28 January 2023

Five minutes with Michael Spaseski of Fenway, Blue Eyes Bar & Lounge

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Michael Spaseski at the bar at Blue Eyes

Michael Spaseski says you’ll have an experience like no other at Blue Eyes. Photo: Liv Cameron.

Who is Michael Spaseski: I am the owner and manager of Fenway and Blue Eyes Bar & Lounge in Garema Place.

Best recent dining experience: My best dining experience would have to be Qualia on Hamilton Island. I would highly recommend the eye fillet & lobster.

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Favourite cuisine: I’d have to say it’s a very close call between Japanese and authentic Italian food.

Most embarrassing pantry or fridge item: Probably two-minute Mi Goreng noodles … I must have packets tucked away at all times for a rainy day.

sashimi platter from raku

The sashimi platter at Raku is a must-try. Photo: Raku Dining.

What ingredient can I not live without and why: Hot sauce, for sure! I would put it on my Weet-Bix if it were socially acceptable.

Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: We are extremely lucky to have so many high-level and high-quality restaurants at our doorstep in Canberra. If I had to pick one, I would keep an eye out for Raku’s new venue coming soon.

Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: I love going to A Bite To Eat in Chifley. It’s just a great place with good service and a lovely atmosphere.

two plates of food from A Bite to Eat cafe in Chifley

Enjoy lunch seven days a week at A Bite to Eat in Chifley. Photo: A Bite to Eat, Facebook.

My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: Definitely Intra in Campbell. If you haven’t been, it’s a must for this little local café. It never disappoints.

Favourite coffee: You can’t go wrong with a double shot of ONA Coffee!


Come and grab a cuppa at ONA. Photo: ONA Coffee, Facebook.

A must-try on our menu: You’ve got to try our caviar and paired vodka shot – it’s a massive crowd-pleaser. But our Fullblood Wagyu Bresaola 9+ on our charcuterie boards is something else!

Most used ingredient at Blue Eyes: Oh, that would have to be cheese, cheese and more cheese.


Enjoy a drink at the dim-lit cocktail bar and lounge in Garema Place. Photo: Blue Eyes, Facebook.

What makes us unique: We have created a venue that allows you to leave everyday life at the door and enter our dim-lit and intimate setting. We pride ourselves on our customer service and on making every visit memorable.

Our top pick from our desserts: We don’t offer desserts. However, a cheeky glass of Grange after dinner never hurt nobody.


Blue Eyes is the perfect spot for a cocktail or a glass of wine. Photo: Blue Eyes, Facebook.

Biggest culinary influence: A very common answer, but it would be my mum! She spent countless hours in the kitchen, constantly whipping up meals and teaching me all of the “family secrets”.

Favourite cookbook: I wouldn’t say I have a favourite cookbook. I prefer playing around with flavours, pairings and trying new things. This sometimes results in disappointing meals, but every now and again, when it all comes together, the satisfaction is second to none.

Qualia on Hamilton Island

The seafood platter at Qualia. Michael says the lobster is a must-try. Photo: Kara Rosenlund, Qualia.

Who I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: It would be unfair to narrow it down to just one or two individuals. We truly are extremely lucky in Canberra with the number of new establishments and venues which offer some of the highest quality food and best service in the country.

What’s the special of the week at Blue Eyes: We are offering tastings of Grange paired with specific charcuterie and cheese boards. Our wine cellar also includes bottles you won’t find anywhere else, and we strive to offer a relaxed and unique experience at Blue Eyes.

Swiss village

The village of Nax, Val d’Heréns in Switzerland. Photo: Visit Switzerland, @petit_angelus.

Dream destination? I’d have to say Switzerland. The countryside is beautiful, and I have unforgettable memories of driving across the country from chateau to chateau, indulging in cheese and wine.

My least favourite food: Eggplant, for sure. After many attempts and countless recipes, it’s still a big no from me.

My favourite vegetable: I’d have to say garlic. It truly does make almost anything taste better.

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My top three recipe tips:

  1. You must have a good quality cast iron skillet.
  2. Salt and garlic almost always enhance any dish – so use the recommended amount and always add a bit more for good luck!
  3. Whether it’s right or wrong, I still live by “throw the pasta at the wall to see if it sticks to know if it’s cooked or not”, and always save a bit of the pasta water to add to your sauce!

COVID-19 response: We have been extremely lucky in Canberra as one of the least COVID-affected major cities in the country. It was an extremely tough period not just for hospitality but a huge number of industries. We thank all of the Canberrans for the constant support throughout lockdowns and strict capacity limits.

Blue Eyes Bar & Lounge is open from Wednesday to Saturday, from 4 pm until late. It is located on the first floor at 5 Garema Place, Canberra City (look out for the red velvet ropes).

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