Thursday, 1 January 2009

J is for Jamison

Not to be confused with Jameson, the Irish whiskey of a slightly different spelling. The Jamison Centre includes a small mall now badged as "Jamison Plaza", and a few businesses in neighbouring streets. Technically it's in the suburb of Macquarie, but nobody ever calls it the Macquarie shops, so I'll keep it as my "J" entry.

There are two notable restaurants off in the Wiseman St/Lawry St court area, near the Salvation army shop. The Dumpling Inn is reputed to do the best yum cha in Canberra, and one day I must get round to trying that. I've been there for dinner once, and it was good. They're currently closed for holidays, due to reopen on 12 Jan. The Turkish Pide House was a staple for friends living in that inner Belconnen area, so I've been there several times and eaten their takeaway pide even more often. It's a good example of its type, and I do recommend it even though I prefer TurkOz at Dickson. There are three of these Turkish Pide House restaurants; I don't like the city one much, because I've had bad service there too many times. Jamison has always been much better in my experience.

Also around Jamison is the Jamison Inn (Jammo), a pub that's been there forever, and is a bit of a dive. And there's the Southern Cross Club Wests, with the usual club brasserie and stuff. I've never been in there. (Correction: the Jammo is now closed down. Thanks, Anon commenter.)

On the outside edge of the "plaza", you'll find a burger, sandwich and pizza takeaway, and a Turkish Kebab House. The latter is an offshoot of the Pide House, using the same logo, and sharing management, but it's more of a fast food joint. It's brightly lit, has the gyros grilling behind the counter, there's no table service. You can get the usual kebabs, soft drinks, chips and such. They also have a few unusual items for a kebab house: vegetarians can choose a zucchini puff roll as well as the usual felafel roll. There are cheese burek, and gozleme, too.

I first encountered gozleme at the Folk Festival. They are simple things - a grilled flat bread wrap, like a quesadilla or a lightly filled pancake. I'm quite fond of them. So since I was in need of a late lunch, I tried one of those. They have four pre-made varieties, all assembled across the way in the main restaurant. They're reheated on a large sandwich press. I tried the mince, cheese and spinach, and liked it. The bread wrap was thin and slightly crisp, as I've also had at Ades in Belconnen. The folk festival stall does a softer version. I don't know what's more authentic, but they're both nice. There's a recipe at which I may try out one day. (Picture from, credit Louise Lister.)

What's in the mall?
Inside the major complex, there are two major supermarkets (Coles and Aldi) and a couple of chain shops, Donut King and Coffee Guru. There are two bakeries, one rather old-fashioned in its offerings with plain breads, pies, softdrinks, and an icecream freezer. The other is more patisserie-styled, and sells gourmet pies. The bread shown here is a "German Grain Sourdough" ($5.60) from the more modern looking one, Bakery Culture. It's a nice brown loaf, but lacks the tang and density of a real sourdough. They also have cheaper regular loaves, and the patisserie looks nice - I was most tempted by the fruit custard "clafouti" tarts.

There is a pleasant cafe there, Ricardo's, which was closed when I went but is due to reopen tomorrow. I went there once with Beth, and seem to recall a decent coffee. But it was a long time ago. There's also a mixed Asian fast food place, with stirfries in the bains-mairie, and laksas on offer. It looked OK as far as I can tell.

On the supply side, there's a butcher, Simco Fresh Meats, and also the Allergy Centre, a health food shop with plenty of useful supplies for coeliacs and other people with specific dietary needs. The health food shop comes with the usual dose of woo-woo - a naturopath on site, and expensive fad superfoods (gojiberries and mangosteen are so last year, pomegranate is the latest), a huge wall of supplement pills, and ads for magic water and other quack stuff. That's unavoidable, it seems, but I don't have to like it.

I've saved the best till last: I loved Go Troppo. This is a pretty decent fruit and veg place, like its relative in the Fyshwick markets, but the Jamison branch also has a large deli and frozen food section. They stock many good things - frozen berries by the kilo; a dozen flavours of Pure Gelato; frozen and dried fish; and Mario's pastizzi and ravioli. I was especially excited about the pastizzi, since this is the first time I've found them in Canberra. Pastizzi are excellent party nibbles. I took some ricotta and spinach ones as a contribution to a New Year's Eve party last night; they came out really well. They have a very good light flaky pastry, and you can cook them straight from frozen.

Also in the deli, there was a terrific cheese selection. I bought some Manchego and a firm Dutch goat cheese, and noticed that they also had the aged Gouda that I was so exited to find in Fruitylicious. Actually, my excitement over these delis may say more about my habits than the delis. Dickson has no deli, and the ones in Belconnen that I'm most familiar with tend to stock more Italian and gourmet Australian products, and not so much of the north and east European range. This self-imposed exploration is a good idea.


Anonymous said...

I thought I would just point out that you are an evil woman. Your breakfast note this morning inspired me to a fabulous breckie for lunch (well I got out of bed at 11:30) French toast made with fresh raisin bread from the local baker with home grown eggs and home made apricot jam. I think I win ;-p

Also, I was reading your blog (and following links) last night while I was waiting for the fireworks to start, and then afterwards I didn't get to bed until 2:30ish. You are an evil woman, it is all your fault ;-p

KJ said...

I've always wondered about the pastizzi, ever since Kath Day whipped up a batch for the opening of Hours the Musical. I will have to try them.

Cath said...

Anon: you definitely win this one! And thanks for the compliment.

KJ, I've never made my own pastizzi, but I did get used to having them when I lived in Sydney. They're Maltese in origin. They do the same job as party pies or sausage rolls, but they are so much better.

Anonymous said...

As a long time Belco resident I just wanted to correct one thing on your J entry incase anyone reads it and dashes over for a visit. The Jamison Inn (I agree it's a dive) changed name about two years ago to the Dek Hotel and then it closed down about six months ago. It's just a very sad looking building now with smashed windows. Wests is a bit westie but ok as football clubs go.

Cath said...

Thanks for the correction!

Anonymous said...

The nearby Macquarie Shops in Lachlan Street is a much smaller shopping centre, but if you remember the 'Discount Pharmacy' ads on TV, one of their shops is located there.

The Vietnamese restaurant Kinh-Do is a typically low key Asian takeaway/restaurant, but it once won awards for being Canberra's best Vietnamese restaurant

On Saturdays, you'll also find an independent coffee cart serving the influx of pharmacy customers.

Anonymous said...

The health food store (The Allergy Centre) is actually really great. Yes it has the customary walls of healthy-oddness and supplements. But it also has one of the best range of gluten free products in Canberra. Which is excellent for us Coeliacs.