20for20: Parlour

Woroni continues the everlasting search for affordable lunch options off campus. For each edition, two reviewers will visit a new restaurant that is a 20-minute or less of a walk from uni, to review a meal for under $20.

In the ongoing search for student appropriate lunch options, last week, a friend and I ventured to Parlour to see if they could deliver on the essentials – relative inexpensiveness and walking distance from campus.

With the entire lunch menu offering an array of salads, pasta and burgers for under $20, the lunch menu at Parlour Wine Room delivers on all these essentials and more. To top it off, each option provides a corresponding alcoholic beverage for only a few dollars extra. Located in New Acton, Parlour feels like a special place to eat, with gorgeous ambience and design. The outdoor seating, located among the gardens near the Nishi building, has been outfitted with thoughtful but not heavy-handed decorations. Wire chairs and bench seats adorned with carefully coordinated cushions created a relaxed outdoor setting. Inside is a little dark, but has a lovely feel with leather chairs and intimate settings as well as sofas for more informal seating.

I ordered a classic beef burger – named the ‘Pamplona Burger’ – which was described on the menu as simply ‘a beef patty with lettuce, tomato and cheese’. The quality of the burger on offer is often an excellent way to gauge the quality of the overall menu. Although there are few flavours to juggle in the classic pub favourite, it’s a meal that can often be very right or very wrong. Parlour’s burger served with any tap beer or cider for a total of $20 was a perfect example of how easy it is to get a great burger when you’re using quality, fresh ingredients. The beef patty was well-cooked without being dry. The sauce had tiny pieces of gherkin in it which lent a zingy break to each mouthful. Finally, the cheese was of such good quality that it successfully accompanied and lifted the other flavours without overpowering them. It was a truly excellent burger. The only fault to be found with the meal was the fries – though advertised as shoe-string these were in fact thick cut, and the serving was perhaps too small. Other than that, the meal was faultless.

My friend ordered the Santiago Salad for $16, but for a total of $18, it was paired with the house white. The salad consisted of prosciutto, blue cheese and tomato with salty flatbreads and a sprinkling of aromatic basil leaves. The classic combination of flavours in such salads often includes fruit, commonly melon or pear, alongside the salty prosciutto and cheese. Parlour chose not to do so, instead including tomato as their fresh and palate-grounding ingredient, which worked equally well. The wine was also excellent and paired well with the salad.

Imagine, high-end restaurant quality food with a drink for 20 bucks! Mythical.

Our visit to Parlour Wine Bar was a lovely dining experience, our service was excellent and timely, and the food was overwhelmingly well presented and put-together. Some of the best lunch food I’ve ever had in Canberra, especially at that price. Give it a try the next time you’ve invited the cute person from your tutorial to lunch, or just to treat yourself and your friends during your mid-week blues!