A hidden gem nestled in Canberra’s suburbia, Bolt Bar offers the people of Aranda a convenient and down-right awesome watering hole that has seen revellers travel from across town to experience its tasty food and beverage offerings.

For you north-side folk in search of a new local, look no further because, trust me, we’ve found it for you.

Located in the homely Aranda shops, the bar is a welcomed extension to the much-loved Two Before Ten Café and Coffee Roasters, which resides next door. Then there’s the Library – a gathering place with comfortable couches, books and tables where people can wind down after a long working day or on a lazy afternoon.

The urban, rustic venue is brimming with character and its name pays homage the original architect behind the revitalised shops, Dirk Bolt. The fit-out oozes old-school charm with exposed brick feature walls, raw wood detailing, black light pendants hovering over the bar and, of course, a nook-style kitchen that provides a glimpse into the hustle and bustle of a day in the life of Bolt’s head chef Andrew Hsieh.

After being greeted by the friendly Bolt staff we were given a quick run through of all the dishes that were soon to grace our table. On this particular day the space was filled with natural light, setting the perfect scene to our anticipated meal.

First up was the Bread and Dips Trio. The bread was sliced and toasted perfectly, and as simple as the entrée was, it was bursting with flavour thanks to its accompaniment of house-made dips – beetroot, hummus, grilled capsicum. The bright pinky-purple colour of the beetroot dip was the star of the plate, while the grilled capsicum added a pleasant sweetness and the hummus, well, everyone loves hummus, need I say more?

Another delicious entrée option is the Chicken Satay Sticks, served with cabbage, pickled cucumber, coriander and fried shallots. The satay sauce was plentiful and finger-licking good, while the pickled vegetables added a nice flavour balance to the sweetness of the satay sauce. The chicken was succulent and brought the whole dish together. This would have to be my top pick off the starters menu. Just divine!

Onto the main event, and we were spoilt with three! The first being the Mushroom Risotto. A hearty dish, this risotto is made with three types of mushroom – fried Enoki, King Brown and Button mushrooms. The creamy flavour is enough to send your tastebuds into a frenzy and the rice is cooked perfectly (something us wannabe cooks struggle to pull of at home…just me?). The dish is topped off with a sprinkle of, what chef Andrew describes as, sweet burnt butter snow.

A trip to the pub isn’t complete without tucking into a classic Chicken Burger. Bolt’s version consists of grilled tender chicken marinated in Cajun sauce, chipotle chili mayo, sweet potato crisps and lettuce, all on soft a milk bun and served with chips and grilled corn. Choose this one if you aren’t feeling very adventurous and are just simply after a guaranteed satisfying feed along with a nice cold beer.

Lastly, let’s not forget about dessert. Bolt caters for the sweet tooths too with a variety of dessert options to finish off your dining experience and leave your bellies smiling. We shared the Classic Sticky Date Pudding, served with vanilla ice-cream and candied pecan, sprinkled with crunchy crumble and drizzled in a thick warm caramel sauce. Its fluffy, crispy and smooth textures combined seamlessly on the palate, which created a comforting, but bitter-sweet, end to our Bolt Bar experience.

You’ve definitely got some regulars in us!