Super-soft squid… with bright garden greens, a couple of wedges of lime, chilli and lime aioli. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

“It’s casual dining – order at the counter, grab pre-wrapped cutlery and find yourself a seat,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

Wendy Johnson.

THE Pelican Place has landed and is now open at the Eyre Street Market, Kingston, and Hibberson Street, Gungahlin, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Post-breakfast, The Pelican Place dishes up starters, salads, burgers, hoggies (hot dogs), what it bills as ‘old-school treats’ and more. Dine indoors or outside on wooden picnic tables. 

We shared super-soft squid ($14) with bright garden greens, a couple of wedges of lime, chilli and lime aioli. We also shared the Caesar salad, which arrived with a perfectly poached egg on top ($16).

The winning dish of the day was the ‘Pelican signature’, jerk-spiced chicken ($26 for a half-chicken). It was super moist and while the spice wasn’t overly punchy, it had presence. The chicken arrived with hot chips, a side of crunchy and colourful coleslaw with creamy dressing and grilled corn. All up, a lovely lunch. 

Jerk-spiced chicken… with hot chips, a side of crunchy and colourful coleslaw with creamy dressing and grilled corn. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The most confusing dish of the day was the grilled French tacos ($12). The soft tortilla was stuffed to the brim but not with a lot of chilli con carne. Instead, the filling was mostly smashed chips, cheese sauce and chilli mayo. It was more like a potato sandwich.

While The Pelican Place describes itself as ‘casual dining’, there is no table service. It’s order at the counter, grab pre-wrapped cutlery and find yourself a seat. 

Steak sandwich… revved up with green chimichurri, horseradish mayo, gorgeous ripe tomatoes and fresh rocket. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The steak sandwich hit the spot ($19). It was revved up with green chimichurri, horseradish mayo, gorgeous ripe tomatoes and fresh rocket. The steak was tender and, once more, the chips piping hot.

Also tender was the premium scotch fillet steak ($32), although it was slightly overcooked for the ‘rare’ that was ordered and arrived with chips not mash (staff apologised and quickly brought out a side dish of creamy, buttery mash).

The fish and chips were lacklustre and the beer-battered coating was not crisp. It was a generous serve, with three, decent-sized pieces of fish for only $19. 

Caesar salad… arrived with a perfectly poached egg on top. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The Pelican Place is brand new and has wrinkles to iron out. Service is with a smile but needs refining. One of our party ordered two starters for her meal, asking that the hot dog come after the grilled French taco. They arrived together. As mentioned, there was a mix up with the mash. Staff didn’t pay attention to the dirty dishes we kept piling at the end of our table as meals were finished. We eventually asked for them to be cleared. Dishes arrived in a very haphazard and staggered fashion, mine so late that everyone else was almost finished with their meals. 

When sitting outside you can smell exhaust (the Kingston location). The Pelican Place apologised for this and is urgently working on fixing the problem. 

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