It will come as no surprise to many RiotACT readers that Canberra’s love affair with ‘The Brod’ continues unabated. A few weeks ago I opined about what was Canberra’s signature dish. I didn’t think there was one and suggested a few options, including schnitties, brodburgers, freakshakes, etc. The editors agreed it would be worthwhile seeking some crowd-sourced data. Many readers hopped in to share their views and the survey results came in as follows:
After a few days we had accumulated 1397 votes, with 335 for Brodburger – that’s 24%! Brodburger came out as the clear winner. I was particularly impressed when I found out afterwards this result came about despite the owners Sascha and Joelle being overseas at the time and completely oblivious to the local debate.
I had been to the ANU pop-up village before but this was my first visit on a Saturday and it was much quieter than I expected, given the great food trucks that were open, the casual and open setting and the sunshine, despite the winter chill. It’s actually a great place to bring your kids for an outdoorsy lunch experience that is still quite civilised, with plenty of places to sit, plenty of food to choose from and toilets nearby, as well as lots of grassy lawn and urban obstacles for kids to explore. And awesome burgers!
Still shocked by the public rejection of my suggestion that Canberra’s signature dish is a schnittie, I ordered the brodburger version of this ubiquitous CBR meal – their “Piri Piri” burger, which combines a classic schnitzel-style crumbed chicken breast into a Brodburger, with bacon, lettuce, tomato and delicious piri piri sauce.
Who could resist? Not me. Or some kids I had brought along.
So I sat down for a chat with owner Sascha Brodbeck at the ANU Pop-Up Brod van, to talk burgers and why his delicious Canberra food was still such a popular sensation (sadly the lovely Joelle Bou-Jaoude, aka Mrs Brod, was away). Sascha’s passion and pride in his food was evident before we even sat down. He was determined to get the burger exactly right and insisted I eat before we spoke. The burger was perfect and throughout the conversation, he made sure that the food was our main focus, because it was his as well.
Sascha thanked the RiotACT readers who voted for Brod as the Canberra signature dish and said it was very humbling to know his creation was still appreciated by so many. He said “at the end of the day this is a Canberra business committed to giving back to the community and we are proud to serve a community that loves and appreciates good food.”
And good food it was. Ms 7 did not let a recent visit from the tooth fairy spoil her enjoyment of a Brodburger with chips.
I asked Sacha how the latest van was going and he said the new ANU venue was great and still had huge potential as it was still expanding and drawing more crowds. He agreed that weekends were still a bit quiet, but smart Brod fans were wisening up to the shorter queues and faster service in comparison to the ever-popular Kingston venue at the Canberra Glassworks. As the ANU Brodvan had a more limited menu, service was very quick in comparison. And for those of you who still seek faster service at the Kingston Brodburger, you can now order online to hop the queue and get ahead!
The third Brod van at The Hamlet is still going strong serving its gourmet hot dogs to discerning Braddonites, but it is likely to be packed up and moved before the end of this year to a new, at this stage excitingly secret, location! In the meantime, the new van at ANU is open seven days a week from 11am. The closing time depends on how busy trade is and usually includes dinner on busier weeknights when hungry ANU students and staff keep the grill running hot. On weekends the parking is also much easier as the van is very close to Childers Ave and there is plenty of on-street and car park parking when there are usually no classes at ANU, most students are either sleeping in, playing sport, or busy studying and working.
I was thinking about how long Canberra’s love affair with the Brod has been and it’s quite a long one. A quick search of RiotACT’s past Brodburger stories reveals the drama in 2010 when it was still at its original location on the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore before the Kingston Foreshore precinct had even begun to take shape. There’s even a reminder about how Liberal Senator Gary Humphries jumped forward to defend the Brod against those authorities that wished to move it!
When was your first Brodburger experience? Do you have any amazing stories to share? Were there any new romances formed in those famous 30-minute queues outside the red van parked next to Lake Burley Griffin? Please let us know in the comments below!
Elias Hallaj (aka CBRfoodie) is a part-time food blogger and full-time political staffer who has joined RiotACT as a regular contributor. All his opinions about burgers are his own. Don’t worry he is trying to cut back on eating too much, but insists burgers are just too damned tasty. If you have any tips or feedback or advice about burgers or your own favourite signature food around Canberra you can add a comment below or find him most nights on Twitter @CBRfoodie.