Tunes? Check! Travel buddy? Check! Mercedes-Benz? Check! A weekend away wining and dining in Canberra? Let’s do it!
The Tailored Man team recently had the pleasure of organising a little road trip to the capital city of Australia, Canberra.
With what was only a 7-hour drive from Melbourne (our Mercedes C 250 made the trip thoroughly enjoyable) awaiting was a city that is so underrated, we were baffled!
Without turning this into a tourism ad for Canberra, the city features some of the best eateries we have experienced, a relaxed environment, historical precincts, beautiful architecture, wine country and all within a people-friendly, easy-going environment that makes Canberra, Canberra.
Without further ado, this is how our weekend to Canberra panned out….
Leaving extra early to beat the Melbourne morning rush, we decided to drive the 7+ hours to Canberra in style, in an all new Mercedes-Benz C 250. Driving made easy, our vehicle did not lead us astray. In fact, it pretty much drove itself for the length of the journey, with Distronic Plus proving a beautiful invention to the modern-day vehicle.
After a long and mundane drive (thank god for Spotify), we arrived in the capital, checking into our hotel for the next two nights; the fresh, funky and vibing East Hotel.
Situated in the affluent suburb of Kingston in Canberra’s ‘Inner South’, East Hotel is the creation of visionary and director Dan Bisa, who wanted to fill the void in the accommodation market by providing stylish and convenient accommodation with little to no fuss.
“The genesis of East Hotel was to accommodate for a funky and fun place to stay for tourists and locals,” Bisa said.
“The nature of tourism in Canberra has changed over the last 5 years; there’s a lot of soul here in Canberra at the moment that is redefining the city.”
And soul there was, as each facet of the hotel, including our spacious apartment with its quirky detailing, was met with joy and comfort, especially knowing that we were in great hands at East Hotel.
But don’t be fooled, as East Hotel isn’t just for the ‘hip’ and ‘trendy’.
“We have seen major CEO’s staying at East Hotel, mixed with politicians from Canberra to Washington; we’ve seen it all, which is a great assertion that we’re changing the traditional approach into something that is contemporary, vibrant and exciting.”
THE BAR + RESTAURANT
With a drink and antipasto platter awaiting us downstairs, we eagerly made our way down to ‘Joe’s Bar’ before our booking at the much anticipated, and recently established Italian restaurant, ‘Agostinis‘, located within East Hotel.
Paying homage to the Bisa family’s Italian heritage, Agostinis (designed by the extremely talented Kelly Ross) is unlike anything we have seen before. Agostinis offers a warm and charming ambiance, evoking feelings that are reminiscent of a home away from home. From the leopard print booths (a favourite print of Dan Bisa’s mum) to the spaghetti (wool) hanging from the ceiling, your eye is immediately enticed by the room’s quirky yet stylish decor.
Head chef and Roman-born Francesco Balestrieri, (formerly of QT Canberra) helped set up Joe’s bar, and has now taken full reins of his new venture in Agostinis.
“Agostinis will bring something different to Canberra; the Italian food is of the best quality, featuring only the best produce, sourced both locally and from Italy,” Balestrieri said.
The menu at Agostinis features traditional Italian dishes that Dan and his family grew up with, that range from dishes of the North to the South of Italy, and anywhere in between.
And what may be the signature dish of the Italian chef, you ask?
“Tonnarelli alla Bottarga, which is a beautiful square pasta. It is so fresh, and I add some parmeggiano and chilli; it is simply beautiful.”
The pizza is also pretty damn good. Cooked in a special Marana Forni gas oven (1 of 40 in Australia), what you get is a truly authentic, Roman-styled Pizza: thin and crispy.
The open space kitchen, hosting a team of 15 chefs under the watchful eye of Francesco Balestrieri, will impress you at every bite .
Agostinis is at East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston.
Hopefully this article inspires you to travel to the sometime forgotten city that is, Canberra. And if you do so, the National Gallery of Australia is sure worth the time to pay a visit.
Overlooking the spectacular Lake Burley Griffin, which is actually man-made believe it or not, the NGA is a site for sore eyes on a glorious sunny day in Canberra.
Fortunately, although exhibitions feature all year long, we were able to see the highly anticipated ‘Versailles: Treasures from the Palace’ exhibition, showcasing treasures and artefacts from the the Palace of Versailles itself.
It was quite a special moment, as we immersed ourselves into the history of Versailles; for a moment, we almost forgot that we were in Canberra but instead France.
Click HERE for all relevant info on this wonderful exhibition.
THE GROOMING SESSION
Of course, a trip away from home calls for a bit of TLC, and so we headed straight for ‘Barber Shop’ located within QT Canberra.
With a welcoming glass of Scotch on arrival, it was little fuss before the head barber was down to business; short back and sides.
Small talk was made whilst the expert was busy at work, and we were let in on a little secret: want to eat the best steak in Canberra? Book a meal at Capitol Bar & Grill restaurant.
Before we could even get out of the barber chair (all good things must wait), we had made dinner reservations….
Click HERE for all appointments at Barber Shop.
Capitol Bar & Grill, located within QT Canberra, is an Italian-themed restaurant that offers an extraordinary antipasto table mix, teamed with prime cut steaks on a wood fired grill.
One thing we certainly noticed in Canberra is the quality of the local produce, and how different chefs utilise these fresh products in their own unique ways.
As a starter, our antipasto platter was simply incredible. For mains, the Dry Aged New York Sirloin on the Bone, 350g, was mouth watering at every bite. Coupled with a beautiful glass of Nick O’Leary Shiraz from the ACT itself, we were set for a wonderful (final) evening in Canberra.
Capitol Bar & Grill comes highly recommended; from the table service to the quality meals to the restaurant ambiance, it was the perfect ending to a wonderful getaway to Canberra.
All in all, with what is only a half day’s drive from Melbourne, Canberra should definitely be on your list of To Do’s if but only once in your lifetime (but what a shame that would be?).
Take your time, kick your feet back and enjoy the slower city pace that offers all the happenings of a buzzing little hub. With an exquisite gastronomy culture, an extraordinary and worldly art scene, and city-friendly infrastructure, thank you, Canberrians, for welcoming us with open arms.