Bright new pub offers hits and misses

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Quinoa and haloumi salad… two thick, salty slices nicely grilled. Photo: Wendy Johnson

BADGER & Co, one of Canberra’s newest pubs, holds a prime position at Kambri, ANU.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

Kambri means “meeting place” and the place is already sprinkled with bars, cafes, shops and other services to attract people to the new precinct and build a sense of community.

It’s not just for uni students – anyone can head to Kambri for a cold bev or a bite to eat, which is what we did one weekend.

Badger & Co’s prime position overlooks Sullivan’s Creek. It’s massive inside and out, and in true uni style offers $5 happy hour drinks and food specials, including 1 kg of wings for $10 on Tuesdays, and $20 cocktail pitchers on Friday nights.

The décor is light, bright and modern. Badger & Co is destined to be a regular hangout for uni students.

The meu offers more than just pub grub and the prices are super reasonable, especially for the portion sizes.

We began by sharing several plates – with some hits and some misses.

We loved the white bean hummus, with the right amount of garlic. It came with thick slices of focaccia (good deal at $9). It was fun dipping the crumbed stuffed jalapenos into the creamy aioli ($9). The zucchini flowers were disappointing although the tempura was light. The menu didn’t promise they’d be stuffed but we felt they were too bland ($12).

One friend ordered the steak sandwich ($17). Once he had ordered staff came to our outside table to clarify that it was minute steak (menu should likely say this). It wasn’t a stand out but wasn’t dry, either – the caramelised onion added moisture as did the mustard aioli. The dish comes with chunky chips.

Badger & Co’s chicken schnitty… panko crumbed, it came with chunky fries and a side garden salad. Photo: Wendy Johnson

The chicken schnitty, panko crumbed, was a treat – moist and juicy. It also came with chunky fries and a side garden salad ($17). My quinoa salad was tasty and packed with ingredients. You can add chicken or haloumi as extras. I went for the haloumi – two thick, salty slices nicely grilled ($17).

Service at the bar was with a smile. The arrival of the meals was haphazard at best. We had barely started to share our entrée dishes before two of the mains came out, followed by my salad. Baffling considering that an entrée is, well, an entrée. There was no room on the table for everything so the person who served us plonked a couple of dishes on the next table.

When we uttered concern about the speed of the mains, we were offered a solution – stick the dishes under the heat lamp until we were ready. No thanks, we said.

Other places that are now open at Kambri include China Plate (sister restaurant in Kingston), Broger and Rex Espresso.

Badger & Co, open Monday to Sunday, 11am to late. It’s a cashless pub.

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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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