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Cheap Eats – Marble and Grain (Braddon)

By Alexandra Craig 6 January 2016 32

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Marble and Grain in Braddon is the restaurant attached to The Avenue hotel. They opened up some time last year and then had a re-launch this year with the new addition of a gastropub. When they initially opened, I went along with a couple of friends and had an utterly terrible experience. I won’t go into details but it was very, very bad.

I heard Marble and Grain had a $14 lunch special so despite my awful experience, I still wanted to go along to see if things had changed.

When we arrived it took a little while for us to be seated and we were advised we would have to sit in the pub section as there was no more room in the restaurant. We could see about 15 empty tables in the restaurant but perhaps they were expecting a rush of reserved bookings. Anyway, the pub section was fine to sit in. It was nice and quiet at one o’clock in the afternoon.

The $14 lunch special has a handful of options; a beef burger, poached chicken salad, fish and chips, chicken schnitzel, and mushroom gnocchi.  My friends ordered the burger and the gnocchi, I opted for the chicken schnitzel as it sounded a bit fancier than your average pub schnitzel.

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The meals came out quickly and they looked really good. They far exceeded our expectations in terms of presentation. Often lunch specials aren’t nicely plated because well, you’re paying $10-$15 for it, but our meals looked great.

My schnitzel was much smaller than what you would expect a schnitzel to be (but by no means was it a small dish), but this was not a bad thing at all. Less is more. It was cooked perfectly and the potato salad it came with was delicious.

My friend loved her beef burger, she said the meat was delicious and cooked perfectly. Her only complaint is that the bun was a bit bready, as in, too much bread. Other than that she really enjoyed it.

My partner had the gnochhi and he thought it was great. He said it may have been a tiny bit oily, but there was lots of mushroom and lots of flavour.

Overall, I was highly impressed with the quality and the value for money that the $14 lunch special had to offer. Comparing my two experiences with Marble and Grain, I think they have improved significantly since the first time I visited and I’ll definitely be back again.

What: Marble and Grain
Where: Mort Street, Braddon (back of The Avenue hotel, just up from McDonalds)
Opening hours: 6.30am-12.00am (7 days) Lunch special 12.00pm-2.00pm (7 days)
Website: http://www.marbleandgrain.com.au/


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32 Responses to
Cheap Eats – Marble and Grain (Braddon)
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rubaiyat 8:25 pm 13 Jan 16

Just briefly watched a report on TV “revealing” that smoothies are unhealthy! Who would have thought it?

That people need to have the bleedin’ obvious on this, and lots of other unhealthy franchise “Healthy” food fads explained to them, and yet still ignore the fundamental message, shows just how insane and irrational food marketing has made them.

Kerryhemsley 2:53 pm 13 Jan 16

Reschs is an interesting choice for someone so discerning about what goes in their mouth.
Even clubs do better than that these days. Junk beer

rubaiyat 10:47 am 13 Jan 16

btw Don’t think that because I mentioned those three clubs I was actually recommending them.

Just making the point that if you want bog standard pub food that isn’t going to scare granny and don’t want to spend ridiculous prices, places like Marble and Grain are a poor choice.

I was just responding to the dubious excuses put up by other posters.

Spend less, eat somewhat better, be more discriminating.

Three things that got us out of era of Ozzie Stodge.

rubaiyat 10:07 am 13 Jan 16

Charlotte Harper said :

If you submit a list of suggested cheap eats restaurants we’ll add them to the list for consideration for our reviewers, Rubaiyat. I’ll pass on the suggestions that we cover those three clubs and look out for healthy options.

I’ll do that but with the following caveats.

1. Eating out regularly is generally not good for you. Even, perhaps especially, good restaurants are careless with the salt, sugar and animal fats.

2. Some of that you can fix, by asking for no added salt especially if there is already a salty sauce. You can always add it yourself to taste. Just play it down, a good shake is often more than what you should have for the entire day, and processed food is already loaded with the stuff, rendering the need for you to salt it superfluous. The only reason why you may be hooked on the stuff is you have built up resistance and let it get out of hand to the point you can’t taste anything else and think that is the actual flavour, which in the case of most junk food made from rubbish ingredients, it is.

3. Eating more is no solution for eating crap. It is not going to get any better just because you stuffed yourself.

4. Even recommended places vary. It is not always the same chef, or the sous/head chef working on your plate and it is an industry where staff move around a lot.

5. Use your eyes and nose and common sense. That photo and usually the ridiculously overwritten menu are not what you often get on your plate. That may be a fatuous point but a quick glance at what people do as opposed to say they do, shows it can’t be said often enough.

6. Be ready to say what you thought, without animosity, and be prepared to walk away. Restauranteurs pay more attention to that than anything else. We are spoiled for choice, it does not have to be the lazy one.

9. Pay attention to the better informed ‘hipsters”. They may not always get it right but they are trying and often have tried a lot. Beats getting tips from those who only eat where, when and what least frightens them.

10. Look around the kitchen. Amazing what you can spot. One I went to recently that proclaimed in huge signage “Authentic Asian cooked on premises”, I caught the “chef” shaking out the frozen boxes. He saw me seeing him too, no words were spoken. Cairns I think.

