The Vietnamese Down Under (Magpies City Club Canberra)
Tucked away downstairs under the Magpies City Club in Canberra is Vietnamese Down Under. This place has had a few different incarnations, most recently as “The Underground”. It’s easy to miss it unless you’re a Garema Place regular and/or you notice the bright red A-frames in Bunda Street (next to Gus’s cafe) or in Garema Place near the Magpies Club Entrance.
If like me you’re normally staring at your phone while you walk, you could be forgiven for walking straight past and not noticing the front door.
Come on inside! Don’t be put of by the 70s-style club decor of the majestic stair case. Think how much easier it is to clean after a big Saturday night!
Personally I think there are more attractive community club venues in Civic (The City Labor Club in City Walk and Hellenic Club on Mort St for example, both of which also have awesome lunch specials) but variety is the spice of life! And how many other tasty and affordable Vietnamese restaurants in Canberra also serve schooners of beer at club prices? None!
The menu on the wall reveals a large array of Vietnamese favourites at affordable prices.
I have been here a few times and can attest that the $10 pho soup is quite good. Particularly on cold wintery Canberra days when you want a warmer and quieter lunch venue well away from the wind!
The service is good and fast and I will be back for more. For taste and value the Vietnamese Down Under gets Three Canberra Beanies!
$12.90 Vegie Burger at Smoque, City Walk
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.
Gozleme Cafe on London Circuit Canberra
Many Canberra connoisseurs of Turkish cuisine were delighted to see this new café open up on London Circuit in Civic recently. After decades of being spoilt by such fine establishments as Taze in Lonsdale Street, Ottoman and Mavi in Barton and Turkish Pide Houses in Jamison and Yarralumla (and other places like my favourite in Charnwood) Canberra fans of Turkish cuisine are frankly spoilt…. Not to mention the dozen or so Gozleme sellers that pop up at every national Multicultural Festival and Canberra Show!
I’ve walked past this place a few times already and noted praise from fellow Canberra foodie reviews in UrbanSpoon as well as amongst the flurry of recent cheap lunch reviews by John Griffiths in City News.
Anyway, everyone obviously LOVES their $8 Gozleme so I thought I should try something a bit different. I’m still struggling on a diet (and not progressing as well as I’d hoped, seemingly stalled after losing 4 kgs in a month and still well short of my 12 kg weightloss target). So I picked a couple of vegetarian options at the counter, paid $14 and sat down to a very impressive looking table.
While sitting I had a sticky beak at the lunch specials menu, which is quite extensive.
I decided I would park my strange diet brain and try the Gozleme Plate next time. A bit over my normal budget but perhaps a good reward for the end of a long hard week of salads and fruit snacks. Whilst in this daydream my lunch arrived and it looked good. The lentil paste/dip had just the right amount of peppers added to fire it up without making it too hot and the lentil crackers were very tasty. That said the main $8 plate left me hungry and I was happy I had also ordered the $6 side of bean salad. Both dishes tasted great and I would recommend them in a flash to any vegetarians looking of a good lunchtime meal. My problem was that they still left me a little bit hungry. I probably should have more than coffee and toast for breakfast!
Gozleme Café is great. You can find more filling options or $14 in Civic but is good, healthy and fresh food served promptly and with a smile. Two #Canberra Beanies!
Lunch Specials @CityCafe Garema Place
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.
Want a cheap dinner in Civic? Sorted (Mondays and Tuesdays anyways)
If you’re looking for a cheap meal on a Monday evening or a Tuesday evening in Civic or just can’t be bothered cooking at home before or after some shopping on the way home from the office, here’s a couple of options:
1) Monday nights: $4 Burgers at the Uni Pub. Pretty hard to beat. Particularly if you live the life I lived while I was studying engineering at uni… i.e. spending most Monday nights at the Uni Pub (different uni though 🙂
Anyways, I tried one of their burgers a while back (check it out here) and it was quite ok. Beer was cold too!
2) Tuesday nights: $7.90 Chicken Schnitty (with chips & salad) OR Battered Fish & Chips (with salad) at the City Labor Club. They might charge you a bit extra for sauce but you’ll walk away full and satisfied. They also have a Movie Meal Deal with Dendy that includes a main meal and a movie ticket at the nearby cinema for only $15. Bargain!
Rice Tapas Bar and Restaurant
This place might be hard to find for first-timers, it’s upstairs near Impact Comics and apart from the small sign above the staircase and an A-frame in Garema Place there’s not much advertising. Eat-in lunch specials are only $10 and the is an $8 per box selection of curries for take-away enthusiasts. I’ve tried a couple of curries and it is consistently good value and service is pleasant.
At my last visit I tried a (quite) spicy chicken curry and it was filling and tasty. The portions aren’t large but I’m currently on a diet so I was quite satisfied.
I’ve also ordered from other menus, which although more expensive than the lunch menu options, are also quite good and worth trying.
Rice scores two #Canberra Beanies and is highly recommended if you’re after quick affordable Thai food in the city.
Fire in Sydney Building
Very saddened to hear about the fire in the Sydney Building today.
Lots of photos online via @CanberraTimes and #Canberra peeps on Twitter and Facebook. Early reports say the fire started in the Coo Japanese Restaurant in East Row. Looks like much of the building and opposite shops will be shut down while emergency services mop up and deal with the asbestos in this old building.
Mooseheads at lunchtime on Tight-Arse Tuesdays
I don’t go to Mooseheads after dark. However during the day it looks and feels like a regular pub. On Tuesdays it’s worth going in for the cheap and reasonable pizzas which are large enough to share.
I had the Greek pizza and my mate had Hawaiian pizza. We also had a bottle of beer each and enjoyed sitting at a nice window seat and watched lots of Canberra go by on London Circuit. It’s not a bad way to spend an occasional lunch break. The service is ok (the pizzas took about 15 min). They certainly weren’t the best ever pizzas but it’s hard to beat the value of a large fresh lunchtime pizza for $12. 2 #Canberra Beanies.