Lunch @ Shake Shack

Shake Shack

691 8th Avenue (8th Ave and 44th St)
New York City, NY, USA


Burgers! Cheese Fries! Concretes!  Even food for dogs ?!

This ever reliable chain provides a grease fix, perfect for getting over jet lag.

The Meal


Shack Burger

Cheese Fries

Concrete (Frozen Custard)


Dinner @ Rubicon – Canberra


6a Barker St

The Good

A very nice, quiet venue in Griffith featuring perfectly cooked meats. The barramundi, gnocchi and pork assiette were divine. The offer to replace our BYO slightly-warm bottle of Moet with a chilled bottle from their cellar was a very nice touch from our server.

The Bad

Some of the dishes lacked creativity or genuine flavour – I am fairly confident the sauces with the barramundi and the steak were substantially identical or deceptively similar, to borrow from trade mark parlance. The confit duck was not very exciting.

Service-wise, there were some very, very long waits between courses. While it may be the case that this was due to the difficulty of a custom degustation for a group of six people, it is also the case that a restaurant should not encourage said custom degustation menus if it will result in serving difficulties. The delays also resulted in the wine pairings appearing stingy. Last, but not least, by the time the meal ended I had to walk up to the front of the restaurant and ask for the bill as everyone was packing up and there was no one in the back area to serve us.

The Meal

Amuse Bouche

WA red claw yabbies with leek and gorgonzola gratin, flying fish roe

Crisp skin Barramundi with crab, chive and potato dumplings, roasted tomato and fennel sauce

Roasted chive and potato gnocchi (flourless), confit tomato, basil, tallegio cheese


Berkshire pork assiette – belly with chilli lime caramel; rolled shin and boudin noir with a crispy ear and herb salad

Confit duck, spiced plum salsa, pickled carrot, St Maure d’Poitiu goats cheese

Roasted lamb shoulder and grilled lamb loin, speck lardons, peas and mint

Chargrilled beef fillet in bacon, beef jus, sauce béarnaise, confit tomato, thyme roasted kipflers


Ginger and lime crème brûlée, crème fraîche sorbet, roasted passionfruit

Dinner @ Sage – Canberra


The entrance @ Sage -

Gorman House Arts Centre

The Good

A fabulous meal featuring excellent ingredients and presentation. While some of the dishes were creatively presented, I never felt that creativity came at the expense of taste, something which cannot be said of a number of other restaurants I have visited. 

The menu changed in the days before our arrival, which unfortunately denied me a dish that I had been anticipating when I made the reservation. However, the dishes on the new menu did not leave me wanting at the end of the meal. The lemon sole and veal tenderloin, which featured a small addictive sweetbread, were particular standouts. I cannot fault any of the dishes, although perhaps the beetroot and carrot dishes lacked the punch of the protein courses.

Our server was friendly and helpful throughout the night. From the moment we sat down, he offered help us add additional courses to the autumn omnivore tasting menu should we desire. We did so desire after reviewing the a la carte menu and after a quick trip to the kitchens our server confirmed there would be no issues incorporating two extra courses (the pork and duck courses).

As for the venue, it is within walking distance from the centre of the city and thus conveniently located. The room is very nice with tasteful, modern furnishings.

While not an inexpensive restaurant, I regarded the meal as providing exceptional value for money in Canberra.

The Bad

There were four occasions during the nearly four hours we were dining that we had to wait more than is usual for our glasses to be refilled or for our next course. However, the issue was usually resolved before we began to get really irritated by the issue. In the case of the timing of the courses, this may have been the result of our adding courses to the tasting menu, which may have placed the kitchen out of synch, so I will not hold it against them.

The tables against the walls are probably too close ot each other for my comfort, but at least the music was at a low enough level that the restaurant never felt too crowded and one did not spend the entire night listening to his neighbour’s conversations.

Even though it is technically still Autumn, it got very cold in the restaurant each time someone opened the front and back doors to the restaurant.

The Meal

House baked bread @ Sage -

House baked bread

Artisan butter @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comArtisan churned butter with sea salt

seasonal beetroot variations @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.combeetroot variations
eucalyptus smoked trout, freeze dried mandarin, coriander

honey peppered heirloom carrots  @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comhoney peppered heirloom carrots
malt, yolk, ricotta, olive powder, brioche

tuna and foie gras  @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comtuna & foie gras
sashimi, mojama, crackling, chervil, PX dressing 

Pork 'all sorts'  @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.compork ‘all sorts’
slow cooked belly, braised cheek, choucroute, baby vegetables

Lemon sole @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comlemon sole
potato crumble, cauliflower, parsley, capers, red wine jus

Veal tenderloin @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comveal tenderloin
sweetbreads, forest mushrooms, sweet potato, soy & maple glaze

Muscovy duck @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.commuscovy duck
orange, carrot, pickled red cabbage, licorice

Rhubarb and rasberry @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comrhubarb & raspberry
quinoa crunch, creme brulee foam, rose petals

Chocovado @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comchocovado
chocolate cremeux, hazelnut cocoa crumble, lemon gel, avocado cream

Autumn scenery @ Sage - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comautumn scenery (an alternate for my wife to the chocovado course)
chestnut log, chocolate branches, malt, apple sauce

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Chianti Classico – Adelaide

Chianti Classico

160 Hutt Street

The Good

An excellent lunch featuring some of the best pasta I have ever had in the form of the tagliolini with a rich sugo featuring many, many chucks of spanner crab meat. The offer of a dessert tasting menu when we could not decide on our dessert options was a fantastic service touch. 

