Our capital is known for it’s political ties and impeccable infrastructure, but what we found was a whole other side to Canberra that includes buzzing and on-trend eateries as well as a thriving cultural scene.

STAY

East Hotel

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East is a chic hotel, tucked away in the urban district of Griffith right next door to the trendy Kingston Foreshore area which is filled with cool bars and dining spots – that make for the perfect waterfront tipple. East has all of the luxuries you can expect from a top hotel minus the hefty price tag. It’s decor is sleek and modern with facilities that tick every box for business, pleasure or a family getaway. Each apartment style room is spacious, yet cosy and comes complete with its very own kitchenette and cooking utensils – so you can forfeit going out for a delectable meal in the comfort of (what feels like) your home away from home. A Nespresso machine and complimentary Wi-Fi round off your creature comforts as well as an i-pod doc for your listening pleasure. Each room also has a quaint little balcony overlooking different parts of the popular Manuka and Kingston precincts as well as your very own spa bath, complete with gorgeous Appelles amenities.

The facilities at the swanky hotel are second to none and include a mod conference room as well as a pool and gym, for those wanting to keep up with their fitness regimen whilst travelling. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the dining options on offer with the famed Joe’s Bar conveniently located downstairs and Muse, which perfectly combines food, wine and an array of specailly selected books to stimulate all of the senses.

EAT

Joe’s Bar

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The modest name of this absolute culinary gem, definitely doesn’t do justice to the fine array of Italian fare on offer. The carefully curated menu is the masterpiece of Italian-born Executive Chef, Francesco Balestrieri, who has created a modern Italian offering that’s been designed to share with family and friends.

Balestrieri is intent on getting creative in the kitchen, curing ocean trout in grappa and basil, smoking burrata, pickling, dehydrating mushrooms, and puffing and toasting grains. He brings out the best in these Italian dishes using the freshest local produce sourced from within 100km of Canberra. Highlights include a list of crafted charcutterie boards including speciality meats and cheeses, Beef Carpaccio Di Manzo of raw grain fed beef fillet, sliced finely, rolled in pink pepper and herbs, fried capers, crispy rocket & guava vinaigrette. Creamy Burratta that oozes with a delicate rich centre with smoked grape tomatoes is a must-try dish and mouthwatering Gnocchi with saffron, zucchini ribbons and pancetta are to die for. Joe’s home made Semifreddo has also made a name for itself with a gooey thick chocolate ganache drizzled all over this light, yet indulgent way to round off your meal.

The staff are all incredibly friendly and so professional in selecting the perfect wines to match your dining experience. An incredible cocktail list features classics including Amaretto Sour, on trend Aperol Spritz as well as a twist on Italian classics such as Rossini, combining fresh strawberry pulp and Babo Prosecco. Your waiter will also be happy to help you expertly select from an array of traditional and unconventional digestive beverages to end your meal on the right note, from Grappa to Montenegro or a Limoncello if you prefer.

Me & Mrs Jones

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Located in the heart of Kingston, Me & Mrs Jones is an absolute gastronomical dream immersed within a relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere. At breakfast it exudes a buzzing vibe with a (short) line out the door on any given day. Its interiors pay homage to the original 1920’s building it’s housed in, with a fresh fit-out that’s completely cosy and modern.

At this Canberra  institution, you will  find the most amazing culinary creations with an unpretentious and nostalgic feel. These have been crafted by Executive Chef Dan McConnell who nails every dish with his unique combination of flavours and textures. Featuring the freshest and trendiest ingredients that are so intricately plated, his dishes make for a generous and satisfying meal as well as the perfect Instagram moment. Menu items such as the Smashed Avocado Toast with Persian feta, toasted seeds, poached eggs, fresh lime, baby herbs on rye toast AND Brioche French Toast (pictured right) including crispy speck, dulce de leche, peanut butter snow and grilled banana gelato – will absolutely blow your mind in taste and presentation!

Proscuitto & Eggs is another highlight featuring San Daniele prosciutto, fresh ricotta, basil pesto, cherry tomato salsa, poached eggs on a bed of rye toast and is the ultimate hangover buster with a decadent twist. If you’re after something a little lighter, you won’t be missing a trick a with the Chia Seed Bircher which is nothing short of textural heaven – with Coconut yoghurt, watermelon jelly and a strawberry, apple and mint salsa (pictured left), this dish is what vegan dreams are made of.

Hitting the spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner the venue turns into a happening wine bar and and informal restaurant in the evenings. The genius foodies behind Me & Mrs Jones also have some exciting and unique plans in the works, so watch this space!

Chairman & Yip

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Chairman & Yip is another one of Canberra’s dining treasures. It serves some of the best modern Chinese food that will tantelise the tastebuds. Since its opening in 1992, the Chairman & Yip has become one of Canberra’s longest standing and most highly regarded haunts, having received numerous awards over the years and coveted by many a politicians who visit this eating house on the regular.

The flavoursome menu captures the traditional tastes of China with some contemporary accents. Absolute stand-out dishes include the Spanner Crab Croquettes, delicate morsels which burst in your mouth with the perfect balance of flavours as well as the Peking Duck Pancakes that have been served since the restaurant’s inception over 20 years Ago. The golden gong goes to the Shantung Lamb Belly which is an outright superhero, comprised of delicate lamb belly that’s soft in the middle with a light crisp coating – this dish just melts in your mouth with the perfect blend of traditional oriental seasonings.

If your mind is boggled at the incredible choice of dishes, a perfectly paired degustation is on offer where the staff will work with you to individually select the ideal drop to go with your banquet. If you’re lucky, restaurant manager Sascha will be on duty to take care of your every whim with his exceptional knowledge and eye for a good wine.

PLAY

Aviary Rooftop

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This groundbreaking rooftop bar is Canberra’s first sky high saloon, made primarily out of shipping containers and recycled materials, it is the quintessential place to drink in views of the city skyline.

The entire structure has been designed from the ground up, with custom furniture made from recycled wooden pallets complementing the ecological feel of the garden bar.

The panoramic windows provide spectacular views of Black Mountain Tower, the National Galley, Parliament House and many of Canberra’s most famous landmarks, all while you sample a bespoke menu of crisp cocktails, craft beers, side by side with both the best local and imported beverages to suit everyone’s tastes.

With room for up to 200 friends, you can kick back and relax with a sunset cocktail or two, maybe a boutique brew while our DJs provide the perfect soundscape t​o the panoramic views over Lake Burley Griffin.

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