Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Lunch at the Studio

The Studio is the cafe at the National Film and Sound Archive. It's a tiny space near the reception, across from the shop, where you order your food and drink. You can then take it out to a spot in the gorgeous courtyard, where there are tables all around the deep verandah, and next to the fishpond. I had lunch there today with my mate Beth, and we'll be back. It's handy for those of us who work at ANU, and it's also open for the film screenings. One day I'll get to one of them. When life is less busy, and we can all kick back and watch the pigs soar lazily overhead.

They have a nice practical menu of ready-made sandwiches ($4.50) and assorted well-chosen things that can be microwaved and served with salad ($9-13). The coffee is pretty good, and there's an assortment of cakes and slices with no prices attached. Cupcakes $3.50. If you're going for a movie, you might also be interested in the wine, beer or packets of chips and lollies.

At lunchtime today the staffing was minimal - one man taking orders and making the coffees, and one woman in the kitchen getting the meals ready. There's no table service; you just wait and collect your food and drink as it is done. It worked OK for us, but I think it could easily go out of control. They'll need another person if it gets any busier. It was a bit marginal today. There was no water or water glasses out, and neither the barista nor the cook seemed to have time to do anything about it. I didn't see any tables getting cleared, either, and I wonder whose job that was supposed to be.

We enjoyed our lunch very much. The setting is beautiful, and the weather was perfect for sitting on a shady verandah. The pumpkin and spinach lasagne was delicious, and the spicy vegetable pattie (sic) came with a good coating of mixed seeds. The accompanying salads were crisp and fresh, and the coffee was good. I couldn't resist a cupcake, and picked a brown one. It turned out to be quite a solid chocolate mudcake, with a fabulous caramel praline icing. Not the light sponge I'd expected, but I coped. They had pink ones too (Hi Belinda!) but I'm always afraid that pink will be strawberry, which I hate. I'm fussy, I only like fresh strawberries.

It was rather odd to walk in there, as the last time I visited it was in the 70s. Back then it was the Institute of Anatomy, and you could go look at Phar Lap's heart, and actual real human skeletons. I remember it as dusty and chemical smelling and a bit dilapidated. Now it's sparkling clean and a beautifully and sympathetically renovated little gem of art deco and neo-classical architecture, with cute little Australian touches like the wombat head bosses over the arches, and the platypus skylight. Yes, seriously, go look at that link! The old portrait masks of scientists are still up the walls at reception. They include Pasteur, Darwin and Lamarck. Huh? Lamarck? How odd, but of course when it was built his name was not a by-word for getting biology wrong. Poor guy, I believe he did some very good work besides his big goof, and he could not possibly have known at the time. He, and the building, pre-date modern knowledge of DNA.

Cooking tonight: It was going to be spaghetti bolognese, but I only had bucatini. So bucatini bolognese it was. That's with the sauce I made on the weekend. A bit of extra simmering and long mellowing is a good thing.

1 comment:

BJ; purr said...

hi Cath - I beg to differ about the Flatheads burgers. Every one I've had from there has been overcooked, dry and kinda nasty. The relatively dry 'bun' bread they use doesn't help. The last burgers we had from there (about 2 weeks ago) were fine as to all the filling except for two things - the rind hadn't been cut off the bacon, making for some interesting 'strings of meat hanging out of mouth' scenes, and the meat patty was burnt and dry enough to be crumbly.

I have had far better burgers from the Lyneham takeway. Your basic burger, but certainly edible. And always with beetroot, and the strange choice of sauces which is a new wave in burgers afaik. I stick faithfully to tomato myself.