The Bad


The Meal

Bread and olives @ Chianti Classico -

House bread with olives and olive oil

Arancini @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comArancini  alla  Boscaiola 
Lightly fried risotto croquettes flavoured with wild mushrooms, black truffle and parmesen

Fiori  di  Zucchine @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comFiori  di  Zucchine 
Lightly fried zucchini flowers filled with ricotta cheese and pine nuts, served with tomato relish

Tagliolini  con  Granchio @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comTagliolini  con  Granchio
Fine  pasta  ribbons  with  a  rich  sugo  of  Queensland  spanner  crab  meat, tomatoes  and  basil. 

Pappardelle  con  Anitra @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comPappardelle  con  Anitra  
Handmade  broad  pasta  ribbons  with  roasted  duck  meat,  red  capsicums, spinach, pinenuts  and olive  oil.  

Dessert tasting platter @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comDessert tasting platter
semifreddo, Torta di cioccolate, zabaglione, panna cotta amongst others

Chianti Classico on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Ellacure – Canberra


Corner of Braybrooke and Battye Street

The Good

A quick lunch at Bruce’s favourite restaurant featuring very friendly and efficient service. The food was good for what is was, and I would be happy to return to obtain a better idea of the restaurant’s capabilities.

The venue is very nice and perfect for a lazy weekend lunch.

The Bad

As odd as it sounds to say this, the service, while friendly, was perhaps too casual with the staff talking to my wife and I in a jovial manner that was initially off-putting given we had never been to the restaurant or met our servers before.

The Meal

Bread @ Ellecure - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comFresh bread with chive butter & olive oil

Pork belly @ Ellecure -

Twice cooked pork belly with apple & mint salsa

Spaghetti @ Ellecure - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comSpaghetti with prawns, garlic, olive oil, lemon, chilli & cherry tomatoes

Ellacure Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Bean and Grain – Canberra

Bean and Grain

Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets
12 Dalby Street

Entrance @ Bean & Grain -

The Good

While breakfast may remain the star attraction, my lunch at Bean and Grain only served to confirm the talents of its chefs who are obviously committed to using quality ingredients to turn out what may be the best representations of basic cafe, or even bakery, dishes in the city. I must admit to being curious as to what these chefs are doing the rest of the week when the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets are closed.

I would happily order any of the dishes below again, although perhaps next time I will save some space for the gigantic sausage rolls I saw a few other people eating. I wonder if they do take-away?

Friendly service.

The Bad

The cafe was extremely crowded at about 1pm but slightly better when we returned half an hour later. The next time I visit for lunch, and I will be back, I will have a late lunch at 2pm to avoid the crowds.

The Meal

Tomato Bisque and Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich @ Bean & Grain -

Tomato Bisque & Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Sourdough bread lightly grilled with aged Cheddar & Gruyere cheese

Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich @ Bean & Grain -

A close-up of the Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Muffaletta @ Bean & Grain -

Olive salad, (green olive, Kalamata olive, roasted red pepper, red onion, parsley, fresh oregano, red wine vinegar & olive oil) salami, mortadella, ham, provolone cheese on roasted garlic, herb foccacia.

Pineapple Upside-down Cake @ Bean & Grain -

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Oriental Twist Tea @ Bean & Grain -

Oriental Twist Tea
ORIENTAL TWIST has power of the ancient Chinese super food, lychee, blended with the delicate Jasmine Flowers and Green Tea to deliver a unique tasting oriental tea experience. Rejuvenate & Revive.

Lunch @ Flint in the Vines – Murrumbateman, New South Wales

Flint in the Vines

 34 Isabel Drive
Murrumbateman NSW 2582

The Good

A good meal, shared with friends celebrating a big occasion, complemented by excellent local wines and stunning countryside vistas.

The Rabbit & Pistachio Terrine was particularly impressive of the starters while the pizzas provided some interesting combinations with the brie, mango and salami pizza offering a surprisingly tasty flavour combination. The sole dessert was fantastic, albeit a little too rich for those of us who had overindulged on the savoury courses and excellent wines.

It is always difficult to properly judge service standards at a restaurant whilst sitting at a 20+ person table, so I will simply acknowledge the lack of any noticeable with the service or the speed with which dishes or beverages were brought out.

The Bad

Not much to report on this visit other than the fact that one needs to carefully choose a designated driver for the 40 minute drive back to Canberra afterwards. 

The Meal

Escabeche of WA Sardines, Rabbit & Pistachio Terrine -

Escabeche of WA Sardines with candied lemon, fennel, parsley and Rabbit and Pistachio Terrine with grape & tarragon salad, toasted brioche

Flint's Calamari -

Flint’s Calamari with chilli seasoning, blue cheese aioli & lemon

Seasonal Wild Mushroom Pizza -

Seasonal Wild Mushroom Pizza with roquette & white truffle oil

Pulled Chicken Pizza -

Pulled Chicken Pizza with basil pesto, caramelized onion & sun-dried tomato

Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza -

Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza with fresh sage

Brie, Mango & Salami Pizza -

Brie, Mango & Salami Pizza with mascarpone, fresh mango & coriander

Roquette & Parmasen Salad -

Roquette & parmesan salad

Chocolate Terrine -

Chocolate Terrine with crème anglaise, confit lemon & cinnamon ice cream

Flint in the Vines on Urbanspoon