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!
Banh Mi at Little Saigon
A few months ago observant food lovers in Civic noticed that the French-Morrocan restaurant Ardeche sadly closed its doors in Anislie Place (just near the Canberra Times fountain and main city-side entrance to the Canberra Centre. The mourning didn’t last long however when it was revealed that the replacement would be a re-incarnation of Little Saigon. Lovers of Vietnamese food would remember the earlier version of Little Saigon which once traded on Northbourne Avenue. The same family has regrouped and put their experience and love of Vietnamese food to good use with a new establishment. As well as the sit-down restaurant which serves Vietnamese favourites such as Pho Noodle Soup and Rice Paper Rolls they also operate a window for delicious Banh Mi (Pork rolls) which they sell for $6.
The Banh Mi is full of tasty ingredients.
The service is fast and friendly.
The Vietnamese menu is extensive.
I’ll come back to this post and add more pictures of a couple of other meals I have enjoyed here, including the Vietnamese classic Pho Noodle Soup.
This place is great and a welcome addition to the Canberra City Restaurant scene. Three #Canberra Beanies!
Noodle Cafe Garema Place
I recently had the pleasure of joining another Canberra Foodie (Eileen, better known as @TheFoodAvenue) at her favourite inner-city affordable eatery – Noodle Café in Garema Place.
Noodle Café is located right next to HonkyTonks, so makes a convenient pre-party dinner venue as well as a great place to meet friends for a cheaper and satisfying lunch for as little as $10.
The $10 lunch specials are varied and the main menu has plenty of other affordable options as well.
I chose to ask if I could have an authentic beef Pho that included tripe, a delicious dish I grew to love at authentic Vietnamese restaurants around Australia. The friendly waitress obliged, even though this dish wasn’t on their usual menu. It cost a few dollars more than the lunch special pho but was well worth it.
My lunch partner Eileen chose her favourite dish, a delicious combination chow mein with perfectly cooked noodles (the two beautiful photos below are hers). We also shared a couple of fresh and perfectly cooked vegetarian spring roles and a couple of tea pots of chinese green tea, all for the extremely reasonable price of $33. Considering the excellent table service (with complimentary prawn crackers) and the freshness and taste and large portions I was extremely impressed.
The flavours of the food were amazing. If the food is not exactly to your liking, there is the usual plastic container of chilli and flavouring sauces that anyone who frequents authentic Asian restaurants would be familiar with.
Noodle Café gets 3 #Canberra Beanies and joins our list of top ten affordable eateries in Canberra.
If you’re not sure where to find this place, have a look behind the big screen in Garema Place or next door to Honky Tonks. Or if you prefer Google maps, just look up 5 Garema Place.
i-Pho, Garema Place
One of my favourite places for a quick, healthy and affordable lunch in Garema place is the Vietnamese café i-Pho. You order and pay at the counter and the standard Vietnamese fare is served hot and fresh to your table. The Pho is very good and large enough to leave you sated for the rest of the day. Recently we also tried and enjoyed Vietnamese-style rice paper rolls, which are sold for $5 for a pair, so for $10 you can enjoy four – a quick and healthy meal on their own.
But our favourite dish is the combination Pho, which a perfect mixture of fresh ingredients, herbs and varied meats, including a small amount of offal, making it very authentic. I’ve also enjoyed the seafood noodle soup (pictured below) for $13.50.
It’s also worth checking the specials board as you walk in for tasty bargains. Unfortunately my Vietnamese is a bit rusty, but the friendly staff are always happy to translate.
i-Pho is highly recommened. 3 #Canberra Beanies.