Casual eating at home with Shorty’s

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DARN. We didn’t book. But then the café angel flew over and gave us a veranda table at the city’s newest happening café, Shorty’s. Yes, Shorty’s. Why, you ask? Well, life’s short, don’t you know.

Shorty’s... “Everything about it is unpretentious and not too perfect (which is not to say a lot didn’t go into designing the place)”, says Wendy Johnson. Photos by Brent McDonald
Shorty’s… “Everything about it is unpretentious and not too perfect (which is not to say a lot didn’t go into designing the place)”, says Wendy Johnson. Photos by Brent McDonald
The team at the top is small – Frank Condi, Pawl Cubbin, Simon Hammond and Ivan Pirjac – and their vision is clear. They wanted to open something “not too big, but not too small”. A place you can go often for a decent bite at a price that isn’t going to drive you to despair. And heaps of people are flocking to Garema Place to do just that.

Roasted cauliflower salad and crispy pork knuckle.
Roasted cauliflower salad and crispy pork knuckle.
The menu is divided into “fingers” (small stuff), “two hands” (stuff you really need to hang on to when eating), “mains” (no explanation needed) and “dessert” (including deep-fried Golden Gaytime with caramel and fresh honeycomb… my, oh, my!).

It was two hands for us. My pulled barbecue pork burger with red coleslaw and sweet mayo was a shock at first, since I wasn’t expecting the bun to be a sweet brioche. But you know what? It works really well and was a nice change. The pork was tender, the coleslaw added crunch and the creamy mayo rounded it out. And, yes, I needed two hands. Only $17.

My friend’s Shorty’s Dog with caramelised onions, mustard and relish was a joy, but a bit challenging at the same time. I snapped her on my mobile while she was chowing down and would publish the photo, but she would be my friend no more. Delicious and only $17 (both of our dishes came with chips and special seasoning).

Shorty's Dining Review 003On my next visit I ate inside and upstairs on the second level. Here you’re greeted with bright-blue and bold-striped wallpaper with bright-blue bench seating, complete with comfy, colourful cushions. We grabbed a table near the window and, having decided to eat with one hand, I ordered the grilled chicken and corn salad with green chilli, shallots, tomato and coriander (great value at $18). It was visually colourful, fresh with the coriander and offered a nice kick with the chilli. It went down well.

Shorty’s wine list is set at the right price point, with whites starting at $6.50 a glass and averaging $8. A good selection of reds is also available, starting at $7 and averaging $8.

Shorty’s is fully licensed. No surcharges for public holidays and no fees for using your credit cards. Why you ask? Well, life’s short, don’t you know…

Shorty’s, open seven days, Garema Place, Civic

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


    • Hi Frank, according to their Facebook page they are having difficulties with getting the phone connected at the moment but are taking bookings via Facebook (private message) or email (

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