The Canberran

A snobby (though tongue-in-cheek) look at the finer sides of the National Capital. Got a tip? Email

Category: Martini Test Drive

Settling in at Parlour Bar

by The Editor


It seems all the action is occurring over on the western side of Canberra City. With the recent arrival of Molly and QT Hotel, as well as the completion last year of the last bits and pieces of NewActon, there’s a lot going on once you cross Northbourne Avenue.

We decided to spend an evening at one of NewActon’s newest (and oldest) venues – Parlour Wine Room. You may have been there during the three years it was open prior to the tragic fire that started in Flint Restaurant and took Parlour with it, however, rest assured the new Parlour Wine Room is something far beyond what previously existed.

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Casting our vote at Polit Bar

by The Editor

Polit Logo

We discussed it briefly yesterday, and were quite excited by the prospect of a tongue-in-cheek venue opening up in Manuka. Much like our illustrious leaders who are very much in campaign mode, the brash new independent, Polit Bar, is on the charm offensive.

So, what did we find at a soft launch for a bar that has fixed their opening night soiree an a yet-to-be-called election night? Was this the equivalent of a ‘hung opening’?

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Martini Test Drive – Kremlin Bar

by The Editor

At the 2012 ACT Australian Hospitality Association awards night, Kremlin Bar came out on top of the cocktail category. While this may have raised a few eyebrows around town there is no argument this City Centre venue has been a consistent performer in recent years.

What we wanted to know of the Cocktail Bar of the Year was simple: In a world of infusions, flowers and flourishes, could the Kremlin Bar make a simple martini?

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Martini Test Drive – Soju Girl

by The Editor

We’ve visited Soju Girl a number of times since opening (and especially just after opening) and have continued to be impressed by the fresh flavours that pervade its food and drink. Still, with such experience behind the bar as can be found at Soju, there is only one way to test its mettle.

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Martini Test Drive – Knightsbridge Penthouse

by The Editor

Let’s face it – Knightsbridge Penthouse is one of THE bars in Canberra.  Years of success thanks to the stewardship of Bria Sydney and a stylish, well-heeled inner North clientele has seen ‘Knighty’ grab a foothold as a modern Canberra institution.  So, why on God’s good earth have we taken so long to drop in for a martini?  It’s madness.

As La Nina did her best to wash the Inner North into the lake, we sought shelter within Knightsbridge with other After Five tipplers.  Shaking off the umbrella, we perched on the bar, wiped ourselves down with a serviette and engaged our bartender.  “It’s martini hour.” we announced.  “Take us on a journey.”

And so we began.

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The Great Lamington Bake-off

by The Editor

To be honest, the National Portrait Gallery isn’t making it easy to promote this event given the limited amount of information on their website.  Still, we’re always happy to hear about a good old fashioned bake-off.  Here’s the sum total of details we could get our hands on:

Come and watch our three guest chefs compete to capture the identity of Australia’s coconut covered icon. Is it the flavour or the presentation? Join with our judges to taste and decide.

Gordon Darling Hall Thursday

26 January 10.00am – 12.00pm

Who are the chefs?  No idea.  Will there be lamingtons?  Definitely.  Sounds like a great start before the barbeque/pool party/Hottest 100 commences.

Happy ‘Straya Day.

Naughty Monday: The Canberra Martini

by The Editor

Q:  What’s better than a martini after work?

A:  Four martinis after work! (well, four half-sized martinis after work-you want to make it in the next day)

The Canberran was excited today to learn of Canberra Martini’s plan to celebrate the last week of work with a little soiree over at Hotel Diamant on the evening of Monday 19 December.  Deee-licious!

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Martini Test Drive – Hippo Bar

by The Editor


“Take us on a journey.” That was our simple direction to Sam, our bartender one Thursday afternoon at Hippo Bar.  Sam was welcoming and compliant, wandering away to think about the options as we sat and collected ourselves with a beer.

Once we were ready, Little Spoon and I signalled to Sam we were ready for our martinis.  A little disconcertingly, the glasses were already iced and sitting on the bar.  It was already possible to see water pooling in the bottom of the glasses.  Hmmm… this wasn’t the start we were hoping for.

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Martini Test Drive: Muddle Bar

by The Editor

To be honest, we’ve never really got Muddle Bar.  When it opened, some time back in the early 2000s, we thought it would last a year at best.  The cocktails were terrible, and with a position on the wrong side of Northbourne Avenue for a late night venue.  Now, almost a decade down the track and despite our assumptions and doubts, the bar seems to be kicking along without any sign of slowing.

This evening Ben is the bartender.  He isn’t the more extroverted of the two on duty, but has been shovelled the task of preparing tonight’s martini due to either his superior skills or junior rank.  Regardless, Ben looks confident with the task I have set for him, and on my signal sets up to make the Muddle Bar martini.

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Martini Test Drive – The Kennedy Room

by The Editor

The Brief:  Make me the martini that best represents the bar.

“So, this is really it?”  I asked not out of disappointment, but because I wanted to be sure Amy, our cocktail bartender at Kingston’s Kennedy Room, had received our request from another bartender.   Not knowing Amy, we thought this was the perfect way for Little Spoon and I to test the bar’s classic cocktail skills without pretence or expectation if one can do such things when ordering a martini.

“You asked for a martini, didn’t you?”  Amy sounds unsure rather than rude.

“Well, yes.  However we were looking for the martini that best reflects the Kennedy Room.”

“Ah,” smiles Amy.  Ideas are obviously forming in her mind. “That’s a very different thing.”  If so, we can only serve the science of cocktails by allowing her to demonstrate.

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