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Mobile Office Reviews: The ANU Food Co-op

By Barcham - 15 April 2013 18


Johnboy and I decided that today we should conduct our dark business hidden amongst by the many barrels of lentils at the ANU Food Co-op. Sure its primary function is as a place to buy vegetables, doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a place of work!

Look forwards to us reviewing Superbarn in next week’s Mobile Office Reviews.

Johnboy and I bunkered down inside and began beavering away at this site, but were quickly spotted.

“Is this a mobile office review?”

Dang it, we were rumbled.

Still, the show and review must go on.

Once again we split our thoughts into categories, because thinking is easier that way.


We didn’t mention food last time, because that’s not really what the Front does, however this venue has ‘food’ in its name, so it’s probably important. Ok the food in the name is referencing the large amount of fresh produce for sale, but you can still buy food to eat here so I did.

I decided to get a pie for breakfast, because I’m a grown up and I can do what I want.

They had a list of 6 vegan pies one could eat, turns out they only actually had two pies on that list in stock, and one that wasn’t on the list. I took the mystery pie, because I’m kinda wild like that.

I’ll admit to being a little worried about eating a pie that didn’t have any meat in it. It was instinctive. I shouldn’t have however, my pie was really good.

If the rest of their food is as good as that mystery pie, well then I have no problem recommending it.


There was very little to distract us. The music was pleasant and quiet, and neither the staff nor other patrons made much noise at all.

Sadly I quickly ran low on power, having left my screen brightness up too high and was unable to find a power point to use that didn’t involve me dangling my power cord through an area with a lot of through traffic. Make sure your laptop is fully charged and don’t leave the screen brightness up full, is my advice to me.

Johnboy was quick to remind me that his new Chromebook still had plenty of battery.

Thanks Johnboy.


Again I asked Johnboy to handle the coffee side of things:

Somewhat variable. But rich, thick, and earthy, with the warm aroma of smug that comes only with fair trade coffee.

So there you go.


Sadly the only couches in the place were taken we arrived. We found ourselves a table and plonked down on some milk-crates and cushions. As a workspace it was fine, the table was at a good height to type on and I don’t mind a milk crate as a seat. After about an hour or so I noticed a nicer milk-crate and pillow combo (it had a little board to sit on), and I upgraded. My bum was very happy after that.

Johnboy said the table was kinda scratchy on his uncovered arms (my arms were covered so I didn’t notice) and that the milk-crates ensured everyone who sat on them had a plumber’s crack (again I didn’t seem to have this problem). Maybe I’m just better at dressing myself than Johnboy. ?

So if you’re like me and enjoy wearing more clothes than any given situation really requires you’ll be fine, but if you wear a t-shirt and shorts everywhere like Johnboy, then it’s probably worth noting these issues.

Also of note is the place was pretty open to the elements, today was quite nice with a cool breeze so it was lovely. On other days it may not be so lovely.

Internet Access:

Sadly when we arrived in the morning the girl working there did not know the wifi password. We played around on Johnboy’s little portable wifi dongle thingy. When someone arrived who did know the password we hopped on and found it mostly adequate. Zipping around from story to story was nice and fast (there wasn’t too many people there online), however upload speeds were a problem.

Putting up the monday parking photos took me a long time.


There was only one girl working when we got there, struggling to make everyone’s coffee and take orders, but she was as kind and attentive and as speedy as the situation allowed.

Later more staff arrived, so all good. Top marks.

Other People:

This is where the co-op excels as a mobile office. It seems everyone who sat down there was there to work.

Most of the crowd was vey transient. Many people only ducked in to buy a take away coffee, and those who did stay tended to be there to have a quick quiet meeting with someone and then depart straight afterwards.

There were a few people who stuck around to use the wifi and get some work done, but not so enough to be a drag on the speeds or to make the place feel crowded.



I’m back at home now to charge up my laptop. If there were easy access to a power-point at the Co-op, I’d still quite happily be hanging around there. It’s a calm and friendly place that is rather conductive to focussing on work.

