Monday, 30 January 2012

The Greengrocer on Clifford, Goulburn

The Greengrocer on Clifford, Goulburn
The style: The Greengrocer on Clifford, Goulburn is a strange mix - part greengrocer, part cafe and pizza kitchen and the element of surprise - part bike(as in bicycle, not motor) shop. As you step into the Greengrocer, there are shelves brimming with bright and beautiful fresh fruit, veges and flowers, cabinets full of salads and scrumptious desserts, a woodfire oven and bikes. Lots of bikes, bike outfits, bike memorabilia and people who have ridden their bikes there to snack guilt free on the cakes.
Fruit, veg...and bikes - the Greengrocer on Clifford, Goulburn
The taste: The salads at the Greengrocer are tasty, fresh and some are a little off-beat. There are also really good sandwiches, fresh squeezed juices and of course, desserts. I must confess I have never tried a pizza there but my guess is that they would be pretty good if they are anything like the other food on offer. I do qualify this with the fact that I think the quality has gone downhill and become a little mediocre over time - hopefully the last time I was there was a one-off bad day because when I used to visit a few years ago, it was great.
Pasta, sandwiches and salads, the Greengrocer on Clifford, Goulburn
The service: Sorry to say it but the service leaves (quite) a bit to be desired. Yes the cafe is almost always busy but it doesn't hurt to crack a smile every now and again. I'm surprised that a place with such bad service has generated such a loyal following - its always packed so that must say something about how good the food is??

The price: By Goulburn standards, the pricing at the Greengrocer is pretty middle of the road. It is comparable to other good quality sandwich places and definitely no more expensive than a dodgy, greasy takeaway would be.
Sticky date pudding and coffee, The Greengrocer, Goulburn
Takeaway salads, the Greengrocer, Goulburn
The location: Greengrocer on Clifford is located at 37 Clifford Street in Goulburn. It is just a hop, skip and a jump from the highway which doubles as the main street through town. 

Useful links:

For info and menus - visit the Greengrocer on Clifford website

 Greengrocer on Clifford, Goulburn
Greengrocer Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Cuisine on Lake Crackenback

Cuisine on Lake Crackenback
The style: If you are heading to the mountains and want to feel a little bit special, Cuisine on Lake Crackenback is the place to go for dinner. It is all about low lighting, candles on your table and floor to ceiling glass walls on two sides which overlook Lake Crackenback. Tables for two are cleverly turned at an angle so you both get to enjoy the view (and each other's company) in what feels like privacy.
View from Cuisine on Lake Crackenback
The taste: The food at Cuisine on Lake Crackenback is refined and packed full of flavour. The meals are pretty to look at and fantastic to eat. The menu at Cuisine on Lake Crackenback changes with the season - scallops, spatchcock, duck, trout and lamb all feature along with wagyu beef pies and divine desserts. An extra little surprise was the tasty morsels dished up between courses - cured salmon with aioli and house-made plum ice-cream found their way to our table throughout the night. Delicious.
Its a shame that the combination of i-phone camera and really low (romantic) lighting means that the pictures here don't really do the food justice but they should at least give an idea of what was dished up.
Duck terrine, Cuisine on Lake Crackenback

Scallops and black pudding, Cuisine on Lake Crackenback

Lamb rack, Cuisine on Lake Crackenback

Banana tarte tatin, Cuisine on Lake Crackenback
Spatchcock and king brown mushroom, Cuisine on Lake Crackenback
Mango snow egg, Cuisine on Lake Crakcnback
The service: Aaah. How nice it is to be treated like you matter. The staff here were absolutely lovely - they made conversation without being awkward or intrusive and got every part of the order absolutely right (a rare and unusual occurrence!). 
Cured salmon and aioli - free taster at Cuisine on Lake Crackenback
Plum ice cream - free taster at Cuisine on Lake Crackenback
The price: Meals here weren't cheap with entrees and desserts at $18 and mains at $37. There is also a degustation menu available for $70 or $110 with wine. Considering the delicious food, the great view and the spot-on service, the price was well worth it.
Cuisine on Lake Crackenback
The location: Cuisine on Lake Crackenback is tucked on the edge of Lake Crackenback within the Lake Crackenback Resort. Lake Crackenback Resort is located just off the Alpine Way about 15 minutes from  Thredbo (on the Jindabyne side) in New South Wales.

