Pulling back the curtin on Canberra’s latest local-Two Blind Mice


The Curtin Shops are getting a serious injection of street value with Two Blind Mice opening their giant, handcrafted, reclaimed, recycled and restored wooden door to the public on Monday.

If the food side of the business wasn’t so exciting, we could spend much of this article noticing the ingenuity and hard work of owner Sam Carlini, who could probably forge a career in carpentry after all he did. achieved in this vast area. corner place.

Everything from the distinctive exterior timbers (discarded fencing from a house in Lyneham) to the bar roof (beams salvaged from the old Knightsbridge Penthouse) to the glorious floorboards (saved Australian Institute of Sport basketball court) has a story to tell.

And Sam has created a relaxed yet classy pub environment in which to put down a restored mid-century chair to tell the tale.

But we digress.

With a pedigree in the local hospitality industry – Sam has had his hands on some of the city’s best-known bars, including Kremlin, Molly and Highball – Two Blind Mice takes everything he’s learned about the industry and brings it together in a suburban setting. he loves (disclaimer, he lives in Curtin and loves the cohesive community atmosphere).

Chef Josh McDonald and Owner Sam Carlinic

Sam wants the atmosphere to be as relaxed and welcoming as the food is serious.

All the ingredients on Two Blind Mice’s menu are made by hand, from the pizza dough to the ice cream to the pasta and pickles. There is no freezer on site, in line with the desire for only fresh and seasonal products. And flavors are distinctly European – progressing from the food to a wine list that will weigh heavily on Sam’s favorite Italian reds.

Drawing on relationships he has with some of the city’s top chefs, Sam has brought on board chef and partner Josh McDonald, who has previously worked at Nomad Sydney, Terra and Kokomos. Josh will oversee the large black and white tiled kitchen with a huge brick pizza oven (from which you can order takeaway).

While the atmosphere is warm and democratic, “I want to welcome everyone from high-visibility workers to costumed couples on a Saturday night,” says Sam, the menu suggests Two Blind Mice will get the more serious attention of the city council. food obsessed.

For example, you could start with dishes like Burrata with fennel jam and toasted sourdough, or king prawns with chermoula, dill and pickled chili, or perhaps baked cauliflower salad with cashew, arugula and labne.

Some main dishes may sound like regular pub fare, but Two Blind Mice’s take on fish and chips includes whole butterflied and crumbled snapper, with a leaf salad, tartar sauce and hand-cut chips. There’s a spiced half chicken with kohlrabi, celeriac rémoulade and gravy, or pasta lovers can feast on the beef cheek pappardelle with red wine braised beef cheek, parsley and lemon gremolata, or the seafood linguine with mussels, crab, cherry tomatoes and half a Moreton Bay bug .

The pizza menu is extensive and as such is subdivided into a red and white based version to match the substantial pizza oven.

In time, Sam will take over the adjacent commercial property so that he can sell some of the homemade products his kitchen produces, including his own charcuterie.

But first comes first, and that is, opening the beautiful door he hand-sanded for an eagerly waiting community.

Curtin residents will no doubt have to get used to invaders from other suburbs invading ‘their’ locals. By the way, the name refers to two bars in a pub, not a nursery rhyme.

But it might be hard to find a seat to match Curtin’s rise to gastronomic reputation thanks to the great Vietnamese bakery My Gourmet Delights and Red Brick Espresso, which are already enticing non-residents to the village-style shops.

To that end, Sam is clear that the glorious yellow La Marzocco coffee machine next to the front door is “just about being able to have an espresso martini or a cup of coffee after dinner. Curtin already has great coffee and we don’t want to compete with that. People come come to us for beer, or a spritz, or a super Tuscan wine…”

All images by Zachary Griffith.


Two blind mice
Where: 6/44 Curtin Place, Curtin
Hours: 11am-11pm seven days.

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