I’ve been in Canberra for over 8 years now, and only made my first visit to the Kingston Hotel, lovingly known as the Kingo, a couple of months ago. I remember my friends talking about cooking their own cheap steaks years ago but never felt inspired to try it out myself. I’d rather pay for someone else to cook for me! But one weekend, I was craving steak and decided to check out what the Kingo had in store. J had been a few times and was happy to come with me.
It was a long weekend and we decided to go on the public holiday Monday, so the $8 rump steak lunch special advertised for every Monday to Wednesday wasn’t valid. On top of that, there was a surcharge. At least it was still a cheap meal! We both chose the small rump ($11.90 plus a surcharge). There are various other cuts like rib fillet, T-bone, New York cut and Angus scotch fillet, as well as chicken, pork and fish ranging up to $18.50 on the steakhouse ‘You Cook’ menu. You can see all the proteins in the refrigerated front counter.
The cost of your steak includes a bread roll and salad that you help yourself to. The salad bar had pasta salad, potato salad, and a Mediterranean salad mix with olives and feta.
After paying for our steaks, it was time to season them and put them on the grill.
The large communal grill had a huge vent right above it. You can’t miss it.
I left J in charge as I don’t really cook steaks. First he seasoned them with salt and pepper.
Then added some herbs and spices.
There are so many sauces you can choose from too. J marinated his steak with some seeded mustard.
You can’t forget the onions. Ask for a bit of foil when you purchase your steak to wrap the onions in. Make sure to drizzle a bit of oil on them too.
So I went a little crazy with my plate, filling up the entire thing with salad and forgetting that I should have left a bit of room for my steak. Whoops!
The steaks were not the best cuts as we did pick the cheapest, but I can’t deny that it was good value for money for what we got (if you don’t mind cooking your own steak). The white bread rolls were large and extremely soft. Yummy with butter. The salad was fresh, crunchy, and in pretty large chunks. Service at the counter was fast and efficient, but it is mainly self serve.
If you don’t want to cook, there’s a whole separate menu where you can choose from steaks, burgers, pizzas and pastas. The Kingo now has The Takeaway, located behind the pub (you actually have to walk out and around the back) where similar items are on the menu for cheaper since you have to take it away.
It’s a little dark and dingy inside with well worn carpeted floors and some outdated furniture. At the same time, it’s quite charming as if you’ve stepped into someone’s living room to BBQ a steak. The pub is split into three areas – the bar, the ‘Cook your own’ steak dining area, and the steakhouse area where everything is cooked for you. There is a large amount of seating available both inside and out. I gather that it gets quite popular outside during the warmer months.
The Kingo can be found on the corner of Giles Street and Canberra Avenue in Kingston.
Value for money 9/10
FPJ score 23.5/30
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