One of Canberra’s most-experienced food critics and this paper’s longest-serving columnist, WENDY JOHNSON indulges herself with her top eating experiences for 2018
IT’S prime real estate and for a long time, the precious spot on the corner of Giles and Kennedy Streets in Kingston remained empty, dark and lonely – a drag for surrounding businesses.
One day I spotted folks working on the outside, repainting the sign of the former establishment, Jones and Co.
I asked what was up and was told Charlie’s was taking over the corner. And so it has.
Charlie’s Corner honours Charles Cameron Kingston, the Australian politician who served from 1893 to 1899.
On site is co-owner Lachlan Ryan, a delightful chap. Instead of tampering with the expensive fitout, Lachlan has pretty much left things well alone – a smart move.
What has changed is the menu. Charlie’s is casual and prices are set accordingly.
The place hasn’t been open too long and the food offering is still being refined. What I appreciate is the friendly and efficient staff who make every effort to get to know customers and who are dead keen on drawing out what they think. They’re proactive in asking for feedback and implementing ideas that make sense. It’s no wonder that for many Kingstonites, this has already become a new “local”.
Several of us dined on a weeknight. Four burgers are on the menu, but we concentrated on entrees and mains.
The menu promised the spring rolls would come with balsamic glaze ($16) and the pan-fried Japanese dumplings with sweet and sour soy sauce ($17). It ended up the glaze was served with the Gyoza and the spring rolls with a sweet chilli sauce, but we preferred it that way and dug into the entrees with glee.
The salt and pepper squid ($18) was tender and married well with the fresh Vietnamese salad. The coriander dipping sauce needs refining – it’s pretty potent.
The scotch fillet ($29) was cooked to perfection and you can choose from four sauces. The marinated strips of Moroccan beef ($25) featured great flavours and was dished up with fluffy couscous, pan-fried capsicum and parsley served with a cooling mint yoghurt.
The grilled lamb cutlets were tender and the Moroccan saffron rice delighted ($29). The salmon was delish and the fish cooked to perfection. The skin wasn’t crispy, so I parked it to the side of my dish.
The wine list at Charlie’s is reasonably priced and there’s a pretty decent selection, with whites and reds starting at $8 a glass and $27 a bottle. The Burns and Fuller Chardi is a fave, at $38 a bottle.
The outdoor area is large and the indoor area comfy, with cushy seats lined up along large windows on both sides of the street – a perfect possie to enjoy a drink and watch the world go by.
Charlie’s Corner, 26 Giles Street, Kingston. Call 5105 3202. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to late. Sunday breakfast and then drinks 1pm-5pm.