Lightning Review: Duxton – O’Connor Shops

by The Editor

We’d just about had enough.  There’s only so much rain you can be expected to take.  Despite every intention not to leave the house before the sun came out, there was nothing to do but grab a brolly, take on the elements and get out of the house before we started climbing the wall.  We decided it was time to hit Duxton.

The Feel

Although we have previously discussed the layout of Duxton, it was nice to walk into a completed and operating venue.  The first thing that greets visitors approaching Duxton is the unusually large fluorescent sign above the roofline.  Shaped almost like a postmark, the logo (above) sensibly features the name of the pub and, somewhat more curiously, a squirrel.

If you failed to notice the squirrel on arrival, fear not.  Almost everywhere inside Duxton the squirrel makes its presence known.  It’s burnt into the woodwork, laid out in a large seal on the floor of the back bar and all over the windows.  It’s on the uniforms worn by staff, hiding in the corner of the menu and almost everywhere else you look.  If you think we’re overstating the matter, here is an example of the wallpaper in the dining room (click to enlarge):

Still, we weren’t here for acorns or wall treatments.  It was midday on a Sunday and, having moved a little slowly so far today, it was time to eat.

The Food

Unfortunately we had missed breakfast by a matter of minutes.  A shame really, as the pork with beans served on brioche ($12.90) looked just the tonic.  For the ravenous, the Big Breakfast ($19.90) is served with all bar none (see what we did there?) while the more virtuous may tend towards bircher muesli ($9.90) or granola with honey ($8.90).  With such choices chronologically removed as options, we continued to peruse the menu.

Feel like trying the...oh, look - a squirrel!

It was time to gorge.  We ordered a bowl of nachos, the goulash with salted bread, the spicy buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce and, believe it or not, a double cheeseburger pizza.  Yep, that’s right – a double cheeseburger pizza.  There is simply no hiding from the fact this is comfort food to be consumed in a place not frequented by those overly interested in their health.

Starting with the buffalo wings, the marinade balanced beautifully with the sauce.  The goulash was spot on, with just the right amount of paprika introducing a hint of spice to a dreary autumn day.  The nachos?  An incredibly generous serve which, apart from the corn chips, is completely made on premises.

The dish that really got our attention was the pizza.  It was approached with trepidation – there was simply no other way to attack something like this so early on a Sunday.  The addition of sliced gherkin was a masterstroke, sitting so proudly above a veritable sea of cheese.  Taking a slice with cautious hands, it felt strangely light, as though it really should have weighed about 20 kilos. There were smiles all round as the first bites were taken, gnawing through the base and the cheese topping to disover the mince meat in between.

With the addition of ketchup, the whole thing tasted strangely like a double cheeseburger.  This is strange not because of the fact it tasted like a double cheeseburger, but the fact it was a pizza that tasted like a cheeseburger.  It’s just not right…

…but damn, it’s delicious.

The End

We finished up and made our way back into the rain.  The sun wasn’t quite over the yard-arm, so we’d have to leave the drinking to the O’Connor locals who looked all too familiar with the different rooms of the newly named Duxton.  Clearly the spirit of All Bar Nun carries on, and locals can rest assured the legacy of the previous institution exists in the new.

It’s a promising start for the new kid on the block but, if you have any idea about that bloody squirrel, please put your best theory in the comments below.


Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday 11am – 11pm
Saturday & Sunday 7.30am – 12pm

O’Connor Shops

MacPherson St, O’Connor ACT 2602

02 6162 0799