At home on the promenade

LIFESTYLE. It’s what Canberra’s only urban waterside community promises. And for visitors and thousands of residents, wining and dining is a massive part of the Kingston Foreshore development.

The views? No doubt they’re enticing. The wind? Not always so pleasant but definitely stimulates the senses.

I’ve been many times and will be back many more.

The first restaurant to make its home on the promenade was C-Dine, which now offers “Buck a Shuck” on Fridays, 4pm-6pm – $1 oysters and $5 cider or tap beer. Next was Morks, with its popular fan base, followed by Chong Co Thai and 38 espresso coffee bar.

A delicious combination of other establishments will be open before Christmas, early in the New Year and through 2014. The line-up includes La Rustica, Max Brenner, Lonsdale Street Roasters, Autolyse, Pizza Gusto, Izakaya Restaurant and the Rum Bar.

My most recent visit was to Chong Co Thai, also in Gungahlin and Belconnen (restaurant and express operation). It is a massive piece of real estate, with an enormous number of tables indoors and outdoors. The interior features dark timbers, warm colours and a comforting water feature near the entrance. We were there when a large golden Buddha was installed.

It was lunch and we noted the specials – six noodle dishes ($14.90 to $16.90) and eight rice dishes (same price range). We opted for the regular menu.

Entrees range from $8.90 to $13.50. We began with the “golden” prawn rolls – plump prawns wrapped in crispy pastry and served with sweet plum sauce. They were far from golden and were barely warm, which was a disappointing start.

Mains range from around $19 to $30. The winner was the duck with chilli basil stir fry. You just cannot beat succulent duck and this dish was sensational with sweet basil, chilli and mixed veggies for good measure.

We also ordered the Pad Thai, billed as one of Chong Co Thai’s most popular dishes. My taste buds were not happy, but this dish can be cooked a thousand ways and whether the combo of flavours works for you is often personal preference. The dish looked bland, lacked substance and was not piping hot on arrival (which baffled me, given the place was painfully quiet, except for staff chatting to one another instead of focusing on the three tables with customers).

While the Foreshore is the talk of the town, Kingston proper is also buzzing with activity. Green Square is soon to have its green grass back, thanks to traders lobbying the Government. New Brooklyn, where the Holy Grail used to be, is well on its way to opening. On Giles Street, European is now open and on Kennedy Street, Penny University is enjoying early days.


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