Brindabella Café (Inside the DFAT building, Barton)
Three #Canberra Beanies
Brindabella Café in Barton is one of those classic Canberra gems that you could easily (and regularly) drive past without ever noticing what was there or what you were missing. This is what the building looks like from the outside:
The Cafe has a web presence via facebook where the chef regularly posts details of their daily specials. As well as amazing lunchtime fare and quick service there is also an excellent coffee service with a wide selection of cakes and biscuits for those he seek sweet temptations.
I’ve always believed pictures speak louder than words. Here are a few examples of recent meals that my colleagues and I have enjoyed here;
Delicious slow/cooked duck leg, potato gratin, rocket/Parmesan/pear salad only $10.50!
Delicious Malay-style chicken curry with potato, coconut and rice. Only $12 with a 500ml drink!
Only $12 for 500ml sugar-free mother & a large plate of 5 tasty salads.
In the APH triangle there are still good affordable lunch around if you know where to look!: pumpkin, ricotta, fritters, salad, prawn spring roll and sugar-free mother all for $14
The Brindabella Café is well worth a visit. Even if you forget your lunch break you can occasionally (if you’re lucky) pick up boxed left-overs from the fridges after the café staff have started to clean and pack up. But if if you want to see why DFAT staff like their cafeteria so much, get here early for the best choice of freshly made food. In fact, its probably best to get here slightly before they do! No hesitation in giving the Brindabella Café in DFAT three #Canberra beanies.
Lachlan Café lunch specials (Barton)
I’m back to this blog from a short work/family-focussed hiatus. I recently changed jobs and now work in Barton most days (as opposed to the centre of Canberra City, commonly referred to as Civic). This move means that I’m more likely to have lunch around the parliamentary triangle, but after focussing on Civic for most of last year that’s probably a good thing!
Although within walking distance of Kingston and Manuka, the many office blocks in and around Barton have historically relied on a smaller variety of lunchtime food options than workplaces in larger centres such as Civic, Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong, with their shopping centres and numerous community clubs.
That seems to have all changed recently with the invasion of hipper eateries like Brodburger and Double Drummer, which, along with new contractors and chefs in many of the local pubs, clubs and cafes, have re-energised the local food scene.
Even old and reliable food outlets like the famous Lachlan Café have been, through this newer competition, preparing and selling tastier, healthier and better value food. Food competition has been good for the workers in Barton.
My two most recent excursions to Lachlan Café have left me impressed and changed my previously created impression that this was more like a bistro diner than a café in a cosmopolitan urban centre.
A few weeks ago I enjoyed a very healthy baked fish with roasted vegetables. $11.80 for the fish and vegetables and $3.80 for a large 500ml can of drink was good value.
Earlier this week I went back and liked the look of the chicken stir fry. For some reason I felt like having some veggies with it instead of rice – no problem! I also bought a diet ginger beer and the delicious and reasonably healthy lunch below set me back $14.
Lachlan Café is located on Brisbane Avenue near the corner of National Circuit and is a good option if your looking for fast and affordable food in the parliamentary triangle. Two #Canberra Beanies.
Gaby’s van in Barton
Thanks to inspiration from @In_The_Taratory I ventured into Barton’s back-lots to search for a fabled food van that served the best burgers in the inner south. This van was legend amongst public servants from the surrounding office blocks as far as DFAT, AGs and Treasury. Luckily I got there just before Christmas and the rumoured closure over much of January, when the parliamentary triangle drifts into a temporary slumber.
I was very impressed. After being greeted by Gaby through his small ordering window I was greeted by one of the waiting staff and wished a Merry Christmas, and given a chocolate treat to enjoy with my drink while the hamburger (with the lot) which I just ordered was cooked.
Gaby’s is excellent value and the burger tastes just as good if not better than the many more upmarket (and more expensive) burger joints sprouting up all over Canberra. Gaby’s is a bit of a time capsule, reminding us how small family-run burger joints and take-aways should be.
Needless to say I was very impressed with my $8 burger with the lot + $2 drink. Should mention that Gaby’s only opens weekdays when those lucky public servants are around in large numbers. Gaby’s gets a predictable 3 #Canberra Beanies.
Update April 2014: Gaby’s is now under threat from a relocation order via the NCA. There is an online petition if you’d like to help and stories on the Canberra Times and Riot ACT websites. I also noticed recently that Gaby’s wasn’t featured in Urban Spoon so have remedied that (although how much longer they will be able to stay in their current location I do not know).