3 #Canberra Beanies
Three #Canberra Beanies
There are so many hidden lunchtime gems across Canberra that it would be physically impossible for one person to try them all in a lifetime. Many places are well-hidden and can only be found by word of mouth , news stories, tips from Canberra’s many foodies, or just plain luck (Urban Spoon is another option too 🙂
One of these hidden gems has a talented team of staff who are happy and comfortable serving everything from affordable and honest lunchtime fare loved by busy tradies, to more elaborately cooked meals for business and celebratory lunches. Plumb on Tennant is located on Tennant Street in Fyshwick. They have a comprehensive lunchtime menu with lots of affordable options:
I enjoyed a delicious $10 grilled scotch fillet burger with a side of $3 fries!
The burger was tender and the toppings were well-balanced. The fries were awesome (clearly hand-cut and perhaps slightly boiled prior to frying, ensuring a crispy exterior and creamy inside – how they should be!) I asked about the bread, which seemed a bit nicer than your average burger fare and was pleasantly surprised to learn they source all their buns from Flute bakery in Fyshwick, which I had previously rated highly for their pies and sweets. It’s always good to see local businesses supporting each other and not cutting corners on locally-sourced ingredients.
This place is recommended if you’re ever in the area and want a quick bite or you can check out their larger menus for other tasty options for breakfast and lunch. I will definitely be back and will probably have a longer chat with the owner, who has worked in the local hospitality business for a long time and clearly has a lot of Canberra foodie stories to share. Three Canberra Beanies!
After a hot tip from Laksa connoisseur @rachiperera I enjoyed an AMAZING $15 lunch at Café Bamboo on Lonsdale Street Braddon. I was once a regular at this place a few years ago when I worked in Braddon and am familiar with their popular lunchboxes and noodle soups.
The Laksa was only $12.50 (order and pay at the counter) and there was a wide selection of well-priced drinks from the self-serve fridge. I picked up a tasty aloe vera drink for only $2.50.
The taste and texture of the Laksa was sensational, with a generous topping of crunchy fried onion, plenty of bean curd, seafood and vegetables as well as a combination of noodles. It was the best Laksa I had ever tasted but was great value at 12.50. Café Bamboo is highly recommended and gets three #Canberra Beanies!
Today I enjoyed something that has been on my to-do list for a while. A few times in the past 5 years it has been there I have enjoyed lunch and dinner with friends at Taze on Genge Street in the centre of Canberra. I wouldn’t normally describe their menu as “cheap” or “highly affordable” but the service is great and atmosphere and food usually delicious. The business is run by a local family with a Turkish background and the food is authentic Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and worth a trip.
Recently I learnt that they also do $10 take-away lunch boxes so decided to try one! I started with a chicken skewer with rice and salad.
The chicken was delicious and cooked well. The meat had been marinated in tasty garlic-infused spices still juicy inside despite the char-grilled cooking method.
I particularly enjoyed the rice, with the addition of small brown pasta in the cooked rice reminding me how mum often made it when I was growing up. My background is Lebanese but there are many similarities in the way numerous Mediterranean cuisines share cooking methods and styles.
For $10 the Taze lunch boxes are good value. They are cheaper options around Garema Place but the quality of the food and portions are good for a quick and healthy lunch.
There is an online menu available at the website here: http://www.taze.com.au/
The Taze $10 lunch specials get Three Canberra Beanies.
The Treehouse on Northbourne Avenue (near London Circuit in the Sydney Building) is better known as a bar than one of Canberra’s hidden affordable eats. The food here is also a good example of why I prefer to say “affordable eats” rather than “cheap eats”. Although the price of their lunch specials is “cheap” the quality is far better than one would expect for a $9 meal.
Here’s the menu for the lunch specials, which only run Wednesday to Friday.
There are other specials that run during different days and times of the week.
On my first trip I did ask for the braised osso bucco as recommended by my friend Eileen (@TheFoodAvenue) however I had arrived a bit late in the lunch period and they had sold out. Instead I ordered the char-grilled calamari, and I was not disappointed!
You probably noticed a near-empty beer glass in the picture above? boy was I thirsty that day 🙂 Yes, along with the $9 lunch special there is a $3 drink special and it includes some very tasty craft beers. Can you tell from the picture below which one I chose?
The $9 lunch and $3 beer are pretty hard to beat in value. The service is great and at only $12 there is still change left over from $15 for a nice coffee after your meal as well. This place is great!
A few days later I got a chance for a second shot with a group of friends from #Humanbrochure. Eileen had invited a bunch of us to try Treehouse for a “#Canberra Foodie First Friday affordable lunch” that we are trying to hold on a regular basis to showcase and share some of the city’s hidden gastronomic gems. Luckily each foodie ordered a different dish and we were able to take a close look at them, including the Sourdough Bread with olives and dipping oil. Naturally I ordered the Osso Bucco (as did someone else) and neither of us were disappointed. It was an outstanding meal. My only complaint was that I wanted more of it. However it’s a very healthy and reasonable portion for $9 so I didn’t! 🙂
The good news is that although there aren’t many tables at Treehouse it was possible to book a ‘space’ upstairs for a small group where they will move some small tables and stools together. 6-8 people is about the limit though. But with great food, drink and the right company it’s always possible to have a great time. And when you have lunch with other foodies you know you will spend at least some of that time taking photos and discussing food!
