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Soulfood Kitchen, a restaurant review

By Deref - 6 May 2013 12

Dined with friends at SoulFood Kitchen in Erindale last night. Interesting. It’s Cajun themed, and run by a bloke who looks as if he should know what he’s doing.

The prices are “good restaurant” prices, but the ambience is pure McDonalds – you have to order from a counter; the floors are hard-surfaced as are the tables, so it’s noisy; the knives and forks are wrapped in a paper serviettes and there’s no table service, though there are lots of staff who seem to stand around doing nothing.

I ordered Victor’s Smokin’ Ribs, which were OK but quite bland – certainly not spicy as I’d expect Cajun ribs to be. They were a good size but, at $32, I’d expect them to be a good size. I asked for some chilli sauce, which came in a little bowl. It was OK, but I had to order another since it was very mild. The Mrs ordered red beans and rice, which she said was OK but I’d have wanted two at that size. Other friends ordered gumbo, though they all had to send it back for reheating since it was lukewarm. My mate ordered cornbread for $6: it was a tiny half-cupcake sized morsel.

All in all it was disappointing. If the prices had been half what they were it’d be reasonable value.

It seemed to me to be a wasted opportunity. The boss does seem to know what he’s doing as far as cooking’s concerned; they have the staff to provide proper restaurant service but don’t; the food isn’t bad but the prices are silly for the ambience and the level of (non) service. Even the music wasn’t Cajun.

It’s a damn shame. I wish them luck. I’d love to see a good Cajun restaurant in Canberra but I’d be very surprised if Soulfood Kitchen survives unless they slash their prices or lift their game.

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Soulfood Kitchen, a restaurant review
JessP 7:33 pm 06 May 13

FarrerGirl said :

I base my pulled pork recipe on this one: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-texas-pulled-pork/ – I basically put the pork shoulder (no bone) into a oven proof dish, put in loads of spices such as a blackened cajun mix, cayenne pepper, pepper; then dump a bottle of spicy BBQ sauce in and a tetrapak of chicken stock, then I cook it overnight in a 100C oven. I leave it to cool down, shred the meat and reduce the cooking liquid to a sauce. I pan fry the shredded meat so it is a bit crispy, then drown it in sauce…mmmm! I do exactly the same to beef brisket, but I find it is a bit harder to get juicy as it has less fat than the pork.

Re corn bread – I actually make little corn and cheese muffins with loads of spice mix – I have found buttermilk helps make them even better.

Disclaimer – I have had no formal training in the art of Cajun / Southern US cooking, so my food is in no way the true / original deal! All I know is that it is a mighty fine dinner – pulled pork, home-made potato skins, corn muffins, buttermilk dressing and BBQ sauce. For $32 you could feed a table of 6!

Note to pulled pork lovers, Costco (sorry purists) have Tony Romas frozen pulled pork with is GREAT. Take it out the freezer, defrost and heat up and its drool-icious! 567g in the pack (which is enough for 2 – 3 people) and just over $7!! Bugger the slow cook…eat it now!

Always enjoyed Tony Romas when I was in the US so this is a great alternative.

Masquara 6:08 pm 06 May 13

Can someone who has eaten there please post info about the vegetarian options?

mossrocket 3:57 pm 06 May 13

I bought myself a Hark Tri-fire Offset Smoker (link: http://www.hark.com.au/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=108 ) – best investment ever! Slow cooked smoked food is a breeze – if you like tending a fire for 6 hours (I do, because I like to drink while I cook, so I end up quite drunk at eating time) Add to that an outdoor spa, and you get my world famous (well, South side Canberra) SpaBQ. I can’t describe how awesome food tastes out of this device (not the Spa) – better than anything I’ve bought at restaurants that claim their ribs are the best…

I noticed that the shop in the Hyperdome underground car park sells Soulfood spices – if you want the Cajun taste at home…

MERC600 1:43 pm 06 May 13

Thanks to Deruf for his comments . As it’s just opened I will wait a little while before giving it a hit.
Seem to remember a cajun joint at the Chifley shops, in the early 80’s.

