20 December 2022

2022 Year in Review: The best of Canberra’s Food & Wine

| Kim Treasure
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Canberrans love their food and wine and, fortunately, we have plenty of great options to choose from.

From delicious desserts to classic burgers and the best breakfasts, our reviewers have gnawed their way through mountains of food just to give you the inside scoop on what’s hot and what’s not.

Here, we’ve pulled together 15 of your favourites. Take a look back at the most popular Canberra food and wine stories from 2022.

15. Popular Sri Lankan food van Short Eats opens Woden cafe
by Lucy Ridge

Two men smile in front of cafe logo

Michael De Silva and DD Mishra at the Short Eats Cafe in Woden. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Short Eats’ sky blue Kombi first drove onto the Canberra food scene in 2020 with aromatic curries and flavour-packed snacks. Co-owners Michael De Silva and ‘DD’ Mishra have now also opened a cafe, bringing their signature blend of flavour and fun to Woden.

Sri Lankan food is still relatively unknown to Australians who are more used to eating Indian-style curries. Michael says that many customers who visited the food van hadn’t tried Sri Lankan food before, but now they’re hooked!

14. It started as a job to fund Christmas presents for the kids – now Melissa makes Canberra’s best pie
by James Coleman

Woman in pie shop

Melissa McEwan, owner of Elaine’s Gourmet Pies, Fyshwick. Photo: James Coleman.

The owners of Elaine’s Gourmet Pies in Fyshwick are lost for words after being recognised nationally as the makers of Canberra’s best pie.

“We’re shocked,” Melissa McEwan says.

She and her husband Robert were only informed of the store’s appearance in Wotif’s ‘Uniquely Aussie Awards’ for 2022 by friends who rang to tell them.

13. House of Desserts will have you pulling on your stretchy pants and ordering some treats ASAP
by Michelle Taylor

M&Ms dessert

The fettuccini dessert. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

House Of Desserts CBR started as an Insta post and became a food van. After one visit, Michelle Taylor’s already a fan.

The concept at House of Desserts is all about layers of fun and decadence. And choices. LOTS of choices.

First, choose the base of your dessert: silken crêpes, Belgian waffles or fluffy pancakes. “Then,” owner Tamara says, “you pick your spreads, your fruits, fillings and toppings.”

12. First Looks: Deakin & Me is all about good vibes, great food and community
by Michelle Taylor

Two men standing in a cafe

Zachary Calway and Wally Rao. Photo: Ben Calvert.

Tucked away in an unexpected corner of Deakin, far from the stream of coffees-to-go and lunch service congestion of public servant hubs, brand new venture Deakin & Me offers an oasis of greenery and fabulous food.

Deakin & Me is managed by local chef Zachary Calway alongside renowned Canberran café mogul Wally Rao, the founder of EQ Café & Lounge and other caffeine cathedrals in Canberra.

Affiliated with some of Canberra’s best-known restaurant kitchens, Zachary is excited to be working in front of house for the first time.

11. The Institutions: Brodburger, Canberra’s original burger sensation just keeps getting bigger and juicier
by Michelle Taylor

Joelle and Sascha

Brodburger owners Joelle and Sascha at their Kingston location. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Brodburger started as a food van, but a lot of patties have passed over the grill since then. Michelle Taylor caught up with owners Joelle and Sascha to discover why their burgers are a Canberra institution.

10. Happy’s Chinese Restaurant celebrates 60 years in Garema Place
by Lucy Ridge

black and white photos on Happy's menu

Gavin’s Grandpa Happy (centre, top photo) with friends at the restaurant, and below with his wife and friends. Photo: Supplied.

When Mr Happy first opened his restaurant, it was difficult to source Asian ingredients and some customers just wanted a steak. Now Happy’s is a Canberra institution, celebrating 60 years of Chinese cooking in the capital.

Arriving in Australia in the 1950s, Mr Happy earned his nickname because he was too shy to use English and instead would smile at people. He opened the first Happy’s Chinese in Queanbeyan in 1958, with the Canberra location following a few years later.

9. Hot in the City: Sandoochie finds a permanent home in No Name Lane
by Lucy Ridge

Lucy Holm

After running a successful pop-up shop, Lucy Holm has gone all-in on Sandoochie. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Is there anything better than a really good sandwich? Lucy Holm doesn’t think so: in fact she’s just opened up a new shop that does pretty much nothing but sandwiches – or, as she calls them, sandoochies.