Treehouse gets three #Canberra Beanies !
I used to be a regular at Debacle in Canberra when I worked around the corner. The staff were friendly and I’ve made a few close friends from the regulars and staff. Debacle taught me that Canberra has the most sophisticated waiting staff in Australia. Many of the young adults working bars and waiting tables in and around civic are also struggling to make ends meet while they finish their university studies. Don’t be surprised in Canberra if your bartender or waiter is also doing a PhD!
Anyway, about three years ago our office moved to City Walk and I subsequently became a less-frequent customer but its still a place I like to visit for a drink or meal when time permits. Yesterday I was there to have a working lunch with an old friend so I offered to shout her from the specials board on the condition she let me photograph her meal. Who would say no to that?!
I ordered a soup and she ordered a pulled pork roll. I also bought us a couple of lemon, lime and bitters at the counter, grabbed our table number and sat down to chat.
The meals arrived in around 10 minutes. The portions were generous and I was completely full by the end. The soup came with LOTS of tasty pita bread and my friend couldn’t find the room to finish her chips. I was tempted but I left them alone (yep, still on that CSIRO diet folks!).
I still like Debacle very much and if you stick to the specials board or come for the two-for-one pizza nights, it’s certainly in the affordable price range.
Highly recommended – Three Canberra Beanies!
Located just a few metres from King O’Malleys (near Mort Street on City Walk)@CityCafe is one of the many hidden Asian gems that are dotted all over the ACT. It isn’t glamorous, and it isn’t pretending to be something its not. It’s fresh, authentic and healthy home-style Thai cooking that’s served quickly and politely to Canberra City’s working men and women.
This restaurant’s façade is unpretentious. In fact the whole place is unpretentious. I was greeted with a smile and ordered 2 curries and rice over the front counter. The $10 lunchtime deal includes a free can of soft-drink.
If you’re lucky you can grab a seat at the bar facing the large windows and watch the parade of interesting people walk past you while you eat. It’s just across the way from maccas, so there are a lot of interesting people to observe.
The food was served quickly and the portions were generous. I chose a chilli pork and green curry chicken and was not disappointed. It tasted great. I’ve been here a few times before for soup as well and can highly recommend it and will definitely be back.
@CityCafe score Three #Canberra Beanies!
@CityCafe doesn’t seem to be on Urban Spoon, so now I have to drop by again in the next few days to grab their phone number (one of the requirements of adding a new entry to Urban Spoon). But I’ll try and add it soon!
OK, their phone number is 0401 029 869. I spoke with the delightful Evey at the restaurant and have applied to have it added to Urban Spoon.
Today I had a delicious Tom Yum style chicken noodle soup at a Thai Restaurant on London circuit called Zen Yai. It’s located between East Row and Verity lane and after eating there today I’m very surprised its not packed out every day.
The large bowl of noodle soup was delicious! The photo below shows that there was lots of chicken and a generous topping of onions and nuts. The soup was divine and very filling. in fact I’ll happily say this was the BEST Tom Yum chicken I’ve had in a long time. I can’t wait to go back and try the prawn version.
You can see from the A-frame specials board outside that there are lots of delicious $10 lunch options to choose at ZenYai Thai Grill Noodle Cuisine.
As the printed lunch menu also reveals, there are a few dishes to choose from, but I’ve got my eyes (and stomach) set on the prawn Tom Yum on my next visit!
Zen Yai is highly recommended and deserves Three #Canberra Beanies!
Now that the austerity hammer is pounding Canberra, finding affordable food is even more important. Earlier this week I had the pleasure of enjoying a $10 burger at The Durham Castle in Kingston.
Their lunch specials are listed on an extensive menu and you can also buy $3 middies of beer with the purchase of each lunch special. The lunch menu also includes some non-burger options.
I enjoyed a $10 “PubMexico” which came with delicious tomato relish and chilli. It wasn’t too hot.. My better half had a tasty $10 “PubChicken” and our two year old daughter shared various pieces and some of our side of chips ($2.50).
We were impressed by the table service and pleasant staff and intend on returning. With a good kitchen, polite staff and friendly atmosphere, lunch at The Durham Castle in Kingston deserves Three #Canberra Beanies.
<updated July 2014>
I recently enjoyed one other meal at the Durham castle in Kingston. I had a spare 20 minutes recently between meetings and ordered the $10 Schnitty which came with a delicious mushroom sauce.
I also ordered a $2.50 side salad and $3 beer from the great range they have on tap. The India Pale Ale Hop Hog Feral was very impressive. It also impresses one of Canberra’s better known beer experts Dan Rayner (who is on twitter as @brewbloke).
Enjoyed a delicious spicy $10 Combination Laksa at the Noodle Cafe for late lunch in
This place is highly recommended. I recently rediscovered it after a recommendation from Eileen (@TheFoodAvenue).
What’s hard to believe is the friendly and quick service one receives for the $10 lunch specials (complimentary prawn crackers, cup with ice for your drink, table service).
Cans of drink are $2.50.
Despite the fact that I’ve blogged about this place already and awarded it two #Canberra Beanies already, I think I’ll be back on a regular basis and slowly work my way through their specials menu!