Lunchtime Specials at Plumb on Tennant in Fyshwick

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Three #Canberra Beanies smaller-beanie  smaller-beanie  smaller-beanie
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:

plumb on tennant menu

I enjoyed a delicious $10 grilled scotch fillet burger with a side of $3 fries!

plumb on tennant plate

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.

plumb on tennant burger

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!

Plumb on Tennant on Urbanspoon

$12.90 Vegie Burger at Smoque, City Walk

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I’ve been to Smoque a few times with friends and colleagues and although the food usually tastes great I have found it a bit pricey in the past. That said their lunch specials are always pretty good value and worth a try.

Today I enjoyed the Vegie Burger, which looks and tastes great. For $12.90 it is a great mushroom-based burger that includes plenty of rocket, pumpkin, zucchini and Halloumi cheese (one of my favourites). It comes in a tasty bun with a pickle on the side and I highly recommend it as a healthy variation for burger enthusiasts in civic.


Smoque on Urbanspoon

Durham Castle Kingston

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Three #Canberra Beanies smaller-beanie smaller-beanie smaller-beanie

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.

durhamcastle menu

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.

durham schnitty

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).

durham craft beers


Durham Castle Arms Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon

The CSIRO Diet road test

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In case you don’t follow me on twitter you may have missed my exciting news (that after being sick in bed for most of last week) I have been inspired by @garydlum to take better care of my temple. Recently I also picked up some wonderful free books from @eatnik including this gem from 2005…

CSIRO diet

I started the CSIRO well-being diet on Monday 28 April. I currently have a 108cm waist, I lug around 30% body fat (which is probably much more than I need, even to survive a protracted zombie holocaust) and I weigh 102kg. I understand that weight alone is not a good measure of progress, especially as I have a large frame. Although not particularly tall (6ft) I have weighed up to 110kg in the past when I was a bit lonely and did a lot of body-building. But my best fighting weight is around 87kg (after a year in the military at aged 18.5… a long time ago!).

I reckon I should be around 90kg so that’s what I’ll aim for, at least initially. So my plan is to lose around 1kg per week for the next 12 weeks. I understand exercise and extra water will help and will try my best to find time for more of that as well. Anyway, wish me luck!

The first step is to try and stick to the meal plan, that replaces lots of unhealthy food (burgers, fried food, pizzas, too much pasta, etc.) with healthy options … like this chilli tuna salad sandwich on day 1!

chilli tuna sandwich

My better half is also helping immensely, just to remind me I’m the luckiest man in the world.

Day 2 update: I haven’t died of starvation yet, despite the audible tummy rumbles during the day. I don’t think I’ll bother measuring my stats or progress until at least the weekend. There’s no point stressing over it each day, once a week will be enough! 🙂

Anyway, feel free to comment/criticise/laugh, etc. Peer pressure helps right? 🙂

Day 7 update: This morning I weighed, measured and stared at myself again, as I will each weekend for the next few months. The good news is I have lost a whole kilo, despite not doing any substantial exercise whatsoever (apart from the usual daily stroll with the dogs each morning). If I can continue to lose a kilo each week I will reach my goal weight of 90kg on schedule in 12 weeks. Can’t complain about that. What is perplexing though is that the electronic scale still says I have 30% body fat. I guessing it does that because it rounds it up or down a percent and I need to lose a bit more fat. Also, it turns out I was measuring my waist incorrectly. Better half says I should be doing it where I bend to the side. So turns out my waist is 104cm. But I can’t really compare that to the 108cm from last week which I measured a bit lower on my abdomen. Good news is a couple of more ribs are showing and my stomach is clearly starting to shrink a bit as I keep to the food plan. So far so good!

To celebrate our mutual progress we enjoyed hamburgers for dinner tonight! here are some pictures and captions:

I set the table with an abundance of healthy options for the family to add between their burger buns, in addition to the meat patties:
healthy burger feast

My partner made enough healthy lean meat patties to ensure I was tempted to eat two – but I resisted, for about an hour, eventually eating a second one without a bun or cheese etc. I cooked them to perfection. Insides were still juicy, though not raw!
finely cooked burger patties thick and juicy

My fine burger, assembled with love, and wholegrain bread buns, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, capsicum, mushroom, beef and (light!) cheese 🙂
a fine burger made with love at home

This is what happens if you let a six year old decide what to put in their burger and assemble it unsupervised. Her “lettuce and butter burger” was intentionally designed to allow room for dessert and post-dinner snacks. Naughty!
6 year olds butter and lettuce burger

I think its all the cooking shows she watches with her mum and dad, but the 2 year old now enjoys many creatively “deconstructed” meals, including burgers.
Ms 2 deconstructed burger

Bad Dining? Sunrise Cafe

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The Sunrise café is worth a visit. Don’t be put off by the décor or lack of polish. It’s better value than the McDonalds up the road. My burger, chips and drink was only $7 and, as The Canberran explains below… it’s a cultural experience and window into a bygone era in our city.

The Canberran

A Canberra institution you never knew existed: Sunrise Cafe

Over the years we’ve seen a large number of venues come and go. Others appear to be dyed-in-the-wool institutions who maintain inexplicable popularity no matter how classless or banal they may be. Then there are a sacred few who, through sheer passion, hard work and the dedication of a loyal customer base, survive without many Canberrans even knowing of their existence.

It is in the spirit of this final category we’d like to introduce you to The Sunrise Cafe, the oldest friend you never knew you had.

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Gaby’s van in Barton

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(three #Canberra Beanies) sml beaniesml beaniesml beanie

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.

gaby closure

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 card

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.

gaby burger 1

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).

A typically tasty burger from Gaby's

Gaby's Takeaway on Urbanspoon