2016 - year in review
• By Optimus Prime Rib
2016 has been another fantastic year in Darwin foodie culture with lots of new cafes, restaurants and at home businesses croppping up. The Darwin Foodies team look back and provide their individual highlights for the year.
Optimus Prime Rib
It was hard keeping this list short, but here are my highlights for the year.
Favourite destination - The Quarter
The Northern Suburbs finally have an after hours eatery, and not just any eatery, but a dazzling uber slick setup with a host of big name venues. The family and I are now regulars here on any given weeknight. We still head out to the CBD to eat of course, but it's nice to have an option closer to home.
Best burger - The Meat House
Super juicy and full of flavour, the hamburger at The Meat House took me by surprise. Great venue that's a little hidden half way between Darwin and Palmerston.
Second place - Chicken burger at Besser
Casual dinner hangout - Cafe 21 Smith
Not your ordinary cafe as this place is bigger than most restaurants in Darwin. Very spacious with a gorgeous fit out. Friendly service and good value food that's on the money. I go here often with the family for an easy, relaxing weeknight dinner.
Foodie event - Persona Indonesia, Darwin Festival, India on Mindil, Greek Glenti
Fun and food, these events are always a highlight for me throughout the year.
The great outdoors
During the dry season, these are the places I often found myself at to make the most of the perfect weather: Lola's Pergola, Eva's Cafe, Darwin Trailer Boat Club, Cafe de la Plage, Malak Markets, Nightcliff Markets.
Getting fancy - Pavonia Place
Renee and her team know how to pair excellent service with amazing food. If we feel like splashing out, this is the place we go. Runner up goes to PM with their super fresh grilled local seafood.
Pigging out - OKA Chinese and Malaysian
On the weekends these guys do "Chee Chaa", their version of a buffet / yum cha / tapas. $22 all you can eat Asian goodies? SOLD!
Coffee fix - Harvest Coffee shop
Great coffee and a quiet relaxing place to hang out in the mornings and get some work done using their free wifi. Cyclone Cafe and The Foreshore are also great spots for a cuppa.
So many to choose from, so here's a list in no particular order:
- Pork belly - PM Eat & Drink
- Banh Mi - Chow
- Crispy Egg - Parap Markets
- Stuffed Eggplant - Oka Malaysian and Chinese Cuisine
- Hamburger - The Meat House
- Make your own burger - McDonalds
- Scotch fillet, salad and chips - Cafe 21 Smith
- Chicken rice - Rendezvous Cafe
- The platter thingy at Eva's
- Kebab - Nightcliff Grill and Chill
- Anything from Laneway Cafe
- Little Crumbs Cupcakes
- Fusion fried rice - Fusion Cafe aka Waterfall Cafe
Brioche of Tarth
Oh gawd, where do I start?
This year we said hello to new places and a website. There were some bittersweet goodbyes too.
Here's my list for 2016:
Favourite destination - Malak Marketplace
The food is fantastic, but as I mentioned before it's the people that pops the cherry on top!
A holistic farm-fresh marketplace that stands out from the other already famous markets in Darwin and is the first marketplace to:
- ban soft drinks
- have almost 100% organic foods
- inter-vendor support like never seen before
- actually have seats space
We look forward to what they have in store for 2017!
I kid you not, the partner and I cannot go a week without eating our usual from Thai Tastic. Super friendly staff, delicious food with generous servings topped with fresh bamboo and herbs - can't go wrong.
Foodie event - MasterChef Dining & Bar Singapore
We got to meet and greet the great Marco Pierre White and dessert genius Reynold Poernomo. It really was a once in a lifetime gig - I don't think my heart could survive anymore!
The great outdoors - Rachael's Seafood on the Boardwalk
Rachael's expanded from her little shack to the Boardwalk where the Boatshed Cafe in Cullen Bay. The menu's expanded a little with a little salad bar and the best seafood, can't go wrong.
Getting fancy - The Poolside Restaurant at DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin
Sure it's not as fancy as the other hotels, but the Hilton team know how execute excellent service with amazing food. Perhaps one of my favourite meals for the year.
Coffee fix - Kopi Stop
Great coffee and a quiet relaxing place to hang out in the mornings and get some work done using their free wifi. My other favourite was Besser Brew Bar with a side of toastie yummmm.
In no particular order, some places we said goodbye to :(
- The Black Pig
- Mt Fuji Japanese Curry & Hotdog
- Cold Brew Cafe
- Cafe 300
- Cucina Italian Diner Palmerston
- Happy Chappy Coffee