Posts filed under 'Restaurant/Cafe Reviews'

Canine Coffee

Yesterday I mentioned that I had coffee at a coffee shop a few metres away from the Civic bus interchange. The coffee shop in question was Coffee At Helen’s which seems to have had a minor refurbishment since the last time I was there. Unfortunately the refurbishment seems to have brought with it a rather peculiar drop in the level of service.

Me: Could I get a flat white and a custard tart to have here please?
Shop Attendant (in an almost thick accent): Yes, would you like the cuppy mug please?

Unfortunately my brain, due to the accent of the shop attendant, heard one of the Cs as a P, which meant that what I heard was:

Shop Attendant (in an almost thick accent): Yes, would you like the puppy mug please?

Needless to say, I was perplexed.

Me: I’m sorry, what?
Shop Attendant (in an almost thick accent): Cuppy mug, cuppy mug please?

I thought about it for a moment and decided that the question must be whether I wanted the coffee in a cup or a mug.

Me (with some hesitation): A cup please?
(Awkward pause)
Shop Attendant (in an almost thick accent): Ahhh…..cup?
Me: Yes please.
Shop Attendant (somewhat confused): Yes yes, um OK yes.
(Shop attendant walks over to cash register and battles with it for a few moments)
Shop Attendant (in a not so thick accent): The forty-five please…err zero…um four fifty

Surprisingly after that exchange, the coffee and custard tart were quite good…and I didn’t have to drink out of a cuppy mug, which I can only assume is a dog’s bowl with a handle attached. I was almost expecting to end up with coffee on a plate and a custard tart in a cup, especially when the shop attendant took a plate to the coffee machine.


3 comments July 16th, 2008 at 06:24am

Rory Snow wrote:

Dear Rory?
I’m sorry but I’m confused…I’m not sure if you are Rory or were sending Rory an email…or perhaps you’re both Rory…but I’m not, I have never been to "the New York" to have the pleasure of deciding if I like it.
Incidentally, the information you sent to Rory (you didn’t include any kind of confidentiality notice, so I’ll read it) sounds like insider trading…you are being naughty and when the authorities find out, you will be punished for doing the naughty deeds which you seem to be doing.
Goodbye Rory…or whatever your name is.


On Wed, 18 Oct 2006 00:50:39 +0480, Rory Snow <> wrote:

hi Rory i hope this is your mailbox.
I was glad to see you the other day. I expect you are actually had like the  New York.
So much so much happening all the time, lots of great opportunities.
And speaking of opportunities, the deal I was speaking you about yesterday embraces a company
called Tex-Homa (TXHE).
It’s already growing up, but the big information isn’t even
out yet, so there’s still time. I have got this shares already and made
2000. I advise you to do the same today.

Hope this helps you out.  I’ll see you this weekend.
Yours Rory Snow

4 comments October 18th, 2006 at 12:30pm

Pluto demoted, planet goes mad!

Good morning John,

The Pluto fiasco continues! This week science and technology website Slashdot brings us the news that a group of astronomers want the definition of a dwarf planet changed, and 300 astronomers have signed a petition saying that they won’t use the new definition, which effectively means we have one set of astronomers who think Pluto is a planet, and another set who don’t.

Pluto might not be out of the solar system just yet…I pity the poor teachers who have to decide whether or not to include Pluto in solar system projects.

Have a great morning John

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

On 8/27/06, Samuel Gordon-Stewart <> wrote:

Good morning John,

During the night I was thinking about the demotion of Pluto from planetary status…it just seems silly that with a single vote of a few astronomers we can change something as significant as the number of planets in the solar system. Just think about how many school projects have been rendered incorrect overnight by this vote…and the sheer volume of textbooks that will need to be rewritten.

It’s also amazing how much press coverage this is getting…Google have recorded 1491 news story on the Internet about Pluto’s demotion, and counting…and it seems that half of those stories are about NASA officials annoyed at the decision, or a controversy about the number of astronomers in attendance for the vote.

The headlines are amusing too…"World mourns poor Pluto’s plight", "Is 8 enough? Reaction mixed to Pluto’s demotion", " Farewell, Pluto we thought the world of you ", " Pluto’s demotion creates galactic uproar", "
", "Left out in the cold", " Pluto still has its bright side", " Family of astronomer saddened by Pluto demotion"

Perhaps we should go out and measure the planet and see how big it is rather than guessing with telescopes…can I borrow your tape measure John?

I’m going to go and have another giggle to myself about this fiasco….I’m just waiting for the rest of the Solar System to vote us out of the solar system for being planetist, or sizeist, or otherwise naughty is some way.

