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Lambton lunching

By Heather 14 Oct 2016 • 3 Comments

Tired of a rushed paper bag lunch?  Want to sit down and be served good food?  Off real plates?  Without breaking the bank?

Intro pic

Well, here are some of the Lambton quarter places where you can do just that: 

Café 1815 in the Wellesley Hotel 

This place is a lovely olde-worlde respite from the hustle and bustle outside, with professional service and an air of calm. 

A range of dishes caught my eye at Cafe 1815:

  • Roasted cauliflower soup with house bread rolls (2) $10
  • Grilled rueben on house rye $13
  • Fried chicken with chilli butter, celery and blue cheese vinaigrette $13
  • Pork dumplings, fried greens and dashi broth with a side salad $17
  • Pretty much everything on the menu actually! 

In the end I pushed the boat out to $18 for the herbed linguine with new season asparagus, and lemon and pine nut veloute; because it seemed right for spring. It was fresh, flavourful and satisfying. 

My friend chose the charred cos salad (effectively a deconstructed caesar), with not a little trepidation (charred cos???), but reported that other than a touch too much sauce for her, the salad was crisp, flavourful and interesting. 

We were done within the hour, had no dishes to deal with (paper or otherwise), and left much more relaxed than we arrived. Too easy.

Concrete in Cable Car Lane

This is another that can slip under the radar, but turns out some very pleasant food at good prices. 

I again had trouble deciding between delights such as:

  • Pork and herb terrine with tomato chutney and toast $15
  • Crispy pork belly with pineapple slaw and apple puree $15
  • Haloumi sandwich with fries or salad $16
  • Ratatouille with white polenta, sour cream, crème fraiche and parmesan $13. 

Given it wasn’t such a cheery spring day this time, the warm soothing ratatouille won. I’ve found some ratatouille in the past to be a bit sharp or acidic, but this was pleasantly balanced against the polenta, and enriched by the dab of sour cream and crème fraîche (the city girls' equivalent to mash'n'mince!). 

I noticed that 9 of Concrete’s 16 dishes were gluten free as standard, with a note that others could be adapted. Nice one guys.

Café Breton

The menu on the wall at Café Breton is a thing to behold - luckily they give you paper copies and a table! Breton does a wide range of French fare, including:

  • A raft of sweet and savoury crepes $8-$17 (what they are best known for)
  • French onion soup topped with croutons and melted cheese $11
  • Onion tartlet with salad and baguette $13
  • Croque-Monsieurs and Madames $14.50/$15.50
  • Warmed goat cheese on baguette with salad, warm potato, figs, pine nuts and French vinaigrette $17.

I had to do paper, scissors, rock as there was simply no other way (bet that entertained the other diners), and ended up with the La Savoyarde bacon, potatoe, onion, raclette cheese and salad savoury crepe. 

The chip fiend didn’t choose something with French fries (whaaaat?), but instead enjoyed a Croque Madame. Apparently they're called Madame versus Monsieur as the egg on top makes it look like a ladies hat. Yeah, nah – I'm not convinced a new hat trend is looming anytime soon. 

Anyhow, both were fresh and flavourful, and hit the mark nicely. And there’s a tempting range of sweet treats to follow if you fancy. 

There’s a bunch of other places in the Lambton Quarter that make my list too: 

  • Portlander - a range of salads from $15.50 to $18,50, lamb mince on toast $16, or schnitzel baguette with salad, skins or fries $16.50. 
  • Jardin Grill or the Green Room at the new Sofitel on Bolton – tasty tapas including a charcuterie plate, a trio of sliders, or wood roasted merino ribs in the $17-$18 range. 
  • Leuven’s starters and lights – meatballs with sauerkraut and herb toast $16.50, smoked fish cakes with pink-shrimp and beer-mustard coleslaw (gotta be trying that sometime!) $16.50, or Belgian meatloaf sandwich with crispy fried potatoes $18.50. 
  • Long Bar on Brandon – curry laksa $12.90, nasi lemak $14.50, or chicken korma with rice $14.50. 
  • Avida – tapas including double bone lamb cutlet with Moroccan couscous $11.50, empanadas $4.50 each, or chicken liver pate with chutney and toast $14.50. 
  • Charley Noble – small plates and salads from tinned citron sardines and grilled bread $16, to crab and prawn bisque with brandy cream $18. 
  • Thunderbird Cafe – I find it hard to go past their quesadillas from $9 to $14 too -  Jalapeno and cheese, mushroom, or achiote chicken with ‘extraterrestrial’ cheese.  

Most of them can be booked, and most are pretty prompt given you’re on a time limit. 

So where are your favourites?

Add your comment

  • Stephen on 21 Oct 2016

    I often eat at 1815 @ The Wellesley, the food is always good and you just can't beat the ambiance

  • Michelle on 20 Oct 2016

    Funicular above Countdown on Lambton Quay, their salads are perfect and their chicken risotto is bellissimo!

  • Wendy on 20 Oct 2016

    Siem Riep Express in Woodward Street - hot noodle soup, rice rolls and bowl salads are delicious

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