Canberra’s first board game restaurant, Guild, opened its doors a few weeks ago. This is exciting news for board game lovers! My fellow board gaming friends and I booked in for dinner and a board games night. Guild is tucked away nicely downstairs at Bailey’s Corner (where APK used to be next to Hogs Breath Cafe). There are a few booths to the side (fitting about 5-6 people) and plenty of other tables throughout.
As well as the games above the booths, the massive shelf stacked with board games filled me with glee – what to choose? There were two guys in matching red t-shirts on hand to assist with board game queries and must have been the keeper of these board games. As there were 8 of us that night, I asked for a good game for 8 people. I was immediately pointed to Tsuro, a game of paths, which was a big hit with the group. Easy to understand and a quick game.
With cocktails and other alcoholic beverages on the menu, I asked whether they served mocktails. It is rare to see a mocktail menu in Canberra, but Guild were happy to make something up for me. I asked for a berry-like mocktail which took a while to come out and I had to chase up the request with another waitress. I appreciated the effort put into the mocktail with muddled strawberries mixed in. Yum. I’ve forgotten the cost of this but I think it was around the $9 mark.
Guild’s food menu was developed to include items that are easy to share while playing games. I decided to start off with the mozzarella filled arancini balls ($13) that came served with tomato sugo. Although the coating was crispy, there wasn’t anything else that I liked about them. There was a lot of very plain gluggy rice wrapped around a small portion of melted mozzarella. The rice really needed to be cooked with flavour and seasoning. It was much too bland even with the tomato sugo.
For mains, we all looked to the pizza menu all with board gaming names attached to them. Pizzas are either 9 or 11 inches and cooked in the pizza oven. Gluten free pizza bases are an extra $3.50, and you can add on extra toppings for $1-2. I chose the Pass the Pigs ($14 for 11 inch) of pulled pork, bacon and speck, Spanish onion and roasted capsicum with homemade aioli and BBQ sauce. The toppings were very minimal and I must admit I was expecting a little more atop of the pizza. The pulled pork wasn’t actually pulled pork, but thin slices of pork. I couldn’t see any speck on the pizza but there were small pieces of bacon. The thin pizza crust was fine but the dough didn’t wow me. Overall, it wasn’t exactly the pizza described in the menu and just did not impress me enough to order another pizza anytime soon.
J ordered the Zombicide ($15 for 11 inches) of spicy chorizo, pepperoni, smoked ham, herbed lemon chicken breast, smoked bacon and homemade BBQ sauce. Although there were small quantities of most ingredients, the bacon was missing from the pizza. When he enquired about it, the waiter checked with the pizza chef, and came back to tell us that there was bacon on the pizza. Nobody at the table could find said bacon but we did see plenty of ham. It was a little confusing and perhaps kitchen staff are also confused about what is ham and what is bacon.
Another friend ordered the Agricola ($14 for 11 inches) of roasted mushrooms, char grilled capsicum, cherry tomato, roast pumpkin, pine nuts and marinated feta cheese.
Another vegetarian friend ordered the Margarita ($13 for 11 inches) of Roma tomato, fresh basil and bocconcini.
Overall, we had a great night. Guild is a good concept where you can try out all these new board games for free before buying the real thing (if you want to). I forgot to ask whether new games would be added on from time to time, but there are so many games that you probably wouldn’t notice! The roving guys in red t-shirts would regularly come around to explain instructions of games, and check to see if anyone had questions. Each person is provided with a pack of moist towelettes to wipe sticky fingers before touching the games which is a really good idea. Our concern is that when Winter hits and everyone starts to get a cold/flu, germs are going to spread pretty quickly when handling all these games. Maybe that’s why BYO games are encouraged.
Unfortunately, the food is nothing special and I would prefer to spend my money elsewhere for food, and perhaps just order a side of fries and drinks while at Guild. Compared to the other pizzas you can get in Canberra, these pizzas could be improved. While there was no dessert menu when we were there, I believe a dessert menu has recently been created. There’s also not that much room on the table to play a board game with everyone’s pizzas and drinks, so we all just ate first before playing. The place was packed out on a Monday night and there was even a queue of people trying to get it. The atmosphere is cheerful with everyone enjoying themselves and strategising to win. I do think it will be popular amongst board gamers but probably not the foodies.
Guild is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner until midnight. Located downstairs on the corner of London Circuit and East Row.
Value for money 5/10
FPJ score 15/30
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