It is not for everyone though. You’ve got to be happy with sitting on milk-crates, and the whole place is very hippy. If you’re one of those people whose hackles get raised irrationally when confronted with dreadlocks, fair-trade goods, or people who care about the environment, then you might need to find someplace else to go.

Maybe try Hell.

The Co-op is located at 3 Kingsley St on the ground floor of the Lena Karmel Unilodge building.

What’s Your opinion?

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18 Responses to
Mobile Office Reviews: The ANU Food Co-op
Masquara 5:32 pm 16 Apr 13

Do you have to pay a premium for not having done any voluntary work for the Co-op?

dpm 7:53 pm 15 Apr 13

One girl struggling with orders, potato sacks, milk crates, no power points, no pies, dodgy Internet access, tables made from unfinished floor boards….
It’s interesting the crap surroundings people will congregate in just to be ‘hip’!
Maybe it’s all part of an experiment to see just how crap that can make amenities before hipsters will say enough is enough! By the looks of this, they’ll have to try a lot harder. Hahaha!

poetix 5:57 pm 15 Apr 13

arescarti42 said :

You guys missed out, on Tues/Wed/Thurs they do lunch for dirt cheap.

There’s nothing quite like eating lentil mung bean tofu stew off a table made from unfinished floor boards.

I also second Poetix’s suggestion that you a review out in the dirty burbs. Something like Bonner Chicken Gourmet, or Lanyon McDonald’s.

It’ll be like visiting, while reading about it from within Tilley’s/LSR/The Front.

They’ll be like journalists embedded in a war zone, without the benefit of troops.

bundah 5:49 pm 15 Apr 13

Something very odd and disturbing occurred when i ran the cursor over the image of JB and Bonkum! handsome!!! wtf lol

c_c™ 5:48 pm 15 Apr 13

The coffee is last I checked LSR’s Moonshine organic, fair-trade variety with organic milk. Can’t say Moonshine is that great, a bit lacking character, but the milk they use is the pleasant surprise. More velvety than anywhere else. Just because it’s organic?

milkman 5:41 pm 15 Apr 13

Hey JohnBoy – lay off the fake tan!

arescarti42 5:17 pm 15 Apr 13

You guys missed out, on Tues/Wed/Thurs they do lunch for dirt cheap.

There’s nothing quite like eating lentil mung bean tofu stew off a table made from unfinished floor boards.

I also second Poetix’s suggestion that you a review out in the dirty burbs. Something like Bonner Chicken Gourmet, or Lanyon McDonald’s.

Meconium 5:06 pm 15 Apr 13

The pies come from Funky Pies in Bondi, and are all vegan. I reckon it’s pretty amazing to be able to make quality pastry without butter or eggs, not to mention include a substantial filling without using any meat. As far as I know you can get them takeaway. Worth a try, either here or in Sydney. I’m not affiliated with Funky Pies or the Co-op, but they’re both good places.

Gungahlin Al 3:45 pm 15 Apr 13

Enjoyable review Barcham. JB I don’t think it would matter how many varieties of lentils there are – they all get spat out the same way… 🙂

Barcham 3:18 pm 15 Apr 13

johnboy said :

It should be noted the milk crates have cushions made if potato sacks for preserving bottoms. Also that I was wearing jeans

You were wearing jeans, I didn’t even notice. I’m a bad friend.

johnboy 3:16 pm 15 Apr 13

I went to buy a pie around lunchtime but sadly they were all gone.

poetix 3:11 pm 15 Apr 13

In my experience, those chairs are made for vegan bottoms. Although then, I suppose, they should be referred to as ‘soy-milk crates’.

Tell me, please, that JB also partook of a vegan pie. It would be a nice mental image that would make me smile for some time.

Perhaps (shudder) somewhere outside the inner north would be a real test of Barbie’s writing skills. Chisholm sounds nice.

zorro29 2:56 pm 15 Apr 13

is that barcham in the blue? kinda hot….

johnboy 2:44 pm 15 Apr 13

Also I had no idea so many different varieties of lentils existed, let alone were available for purchase!

johnboy 2:41 pm 15 Apr 13

It should be noted the milk crates have cushions made if potato sacks for preserving bottoms. Also that I was wearing jeans

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