Have a great week John,


Samuel Gordon-Stewart

2 comments September 1st, 2006 at 11:45pm

Cafe Review: Liberty Snackbar

Yesterday I visited Bunnings Belconnen with Mum, and after doing that we visited the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets. While we were there we stopped in at Liberty Snackbar to have our morning tea. When we walked in we were carrying a couple bulky items from Bunnings and the lovely lady (whom I think was probably Ornela Anastasopoulos) in attendance at Liberty offered us a space to put our shopping while we enjoyed our drink.

As it happened, Liberty had some iced donuts on offer, so Mum & I decided to have a cappuccino and a caramel donut each. We payed for this (from memory it was $9, which is quite good value in my view), and the lady in attendance said that she would bring over our drinks and donuts.

The coffees and donuts arrived very quickly whilst Mum & I enjoyed a chat, the coffees arrived with two teaspoon size sugar packets each, which was extremely courteous considering that most cafes expect you to find your own sugar. The cappuccinos were quite magnificent, with just the right amount of froth at just the right consistency, the coffee component of the cappuccino was also just right, having a good mix of coffee and milk. The coffee at Liberty is in my view among the best in Canberra.

The donuts were also excellent, having a rich caramel flavour, and being a good, light, fluffy consistency. Many donuts from snack bars are too heavy, or the icing is flaky and overpowering, but not the donuts at Liberty, which were just right. I would even go so far as to say that the donuts are on par with, if not better than, the donuts available at Fantasy Donuts in Westfield Woden which are quite scrumptious.

Originally I had no intention of reviewing Liberty, but after tasting the coffee and donut and experiencing the fantastic customer service on offer, I felt compelled to write a review. I would have no hesitation in referring people to Liberty as I’m sure they would enjoy their time, and find plenty of good things on offer in the surrounding stores of the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets.

Liberty offer much more than just coffee and donuts, in fact they offer a whole range of meals including burgers, seafood, pasta, greek salad and much much more, including an extensive range of juice, milk and fizzy drinks (as well as excellent coffee).

Liberty Snackbar is open on Tuesday from 7am-2pm, Wednesday-Sunday 6am-6pm, and closed on Monday. They can be found at shop 18 of the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets on Lathlain Street, Belconnen, just opposite Bunnings and just off Belconnen Way. You can contact them by phone on (02) 6251 1575.

I would thoroughly recommend that you visit Liberty Snackbar next time you are around that area, say hello to owners John and Ornela, and let them know that Samuel Gordon-Stewart recommended them. I will be sending them a copy of this review, so they should know who you’re talking about.

Liberty Snackbar owners John and Ornela Anastasopoulos
Photo source


4 comments May 6th, 2006 at 07:01am

Cafe Review: Cafe Yala

Cafe Yala is located on the Reid CIT Campus, and has become a regular place of coffee consumption for me. Quite simply, the coffee is great, and as a student I get a discount, having an excellent $2.40 flat white in between classes is brilliant, in fact when I rang Kris McKenzie on 2CC last week, I was sitting at one of the outdoor tables enjoying a cup of coffee.

Yala also has a small selection of food, mostly muffins, of these I would have to recommend the blueberry muffins, as I just love blueberries. I can’t recall the price of them, but I do know that they are delicious.

Yala is open to everyone, but CIT Students (and staff as well I think) get a discount.


2 comments March 22nd, 2006 at 12:17pm

Cafe Review: Coffee @ Helen’s

It has been my view for some time now that I am long overdue for a cafe review, and there is a cafe I have been meaning to review for some time, so here for your reading pleasure is my review of “Coffee @ Helen’s”.

Coffee @ Helen’s is a cafe which could be described as being in the Civic Bus Interchange, between the newsagent and the entrance to Fernwood.

I first ventured into Coffee @ Helen’s when my Friday meetings with my bus driver friend were a common occurence and I needed somewhere to have lunch between the time I arrived in Civic and the time my bus driver friend arrived. Being a small store at a bus interchange I didn’t expect much, so I was very pleasantly surprised by the friendly staff, the lovely coffee and the excellent pies, sausage rolls, quiches (we all know I like a good quiche), sandwiches and more. I was so pleased that I kept coming back each and every Friday, and then at other times when I was around the area.

During various visits, I have had a few different lunches at Coffee @ Helen’s, and I can thoroughly recommend the various quiches, which are solid but mildly fluffy, with a cheese that has just enough flavour and bite to leave an impression without overpowering the rest of the quiche. The pies are also excellent, as are the sausage rolls, but if you are in the mood for a toasted or otherwise sandwich, then this is the place to go. Prepared right in front of you, with either a preset blackboard filling or one of your own choosing, the sandwiches just don’t come much better than what you will find at Coffee @ Helen’s, it could easily be described as “heaven on bread”!

