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Unfunction

By 27 June 2014 16

I am looking for helpful advice, and really don’t mind getting a pitch from someone who wants to make a buck.

Because I am old, usually cook and eat at home and am generally unsociable, the task of organising something has fallen to me. It’s natural, in the same way as a romcom plot.

Anyhow, there is to be a family-type get together of a number of people – fifty, give or take – in Canberra in the next couple of months. Mostly about them talking to each other, while eating and drinking. There will be a brief (10 minutes) spell of some more speechy stuff between courses. So we do not need a full spangles-and-sparkles function room, just a restaurant (which may or may not be in a club) which can partition off part of its space.

What we need is somewhere that will offer a bit of a menu choice for a set price. Somewhere that can provide a range of beer and wine or allow us to bring it in. Somewhere that can allow for the gluten-free/lactose-free/vegetarian people. of whom there are a few. Saturday lunch or dinner or Sunday lunch. Somewhere that can segregate us a bit or let us book it out. We don’t greatly care about the ethnicity of the cuisine.

During a meal, a few weeks back, we audtioned Peppercress at Tuggers Southern Cross CLub. Does a limited menu (some choices but not the whole lot) and the wine, and cooked the menu pretty well, so far as we could see. The service was, however, a letdown (slow to get drinks – I’d still be waiting for a glass of red, poor spacing between courses, bill grossly wrong because it included most of another table’s stuff). So, although it looked like a winner, it lost.

Suggestions, please, from the herd.

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16 Responses to Unfunction
#1
fabforty5:15 pm, 27 Jun 14

Try The Haig Restaurant in Braddon. I went to a Xmas in July dinner there last year and it was great. They did a set menu, catered for all sorts of dietary requirements and we had use of a private room and our own bar person. The food was also really good.

#2
Masquara9:23 pm, 27 Jun 14

You could consider hiring a space at Gorman House – they have the gorgeous oval-shaped Bogong Room in the middle – and get in a caterer (or their caterer might be compulsory). Family members could run the bar, and you’d just need to hire a little PA system for speeches. The Street Theatre foyer could also be a possibility …

#3
Listers_Cat10:04 pm, 27 Jun 14

Just book a private function in a club. Most can put on a buffet that will accommodate most people, and they will staff a private bar.

#4
aussieboy9:32 am, 28 Jun 14

There’s no way a restaurant can accommodate 50 guests at the same table into standard service! Do you realise how many staff it takes to plate up 50 meals at once and bring them out?

Even buffet restaurants rely on a consistent stream of people through the night from all different tables, rather than 1 huge wave of people (it’s just impossible to replace the dishes fast enough).

Practically speaking, you’re going to have to go with a banquet-style service – maximum 2 choices (and with only 50 guests you’ll either have to have alternate service or get people to select their dish in advance). You could also organise a function buffet, where they have less dishes than a buffet restaurant so that replacements are ready to go.

Your options will be hotels ($85-110 per head) or clubs (a bit less).

#5
VicePope10:24 am, 28 Jun 14

Thanks for these comments, and more would be appreciated.
Aussieboy – what has been suggested seems, in the recent past, to have been manageable in Sydney and some regional places. So your comment that it can’t be done may tell me more about the attitude of the local restaurant industry than I knew. Thanks for that.
The club option is obviously a smart one, but I am socially phobic and time-poor enough not to want to go around trialling everywhere with “club” in the name. So more suggestions would be welcome.

#6
Deborah1:00 pm, 28 Jun 14

I highly recommend Vivaldi at the ANU. http://vivaldirestaurant.com.au. Great atmosphere, good food and service.

I’ve been there for a few private celebrations and will be using them for my next decade birthday.

#7
gazket1:53 pm, 28 Jun 14

Somehow I think the the Pope is going to be hard to keep happy .

what restaurant can partition some of it’s space for a 50 people dinner ?

accommodate gluten-free lactose-free vegetarian people and wait on them hand and foot so they don’t even have to get up to get their own drinks.

do separate bills but have a set price for a varying menu.

#8
katiecustard4:22 pm, 28 Jun 14

Hi. Look up the Gungahlin lakes club. I had my 21st there and it was amazing. 60 people attended and I just had the BBQ buffet but you can also do other sorts of meals at very reasonable prices. We hired the down stairs golf function room and had two bar attendants on our private bar. Couldn’t recommend them enough :)

#9
bigred10:51 pm, 28 Jun 14

I suggest the Greeks (aka) Hellenic club. Best I have seen for a group

#10
Genie12:05 am, 29 Jun 14

fabforty said :

Try The Haig Restaurant in Braddon. I went to a Xmas in July dinner there last year and it was great. They did a set menu, catered for all sorts of dietary requirements and we had use of a private room and our own bar person. The food was also really good.

