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Joke’s over for Jester’s Civic

By 2 September 2007 28

The local franchise of Jester’s Pies, as far as I know the only one in Canberra, has closed its operation at the top of Garema Place. For the last couple of days of last week the shop was closed up, chairs stacked on tables, lights out and a For Lease sign in the window.

I didn’t mind a Jester’s pie once in a while, although I wasn’t exactly a regular there. I can’t say I’m surprised to see them go, though. I never saw the place with more than one or two people in it and it was often empty. It wasn’t in a good spot to get the passing takeaway trade – the Ali Baba and Oporto outlets next door offer a better variety of meal and I think Jester’s is too far away from the big offices for public servants ducking out for a bite and a coffee. On the other hand, the dine-in experience wasn’t inviting, with the TV not visible from most of the seats and the weird furniture design that put the table about level with my chest when I sat down.

I’m now wondering about the fate of the site. I’m sure it would be viable for a good eatery, but I’m wondering what sort. A different sort of takeaway, perhaps with the entrance on the other wall to draw in the fast-food crowd rather than the cafe-goers? Is that part of town at saturation point with cafe-style eateries? It’d be a shame if that corner stood empty for as long as it did after the Key King moved out.

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28 Responses to Joke’s over for Jester’s Civic
#1
ant10:20 pm, 02 Sep 07

There’s one out at Brand Depot too. I don’t know what the fuss is about though, they were very average. Pies at Kingston bakery, just for example, were better, and I bet there’s lots of other better pie floggers too. Bryants were always good, and they’re still around.

#2
el10:44 pm, 02 Sep 07

Yep, agreed ant. Overrated *and* overpriced. Never a good combination.

Stick with the local bakeries for a good pie.

#3
ant10:51 pm, 02 Sep 07

And that said, let’s hear the words up on where to go for a good pie! I LOVE pies. They are ART. Robert Macklin did a pie thing in the CT some years back. When I’m in the US, I just drool for pies (they don’t have them). so, who in Canberra and surrounds is making excellent pies right now? (drooling).

#4
You11:04 pm, 02 Sep 07

Cornucopia in Braddon for their Kangaroo and Beer pies. Elaine’s at Dickson (NOT Fyshwick) for their steak and mushroom.

Both places offer big chunks of meat in the pies. Elaines wins on price, but Cornucopia has slightly better pastry.

#5
el11:07 pm, 02 Sep 07

Second nomination for Cornucopia.

Used to get great pies from Hughes and Yarralumla bakeries, too (good quality mince without the gristle!)

#6
asp11:20 pm, 02 Sep 07

Best Pies, any place that sells Villis Pies. No one can match the pastry and the spice in the filling. Very good. The Zoo and a couple of places in Deakin sell them.
Worst Pie, sadly the plain pies at Michelles. They taste like raw meat.

#7
asp11:21 pm, 02 Sep 07

Silly me, Villis Pies are the pies they have at the Parliament House and National Museum cafes. At both places with a side of chips or salad, quite good value and great taste.

#8
Meconium3:03 am, 03 Sep 07

I’m glad Jester’s Civic has failed. Not because their pies were especially bad – I had a spinach roll at the Brand Depot store today and it was all right – but because the service at Civic was appalling. It was as if the whole place was run by 14-year-old schoolgirls. Everything was extremely unprofessional and there was always a lot of giggling from behind the counter, and zero attention to customer service.

I went in there one night because they were the only place in the area I could get a coffee that time, and some weirdo who was trying to chat up the girls working there decided to come behind the counter and show the girls how to make a coffee. This guy didn’t work there, and I didn’t want some Civic random making my coffee, so I could give my money to the useless shop assistants… I walked away and never went back.

Good riddance, support your local bakery, not some franchised fat American shite. Cornucopia’s just up the road and it’s world class.

#9
Maelinar8:28 am, 03 Sep 07

The bakery in Kippers for their Guinness Pie. Apparently it’s won awards, but I’ve never bothered to read the sign.

#10
Ingeegoodbee8:40 am, 03 Sep 07

I tend to avoid the local pies – just haven’t been impressed over the last two decades or so.

I do enjoy a beef pie from the bakery at Nuggets Crossing in Jindabyne and the mushy pea pies at the Gunnadoo (sp?) bakery in Bungendore are pretty good.

#11
emd9:24 am, 03 Sep 07

I like the vegetarian pies at Elaine’s – Fyshwick is just as good as Dickson. Possibly they just taste so good because they’re drowned in cheese.

Cornucopia has the most outstanding pastry (or anything from a bakery) that I’ve ever eaten. The pumpkin pillow is great (although too big for me to get through on my own).

