Friday, 7 March 2008

Two Dinners in Dickson

I had dinner in Dickson on Wednesday and Thursday, quite randomly. I had planned to make a silverbeet and fetta frittata, but on Wednesday I was just tired and couldn't be bothered, then yesterday The Bloke had some visiting workmates from Sydney who needed dinner.

Firestone, at 14 Woolley St, is relatively new; we ate there once last year when it had just opened, and the paint and varnish smells were still a bit strong. It's now settled down, although the decor remains a bit industrial, with a polished concrete floor and cement-fronted bar. There are comfortable banquette seats along the wall opposite the bar, and by the window. On Wednesday night it was fairly quiet, enough diners for a pleasant atmosphere, but not enough for the acoustics to be a problem. I suspect it could be unpleasantly noisy when it's full. But young people (who should get off my lawn, damnit) might enjoy that vibe.

The food was good, and unusually for Canberra, the service was very good. Our waiter was unfussed, helpful and unobtrusively attending to detail. She spotted some dirty cutlery and whisked it away for replacement without being asked. Our drinks and meals arrived at a good pace.

Firestone is a modern pizzeria, with thin crust wood fired pizza and calzones a major feature - including dessert pizza. I wanted to try the apple, cinnamon and marscapone one, but alas, I was too full. Perhaps a lunch with the grrls is in order... They also do salads, risotto, pasta dishes, in a good mix of Italian classics and more modern styles. There's also a few "sharing plates" which can work as entrees or tapas, as you wish.
We started with a simple sharing plate of ciabbatta with persian fetta, then I had gnocchi with a creamy rabbit and porcini ragout. The Bloke had a pizza with chorizo, fresh hot chilli and tomato, and a topping of rocket. We shared a bottle of Cab Merlot. I enjoyed mine very much - the ragout was smooth, mild and creamy, with well balanced flavours. The generous serve of gnocchi was very slightly undercooked, though. I had a taste of the pizza and it was excellent, a beautiful thin yet robust yeasty crust. I enjoyed it all very much, and have no hesitation recommending them. Pizzas about $10-15, main meals$15-20, tasting plates $5-10. They also do takeaway.

Yesterday we had a very enjoyable dinner at TurkOz, Dickson's only pide house. We had a bad experience there when we first moved to Canberra - the service was truly abysmal - so when we heard that it had been sold to the chef a year or so back, we had to try it again. And it was greatly improved. Wonderful!

The menu at TurkOz is fairly classic Turkish dips, pides, and grills. You pretty much can't go wrong, although be warned that the servings are huge. One pide is enough for three people, especially if you've got a salad and had some dips. The grills come on large plates, with generous quantities of salad and rice. Only one person finished theirs, and he's a fit and active young man.

We shared a mixed plate of five dips ($20) to start - the hommous was the standout, I thought. Between the five of us, this was quite adequately sized, with generous amounts of bread. Three people had individual grill plates, which smelled and looked great, and The Bloke and I ordered a pastirmali pide and a TurkOz salad to share. The pide was brilliant - fresh, hot and perfectly cooked, plenty of cheese with the tasty cured beef. The salad was interesting - I had expected a standard green salad with fetta and olives, but it was all quite finely chopped and crumbled, closer to a tabouli texture. It was delicious, if perhaps a bit rich to offset the pide. No stingy hand doled out all those olives and cheese! Even though we left a lot of it, we still ate too much. We couldn't face breakfast this morning except a little bit of fruit and coffee.

TurkOz is officially on Challis Street, but the entrance is actually in that plaza off Woolley Street, near Zefirelli's. You can't see it from Challis street, but it is there, if you go round the back of Trinity bar. There's plenty of outdoor seating, very pleasant on a mild night, with the coloured lights twinkling down Woolley St and the people coming and going. It's a good place for a party. If you can't decide, they have a banquet menu. You can get dips, bread and pide to take away, too, of course.


Trish said...

We live near Dickson and so Woolley Street is a regular haunt. We have been to Firestone half a dozen times, and the service is that good every time. We've tried to order something different each visit and are about a third of the way through the menu. All pretty good so far. We used to go to Bellucci's down the street quite regularly, but it's far too noisy for a family night out. Firestone is a good family restaurant, there are some good choices for the kids on the menu.

TurkOZ is also a favourite, though we've been getting our Turkish takeaway from the Lyneham Pide house lately simply because it's more accessible (parking in Dickson is a shocker - they should open up that multi-storey government carpark on Challis Street).

Daniel said...

Fantastic blog Cath.

I just came back from a Peking Duck dinner at the Dumpling Inn.

Next Friday, my work is going to Sanur's Balinese Restaurant (in Belconnen) for lunch.