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Central Cafe (Gungahlin) – first impressions

Jonathon Reynolds 12 August 2008 60

My first introduction to the original Central Cafe in Queanbeyan was many years ago where I was left awestruck by their Coca-Cola” inspired logo, the red velour wallpaper, team photos of the then Woodgers Raiders adorning the walls and of course the legendary “Mixed Grill“.

Since those early days the Central Cafe in Queanbeyan has expanded, had substantial renovations and a decor face lift. Sadly the unique “furry” (velour) walls are gone, but it still represents excellent value for money when you are seeking that mammoth proportion “intake of sustenance“.

The burning question was could the new Central Cafe in Gungahlin live up to the legend of the original cafe?

Well, for brunch on Saturday a group of three of us headed down the Gungahlin Town Centre to check out the new Central Cafe on the corner of Gungahlin Place and Hibberson Street (where Billy Baxters used to be).

The obvious choice for me was to benchmark the new Gungahlin cafe against the original by ordering the “King Size” Mixed Grill (see photo above).

I am pleased to report that the mixed grill is everything that one would expect from a classic “Central Cafe” mixed grill. A huge platter absolutely blanketed in sausages, bacon (a rasher and several short cuts), a generous sized pork chop, 1/2 a ham steak, several large cuts of steak, two pieces of liver and a large “homemade style” burger patty. I think one of the steaks may have been a piece of lamb steak as I distinctly remember it hiding under several layers of other meats toward the bottom of the plate. The dish was garnished with a good smattering of crispy thick cut fries and a wedge of lemon. The gravy was served in a separate gravy boat to the side (as I prefer to control my own application of gravy, versus the usual serving practice of having the meal swimming in it). There was also a generous mixed side salad, lightly dressed and garnished with the ubiquitous slice of orange. Everything tasted great and for $24.90 with the obscene amount of food involved, represents incredible value.

My colleagues ordered Beer Battered Fish Fillets with Chips (two huge fillets) on a bed of thick cut fries with a side of tartare sauce, lemon wedge and a side of mixed salad for $18.90 and a Toasted Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich (again generously filled) and served with the obligatory thick cut fries for $12.90. Both my colleagues enjoyed their food and found the serving size more than generous to the extent of being too much.

We had a giggle as on the menu Milk Shakes and Thick Shakes are described as “all the usual flavours“. We had the immediate vision of a chocolate-strawberry-vanilla-caramel-banana-lime-malted-minty mixed concoction. But with one of our party actually ordering a shake it came served in a huge glass and was thankfully just the single flavour desired.

The interior decor and shopfitting are obviously a reworking of the previous Billy Baxters cafe. It is clean, bright, with timber floor finishes, comfortable seating with a combination of free standing tables and booths. The predominate accent colour is a bright almost pinkish-purple. The font style used for the new “Central Cafe” logo had us somewhat perplexed as it appears to be Tolkien inspired… reminding us somewhat of an Elven/Elvish font, though it was suggested it may also have been Klingon.

I understand that the Gungahlin Central Cafe is actually owned by the proprietors of the original Queanbeyan cafe (which was sold to new owners last year). The staff were very attentive and friendly and I recognized some of the faces from the previous Billy Baxters staff… so its good to see that when that when the previous Billy Baxters cafe closed, employees were able to transition to the new cafe.

Based on our initial experience, this is a welcome addition to the Gungahlin Town Centre (and much closer than having to travel all the way to Queanbeyan). Like the original Central Cafe, this new establishment has the potential to be a local tourist attraction.

Definitely a place to visit if you are desperately ravenous and in need for a value-for-money gastronomically indulgent eating orgy.


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60 Responses to Central Cafe (Gungahlin) – first impressions
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mr666 mr666 3:15 am 20 Aug 08

disapointed coffee is cold luke warm,(my rate 4/10) overall to expensive for a cafe,it is not a restuarant i did say cafe right,two main meals $50.00 bucks thats without any drinks or desserts and extra for sauces on your steak com on guys keep it real, better off dinning at the labor club at least they have $10.00 meals (rump steak) quite good wont be going there agan

Granny Granny 2:46 am 20 Aug 08

What about sweetbreads and brains?

bigfeet bigfeet 12:01 am 20 Aug 08

ant said :

Bigfeet said

bigfeet said :

they have Lambs Fry and Bacon on the menu… All day people…Lambs Fry!!!! So basically there is a place, no more than 5 minutes from my house, where I can go at anytime up till 9.00pm, 7 days a week and they will serve me Lambs Fry.

So what will you be ordering when you go there again?

Anyway, it’s liver. Lamb’s Fry indeed…. it’s bloody liver! You’ll be rhapsodising about kidneys next.

I was dreaming of my Lambs Fry breakfast all week, went there on Saturday and ordered it. After 10 minutes the waitress came over and told me that they had no lambs-fry. I was devestated…stared at the menu for 5 minutes but could not decide on anything else, so I left.

I will give them one more try..

And for the record…I love kidneys.

