Lunch with a taste of chaos

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THE Griffith shops is a haven for food lovers, with well-established, classy Aubergine and Rubicon at one end of the spectrum and the long-standing, cheap and cheerful Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant at the other.

In the middle sits We Graze at Griffith (formerly E.U. Café). It looks small, but there is a large area out back, behind the kitchen, with indoor and outdoor seating.

It was here that we settled in for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. I had called ahead and been told the kitchen was open until 3pm, but on arrival were “warned” that closing time was 2.30pm (this was before anyone welcomed us to the café).

We Graze has an extensive menu, which features a page headed “We love our mussels”, promising big pots for $25. We were disappointed that there were no mussels that day – a supplier issue, apparently.

Now what? The grazing menu? These dishes ($9 to $14) include confit shredded duck salad, garlic mushrooms and crispy haloumi bruschetta. Some interesting items, but we grazed by reading the rest of the menu.

In the end it was good old pasta and pizza. The chilli prawns fettuccine with Napoli sauce ($18 small; $22 large) was surprisingly sweet and my friend was definitely in the mood for more chilli.

My handmade “gourmet” pizza, on a thin crust, was tasty ($15). It featured cured meats, spiced chorizo, pepperoni, mushroom, prosciutto, capsicum, boconccini and a small bit of jalapeno. I couldn’t plough through it, although was proud for giving it a go.

We Graze at Griffith has wooden chairs with fabric seating (black and white floral design) and bench seating. An old-fashioned bubble-gum machine sits in the corner – a quirky element for sure.

It was all going okay until the “witching hour” when the staff seemed to decide it was more important to set the tables for dinner than to pay attention to us as customers.

So we sat watching someone almost toss plates and cutlery about and were amazed at how noisy the process was (a more gentle approach may have helped control the sense of chaos we felt).

Then that person discussed with another staff member, in a loud voice that echoed through the dining area, that night’s bookings – oblivious to our presence.

No one asked if we enjoyed our meal. I can’t even remember if we were encouraged to have a cup of Fairtrade organic blend coffee. All I remember is we didn’t seem welcome, so we asked for the bill and left – forever.

We Graze at Griffith, fully licensed with no byo. 2/4 Barker Street, Griffith. Open Tuesday to Thursday 11am-10pm, Saturday and Sunday brunch, Saturday dinner 6pm till late. Call 6295 6915.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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