The coffee is (as the name would imply) something else which they specialise in. One thing I have noticed about many cafes and restaurants is that the quality of the coffee depends to a large degree on the person who makes it…this is not the case with Coffee @ Helen’s. I don’t know how they manage it, but every coffee made there, regardless of the person who makes it, is just perfect, admittedly some staff are more creative with froth than others, but that is neither here nor there. The coffee is fantastic here, and I would recommend it to everyone.

Another thing which, whilst not part of the edible or drinkable experience, adds to each visit, is the friendliness of the staff, who always seem to be happy, smiling, and willing to have a chat. During a quiet time you may end up having a conversation for nearly the entire duration of your visit (if you want to), which is not only good for staff morale, but also for customer morale. It is very nice to leave any cafe leaving both refreshed and uplifted, and this is, in my experience, what happens whenever I visit Coffee @ Helens.


February 10th, 2006 at 11:13pm

Welcome Glenn to the Samuel household

With thanks to the lovely people at Rydges Eagle Hawk (where I was yesterday with work), we welcome Glenn the kangaroo to the Samuel Household.
Glenn the Kangaroo

I can hear some people asking why I named him Glenn, well my reasoning is that “Rydges” is written on his front, and I instantly made the connection between that and Glenn Ridge, former host of television’s “Sale Of The Century”, and so decided to name the kangaroo after Glenn Ridge.
Glenn the Kangaroo

Glenn the kangaroo now happily resides in my household, on one of the many cabinets, which he shares with many other animal figurines of similar size.

As a side note, I must say that Rydges Eagle Hawk have a very professional, courteous and cheerful staff, they are also extremely good at making coffee, and their quiche is brilliant, it’s light, fluffy and delicious. The people at Rydges Eagle Hawk deserve accolades for their fantastic effort, I personally made a special effort to thank them for their brilliant food, drink and service by informing one of the staff of my thoughts.

Glenn the kangaroo will always serve as a reminder of the brilliance of Rydges Eagle Hawk and will naturally be a valued member of the Samuel household.


14 comments December 10th, 2005 at 05:50pm

Coffee Shop Review: Tammetts Car Wash Braddon

It might seem odd that I had coffee at a car wash, but this is an interesting car wash. Canberrans will have seen the ads on TV for this car wash, even if they didn’t take any notice of them, basically they are the second (and smaller) Mobil service station on Lonsdale Street in Braddon, which also contains a car rental service and a convenience store. Most service station convenience stores are pretty dismal, they offer an unusual array of products at (mostly) inflated prices, but not this one in Braddon, quite possibly as it appears to be a family business.

People who have worked in industrial areas would know that service station coffee usually comes out of a vending machine tasting like dishwater, with a strange froth on top that disappears by the time you cross the road, and this is what sets Tammetts apart from most service stations, they have real coffee.

Let me go back a bit and explain why I was having coffee in Braddon. I had just walked into Braddon to return some DVDs and was feeling a bit thirsty, I couldn’t decide whether to walk home and have a coffee there, or find somewhere that serves coffee, then I remembered the ad for Tammetts Car Wash which states that you can enjoy a coffee while your car is washed, and I remembered seeing a coffee machine in the ad, so I thought I would go and try it.

When I got there I noticed something which, whilst not surprising, did surprise me a little bit. One of the people washing a car was the man in the TV ad who hands the car keys to a somewhat surprised looking lady who appears to be a bit camera shy. The ad alone would prove that she was a real customer and he was a real car washer as an ad with models would have lots of overly happy people making the car wash look like some euphoric water recycling and car shining extravaganza filled with people who can make a car shine by simply smiling at it and dancing nearby. The fact that the ad doesn’t contain such events is a breath of fresh air, and shows a level of trust and honesty which is rare in advertising, and somewhat refreshing.

I walked in to the convenience store feeling quite good about the place and walked over to the counter. I asked for my usual beverage, which is of course a cappuccino and was served by a lovely and courteous lady who made the coffee (which cost $2.70 from memory) and kindly directed me to the sugar and spoons. A lot of places direct you to the sugar and spoons when they aren’t in an entirely obvious position, but few do it in the nice manner which the lady at Tammetts did.

I collected my sugar and spoon and sat down in a position which overlooked the collection of maps for sale (at what I would consider quite reasonable prices) and the counter. I then proceeded to enjoy the froth on the coffee, the froth was very nice, it was of a good consistency and the sprinkle of chocolate mixed in very well. Then I moved on to the coffee itself, and it was wonderful. The strength was just right, as was the consistency, they managed the mixture of milk and coffee perfectly, and it showed as the coffee was very smooth and rich.

