Saturday Night Dining at Gryphons Caffe
by The Editor
We first visited Gryphons Caffe in Griffith shortly after opening. Back then it had all the confidence and coordination of a new born foal. Now, almost five months after throwing open the doors, how would Gryphons treat us on a Saturday night?
The clever bit
Firstly, Gryphons has managed to install something not a single hospitality venue has managed in this town: an air-locked front door. In a week where the average overnight temperature averaged -5C, the airlock – while initially installed to prevent noise escaping – does a wonderful job of shielding punters from the cold night air.
Making our way through the second door Gryphons is immediately warm and noisy. It’s a footy night and the Brumbies are playing. As a result the entire bar area is jammed packed with 25-45 year olds enjoying a meal a drink and the odd bit of yelling. Unfortunately for those not interested in the football, the tinny noise of a blaring television does little to enhance the atmosphere.
We make our way to the dining area, collecting drinks and menus ourselves on the way through. There are no floor staff taking orders, so it is essential you look after yourself up to ordering your meals from the bar. We’ve a large group, so hot chips, ribs, a couple of pizzas, two serves of lamb shanks and a lamb curry from the specials board form our request. It’s around 8.00pm when we collect a table number and retreat to our spot at the back of the venue.
We wait and chat while waiting for our meals. The collection of bodies down near the telly serves well to absorb a lot of the sound from the game. In the back there is no music to speak of, just the shrill laughter of six middle-aged ladies enjoying a night out. Curiously, they are all wearing at least one item of clothing featuring animal print. Be it by accident or design, we entertain ourselves by deciding this fashion choice defines them as cougars.
The food arrives quickly and we dig in, forgetting temporarily to photograph the unspoilt dishes for all posterity. By the time the iPhone is extracted from a pocket, a significant amount of damage has been done.
The pizzas are the highlight. Cracked pappadum graces the top of the Tandoori chicken version, while the Italian meats pizza has a generous amount of toppings. Neither are overly flavourful – rather hitting a conservative note not risking to overpower the palate.
Unfortunately the Lamb Curry is underwhelming, suffering a similar lack of zing. The lamb is well cooked, the rice perfect. Without the sharp sting of spicy heat, it across more like a ragout than a curry. The lamb shanks are okay, perhaps a little fatty. The great thing about all the dishes is the price – nothing came in over $24 and the servings were certainly generous.
Our semi-finished dishes sat in front of us for the next twenty minutes before one member of our party sprang up and stacked them on a nearby table. From there they disappeared pretty quickly – a shame it took such measures to get such attention down the back part of the venue, as when being dealt with at the bar the service is both friendly and efficient.
Another highlight was the presence of pints of beer and a lovely bottle of local Little Bridge Sangiovese that, along with our full bellies warmed us nicely. Perhaps a footy night is not the night to visit Gryphons, but we’re not sure. What are your thoughts on Canberra’s newest suburban pub? Let us know in the comments below.
Address: 6 Barker Street, Griffith ACT 2603
Phone: (02) 6260 8848
Opening Times: 7 days from 0700 to 2300