Useful links:

Lake Crackenback Resort

Brioche, Cuisine on Lake Crackenback

Cuisine @ Lake Crackenback on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Santa Fe, Merimbula

Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant, Merimbula
The style: Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant at Merimbula's style is what I have dubbed 'modern mariachi.' There were some really nice, sleek touches like the new bar area coupled side by side with sombreros and ponchos. May sound terrible but I really liked it - definitely not the usual 'every colour under the rainbow' look which Mexican restaurants tend to go for - Santa Fe has a more restrained, minimalist pinch of spice when it comes to its interior.
Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant, Merimbula
The taste: YUM. Not sure if one word is enough but it pretty much it says it all. The food was fresh, spritzy and actually really surprised me. I have never been to Mexico so I'm not sure what authentic Mexican food is - what I expected at Santa Fe was the usual nachos, burritos, fajitas type spread but it was actually more salads, fish and the like (although I did give in and get the nachos). The most positive thing I can say about Santa Fe is that every single person groaned with pleasure as they were eating and all went out of their way to tell the staff how good the food was.
Seared Tuna Steak Salad, Santa Fe, Merimbula
Nachos, Santa Fe Restaurant, Merimbula
The service: A+. So nice to eat somewhere that you aren't made to feel like a burden getting in the way of the wait-staff's social lives. The ladies who served us were super-friendly and smiling the whole time.
The view from Santa Fe Restaurant, Merimbula
The price: The lunch menu ranged from $15.90 for nachos to $22.90 for the fish of the day. Dinner will set you back between $19.90 and $25.90 for mains. Desserts are around the $12 mark and there is a kids menu too. Best of all the food is GOOD and well worth it.
Exterior of Santa Fe, Merimbula
The location: Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant is located at 23 Beach Street, Merimbula, NSW (just off the main shopping street). Merimbula is about one and a half hours from Cooma so its an easy day trip from the Snowy Mountains to the coast. 
Main Beach, Merimbula
Santa Fe Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Alpine Hotel, Cooma, NSW

The Alpine Hotel, Cooma
UPDATE: April 2013
The Alpine is under new management. The quality of food at the restaurant has diminished and wait times were very long. I'll visit again once they have had time to settle in and re-post the results.

The style: The Alpine Hotel Bistro dishes up delicious pub food in what is probably the prettiest pub in Cooma. The Alpine is built in art deco style towering over the other buildings nearby and the interiors are tastefully done. There are some beautiful black and white photos hanging in the hall and bistro which show different aspects of life in the Australian High Country. It is refreshingly nice to see a country pub with a bit of class and The Alpine has it in bucketloads.

The Alpine Hotel Bistro, Cooma
The taste: The Alpine Hotel dishes up pub classics such as bangers and mash, steak or a good old fashioned schnitzel but it also offers some fresh, modern choices. The food here is seriously good - it looks nice, smells nice and tastes nice. Can't ask for much more than that and the portions are fairly generous so you aren't left wanting more when your plate is clear. On the off chance you are left feeling peckish, there is a fair selection if deserts to cap off your meal.
Cajun Salmon, The Alpine Hotel, Cooma
Classic bangers and mash, The Alpine Hotel, Cooma
Garlic bread, The Alpine Hotel, Cooma
The service: The service here is generally good - friendly without being try-hard. The food doesn't come out super-fast but the wait is worth it for something that isn't bought frozen and heated in a deep fryer for a few minutes. Bear in mind that over the winter ski season, The Alpine, like everywhere else in town, gets a little busier so the wait times might be slightly longer then.

The price: Meals at the Alpine Hotel sit around the $15-$25 mark for a main course, a little less for entrees. They also have kid's meals available.

The location: The Alpine Hotel is located on Sharp Street (Snowy Mountains Highway), Cooma. Cooma is located about an hour south of Canberra and about 45 minutes from Jindabyne.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Cooma Rotary Market, Cooma

Local produce, Cooma Rotary Market
The Cooma Rotary market is, not surprisingly, run by the local Rotary Club and is held on the third Sunday of each month. The market has a nice mix of food (locally grown fruit and veg, organic meat and little treats ready to eat) as well as plants, craft, clothes, jewellery and bric-a-brac. It is unexpectedly big for a country market and I have spotted a lot of the stall holders from the Canberra Rotary Farmers Market making the trip to Cooma. I have included information on some of the stallholders at the bottom of this post.
Clothes for sale, Cooma Rotary Market 
Local produce, Cooma Rotary Market

Trees for sale, Cooma Market
Centennial Park where the Cooma Rotary Market is held has some beautiful big old trees which make it quite pleasant to wander around as well as a park to keep the kids happy while you shop. One thing which made the November market distinctly 'country NSW' was the sheep being led around on a lead - in his defence, he was part of a 'guess the weight of the fleece' competition but still, not something you would expect to see at Paddy's Market in Sydney!

Cooma Rotary Market is held in Centennial Park (just off Sharp Street(Snowy Mountains Highway) in Cooma). The market runs on the third Sunday of each month.
Baked goodies, Cooma Rotary Market
Plants, Cooma Rotary Market

Candles and melts, Cooma Rotary Market
Honey, Cooma Rotary Market
Useful links:

Palarang Organic Meats

Cascades Nursery

Anthoula's Delights

Cooma Rotary Markets