird’s waiting for your moment to arise

Bartender Prabin
credit: the-riotact.com

Blackbird, one of Canberra’s newest bars has quietly reopened. If it is your first visit, don’t search for its name emblazoned outside. No, just follow the sound of music, most likely the soulful rasp of a saxophone drifting up.

Blackbird is hidden away, speakeasy-style. When you first walk down the steps into Blackbird, darkness swallows you up. By the time your eyes adjust, you are immersed in this subterranean den where flickering candles illuminate the tables and soft lights hang low, where the bar area sparkles like Aladdin’s cave. Bench seating snakes around the wall; there are plenty of vantage points for the stage in the back corner. I am getting a low-key New Orleans vibe here. Blackbird is unpretentious, a relaxed place to be tucked away in a nook with friends.

Blackbird is located at 112 Alinga St in the Sydney building next to Verity Lane. It is open from 5:00 pm to 2:00 am Tuesday to Friday, and from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am on Saturday. Tuesday nights are ticketed events and bookings are essential for Fridays and Saturday.

Authentic flavours of Indonesia at Kopiku cafe

Jess and Joviant at Kopiku
credit: the-riotact.com

A short menu that’s long on authentic flavours is a winner in any language. A handful of traditional dishes interspersed with lesser-known family favourites can provide an excellent entrée to an unfamiliar cuisine, and the culture behind it.

Or in the case of Kopiku Café in leafy O’Connor, it can bridge the gap for those hankering for the flavours of home.

Kopiku’s new Indonesian menu is the work of the café’s owner, Jakarta-born Meida Dewi, who took over the old O’Connor Cafe in the Sargood Street shopping strip just before COVID-19 hit.

Initially, she introduced a menu comprising breakfast and lunch staples including organic coconut sugar pancakes with fruit and icecream, BLT rolls, salt and pepper calamari and an enticing range of pizzas, which the locals tucked into with gusto. But she’d mentioned her plans to introduce a second, smaller menu comprising dishes from her home country, and her regulars – many from the local Indonesian community – were not letting the issue lie.

“It’s taken me a while to get the Indonesian menu up and running, but people kept asking about it,” says Meida, who spends hours after close of business chopping and mixing and blending the pastes and stocks that form the basis of Indonesian food. The cuisine is heavy on herbs and spices such as galangal and turmeric and eschallots, and the pungent aromas that waft from Kopiku’s kitchen are surely a better advertisement than any billboard.

Kopiku is open 6:30 am to 4:00 pm seven days a week, serving both the Indonesian and regular menu. It’s located at
1/5 Sargood Street in O’Connor.

All hail Queenies

Queenies
credit: the-riotact.com

The village feel is back in ‘Old’ Kingston! The beautiful suburb with its luscious treescapes and green spaces has been very quiet for the past few years as it has been overshadowed by all the restaurant and café openings on the Kingston Foreshore. But some new additions are set to liven things up again and see Old Kingston step back into the limelight.

The fresh new Eyre Street Market overlooking Green Square has just opened housing a huge Supabarn with impressive offerings of fresh gelato and a drool-inducing cheese cabinet. The new strip also houses the second outlet for popular Fyshwick café Wildflour. It will soon be joined by a range of other specialty stores and eateries all set to breathe new life to the area.

There is plenty to chose from the bar to enjoy in the surroundings. The tap beer range features independently owned Australian breweries and apart from a few champagnes, the wine list is exclusively Australian with a predominance of Canberra region wines, while the inventive cocktail menu reinvents classic concoctions with native ingredients.

Two standouts include the Native Manhattan with Kakadu Plum Vermouth, cacao and coco rye, whiskey and bitters, and the Native Old Fashioned with Paperbark Smoked, Brookies Macadamia, wattleseed bourbon, and bitters.

Queenies Bar and Good Times is located at 24 Giles Street, Kingston. It’s open Sunday to Thursday from 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm, and Friday to Saturday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am.

For more on these check out the-riotact.com

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