Warming the soul

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WINTER lunch menus always add warmth to the soul, especially when the food is made home style with a good sprinkling of “tlc”.

“Lily”, as she’s fondly known, is the owner of Phat Burger Café, Farrer shops. She specialises in honest food, starting with all-day breakfasts at the right price.

There’s nothing fancy about the décor of this little café. It’s a local through and through – nothing more, nothing less. A few entertainment posters form the artwork and there’s a big plant as you walk in the front door. Other than that, the visual effects are the goodies in the display cabinet.

We’d never been before, but had read the trail on Facebook about Lily’s fresh pumpkin soup, made with veggies from a local gardener; meat pies and a range of home-made desserts, including sticky date pudding and cherry and white slice.

I decided on a burger, convinced that the name of the café was a fair indication they would be top notch. The line-up starts with the Veggie Delight (veggie patty, tomato, Spanish onion, aioli and lettuce for $7.80) and tops off at the Ultimate Phat Burger with a list of ingredients that seem as long as the King’s Highway ($12.80).

All burgers are made on site and served on a Turkish roll baked daily by a local baker. They are large and while my Phat Burger Temptation was loaded with tomato, beetroot, caramelised onion (not heaps), tomato relish and fresh lettuce, it had a thin meat patty and only a bit of tasty cheese ($9.80). I’m not sure I even tasted the meat; I was definitely expecting more, especially – as I say – from a place with “burger” in its name.

My friend selected the quiche. It was a deep and loaded with a medley of veggies, including carrots, mushrooms, pumpkin, cauliflower and more. Your daily intake of five veg in one day… this dish would make the good-food guide people proud. But seriously, it was delicious and great value with garden salad and chips for $14.50.

The Phat Burger Café has live music the first Friday of every month and offers a three-course, home-cooked meal for around $50 (prices vary depending on what’s cooking). It’s byo and you have to book in advance.

The Phat Burger Café, 9 Farrer Place, Farrer. Call 6290 1086. Cash only.

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


    • Hi everyone here. Yes, I agree the woman who own the cafe was very rude, can’t even greet snd smile when walk to the door. The coffee was as weak as water, taste badly as she used skim or lite milk. I was very unhappy with the service. I never went there anymore. Anyone here tried the othe coffee at The othe take away place, called farrer pie shop? It was absolutely perfect and the people there are very friendly. They have a cosmorex coffee and its local, the beans are roasted freshly. When you walk to their door you feel the warmth welcome.

      I would never ever go back to phat burger cafe anymore. The turkish roll they are using were old. And you can’t even hardly pick up the burger into your mouth as it was very big.

  1. A Phat fail


    When I saw The Phat Burger Cafe in the Entertainment book I was super excited as I was hoping that it was a hidden gem that was going to be the next new upcoming ‘Brodburger’. So at the first chance I grab Timmy enticing him with their all day breakfast menu.

    From the website:

    “Homemade food (yes made on the premise with fresh ingredients) that fills the belly and gives you that satisfaction only a good meal can. Even a variety of Romanian meals to chose from (check the website regularly).

    All day Breakfast, (all day every day) fresh free range eggs, lots of bacon and a variety of sides topped off with a hot Kaldi Coffee.”

    The first impression wasn’t great when I thought the woman who took our order was really rude with an attitude without a cause. When we go to order pancakes, she sighs and tells us there is limited items left of the breakfast menu and pancakes aren’t available. I thought that was disappointing considering they go out of their way to mention “All day Breakfast, (all day every day) ” on their website. We order our food and go sit down. Luckily for us our beverages were served by another woman who was really polite and friendly, although that did mean the angry woman was cooking our food.

    Kaldi coffee ($4.20) better than average coffee and an average caramel milkshake ($4.00). 

    When we are served our food by the first server she informs us that the cutlery is near the cash registers but I noticed when the friendly lady was serving she would get cutlery for the patrons.

    The Phat burger temptation homemade beef patty, tasty cheese, tomato, beetroot, caramelised onion, tomato relish and lettuce ($9.95) The roll wasn’t toasted at all which didn’t really add to the appeal and using Turkish bread seemed way to filling so I ditched the top half way through.  I wasn’t particularly fond of the patty but all the salad seemed very fresh. All and all, it wasn’t a good burger which is such a shame when you’ve based the name of the cafe over this menu item.

    Eggs benedict free-range poached eggs served on toasted English muffin with bacon and hollandaise sauce ($16.95) I don’t see how my big burger is $10 and this tiny ‘bacon and egg roll’ is $17.00?(!) and if that wasn’t bad enough the hollandaise tasted truly terrible like an off mayonnaise, we had to scrape it all off. Such a disappointment!

    Vanilla slice ($5.00) This was the first vanilla slice that I didn’t finish. I was hoping that the sweets from the store would be its redeeming quality but alas I was just as disappointed.

    A lot of people dropped by for a coffee while we were there and the occasional person would order a cake. I understand that some people have bad days and I would go back to try some sweets but I wouldn’t bother with their hot food.

    Venue: The Phat Burger Cafe

    Address: Farrer Shops, Farrer Place, Farrer, ACT 2607

    Phone: (02) 62901086

    Entertainment voucher: luckily I used mine as I don’t know if I’ll be coming back.

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