Big servings at this small, family-friendly bistro
According to the Your Canberra Clubs website, over 200,000 people in the ACT hold at least one club membership. As a state that loves going to the club, many Canberra locals will have a favourite one that they go to frequently for lunch, dinner or a social night with friends. Since moving to Canberra, our family have tried out a number of clubs around the city, looking for good food, tasty kid's meals, fun playgrounds and a positive, happy vibe to relax with family and friends.
Our latest club to try one Saturday night was the Calwell Club, located 20 minutes south of the city in Tuggeranong. It isn't a big club, however its low-key, unfussy interior made us instantly relax and settle in for a social night catching up with friends. By 6pm the locals were filing in for dinner, the children's area was bursting with kids and the meals coming out from the kitchen looked enormous. It had all the signs of a good night ahead...
BIG burgers at this small bistro, with inside and outside dining
Calwell Club is part of the Eastlake Football Club in Kingston, which also includes the Sports Club Kaleen. It has been part of the community for the last 13 years and just like all the other clubs in Canberra, the membership is reasonably priced at $5 for 1 year, or $10 for 3 years. Once you're a member you can try your luck at the meat raffles, take advantage of the dinner deals and join in on the fun of the Tuesday Night Game Show.
On our visit, the highlight of the night were the huge servings and delicious meals at the club bistro, run by Two Small Chefs. The menu is extensive with something for every budget, taste and appetite. On our visit with friends, we each ordered something different ranging between $9.95 and $29.95 and when they were delivered to our table, we were more than impressed. The table was unusually quiet, as we each concentrated on our meals and occasionally looked up to nod to each other and give eye signals - which loosely translated to "OMG - This is delicious!".
Seafood Basket - Battered fish fillet, prawn cutlets, golden calamari, seafood stick & sea scallops served with tartare sauce ($24.95)
If you have kids, there are several kids meals on offer for less than $10 and they all come with a choice of Frog in the Pond or ice cream and topping for dessert. There is also an indoor toddler room and a colourful outside playground to keep them entertained. If your kids enjoy colouring-in at the table, you can also pick up colouring-in sheets and pencils from the reception desk on the way in, which keeps them happy before and after the meal.
Kids Spaghetti Bolognaise and Frog in a Pond - which were both devoured in record time by our young daughter!
Our family have enjoyed our Saturday night explorations of the clubs around Canberra, with the Calwell Club bistro our favourite on the south side, so far. If you have a favourite club, especially on the north side, feel free to leave a comment on the bottom of this article and share why you like it so much - is it the large servings of food, the friendly staff, kids play areas or range of beers that keep you going back for more?
We found all of these in an unexpected place on Saturday night...