Bruno’s in Mawson has excellent quiches. They don’t make a vegie pie so I don’t know about that.

#12
Gungahlin Al9:30 am, 03 Sep 07

Agreed – Jesters dish up very average pies, at extraordinarily high prices. I guess that’s the so-called “invisible hand” of the market at work…

On the subject of pies, Villies are always the ones being sold at the various public events – and an overpriced runny-everywhere pie is *exactly* what you need at a public event NOT.
People have also raved over Dobinsons (Bunda St) and Bryants (from Goulburn) pies, but I’ve found both quite average.

To find a quality pie with chunks of real meat, and no arteries, gristle and other offal, with pastry that doesn’t flake all over the place is a rare thing indeed. Unfortunately the main place to get same reliably is a certain brand in the supermarket freezers of all places.

#13
Woody Mann-Caruso10:54 am, 03 Sep 07

Now I want a pie. No, three pies. With peas.

#14
asp12:48 pm, 03 Sep 07

“To find a quality pie with chunks of real meat, and no arteries, gristle and other offal, with pastry that doesn’t flake all over the place is a rare thing indeed.”
Not just pies.
Woolies is selling Italian Pork sausages that are only 15% Pork. What is the rest?
4in20 Pies are about 19% Meat.
Even the humble hash brown is often less than 90% potato.

#15
pierce2:05 pm, 03 Sep 07

Damn it, I got a 2 for 1 voucher for Jesters that I never used. (though from the sounds of it I guess I’m not missing out on so much anyway)

I’ll put another vote in for Cornucopia though

#16
hingo2:22 pm, 03 Sep 07

I reckon ALDI’s frozen pies are great. Who cares what it is made out of as long as it tastes good and doesn’t make you physically ill. Can’t be any worse than eating haggis.

#17
Thumper3:55 pm, 03 Sep 07

Ah, the old frozen pie. Nothing better when you stagger in at zero dark oclock with a gutful of piss.

Wild Pies in Bodalla. Best in the world.

#18
VicePope4:53 pm, 03 Sep 07

Erindale Bakery. Good range. Good stuff. People who think about pastry.

#19
bonfire4:57 pm, 03 Sep 07

tidbinbilla space tracking station cafe – excelent made on premises gourmet pies.

#20
cranky5:57 pm, 03 Sep 07

From left field – whoever made the pies sold at Bunnings, Fyshwick.
Anyone know?

#21
Swaggie6:15 pm, 03 Sep 07

Yep another vote for the Gourmet Pie at the Tracking Station cafe – had one yesterday. 10/10

#22
el9:37 pm, 03 Sep 07

x2 for Erindale bakery.

#23
ant9:44 pm, 03 Sep 07

A Canadian friend moved to be with his new girlfriend in the US, and started to miss Pies. The US girlfriend asked me for a recipe to try and make him some. well, that was tough. Bakery pies just aren’t that easy to make. I’m pretty sure they put blood and stuff in, and the pastry is quite tricky too.
I used to make a beeline for that place in the Sydney domestic terminal when I got back from the US. A strong flat white, and a PIE with sauce. Bliss.

#24
Bartron10:00 pm, 03 Sep 07

hmm….the two times I had pies at Jesters they were OK and I couldn’t fault the service either time….not sure where the teenage girls came from, maybe I didn’t go there at the right times. I’ll never be glad a franchise closes down as it represents someones time, money and effort into something that didn’t work. Unless you know the owner it could have been someone with too much money and not enough care or a Mum and Dad operation with not enough business nouse.

#25
DuffyMum10:11 pm, 03 Sep 07

The one and only time I have been to Jesters in Civic (the night that the Rally of Canberra started) I was very impressed with both the food/drinks and the service by the staff. I for one am disappointed that they have closed.

#26
hairy nosed wombat11:40 pm, 03 Sep 07

Jesters Brand Depot, and Civic seemed to have different business plans (aka different owners/manages with different goals).

Having said that, I found their pies overpriced and tended not to buy them.

The pie shop at nuggets crossing is quite good too, and Villis do a good pie for a mass produced pie. (on my last trip to Adelaide, I found the Villis pie cart always well patronised).

The bakery at Bungendore is well worth a visit.

#27
Danman10:57 am, 04 Sep 07

The bakery at Bungendore is well worth a visit

I have been known to scoff many a semi dried tomato and (fresh) basil quiche from that bakery.

Matter o fact – I never liked quiche until then

#28
Dagget11:38 am, 04 Sep 07

“Now I want a pie. No, three pies. With peas.”

Mmmmm Adelaide train station pie floaters at 2am.
Memories of a mis-spent youth :)

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