Kingsleys Steak and Crabhouse, Canberra, Australia

Hhhhmmm…. Steak…

I’m a sucker for a good steak, give me dead cow, medium rare anyday.

So here I am in Canberra, have a business dinner to do, but where… A colleague points me towards Kingsleys Steak and Crabhouse in Civic… OK, done…

We skipped straight to the chase and ordered a couple of steaks. A rib-eye, medium rare, with a couple of prawns on top for me, and peppered fillet, also medium rare for my guest. Accompanied by vegies and chips to share.

We were going to have a 2007 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir to accompany our steaks, but this wasn’t available. We were offered a Pinot Gris instead which, while I’m not normally a white wine drinker, went down rather well.

For dessert I had a Dark valhrona chocolate tart with king island double cream… very rich, tasted great! These things are good for you… right?!?!?

Find Kingsleys in Canberra here.

La Rustica, Canberra, Australia

Another week, another trip, another fine feed.

I’ve been to La Rustica several times before, and I think from memory I’ve always had the pizza, as the pizzas are good. And for the blokes around us, there’s always a bit of eye candy to help the evening along.

I was in Canberra to teach a course, that’s hungry and thirsty work. To solve that problem, I was catching up with a colleague who I’d worked with in a previous job who has also moved to work with IBM. I was staying in Kingston, so that’s where we decided to meet so we had plenty of scope to choose from.

After a beer an Filthy’s to wet our whistle it was off to La Rustica for our feast.

The wine list is quite good, and the prices aren’t over the top, so we decided to start off with a Pirie ‘South’ Pinot Noir… a good selection.

A pizza was ordered that would be shared, half Dom’s Special (no anchovies, you can keep those salty little buggers to yourself!) and half Salsicce. A very good choice in hindsight.

The pizza was excellent, and on the largish side, but when the dessert menu was proffered, and accepted, it was a magnificant (and I mean the best I have ever had) Tiramisu and a pretty good dessert wine (who’s name escapes me) that rounded out a great evening.

Oh, and Pat’s, the Hyatt dessert eating record holder, company was good too.

You can find La Rustica on the internet here.

Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Canberra, Australia

This is one of my favorite hotels… its a real pity it’s in Canberra.

The Hyatt Canberra is the only 5 star hotel in Canberra, and is a great place to stay. A quick cab ride to the restaurant areas of Manuka and Kingston, the work area of Civic and Parliament House.

The Hyatt traces its heritage back to the foundation of Canberra as Australia’s Capital. A great read on the history of the hotel can be found here.

Over the years I’ve stayed in both the new and old sections of the hotel and both are equally as comfortable, though the old bungalows do seem to be a little colder in the freezing Canberra winter.

Speaker’s Corner is the main bar at the hotel and is a good place to meet up after work. In winter the open fire keeps the bar warm and cosy. In summer, the lawn area outside is the place to relax with a cold beer.

The Promenade Cafe has been the location of an unofficial competition we’ve had a couple of times. As dinner is a reasonably priced buffet, and the desserts are to die for, we decided, on the spur of the moment to have a dessert eating competition. The person that puts away the largest number of desserts is declared the winner. We’ve even codified the rules, you can’t just start with dessert and only dessert, you must have a starter and a main course before you can join the competition. ** But I digress. The starters and the main courses are also quite good.

The hotel also does some pretty good room service food.

** For the record, I think that Pat made it into double figures one night… you just can’t take some people anywhere

Rydges Lakeside, Canberra, Australia

This hotel is old… mutton dressed up as lamb.

The hotel is in a great location close to Lake Burley Griffin and to the “CBD” of Civic, but you can just tell that this hotel has lived a hard life.

I will say that there does seem to be some refurbishment happening, the lifts are being redone and not a moment too soon…. they are just plain dodgy. I think we stopped at almost every floor on the way down one morning, nothing unusual there, but none of the buttons in the lift were pressed and noone got into the lift… spookey.

The bar area downstairs was very nice to relax in and to grab a good cheap eat and a beer.

The rooms themselves seemed to be on the small size with a comfy bed.

HOWEVER… and this is where it starts to get bad…

  1. The room was just plain dirty. There was ‘crap’ on the walls, don’t ask we what it was, but the cleaning staff were obviously scared to go near it, so on the wall it stayed
  2. The bathroom has also seen better days
    1. You had to be a midget to have a decent shower as the shower head was so low
    2. For some reason the fan ran all the time
    3. The shower/bath could use a good clean and some new grout
  3. Internet access was dodgy… a couple of times it just lost the connection and once I had to resort to dial up and the instructions on how to get our discount were just plain wrong.

I was warned by numerous people what to expect, and I gotta say the hotel lived up to expectations!

Would I stay here again? Probably not. But Canberra being Canberra, you’re in the lap of the Hotel God’s so you have to take what is available.

Griffin Hotel, Kingston, Canberra, Australia

The Griffin Hotel, aka Griffin Apartments, in Kingston, ACT is a hotel / serviced apartment complex that is really handy to the cafe / restuarant / pub scene of Kingston.The hotel is also really close to the city centre in Civic (about 10 minutes in a cab on a busy day), Manuka (15 minute walk if you are feeling energetic) and the Kingston strip is just across the road.

Kingston in the ACT is a good place to stay if you want easy access to the city centre during the day and a decent number of restuarants and pub when its time to play. If you can’t find what you need in Kingston, a short trip to Manuka open up a plethora of other possibilities. Though, I prefer Kngston for some reason.

The Griffin Hotel is right in Kingston. I would guess it sports 100 apartments which will be either a 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom or 3 bedroom apartment. You will have a seperate living room, kitchen and bedroom(s). Parking is available under the hotel.

Its showing its age a little, though I wouldn’t guess that its really old.

All rooms have Internet access at a cost of around $30 a day, which seems to be the norm these days, and includes 50 MBytes of data, which is very stingy when most hotels these days offer an all you can eat service. After you reach the 50 Meg limit it costs you 10 cents a Meg.

If you are in Canberra for those fresh freezing winter nights, the heater in the bedrooms will keep you toasty, but there aren’t any heaters in the living rooms or the bathrooms. So take a jumper.

In summer, when it feels like your walking in the face of the Sun, theres’ an air conditioner in the living room, but not in the bedroom.

And, its just across the road from Madam Woo’s!