F220 Smokehouse

I’ve been meaning to try out F220 Smokehouse ever since it took over from the old Sidelines Sports Bar at the same location a couple of years ago, though I just haven’t gotten around to it until tonight.

F220 Smokehouse is owned by the same crew as the nearby Fahrenheit Cafe.

Food

I ordered the F220 Dog – “Giant Texan Sausage, Tangy Ketchup, Mustard, Pickles and Caramelized Onions”.

I love, love, loved the sausage (and my friends joked that I shouldn’t say that too loud… but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it!). The rest of the hot dog tasted okay, though I found the presentation made it hard to eat. I also thought more could have been done with the hot dog (my bar is set by the Strike hotdogs, which are absolutely packed with different sauces and other flavours).

For an extra $3, I substituted the fries for baked potato. This came topped with bacon and sour cream. The potato was soft and creamy, while the bacon was perfectly crunchy. The potato bake could have been improved with some extra bacon. I loved the baked potato, though I’m not sure it was fair to charge extra given that it was a substitution.

My friends ordered the brisket with a side of “Smoked Mac & Cheese”. I had a taste of the mac & cheese and loved it. It was perfect!

I give the food 4/5.

Drinks

Our bartender (who we suspect was also the manager) claimed this was his first time making cocktails… but we loved our cocktails!

(I had the Cherry Gum Old Fashioned whiskey, while my friends had the mojito and tequila cocktails.)

5/5.

Service

The service was fantastic. We were greeted and seated quite quickly, and our waitress was very attentive. I don’t think I’ve ever had a waitress ensure we don’t run out of table water, so I was definitely impressed with the service tonight!

5/5.

Overall

To be honest, I was still mourning the loss of Sidelines when I walked into F220 Smokehouse tonight; but, by the time I left, I was mourning that my time at F220 was over. F220 Smokehouse exceeded expectations on all levels. Unfortunately, I do have a high bar for my hotdogs, but I did nonetheless love the hotdog I was served tonight.

Loved the new place!

9.3/10.

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GPK Erina Fair

GPK (Gourmet Pizza Kitchen) is, as the name suggests, a pizzeria located in the Hive at Erina Fair. GPK also serves pastas and alcoholic beverages; and is conveniently located near Hoyts, if one wishes to follow food with a trip to the movies.

Food

I ordered the Bacon & Mushroom pasta. I thought the meal was average. While it wasn’t bad, the pasta lacked the oomph that would have made it delicious.

My friends, who ordered a variety of pizzas and pastas, also found their meals to be bland.

2.5/5.

Drinks

I ordered a piña colada.

I thought the drink was thicker than other piña coladas I’ve had in the past, however I still enjoyed the taste of it. Despite the piña colada containing white rum and myself being a bit of a light weight, I never felt even the slightest bit tipsy, which does make me wonder if they forgot to add the alcohol… but, hey, maybe I was just having a heavy weight kind of day *shrug*.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine, who considers herself a piña colada connoisseur found the drink lacked the pineapple-y taste that usually characterises piña coladas, and she agreed that it was a bit thick.

2.5/5.

Service

We were served by the owner and we found the service exceptional!

My friend had a voucher for two free pizzas… and we somehow ended up with four free pizzas! One of these extra pizzas was due to kitchen forgetting to leave off an ingredient. They caught the mistake themselves, so the pizza wasn’t brought out to us before they offered to give it to us anyway. A friend that joined us later in the evening ended up eating this pizza rather than buying one for herself. The other extra free pizza was because a friend went home sick… His leaving had nothing to do with GPK, yet they offered us a free pizza anyway!

On top of this, the owner was funny (or as funny as you may find some lame dad jokes). He made the night enjoyable for our group.

5/5.

Overall

While we found the food and drinks to be very average, GPK’s service was some of the best I have seen. Altogether, I rate GPK 6.6/10.

Grease Monkey, Canberra

My partner and I were told the Braddon precinct was the best place for food in Canberra. We had a quick look around and decided to eat at Grease Monkey as it looked enticing, busy, and came recommended by locals online.

Atmosphere

Busy but not noisy.

Great music.

Great set-up with plenty of seating and heaters, as well as bottles of sauce and paper towels across the establishment.

5/5.

Drinks

My partner ordered a beer, which I (of course) had a sip of. It was their equivalent of a house beer and on their menu was called the Greasy Lager. It was cheap, costing only $5. I thought it tasted a lot like a Great Northern. We both loved it!

My partner also bought me a cocktail. He couldn’t remember the name of it and I was unable to find the drink on their website, but it was made up of rum, passionfruit, pomegranate, and came garnished with a lemon slice. I don’t usually drink rum but I really loved this drink!