11. Cook, prepare meals for yourself. It isn’t that hard and the TV and computer games could probably do with a break and you’ll save a mozza.

Last but not least:

12. When in doubt, don’t.

rubaiyat 7:50 am 13 Jan 16

Timmytron said :

I ate a Marble and Grain once. The mains and entrees were okay, nothing standout.

Dessert however. They covered the creme bruelee with salt instead of caster sugar and somehow managed to caramelise it.

It tasted like how I imagine drinking water from the dead sea would taste.

Never again.

That may very well have launched my son’s chef career.

I had found some excellent Beurre Bosc pears at Canberra Markets and decided I would poach them in red wine with an extremely thin toffee glaze a la Philipine Pears Vulcan.

The poaching seemed to be taking a lot longer than normal and the pear were not coloring up as expected but a quick probe showed they were cooked but still firm, So removed them from the pot and did the light toffee glaze. They looked great and I put them on the table proudly. My son who was still small took one taste and said “This is incredibly salty”.

My wife had used the jar we keep the sugar in to decant the salt, and I had committed the fundamental mistake of not tasting. My son has never made that mistake!

rubaiyat 7:04 am 13 Jan 16

Charlotte Harper said :

Yep, I have indeed edited the last couple of lines of this comment, because they were disparaging of our reviewers. Happy to publish a comment that talks about what you like or do not like about the content of our reviews, but not when it mocks or belittles members of our team.

To paraphrase The Corrs, “There May be a Reason”.

btw I haven’t been to any of the clubs I belong to for a while. They are so cheap in Canberra which has more per head of population than anywhere else, you may as well join as not join.

Just to check out the supposition that Marble and Grain’s $14 lunch specials are actually the stated “Good value” I ate in the Southern Cross yesterday. It could just as easily have been the Canberra Labor Club or the Hellenic, and ate the lunch schnitzel (large chicken Vienna Schnitzel, salad and chips, none overcooked or salty) for the standard $9.90 or $8.90 if a member. With a schooner of Reschs it came to less than the meal at Marble and Grain which was beyond ordinary when I tried it late last year.

I am constantly astonished at what some here think and do. I am not going to try every single eatery in City to make the point but I know quite a number that are substantially cheaper, no worse and probably better than those proposed here. Since I am selective but eat a broader spectrum of food than it seems most of the readers, most would also offer healthier options.

My son, who is an excellent chef, worked briefly in a Club at my suggestion, it didn’t work out because of the Head Chef and my son quickly moved on to something better, but he did learn the point I was making that due to the high turn over and therefore constant practice many club chefs can actually nail the basics. Many but not all.

One of the key objectives with any food is to of course pay attention, and not overcook the food. A common mistake that people are so used to that it seems that they actually expect that and call that “cooked perfectly”. That and pour salt all over it to try and give it the flavour it otherwise lacks. Also grease it up and possible sugar it as well. Chilli and mayo are other great disguises for poor ingredients.

My Dad is always impressed by wife’s Vienna Schnitzel, despite the fact he has been cooking it all his life and comes from source, and my wife is not European. He always asks her what the secret is and she tells him, don’t cook it to death. Which, like I suspect many of the readers here, he ignores.

Just as despite I have often recommended many good restaurants in both Canberra and surrounds, the readers blithely ignore that as well and go on with whatever is buzzing through their thoughts at the time. Mostly resentment.

I may beat the quality/healthy drum, but really it does need it here. Look around you at your neighbours and the people you meet day to day in Canberra, it is death by food.

Like Robert Morley’s character in “Who is Killing the Great Chef’s of Europe”, if that is going to be your chosen method of exit, don’t waste the opportunity to do it in style.

    Charlotte Harper 8:29 am 13 Jan 16

    If you submit a list of suggested cheap eats restaurants we’ll add them to the list for consideration for our reviewers, Rubaiyat. I’ll pass on the suggestions that we cover those three clubs and look out for healthy options.

chewy14 10:25 am 12 Jan 16

bj_ACT said :

I was very impressed by Rubaiyat’s food review and found it very interesting and informative. I am now keen for Rubaiyat to do a review on some locally grown oleander tea.

Many readers here would find that delicious.

That would be an interesting review to pass away (the time) to.

Timmytron 9:59 am 12 Jan 16

I ate a Marble and Grain once. The mains and entrees were okay, nothing standout.

Dessert however. They covered the creme bruelee with salt instead of caster sugar and somehow managed to caramelise it.

It tasted like how I imagine drinking water from the dead sea would taste.

Never again.

bj_ACT 2:01 pm 11 Jan 16

I was very impressed by Rubaiyat’s food review and found it very interesting and informative. I am now keen for Rubaiyat to do a review on some locally grown oleander tea.

Many readers here would find that delicious.

rubaiyat 7:49 am 11 Jan 16

dukethunder said :

Can’t wait for Rubes’ guide to summernats food stalls.

Straight up Northbourne, on your left when you smell burnt rubber and gas and can’t hear yourself think. “Accessible from car window”.

Word count: 22

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