Geoff_ACT Geoff_ACT 6:47 pm 19 Aug 08

I would have to disagree. The service at Queanbeyan has improved substantially, quick to order, people are friendlier and the food quality is much better.
I have tried the food at Gungahlin and rate it a 4 out of 10 and the coffee “well let’s not go there”.

chrisi chrisi 4:40 pm 19 Aug 08

QBN Central Cafe have NOTHING to protect in terms of good name and reputation, so I dont know what the big hoopla is about!

Ever since the new owners have taken over, the service has gone to crap and the food quality has dropped- nothing tastes fresh anymore.
Quantity is one thing, but I bet people are leaving more on their plates because of the drop in quality.

I’m definitely willing to give the Gungahlin one a go- even though I live in Queanbeyan, because I certainly wont go or recommend the QBN one anymore.

It used to be an institution… friends from Sydney would beg to go there when visiting. They dont do that anymore!

Diva Diva 10:54 am 19 Aug 08

I know the owners of QBN Central Cafe well and for the record QBN is not affiliated with Gungahlin whatsoever.

The previous owners have opened the Gungahlin cafe profiting off QBN’s good name and reputation.

The owners of Central Cafe QBN would be disgusted to hear someone got food poisoning.

The public should be aware that Gungahlin is not associated with the original QBN Central Cafe.

minime2 minime2 12:19 am 19 Aug 08

Gunghalin branch of the Qbyn Cafe closed Monday with a sign out front indicating “kitchen failure” … what they did not mention was that the “failure: was a result of an ACT Health inspection. So much more value when to get to tatste it second time around.

ant ant 4:46 pm 12 Aug 08

Bigfeet said

bigfeet said :

they have Lambs Fry and Bacon on the menu… All day people…Lambs Fry!!!! So basically there is a place, no more than 5 minutes from my house, where I can go at anytime up till 9.00pm, 7 days a week and they will serve me Lambs Fry.

So what will you be ordering when you go there again?

Anyway, it’s liver. Lamb’s Fry indeed…. it’s bloody liver! You’ll be rhapsodising about kidneys next.

I bet they have giant chicken schnitzls, too. Official Food of Queanbeyan. You are not allowed to set up an eatery here unless you have chicken schnitzl. The Qbn Bowlo (near the cop station) has chicken schnitzl 3 different ways.

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 2:32 pm 12 Aug 08

The Lachlan Cafe in Barton does lambs fry and bacon, either as a meal with chips/salad or on a roll for those that way inclined.

Nice alternative to the usual greaseworks or a chicken/salad sarnie.

Mælinar - *spoiler alert* I've seen S04E13 Mælinar - *spoiler alert* I've seen S04E13 10:47 am 12 Aug 08

Nothing wrong with lambsfry.

Mælinar’s ideal breakfast:

Black Pudding sliced and topped with cheese and grilled
Sided with lambsfry, bacon and onions panfried
Topped with 2 fried eggs, and lashings of widecut toast

At least 2 coffees to wash it down, and then sleep until 2 or 3pm.

seekay seekay 10:31 am 12 Aug 08

This might be OK in Soweto – sorry, Queanbeyan – but surely the nanny state officials of the ACT will shut the Central Cafe in Gungahlin down as a public health threat.

mad_kiwi mad_kiwi 10:27 am 12 Aug 08

black pudding.. a pigs scab..

Stung Stung 9:57 am 12 Aug 08

lambs fry … you sicko

Danman Danman 9:32 am 12 Aug 08

Dunno what the big hoopla is all about.

I am pretty healthy, exercise and getting slimmer – and I eat at all major fast food chains.

Its not about eradication, its moderation.

I have 6 healthy days a week and a bad day (Usually Slovenly Sunday)

If I want to go and have half a Noas Ark medium rare drowining in lard and bacon fat so be it.

Once is not going to kill you….As long as you dont eat like that everyday you will be fine.

H1NG0 H1NG0 9:02 am 12 Aug 08

Oh man that looks so good. I’m so going there. About time we had a good classic cafe in Gungahlin.

Kramer Kramer 9:37 pm 11 Aug 08

Good to see you had a side salad too. Medicare (and Aust tax payers) thanks you…

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:16 pm 11 Aug 08

I reckon there are some real princesses on this site. The meals are big and delicious – if you don’t think you can eat it then don’t order it! I order, and finish, the mixed grill at the Central in Queanbo occasionally. It’s not the sort of thing you’d eat every day, but good fun from time to time.

bigfeet bigfeet 8:50 pm 11 Aug 08

Hmmmm. Still haven’t figured out how to use the “quote” link properly yet.

bigfeet bigfeet 8:49 pm 11 Aug 08

astrojax said :

don’t look like it ain’t got itself no black pudding, but. ain’t no sort of no good breakfast if’n it ain’t got itself some that blood pudding, lemme tell ye. quote]

Anywhere in Canberra got a decent Black Pud on the menu?

astrojax astrojax 8:41 pm 11 Aug 08

don’t look like it ain’t got itself no black pudding, but. ain’t no sort of no good breakfast if’n it ain’t got itself some that blood pudding, lemme tell ye.

nor mushrooms. shee-eet, elroy, what sort a story you peddlin’ here?

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