As I was enjoying my coffee and admiring the range of maps and car oils which Tammetts had for sale, the man from the ad walked in and (I think) collected his lunch. As he walked out he greeted me and I greeted him, he appears to be a very nice person, as do all the staff at Tammetts.

Overall I was very impressed with Tammetts, their staff and their coffee. They appear to be a very friendly and courteous business, and I’m sure that they have a lot of loyal customers as a result. I know that next time I’m thristy in Braddon I will be dropping in for a coffee.


2 comments October 25th, 2005 at 02:02pm

Restuarant Review – The Majura Cafe

For those of you who don’t know (and that would be everyone who hasn’t been to Dickson College), the Majura Cafe is a “most tuesday lunchtimes” cafe run by the hospitality students. It presents itself as a standard commercial cafe with that style of food and service (although the service is slightly more towards the restuarant style of service than the lunchtime cafe service). I have often thought about going, and last week on Tuesday I decided to try it out, and these were my findings.

On previous occasions I have heard of people booking tables for this cafe, so when I arrived I checked if I had needed to make a booking and was informed that I didn’t, and that I could take any seat I wanted. I decided to sit outside in a sunny spot. After I sat down, two other people asked if they could sit at the table I was sitting at, to which I gracefully agreed and a conversation began.

A waiter came and attended to the table and asked for our orders. It was a difficult decision, but I eventually settled on a quiche and a cappaccino (the quiche was the difficult decision). After this another waiter brought out a vase filled with water, I’m sure there is a better and more appropriate word, but vase is what I’m calling it.

After a little while, and at about the point in time where I was starting to wonder when the food would arrive, the food arrived. My quiche was served with an overly generous serving of slightly less than fresh salad. The cherry tomatoes were nice and fresh, but the salad was a bit dry, and there was far too much of it. I suspect they wanted to fill the plate, I suggest they get smaller plates.

Onto the quiche, it was interesting, it had a very nice crusty pastry, but the quiche itself wasn’t quite right, they had the right idea, but something went wrong. The quiche wasn’t fluffy, quiche is supposed to be at least partially fluffy, but this was solid, and didn’t have the right consistency, apart from which they used the wrong cheese, it overpowered everything else, which was unfortunate as everything else seemed to be just right.

While I was eating, I was starting to wonder when the drinks would arrive, and the discussion at the table turned to “I wonder if he wrote down the drinks?”, at this exact moment the drinks arrived, and I must say the coffee was excellent. This has to be one of the best cups of coffee I have ever had, smooth and consistent, and even the froth was just right. I was rather suprised by the coffee, as it takes a lot of practice to get coffee right, and everyone has a different version of “right”, but the hospitality students appear to have perfected the art of coffee making, and the Majura Cafe is worth visiting just for it’s coffee.

The atmosphere is interesting, inside they have a room with tables and chairs which is rather attractive, outside they have a nice little alfresco dining area which is also quite attractive, the path between these two places is where the payment desk (for lack of a better description) is placed as well as the door through to the kitchen. The whole area seems quite nice, and if you forget that you are in the middle of a school you can almost imagine it being a real public cafe in Dickson or Manuka.

There are two things however that need some improvement. One is the payment desk area, this lacks the ambience of the other areas…a couple fake plants would fix that, and secondly the noise from the kitchen, I’m all for kitchen noises, they make one feel as if the food is being prepared in a mystical and wonderful manner, what I don’t like, however, is yelling and screaming. When I am sitting outside I really don’t need to be able to hear the senior kitchen staff yelling instructions to the other side of the large kitchen, especially when they have rather piercing voices. Please keep your voices down or close the doors and windows when embarking on yellathons in the kitchen.

All in all, the Majura Cafe is well worth a visit, many staff and students at Dickson College regularly attend it, and I can understand why. Perhaps next time I will try something a little less ambitious than the quiche, something which doesn’t require as much specialised skill, as I believe fluffy quiches are a highly specialised skill.

The Majura Cafe does, however, make excellent coffee, and the pricing is very reasonable (I think my lunch was around the six dollar mark, I can’t quite recall), and I would be delighted to recommend them to anybody who is willing to try something slightly different.

As far as I can tell, the Majura Cafe has not been reviewed before (Google doesn’t seem to think so), so I am proud to be the first.

The Majura Cafe runs most Tuesdays during the school term and is located in the hospitality building at Dickson College, phone (02) 6205 6455 for more details.


2 comments September 14th, 2005 at 12:42am


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