Deref 1:15 pm 06 May 13

😀 I need to wipe the drool off my keyboard now.

FarrerGirl 1:09 pm 06 May 13

I base my pulled pork recipe on this one: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-texas-pulled-pork/ – I basically put the pork shoulder (no bone) into a oven proof dish, put in loads of spices such as a blackened cajun mix, cayenne pepper, pepper; then dump a bottle of spicy BBQ sauce in and a tetrapak of chicken stock, then I cook it overnight in a 100C oven. I leave it to cool down, shred the meat and reduce the cooking liquid to a sauce. I pan fry the shredded meat so it is a bit crispy, then drown it in sauce…mmmm! I do exactly the same to beef brisket, but I find it is a bit harder to get juicy as it has less fat than the pork.

Re corn bread – I actually make little corn and cheese muffins with loads of spice mix – I have found buttermilk helps make them even better.

Disclaimer – I have had no formal training in the art of Cajun / Southern US cooking, so my food is in no way the true / original deal! All I know is that it is a mighty fine dinner – pulled pork, home-made potato skins, corn muffins, buttermilk dressing and BBQ sauce. For $32 you could feed a table of 6!

rosscoact 12:59 pm 06 May 13

the other thing to try is hot links – spicy sausage cooked in the smoker – hooley dooley, brings the snag to a whole new place

rosscoact 12:56 pm 06 May 13

Deref said :

CrocodileGandhi said :

Where in Erindale is this place? I haven’t been there in a few weeks since moving to Belco.

It’s at the top of Restaurant Alley at Erindale shops, hidden away behind the big noodle place.

I would have taken photos, but there’s a big sign on the wall saying that you can only take photos with the boss’s permission.

FarrerGirl and rosscoact – links to good recipes would be gratefully received. 🙂

Recipes – try http://www.aussiebbq.info/ which is the source of all things barbeque.

I’ve got a Traeger pellet cooker which is built for purpose but you can do the same thing in a covered barbeque and a heat disperser. Smoke is a key ingredient and a rub and bob’s your uncle.

The essential technique is low and slow. Ribs 4-6 hours, pulled pork 18-25 hours and brisket is about the same.

All up it’s damn easy once you have your flavours down pat.

Jordo would set you up with the cuts and rub recipes if you are down that way.

Deref 11:30 am 06 May 13

CrocodileGandhi said :

Where in Erindale is this place? I haven’t been there in a few weeks since moving to Belco.

It’s at the top of Restaurant Alley at Erindale shops, hidden away behind the big noodle place.

I would have taken photos, but there’s a big sign on the wall saying that you can only take photos with the boss’s permission.

FarrerGirl and rosscoact – links to good recipes would be gratefully received. 🙂

CrocodileGandhi 11:20 am 06 May 13

Where in Erindale is this place? I haven’t been there in a few weeks since moving to Belco.

rosscoact 11:10 am 06 May 13

Totally agree.

I cook that sort of stuff all the time and the best bit is that brisket and pork shoulder are usually pretty cheap.

On the other hand, ribs are a ridiculous price unless you buy a middle and make stock, bacon, loin and ribs, then they are a much more realistic price. Pigs don’t have enough ribs though.

I don’t mind the low level of service, it’s like that in most of the rib joints I’ve visited although that’s offset by cheap tasty food. Upset that balance and your stay is temporary

FarrerGirl 10:35 am 06 May 13

Yes, it is a shame – I love Cajun style food, and for $32 I would expect a quality meal……However, I have been trying out Cajun style recipes and it really does not take much effort to make ribs, braised brisket, pulled pork and cornbread at home – it just takes forethought (as I have been cooking these meats overnight at a really low temperature). After all, this style of food should really be based on ‘good ole home cookin’ – cooked slow with maximum flavour punch 🙂

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