My drink also came with a paper straw. I’ve always loved the idea of supporting the environment by using straws alternative to plastic, however I find that I don’t like paper straws much as they break easily and their texture feels gross… What I really loved about this particular straw is it stayed solid and was pleasant to drink from.

5/5.

Food

I ordered the Grease Burger (below, left). It’s a typical beef burger with pickles, lettuce, mayo, cheese, and onion. For $15, it was incredibly disappointed. It seemed basic with not a lot on it, and tasted as plain as it looked.

My partner ordered the Parma Burger (above, right). It was a fried chicken burger and was just as lacklustre as my Grease Burger. I even managed to find a bone when I took a bite into his burger, which could’ve been potentially dangerous had I swallowed it.

The chips were also disappointing. They looked and tasted flat and had a strong peppery taste. If this peppery seasoning had more flavour to it, the chips could have potentially tasted great. The tastelessness of these chips weren’t helped by the fact that the only sauce available was self-serve bottled tomato sauce. Having a great side of sauce may have made these chips amazing.

1/5.

Amenities

Toilets were clean.

I wasn’t a fan of the hand wash basin as it was open to the bar and eatery and I felt exposed as I washed and dried my hands. It also seemed like the noise of the hand drier was super distracting for other patrons because a few people did look over when I used it.

2/5.

Overall

I would highly recommend the Grease Monkey for their bar.

However, I would definitely not recommend eating here.

It was a nice establishment, but the bathroom section should be separated from the rest of the bar/ restaurant for privacy and sound management reasons.

6.5/10.

Looking for other activities near Canberra? View Days 1-2 of my itinerary here for ideas!

Lazerpig, Melbourne

Lazerpig is located in Collingwood and in a great area to go bar-hopping if that’s your desire.

We went to Lazerpig for dinner in-between Parts I and II of the Cursed Child at the nearby Princes Theatre.

We nearly gave Lazerpig a miss due to some bad reviews online, however since Lazerpig was recommended by a friend, we decided to give it a risk. And we did not regret this decision.

We arrived just before 5pm, so their restaurant wasn’t actually open when we got there. However, we were able to order food, so we sat in the bar area to eat and drink.

Atmosphere

It wasn’t busy but it was only off-peak.

Music was at a good volume.

Beautiful, dim lighting. Really made the bar look alive.

5/5.

Drinks

I bought and drank the Rhubarb Pie Cocktail while I waited for my food. The drink comprised of sfumato rabarbaro, sazerac rye bourbon. jameson, tasmanian leatherwood honey, lemon, cassia bark, and came with a strawberry garnish. I was shocked at how similar it tasted like Rhubarb Pie. It was also warm, so made for a great drink on a cold winter evening.

I could really see that a lot of love had gone into making my cocktail. 5/5.

Food

My Ronny J pizza came quickly, coming only after about ten minutes. Some reviews we read said the food took up to an hour to come out, so perhaps we got lucky since we went to Lazerpig at an off-peak time.

I expected my pizza to be hot from the jalepenos but I could barely taste them (I mean you know it’s not hot if Luke can tolerate it because he’s weak af for hot foods). On the other hand, the honey gave a lovely undertone to my pizza that I really enjoyed… It was tasteful in such a way that the honey was subtle yet added a unique twist to the pizza.

Though unique, my pizza could have been a little more flavoursome. 4/5.

Ammenities

It was a bit of a maze to find the toilets but they were clean.

3/5.

Overall

I had a great experience at the Lazerpig. I loved their drinks, they definitely had some unique food, their music was good, and the design was great.

I’d love to return!

8.5/10.

Check out Days 3-5 of my itinerary here to view other things to do in and near Melbourne!

Bar-Hopping in Melbourne

Whether you’re unsure how to spend the night after seeing the Cursed Child or just looking for a great night out, I have some suggestions for you!

With the Princess Theatre conveniently a 30-min walk from Collingwood and Fitzroy, which is filled with a plethora of bars, hotels, and pubs, you are in the perfect place to have find yourself in a drunken stupor (unfortunately there’s no butter beer!).

I suggest starting at Bar Americano, proceeding to Eau De Vie, then walking over to Collingwood for drinks at Lazerpig, then down to Naked for Satan at Fitzroy and over to the Evelyn Hotel to finish. Walk down Brunswick St between Lazerpig and Naked for Satan and you may find a gem to add to your list!

While we didn’t go bar-hopping ourselves, we did have dinner at Lazerpig. Their food was great and their drinks even better! I tried the Rhubarb Pie cocktail and it actually tasted like Rhubarb Pie!

Check out Days 3-5 of my itinerary here to view other things to do in and near Melbourne!