The next eatery to join the recently opened Cinnabar and 7th and Bake at the Kingston Foreshore is Beef & Barley. Offering gourmet burgers and craft beers, Beef & Barley has a very laid back hipster vibe minus the plants with chipboard and timber decor.
The outdoor seating provides a combination of benches and high tables on old oil barrels and stools.
Keen to see what a burger joint would serve for breakfast, I headed in early one morning to find out. On the menu were items like the breakfast burger, French toast, croce eggy bread – a savoury version of French toast with bacon and cheese sauce, and a bacon and egg burger. Ona coffee is served where you can purchase an espresso with 6oz milk or 16oz milk. I stuck with a small soy mocha which came out in a huge mug. I forget that dark bitter cacao is usually used with Ona coffee (as per experience at The Cupping Room) and combined with the bitter coffee, the mocha wasn’t to my liking.
I ordered the breakfast burger ($15) of chorizo, grilled field mushroom, fried egg, tomato, roquette and an option of tomato sauce or house BBQ sauce. I love a brekky burger with BBQ sauce so that was my choice. This was a very tasty burger with hot thickly sliced chorizo, the juiciest mushroom and tomatoes and creamy fresh avocado. I must admit the burger was small but it was packed with lots of flavour. Tiny but might. I really enjoyed it.
I headed back for dinner with friends to try out the regular burger menu. Each table has a box of supplies – cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper, tomato sauce, spicy sriracha sauce and moist towelettes.
There are no beers on tap – only tinnies and bottles. Soft drink comes in a bottle as well. I’m hoping they will have ice on hot days as my coke started to get warm throughout the night.
Burgers have a matched beer option (extra $7) which works out cheaper than the usual price (around $9). All burgers are served with beer battered fries or sweet slaw. I decided to try the Porkie burger ($17.50) of pulled pork with cheddar, pickles, chipotle mayo and sweet slaw. There was a generous amount of soft pulled pork in the burger but I found there was too much mayo which was close to overpowering the whole burger. The crunchy slaw and sourness of the pickles were great complements to the pork. Again, the burger is small so the side of beer battered fries were much needed. The fries are unique in that the batter is thicker than usual so each chip has a thick shell of batter around it. These are fried to a medium brown colour and seasoned well. The group were split on liking/disliking the fries.
There are two beef burgers on the menu. One of them is the Pedro ($18.50) with chorizo, honey glazed goats cheese, bacon, honey mayo, iceberg lettuce and tomato sauce.
The other beef burger is the American ($17) with fried onion, streaky bacon, cheddar, house BBQ sauce and mustard mayo.
The only seafood item is the squid burger ($18) of crumbed calamari with slow roasted peppers, house vinaigrette, roquette and lemon mayo.
The only chicken burger is the Fried and Spicy ($18.50) with fried chicken, streaky bacon, chilli jam, fried onions, lettuce, habenaro fire sauce and jalapeno sour cream. Funny thing, the burgers actually came out without the chicken in the first instance. The staff were very apologetic and provided new burgers straight away. I’m told the burgers were lacking in any spice or fire sauce which was disappointing as both friends love spicy food. Staff mentioned that the spice levels were toned down after customer feedback but they might work on changing it, or allowing customers to choose their spice level.
Service is friendly and staff are still learning the ropes. I liked that all orders were repeated back to us and the short wait time on food. On a Saturday night, we only waited about 10 minutes for the burgers to come out. The menu is limited to the burgers above, as well as one vegetarian burger. A good idea to perfect a small range of burgers when just starting out. There may be some specials but we weren’t aware of them on the night. I couldn’t see any reference to gluten free buns so best to ask. The two chicken burgers were on the house due to the initial chicken-less mistake which we appreciated.
If I’m comparing price and value for money, I would get a bigger portion and be a lot fuller at Brodburger for cheaper, and it’s just down the road. It’s the price you pay for a gourmet burger and lakeside views I guess. Owned by local Canberrans, this place could do really well and the young team of staff are taking on customer feedback to improve.
Beef & Barley is the last eatery on the east end of the Kingston Foreshore. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Value for money 5/10
FPJ score 18.5/30
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