There was a fair amount of excitement between myself and my husband and our dining companions (we all find it pretty hard to get out) over dinner plans last week. We got ourselves into a flap over which of the hip and trendy (I suspect I give away something of my age by using those terms) establishments in and around Kingston or Acton we should go to. After a couple of rejection calls (who knew there were restaurants in Canberra that needed such advance notice?) we were getting a bit worn down by it all when someone suggested we try Kusina in Cooleman Court. As Weston Creek locals we figured it was worth a shot.
Kusina is a little Filipino restaurant that looks like ‘just another coffee shop’ from the outside, but in truth really is a bit of a gem. So much so that although I went along getting away from work for a while I thought I’d better share the experience with you lovely folk, even though I notice it has already been reviewed for breakfast.
We went for dinner and were seated at a nice big table by the window. The restaurant was busy but not packed and vibrant without being too noisy.
Before sitting down I couldn’t have told you anything about Filipino cuisine and had assumed it was similar to surrounding regions with stir-fried this and grilled that and lots of rice and noodles. I was wrong. The meal was more like tapas – Asia style
Fried Shrimp with garlic chilli sauce
Crispy pork belly
Marinated chicken with vinegar, soy and quail eggs
Fried softshell crab
Fried eggplant with tomato, red onion, salted duck eggs and garlic sauce
The mains were fantastic. The food was full of flavor without being overwhelming. The setting and style of eating were social and we were in no way rushed. The whole experience was washed down well with either red wine or beer (and I’m sure white would go just as nicely).
I found out during dinner (from a worldly dining companion) about the Spanish heritage of the Philippines, which was strongly reflected in the food.
The desert was also good although not as much wow factor as the mains. The banana spring roll was tasty but could have done with some brown sugar (but I do have a sweet tooth) and the flan was lovely although not as creamy as I have had before. The lemon sorbet was beautifully tart, although an odd combination with the flan.
The service was friendly and helpful without being in our faces and at the end of the meal, a man who I assume was the owner came to check everything was OK.
All in all it was a surprising experience and we were reminded that sometimes you don’t have to go far for a real culinary treat and a great night out.
Dishes ranged from $8 to $26
The restaurant is BYO
Phone: 6288 8461