Current Top Ten – highly recommended

Lunchtime specials at Taze Mediterannean Genge Street Canberra

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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.

chicken skewer taze

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.

Taze Mediterranean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Treehouse Lunch Specials

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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.

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There are other specials that run during different days and times of the week.

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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!

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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?

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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!

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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! 🙂

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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!

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Treehouse gets three #Canberra Beanies !

Treehouse on Urbanspoon

Lunch specials at Debacle, Braddon

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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?!

debacle lunch specials board

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!).

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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!

Debacle on Urbanspoon

Lunch Specials @CityCafe Garema Place

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@ city cafe a frame

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.

@ city cafe outside

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.

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@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.

City Cafe on Urbanspoon

ZenYai Thai Grill Noodle Cuisine

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Zen Yai is highly recommended and deserves Three #Canberra Beanies!

Zen Yai Thai on Urbanspoon

Sir searches for Schnitzels in the city

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Sir and M’Lady search for Schnitzels

http://sirandmladydineout.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/canberra-labor-club-canberra-city.html?m=1

Came across this interesting blog recently. One of the reviews is for one of my favourite lunch spots in Civic, the City Labor Club.

I think the price may have gone up slightly since this review was written a couple of years ago. That said, they’re still hard to beat for value and taste.

I’ll have to go back and find the photo of my last schnitzel there 🙂

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Laksa at Noodle Cafe in Garema Place

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Enjoyed a delicious spicy $10 Combination Laksa at the Noodle Cafe for late lunch in today.

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!

noodle cafe laksa

Noodle Cafe on Urbanspoon