I hadn’t been back to Urban Pantry in a looong time so it was time to go back and check it out. I remembered Urban Pantry in Manuka as being packed on weekends and it is still the case. J and I walked in and stood around for a while waiting to be seated. It took a few minutes to get someone’s attention. We scored a table inside. There is plenty on the menu with salads, pastas, burgers and grill options. There are also specials written up on the blackboard that all sounded tempting. After viewing the menu online, I really wanted to try the Urban Affogato that had coffee, caramel gelati and violet crumble. Our waitress repeated my order, however, a regular affogato came out instead. I was so hungry that it didn’t actually register that it was a regular affogato until I was halfway through. When our waitress came around to see how we were going, I mentioned that the order was wrong. She was apologetic but said that the cafe only does one affogato with vanilla ice cream. Wrong. She went into the kitchen to double check for me but never came back.
Nevertheless, the presentation was lovely with everything served on a metal platter. The regular Liqueur affogato is $10 and comes with your choice of liqueur if you want it. The coffee was very strong (says me that usually drinks mochas) so it was definitely a wake up.
Food-wise I ordered off the specials menu. The blue eyed cod with Autumn vegies, black mussels and shellfish emulsion ($34). I loved beautiful silky texture of the perfectly cooked cod which had been oven baked, not to mention the crispy skin on the fish. It was a decent meaty portion too. The beautiful emulsion stood out for me. It was full of delicious shellfish flavour mixed with tomatoes and vegetables. Personally I thought it tied everything together. I wished I had some bread to savour every drop. I loved eating the artichokes and the carrots which were slightly crunchy adding a different textural element to the dish and had soaked up some of that shellfish emulsion. I was expecting tiny mussels in a large shell and was surprised to find fat and juicy mussel meat.
J ordered the Cajun style blackened spatchcock with pickled cabbage slaw, crispy kipflers and urban hot sauce ($23). A colourful plate and the capsicum-based hot sauce went well with the charcoal chicken. He mentioned it was more of an entree than a main though and wasn’t very full afterwards.
Overall, I enjoyed my meal but was disappointed with the affogato mix up. It seems like staff don’t thoroughly know the menu which is a surprise since Urban Pantry has been around for a long time. Although it was a busy weekend lunch-time period, the affogato and food didn’t take too long to come out. Noise levels are noticeably high inside the cafe, it might be quieter outside where there are heaters and plastic blinds to insulate against the cold.
Urban Pantry is located on Bougainville Street and is open seven days a week.
Value for money 7.5/10
FPJ score 21/30
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