The Haig is some of the worst food I’ve ever eaten….. And I’m a terrible cook

#11
triangularsquare2:45 pm, 29 Jun 14

Hello, thought I would throw my hat in the ring. I own a medium sized restaurant in Curtin (10 mins from the city, plenty of free parking too). We serve a lot of GF, DF, vegetarian dishes (about half the menu), we can fit up to 100 people but no need to fill this number out, and we are licensed as well.

In the past we have offered set price menu’s with 3 types of entree and 4 types of mains set up as a buffet. We can be quite flexible on the dishes, usually two meat, two vege.

We are happy to open over a weekend lunch time for dinner on a Sunday. The whole place would be yours.

Check us out at http://www.thehungrybuddha.com.au
Reviews here http://bit.ly/UWjHe3

Or just come in for a chat. We are open 7 nights per week, from 6pm.

Cheers, Ben

#12
sepi11:58 am, 30 Jun 14

Taj Mahal in civic on Northbourne has two rooms – you can rent the top one out and do your own decor etc. the downside is the loooong flight of stairs up. Not so good for any elderly relllies.

#13
shirty_bear12:13 pm, 30 Jun 14

I will vouch for Hungry Buddha’s tucker, and if they say they can fit you in then they’re worth a look. The nature of their food means much can be prepared in advance. Drinks service might be slow, but presumably they’ll put extra staff on if they know you’re coming.

My initial thought, however, was that you’re probably looking at a space in a larger club because the 50-odd heads won’t over-tax the kitchen and table service:
– the downstairs space mentioned at Gungahlin Lakes (actually Ainslie Footy Club) would probably be ideal. But their main bistro space will hold a group of 50 easy, too.
– Ainslie group also has the main club in Ainslie, as well as Braddon Bowling club – a much smaller, plainer club, but I’ve seen the bistro there kitted out for 21st’s, etc and it worked fine. Can get v.noisy with karaoke in the main bar. But if the weather’s good you can make a day of it with the lawn bowls – anyone can do it, it’s cheap, and it’s more fun than you’d reckon.
– Southern Cross Woden has heaps of space and a kitchen to match.
– Southern Cross Jamison has the old Catchpoles restaurant space, which I believe they use for such things. Might well be looking at a buffet arrangement though.
– Hellenic (Woden) has masses of space and probably a suitably-sized room

These are all places I’ve eaten at more than once, and consider the food reliable.
I agree with Genie’s assessment of the Haig being iffy.

Can’t offer any insight further down the Valley, but expect at least one of the Vikings clubs (Erindale and Town Centre both look big) would be comparable with the clubs I’ve mentioned.

#14
Masquara6:24 pm, 30 Jun 14

shirty_bear said :

I will vouch for Hungry Buddha’s tucker, and if they say they can fit you in then they’re worth a look. The nature of their food means much can be prepared in advance. Drinks service might be slow, but presumably they’ll put extra staff on if they know you’re coming.

My initial thought, however, was that you’re probably looking at a space in a larger club because the 50-odd heads won’t over-tax the kitchen and table service.

The trouble with clubs as a venue is that their food tends to be bought as “caterer bulk” – precooked chips, preblanched cubed vegetables, premade pies, bought-in sauces, and it’s inevitably bland and dull. If you get the opportunity to have this hosted in a proper restaurant, where the food is recommended, your function is likely to be more fun. Also, beware of a function for 50 in many club rooms – 50 is not many people, and you don’t want to be occupying a corner of a large room with “function” carpet and decor. Go homely & atmosphere will be provided by the folks present.

#15
gazket9:28 pm, 30 Jun 14

triangularsquare said :

Hello, thought I would throw my hat in the ring. I own a medium sized restaurant in Curtin (10 mins from the city, plenty of free parking too). We serve a lot of GF, DF, vegetarian dishes (about half the menu), we can fit up to 100 people but no need to fill this number out, and we are licensed as well.

In the past we have offered set price menu’s with 3 types of entree and 4 types of mains set up as a buffet. We can be quite flexible on the dishes, usually two meat, two vege.

We are happy to open over a weekend lunch time for dinner on a Sunday. The whole place would be yours.

Check us out at http://www.thehungrybuddha.com.au
Reviews here http://bit.ly/UWjHe3

Or just come in for a chat. We are open 7 nights per week, from 6pm.

Cheers, Ben

ding, ding, ding, We Have A Winner here

#16
stutanium10:36 am, 29 Jul 14

For that size group I would look at the “Lounge” at the Unipub http://unipub.com.au/ or the function room at the Kingston Hotel, they both have function rooms available along with good menus.

I had my 40th at the Kingston Hotel and the food and drink service was great. Would definitely recommend them, give them a call.

A friend also had also had their 30th in the Whisky Room at the Civic Pub http://civicpub.com.au/pdf/Civic-Function-menu.pdf.

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