When you’ve been having a terrible week, there’s nothing better than nipping off to the pub for a beer with a mate. Is there? In keeping with this theory, my friend and I managed to find a day off together so we headed over to Casey Jones for a mid-week, midday beer and burger.
On their website, Casey Jones claim that, “Casey Jones is all about you and the community. When you visit us you will be treated like a guest in our home, not just a customer.” When I arrived I noticed the sign at the entry to the pub, that tells you to wait to be seated. Yet, when I arrived for lunch, although wait staff walked by me, clearly nobody was going to ‘seat me’… and that’s ok because I knew from the text I’d received, that my friend was already inside. You can book a table on their website, and perhaps you should for dinner, but we really didn’t need to for a mid-week lunch. Not surprising really, this is Canberra, mid-week, in the suburbs. Part of what I like about Canberra really!
The venue itself is nice and really quite large, set over different levels. It seems to be going for the outdoors indoors feel and in the lead up to the warmer weather, it was much appreciated. It might’ve been bright sunshine outside but it was still only managing to hit a top of 15. However, sitting inside Casey Jones, on a timber stool at a solid timber table, surrounded by bare brick and a phenomenal array of greenery, I could easily imagine I’m sitting outside. This is one thing that Canberra seems to go to great lengths with – styling. I don’t think I’ve been to a new cafe/pub/restaurant/anything in Canberra and it’s been an ugly establishment.
So we’d come for a beer. Actually I’d come for a beer and my friend was keen for a cider. Only one cider on offer – Thatchers Gold. However for beer, there was plenty on tap. Plenty! I tried Capital Brewing’s Spring Board, a seasonal wheat beer. It’s been ages since I had a good wheat beer. It was so good! And it was great to see that they had a local beer on tap. Canberra has a fantastic array of craft breweries, especially considering that Canberra really is still quite small. On their website Casey Jones state that their beers change, so if you’re keen for a particular beer, perhaps check what they have before going.
But, of course, it wouldn’t be socially appropriate to meet in the middle of the day and not eat lunch… Again, their website makes some lofty claims, “We like to do things differently here, we push the boundaries on your dining experience. Need we say more?” I’m not entirely sure what boundaries they’re pushing. Their website tells us that they’re going for ‘Southern American Spanish Fusion’. The food was great… but boundary pushing? Maybe I need to come back for dinner. My friend had the Chicken Burger – crispy thigh fillet, coleslaw, guacamole, cucumber, brie cheese, and onion rings for $20.90, where as I had the Steak Sandwich – Pialligo smoked bacon, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, dill, cucumber, spanish onion, Casey Jones sauce and onion rings for $22. We swapped the onion rings for fries. We got a total of five (huge) fries with our meal. Not sure about you but, for me, $22 for a burger is heading towards the steep end of the scale, especially given our location. Don’t get me wrong. I think this was possibly the best steak sandwich I’ve ever had. The steak was easily bitten through and not a single bit of gristle in the entire piece – quiet a feat really! The sauce was tasty and didn’t dominate. Actually, all the different pieces of the sandwich were balanced well. But $22? For a burger and five fries? I know this is a Canberra thing. So perhaps I say this for the Sydney/Melbourne audience. On the whole, Canberra is quite expensive for food – even when you are on the outskirts of Canberra. It’s not like Sydney and Melbourne when you can head to the suburbs and get a fantastic meal for half the price you’d pay in the city. See, Casey Jones is not in the inner city. It’s not on a lake. It doesn’t have views of mountains or other attractive things like beaches. It’s actually on the outside of a shopping centre. Yep, you get awesome views of the road and carpark… I don’t understand Canberra. However, when I go out to eat with Canberrans, they don’t see a problem with this. So again, maybe it’s just me.
So, in short – Was the food good? Yes. Can’t fault it. Was the beer selection good? At the time we went, yes and even more impressive, the bartender could talk me through all the ones I asked about. Service? Friendly and attentive. We ordered and paid at the bar, although their website says it’s table service – might help explain the sign confusion at the door about waiting to be seated. But it’s just this Canberra thing of paying premium price for your food when, a part from the perfectly styled venue, you really are in the middle of nowhere. Annoys me every time.
Where: 15 Kingsland Parade, Casey ACT 2913
Open: Every day for food and dinner, breakfast on the weekend
Prices: Beer $7 – $11.50 (my beer was $8.50)
Food $17 – $37 was the range on our lunch and dinner menu