Who is Ryan Jennings? I’m the co-owner, along with my brother Nick, of Thirty8 Espresso on the Kingston Foreshore.
Best recent dining experience: While obviously there haven’t been many opportunities in recent times, it was probably Morks Thai restaurant also on the Foreshore. I went with my dad a couple of months ago before the rugby and it was amazing.
I usually have their Massaman curry, but their fish dishes, pork bao and spicy Thai noodles with Vietnamese pancake are also amazing.
Most embarrassing pantry item: A massive jar of chicken salt. That’s pretty embarrassing. Also embarrassing is the amount of Jelly Belly jelly babies I hoover up.
Must-buy ingredient: I’m a simple cook so staples like garlic, ginger are a must. I also use a splash of lemon in a lot of dishes.
Favourite place for breakfast in the ACT: I can’t say I go out for breakfast much because I’m usually at work, so I’ll generally just throw together a wrap or some granola and yoghurt – depending on how healthy I’m feeling.
The last place I went to breakfast was Green House Cafe in the Canberra Centre.
My Canberra food secret: One thing that really surprises me is on Friday and Saturday nights down in The Warehouse at Kingsborough Village in Kingston. They do some great stuff with some food trucks and some really great beer and really nice wine.
There’s some genuinely amazingly good food that goes down there, like the Tikka Stand.
Biggest culinary influence: My mother and grandmother. Growing up, they really forced my brother and me to learn how to cook.
They used to say it’s the one skill you need no matter where you go or what you do. Nick and I have been cooking since we could reach the top of the stovetop.
Favourite cookbook: Well, I’ve actually got a cookbook which Nanna hand-wrote when we were growing up full of recipes she loved.
When she passed away a few years ago, it was one of the things I actually went looking for.
When first we started setting up our place, some of the advice and the encouragement they gave us was really helpful in helping us push through the initial difficulties we faced.
In terms of local produce, the guys out at Pialligo have always done amazing things.
What’s on the menu this week: At the moment, we are keeping everything really simple with staples like bacon and egg rolls and sandwiches and wraps.
Given we’re not that far away (hopefully) from re-opening, we are about to launch a new menu when we can. There will be a few interesting things in there and we are going to bring back our eggs benedict which we do with local eggs and bacon, and Wildflour bagels.
I’m still trying to figure out what we will do for the hollandaise – maybe chilli or lime – just to spice things up a little bit.
Where I’m going next: I’ve honestly been keeping my head down and just focusing on getting through this current lockdown.
I’m keen to get back to Sydney and see family but also locally, just to get back to my favourite places like Morks and Capital Brewing Co for a lazy Sunday session with a couple of beers and a Brodburger.
Death row meal: You can’t go past a really good schnitty with chips, gravy and loads of veggies all piled up.
My COVID-19 response: We’ve actually been really lucky because our regulars and locals have continued coming in for coffee although, obviously, we’ve had to scale things back food-wise for now as some dishes don’t work so well takeaway.
My really simple recipe tip: Well, my simple tip is to keep things simple. Sometimes I look at recipes and they are just so complicated and they don’t need to be. Four ingredients on a plate are really all you need for a great dish.
Oh, and seasoning.
Locally loved Thirty8 Espresso is located at 4/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston. During lockdown, it’s open for takeaway weekdays between 7 am and 1 pm and weekends between 7 am and 2 pm.