Dining / A taste of real food, good coffee and great service

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A Bite To Eat’s pumpkin and mushroom risotto… featuring two types of mushrooms, oyster and button. Photo by Wendy Johnson

IF you’re in the mood for a bite to eat and in the Chifley area, whip into the shops and settle in at the café by the same name.

A Bite To Eat has been a favourite with locals since it swung its doors wide open in 2004, which proves that great places have strong followings and stand the test of time. The café is a three-time “Delicious” magazine winner that keeps customers watered and fed from early morning through to late-night drinks.

This will be my third review, the first was published in 2006 and the second in 2012. I was drawn in this time curious about what the new owners, Greg Kopke and Steve Elliot, had done to the place. It had been a busy day that saw me whipping about doing “stuff”. I was starving and so took a turn off Hindmarsh Drive wondering what I’d find.

The good news is that Greg and Steve have kept the café’s eclectic fitout and personality and are doing what smart café owners do and that’s focus on tasty and real food handmade, good coffee and friendly service. I was immediately greeted by Greg who was behind the bar and asked how my day had been.

I sat in the sunny courtyard out back, which was quieter than inside – the place was pumping and the coffee machine humming, which is great to see.

The menu is compact and true café style. On my lunch visit it featured soup of the day ($14), roast vegetable salad ($18), fritters ($19), a couple of burgers ($19), beer-battered fish ($22) and a good old schnitty ($23).

I opted for the mushroom and pumpkin risotto (gluten free, vegetarian and $22). The arborio was creamy and cooked how I love it, with a bit of bite to the rice. It was rich, but not overly so. It featured two types of mushrooms, oyster and button. To add texture, additional colour and a decorative element, some mushrooms were placed on top of the risotto. Sage butter was another yummy element and the dish came with slices of parmesan and a few fresh herbs sprinkled about. It was a delish dish with bags of flavour and perfect with a glass of Hesketh Pinot Gris from Adelaide Hills ($7).

If you’re keen on sharing at lunch, A Bite To Eat has spicy chicken wings ($15), bush herb spiced calamari ($17) and nachos ($17 without beef and $19 with).

A Bite To Eat is fully licensed and BYO (corkage $4 per person). Wines by the glass start at $7 and top off at $10. Milkshakes, smoothies and fresh juices are on the menu, as are quality teas and Campos coffee. You can also order a Bloody Mary ($15) if you’re in the mood.

A Bite To Eat, Chifley Shops. Open Tuesday to Sunday (hours vary). 6260 3703.

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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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