7 May 2020

2019 Year in Review - Food & Wine

| Amy M

RiotACT’s ever-popular food and wine posts covered all kinds of foodie delights in 2019. We reported that Canberra can now lay claim to the best barista in Australia, satisfied our carnivorous cravings at an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, checked out a new locally made beer that includes ingredients that will challenge your brewing beliefs, enjoyed meringues, macarons and Monet, and discovered a charming slice of Brittany in the heart of Ainslie.

This year’s top food and wine stories included the triumphant return of a Canberra favourite, profiles of new kids on the block, and a report on a new initiative for a legendary local kebab shop. And our number one article for 2019 might surprise you. Read on to find out what it is!

Matt Laing, Luke Rathbone, Tom Hutchison and Rory Rathbone

The four mates behind Barbell Foods: from left, Matt Laing, Luke Rathbone, Tom Hutchison and Rory Rathbone. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

10. Heavy lifting starts for Canberra’s biltong boys

John Thistleton caught up with four mates in their 20s behind local food phenomenon Barbell biltong. Brothers Luke and Rory Rathbone and their friends Tom Hutchison and Matt Laing met in a rundown Red Hill share house a few years ago, started the business out of a garage and hawked their dried beef snack product around local markets. Now they’re planning to take the snack foods market by storm and have opened a production facility in Hume.

Lolo and Lola

Lolo and Lola is located at Watson Shops. Photos: Michelle Taylor.

9. Lolo and Lola – delivering the taste of Filipino hospitality to Canberra

Lolo and Lola’s graffitied roller door grumbles open, and Filipino-born Kim greets a steady stream of customers like old friends. Her warm welcome and generous laugh is an irresistible force. No one remains a stranger here, wrote Michelle Taylor in July. Here’s a taste of what’s on offer.

8. Farewell Fekerte and thank you for 25 years of fantastic food


Fekerte’s food stall at the Old Bus Depot Markets. Photo: ABC News, Louise Maher.

In September, local culinary legend Fekerte quietly hung up her apron at the Old Bus Depot Markets. It was time to go, she said, and even though she has fed the hungry masses each Sunday for a quarter of a century, Fekerte was feeling the tug of grief at the thought of leaving.

“Being at the markets has been my identity in Canberra for so many years. I’m sad!” she said.

7. Turkish Yarra Kebabs bring their big taste to Belco

Turkish food

The classic Yarra kebab has crossed the lake to Belconnen. Photos: Michelle Taylor.

Get excited, Belconians! Canberra’s best-known Turkish food is now at your doorstep! That was the message from Michelle Taylor in September when she wrote that the folks behind the renowned Yarralumla Turkish Pide House have launched their second restaurant. Here’s where you can find it.

6. Evolution of Woden continues with new pub – Fenway Public House!

Fenway Public House

Fenway Public House. Photo: Supplied.

2019 was Woden Town Centre’s year. Derelict buildings were readied to give way to residential apartments, the ACT Government invested $1 million to activate and reinvigorate the town square, and Westfield Woden opened the Bradley Street Dining Precinct in April. Sophia Brady went along to check out Woden’s long-awaited pub, Fenway Public House.

5. Magic kitchen opens from basic beginnings

The Basics outside the Magic Kitchen Vegan Cafe

Bringing the community together with food is the realisation of a dream for Sasha and Antonia Basic with their daughter Rossa outside the Magic Kitchen Vegan Cafe. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

When Antonia and Sasha Basic arrived in Canberra from Croatia in 2014, they had $2000, four suitcases and no plans, but in October, they realised a dream by opening the Magic Kitchen Vegan Cafe in Kingston. Michael Weaver was there to meet the dynamic duo, learn more about their story and have a taste of the vegan delights on offer.

4. Super Bao at Dickson: Big flavours in a small bite

Super Bao

Super Bao in Cape Street, Dickson is open for lunch and dinner every day but Monday. Photos: Michelle Taylor.

Michelle Taylor visited Dickson Chinatown’s Super Bao in June and pronounced it delicious, and many readers appeared to agree, with her review making the top 10 in this year’s list.

3. Royal Hotel stakes its claim with Australia’s best steak title

Beat Ettlin from The Royal Hotel Queanbeyan

Beat Ettlin from The Royal Hotel Queanbeyan, which has won the best steak in Australia award. Photos: Supplied.

Queanbeyan’s Royal Hotel can now stake a claim as having the best steak in Australia, wrote Michael Weaver in October. It took out the crown after a nationwide search for the best pub meals in the country. It’s been packed ever since.

2. Burmese Curry Place and its nine-curry board are back in business

Burmese curry place owners

Burmese Curry Place owners Mi Mee Chan and Nai Ahyer Chan with son Mehn Saik. Photo: Supplied.

2019 was a year of ups and downs for the family-owned Burmese Curry House. So Michelle Taylor’s story that the restaurant had reopened in fresh new digs in Civic in October was welcome news to many readers of The RiotACT.

1. Tongan restaurant a feast fit for a kingdom

Kingdom 5 Tongan Cafe

Kingdom 5 cafe owners Thervaini Ilolahia and her husband Rutikha, with their four children ahead of opening day. Photos: Supplied.

Have you tried Tongan food? For Tongan people – especially the team behind a new Canberra restaurant – there’s no such thing as little. As Michael Weaver wrote, you’ll need a big appetite to take in the authentic Tongan feast at Kingdom 5 in Belconnen.

Join us tomorrow for a look back at the top business articles on RiotACT in 2019.

Original Article published by Amy McPhillips on The RiotACT.

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