“Sandoochie is just what I used to call sandwiches with my friends … and it just kind of stuck,” she told Region Media.

8. First Looks: Kodiak Bar- where the bear necessities of life will come to you!
by Michelle Taylor

Two people in a bar

Leeroy and Sophia at Kodiak Bar. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Canberra’s favourite Canadian, Leeroy Peterson, and Sophia, his astute, spunky partner in both life and business, have created another magical venue together. The two are thrilled with how Kodiak Bar, their cocktail lounge, has transformed from concept to vibrant reality.

While Caribou, their family-friendly brassy sports bar with a heart as wide as the Canadian prairies, has Leeroy’s imprint all over it, Kodiak is Sophia to a T.

“When I go out, I want the music to be loud and the lighting to be dark!” Sophia says.

7. Hot in the Suburbs: Two Blind Mice brings classy pub fare to Curtin shops
by Lucy Ridge

Two Blind Mice logo

Two Blind Mice is fast gaining popularity as the new “local” in Curtin. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Two Blind Mice is a new bar and restaurant at Curtin shops, started by two mates who wanted to provide a suburban alternative to a night out in the city.

6. Snapper & Co. hits all the right spots at Yarralumla in a lakeside setting to die for
by Genevieve Jacobs

Bradley Howden

Bradley Howden, Executive Chef at Southern Cross Yacht Club and Snapper & Co. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It’s always been one of Canberra’s great experiences – sitting on the soft greens lawns of the Southern Cross Yacht Club, lake water sparkling as boats slip by in the summer sun, the kids play chasey and you tuck into crunchy golden fish and chips and a chilled beverage.

And with the opening of the renovated Snapper & Co., everything just got better. The relaxed vibe remains intact but the Canberra Southern Cross Club group, which operates the space, has given the venue more of a cafe and restaurant feel without losing any of its original ease and charm.

Downstairs, The Deck at Snapper & Co. is a new outdoor dining space with spectacular lake views and a la carte service.

5. Where to get Canberra’s best cup of coffee – according to you
by James Coleman

Two cups of coffee

Flat whites at Bloom Coffee. Photos: Thomas Lucraft.

Where do you go for your caffeine fix? We asked you to tell us where to find Canberra’s best cup. Here’s what you said.

4. Check out these southside breakfast spots!
by Lucy Ridge

Poached egg and avocado on toast

A Bite to Eat has a fresh menu bursting with tasty and healthy choices. Photo: A Bite to Eat.

Canberra is a city of brilliant breakfasts, and the southside serves many of them!

Cafes around Woden and Tuggeranong are plating up some of the most creative, comforting and delicious brunches in town. Check out a few of our favourites.

3. Meet Leyla: she’s stylish, sleek and just arrived in town
by Lucy Ridge

bar at night

The sunny and sophisticated atmosphere makes Leyla a great place for after-work drinks. Photo: Supplied.

Leyla is Canberra’s newest rooftop bar and it has all the makings of a new favourite venue.

With its dusky pink and cream tones, Leyla feels like it’s been transplanted from Bondi.

2. From Athens to Gungahlin, Yiayia’s Bakery to deliver the flavours of Greece
by Evelyn Karatzas

Yiayia’s Bakery will offer some of Greece’s sweetest authentic treats and pastries such as galaktoboureko, baklava and kataifi. Photo: Yiayia’s Bakery.

According to John and Theoklitos Anousas, Canberra’s never had a Greek bakery (a zaharoplastio). They’ve changed that.

John and Theoklitos have teamed up with former Supabarn owner Eric Koundouris to bring the taste of Greece to Gungahlin.

1. Canberra institution Aubergine to shut its doors after 14 years
by Lottie Twyford

Ben Willis in kitchen

Chef and owner Ben Willis has been hard at work in the Aubergine kitchen for 14 years and has decided it’s time to hang up the apron. Photo: Lean Timms.

After 14 years serving the Canberra community, Aubergine Restaurant has closed its doors for the last time.

The owners of Aubergine in Griffith announced the impending closure on social media on Wednesday (29 June) morning, saying it was time to “move on”.

In an Instagram post, owners Ben and Andy Willis said they were happy they could say goodbye on their terms and at the right time for them.

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