Everything Old is New Again – Debacle
by The Editor
Debacle is dead! Long live Debacle!
Like any good dynasty – such as the Windsors, the Kims or The Phantom – it takes a good death to refresh the family lineage. It was therefore with some sorrow but a healthy dose of anticipation that on 23 February we bade farewell to Debacle at its old site north on Lonsdale Street.
So, where to next?
As it turns out, not too far away at all. In fact, Debacle has found itself at home in the new Mode 3 building just a hundred metres or so down the road – and what a curious building that is! Over the last decade or so, Braddon has moved steadily into a low-fi, high quality urbane style of development focussed on organic growth, street art and more bicycles than Beijing. Now, slap-bang on the central intersection of Canberra’s hipster hub is a shiny building of stainless steel and glass. It sticks out like a naval uniform in the middle of Lonsdale Street Roasters, creating an extraordinary contrast to the semi-industrial landscape that surrounds it.
The first thing one notices is the way Debacle opens on to the street. Sunday was a classic Canberra autumn day, so with the temperature in the mid-twenties and the sun beaming down from a blue sky, the large louvered windows had been thrown open to allow ease of passage in and out of the venue with little obstruction.
Once inside, Debacle feels like a reunion with an old friend who has taken up exercise and has a snazzy new hairstyle. It all looks very familiar: a big screen showing sport, long wooden benches and the bar itself positioned down the back. The high ceilings contribute to the feeling of spaciousness, while a couple of couches in the corner had become a pseudo-playpen for a number of young children.
Perusing the menu, it seems not much has changed with the move down the road. We cast an eye over it and, without anything new and exciting catching our eye, turned our attention to the specials scrawled in chalk on one of the pubs internal columns. Interestingly, all meals were chosen from this selection as opposed to the regular menu – make of that what you will.
Ordering uses the same system – go to the bar, pay and receive a number on a stand. Although lunch was busy, we were impressed with how quickly our meals arrived. The American Hotdog ($15.00) was a fun indulgence, layered with caramelised onions, bacon bits and delicious mustard. The side serving of chips was a little disappointing – the standard crinkle cut chips didn’t really compare to the delicious bowl of beer-battered chips ($11.00) an early arriving member of our party had ordered. Although without such an immediate comparison it would not have been so noticable.
The Quesadillas ($15.00) represented a generous serving that was shared among us all. Sadly, the Vegetarian Lasagne ($15.00) wasn’t as special as one might have hoped – filling a space without causing any great impression. The most interest came from trying to identify a walnut in the accompanying walnut salad. As far as we could tell it was just, well… a salad.
Aside from that it was all fine. We supped from the interesting range of beers (Budvar – $6.40) and various wines of good value, while enjoying a lazy afternoon under the guidance of ever-attentive service. The sheer amount of people who were there for a Sunday lunch proves that Debacle has lost none of its lustre in the weeks since its change of address. There are no surprises, and – much like our current royal – Debacle shows no sign of going anywhere soon.