As you may have noticed I head out to eat when in Canberra with my friends, the Schmollinghams, it is one of my highlights when in the capital; to research venues to feast at, set the budget, ensure it’s BYO, discover all the requirements we have set and ensure it meets them all via the very accommodating Zomato site. And so it was on my recent Canberra trip, the requirements were; open Monday (dramatically reduces choices), BYO, average price $30 per head, local-ish to Dickson area and food that we all loved. What came up among a few of the venues listed was KUSINA, in Weston, a Filipino venue that all three of us were keen to try, it was a winner.
Filipino food is one of my favourite cuisines, when I grew up one of my best friends was Filipino, his mum used to run the local chicken shop and make all these delicacies and whenever my friend, Brian, would come and stay he would make one of my favourite meals, Chicken Adobo – bloody love it, he still makes it whenever he comes but it is years between visits these days (the bastard is spending a season in Japan this year running a bar for the ski season), but I digress, this is why it was a must eat venue for me, I had to know if restaurant Adobo would be as good as Brian Adobo.
There aren’t many Filipino venues around the country and one thing Zomato did not point out was that Mondays at Kusina is known as “Monday Madness” – you can eat the normal menu if you want or you can join the hordes of people that flock to Kusina on Monday nights and enjoy “all you can eat” selected menu! The upside was it was only $22- per person and the downside is I never got to eat their Adobo but this is good for Kusina because it means I shall return for more :).
Monday Madness is a pretty straight forward affair, two pork dishes, two chicken dishes, a salad, soft drinks and rice for $22-.
Lechon kawali – Crispy pork belly
Pritong Manok – Crispy chicken wings
Iniham na liempo – Grilled pork belly marinated with sweet bbq sauce
Chicken inasal – Grilled half chicken marinated with lemon grass, garlic, ginger and soy sauce
with unlimited Rice Papaya salad and Soft drink
We loved the Chicken inasal and the Lechon kawali the best and the downside I found was that it was two pork and two chicken dishes, some more variety would have been grand. It was pretty filling and I think the venue makes a financial killing on Monday nights.
The papaya salad was divine, simple and refreshing, it was a great addition to the all you can eat joy!
On my next visit I will be attending on another weekday because their menu is HUGE and well thought out with most dishes encouraged to be shared. The menu is so well explained with tips like “Good for 1-2 people,” highlights on what can be vegetarian tailored and one great thing for locals, they do express lunches for $12.50, if only I worked closer!!
And just to embarrass him, because he deserves it, have a laugh at my nutter friend, Brodi indulging in Chicken inasal :).
Now because the Monday Madness was only $22- a head and we weren’t overly satisfied with the variety we were easily swayed into eating dessert. Cate dived into the Mango Cake and enjoyed it, it lacked something extra, I think this would go well if served with a coffee. Brodi enjoyed the Leche flan $9-. Filipino style creme caramel w/ berry compote, I got a bite of this one and it was lovely!
Mine came out as the favourite dessert, probably half the reason was the fact it was so bloody purple – it was like a beacon of colourful joy on the plate. This was the Purple Yam Cake and it blew my mind, just loved it. Delightfully sweet and it was the best sexually frustrated morsel I have ever eaten :).
The place was packed, I do suggest if heading in for Monday Madness you get there early and MAKE A BOOKING. While I loved the restaurant and the food Monday Madness is not for me. It is like the old Sizzler all you can eat food, decent food but not their best food. The dishes were nice but lacked the variety and taste bud delights a food blogger and his cohorts desire.
I shall return and I will try their Adobong baboy/manok/combination for $19.50. Chicken or pork marinated in a traditional sauce of vinegar, garlic and soy sauce! I am also interested in their Inihaw na pusit for $22-. Grilled squid stuffed with tomato, onion and salted duck egg – this sounds amazing!!
KUSINA caters to everyone and there is more than enough to take the kids, they will love the Monday Madness but also plenty on the menu to suit them, to suit couples, and large groups. KUSINA’s staff were friendly and efficient in true Filipino style, they mist get so busy on Monday nights that they bring out all the family, pretty certain we were served by a fourteen year old for soft drinks but that’s the joy of KUSINA, it is so friendly and relaxed it is like they are throwing a feast in their own home.