Cheap eats: Canberra
Food that’s cheap but yum
By Jessica Wilkinson & Jennifer Pinkerton
Over the past five years Canberra's reputation as a foodie hotspot has… well, become apparent. What used to be thought of as a sleepy town that only existed for politicians, actually has quite the nightlife, food scene and cultural prowess (thank you, very much!) Let’s start with the best places to find delicious, cheap-as eats, shall we?
More of Canberra's tastiest sights
Tilley's Devine Cafe Gallery
Once a women-only venue (gasp!), Tilley's receives big love from Canberra locals. Imagine, if you will, a retro piano bar with wooden booths, staff dressed in suspenders, Ella Fitzgerald ebbing through the speakers and large indoor plants dotted around scarlet carpets. Breakfasts here are the standout meal, and they brew a tasty cup of joe, too.
Less restaurant, more a collection of food trucks, The Hamlet sits about a 10 minute stroll from Canberra's city centre and includes Peruvian street food, New York-style hot dogs, a custom pizzeria and more. While this space is also open for lunch, evenings are the best time to visit as you’ll often get to revel in a spot of live music as darkness falls.
With a personality the size of Australia's Parliament House (we had to slip a political joke in here somewhere), Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant’s white walls are plastered with handwritten testimonials singing the praises of the food on offer, and of the owner, Mr Tan, who will create a menu for you after a few careful questions about your preference. He’s like a magician but better, because he brings food.
The Old Canberra Inn
Built in 1857, the Old Canberra Inn started life as a private home before its total legends of owners acquired a liquor licence. Today, it's a top spot for sampling gourmet burgers and beers from Canberra's rising microbrewery scene – the Indian pale ales and alcoholic "hard" lemonade are highlights.
Brodburger is a hugely popular casual eatery that sprung to life from a single food truck. Long queues and word-of-mouth hype morphed the van into a bricks and mortar restaurant. Brodburger's namesake burger, the Brodburger, is a fail-safe pick. It's a flame-grilled beef patty topped with tomato, Spanish onion and homemade aioli, plus a choice of blue, brie, Swiss or cheddar cheese.
CBD Dumpling House
A dumpling house in a large, illuminated glass box. Need we say more? It has everything you could ever want from a dumpling house - service is fast and the food is fresh. As well as your favourite dumplings, opt for the crispy chilli beef, the prawn and pumpkin dumplings, and for dessert, choose the silken tofu with ginger.
Two Before Ten
This hipster den serves excellent coffee (of course), and their bubble and squeak (potato and herb medallions, poached eggs and bacon topped with brown butter hollandaise) and black rice pudding (black rice in coconut milk with banana, lemon and passionfruit syrup) are two must-haves.