We decided to check out Stand By Me over the weekend after I saw some awesome images of their sweet and savoury muffins online. We were already out and about in the south side checking out Mr Frugii’s truffle ice cream at the Old Bus Depot Market, which was absolutely amazing by the way, and we decided to supplement the ice cream with something from Stand By Me!
We were greeted by some very friendly staff! They were opening the doors, shaking hands, striking conversations and were just really bubbly, very attentive! I’m used to a lot of places being quite friendly and having wonderful service but this was just beyond what I was expecting. It wasn’t that annoying new age hipster friendliness either, it seemed genuine and I just felt that it needed to be mentioned.
Anyways, onwards to the food. Normally, I would jump straight there but I have a story today! So the poor guys at Stand By Me had some sort of electrical disaster in the kitchen, and I’m going to go ahead and assume it was a massive explosion because that sounds rad to me. I hope everyone made it out okay but due to this massive explosion, Stand By Me had a limited menu. They only had three hot dishes on offer and we grabbed all of them since own eyes are way bigger than our stomachs, as per usual.
First up, the Veggie crunch ($12.50) roasted vegetables with sweetened muesli and salad. This was a really interesting dish, the roasted veggies were nice and savoury while the muesli was soft and sweet. Sounds like it wouldn’t it work but it tasted pretty damn good. The veggies were full of flavoured and soft but still had a little bit of bite to them, the muesli was sweet, soft and warm like it had been cooked in some honey, this was topped with a little bit of balsamic vinegar for some tang. It was so different, I don’t think I’ve ever really had anything like this before, sweet and savoury, soft and crunchy at the same time.
Next up, the Roast lamb ($15.95) with pepper sauce on mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. This was really fantastic, and was an absolutely massive serving for just $16. The roast lamb was pretty much like a classic roast lamb, like what your mother would make on a Sunday if TV has taught me anything. The lamb itself was really thickly cut, and was done in a really traditional way, with strong pepper flavours and what I think was some rosemary. This was a real homage to simple classic flavours and I really loved that, the gravy packed a strong punch and there was a lot of it! Normally, too much pepper can be overwhelming but here I really loved how it made every bite pop, maybe that has something to do with how cold it is in Canberra right now, but in any case, I definitely appreciated it. The picture kind of hides this, but there was a lot more vegetables hidden under that lamb and once you pulled everything apart, it was just a huge serving that I nearly couldn’t finish! The buttery and creamy mash was a highlight as well, I’m not sure how much superlatives you can throw at mash potato but it was simply brilliant.
Finally, we grabbed the Bacon and egg pie ($12.50) with salad. We originally decided to get the above two dishes and thought that there was no way to fit more food in but well, who can say no to bacon and egg in pie form?! This dish combines two things that I like a lot and it did not disappoint. To be honest, I was kind of expecting something like a quiche, with bacon bits in it or something, and I was definitely pleasantly surprised to see that I was wrong on that one. It was pretty much boiled eggs with layers of bacon throughout and some other veggies like tomato and peas here and there. Something about seeing all those fresh ingredients just sitting there really made me appreciate the flavours of this, it was less a pie and more of some sort of stacked meal, which in hindsight I think was probably a theme for the meals we got at Stand By Me. There wasn’t really any liquid or sauce holding it together like a normal pie, but there were dabs of vinegar scattered on the plate which definitely helped in this regard. Kind of reminded me of a chicken pie with all the veggies. The pastry was really well done, it had a lot of flavour to it and just flaked away perfectly. The picture doesn’t really show this, but its like a corner slice of a full legit pie. I can’t really imagine how big the original must’ve been!
Our drinks for the day, first up a Cappuccino ($3.50). I use to be happy not getting drinks, coffee, juices or the likes when I ate out but now if I’m having breakfast, brunch or lunch I have to get a drink. Its just so nice and warming and it totally helps with all this cold and gloomy weather we are having in Canberra. I don’t know much about coffee, but I liked this! They also managed to put a little leaf thing in the froth, which I know is fairly common these days but come on, I don’t drink coffees that much. Leaves are still cool to me.
Finally, a Chai ($5). I believe this chai uses Real Chai but don’t quote me. Nevertheless, it was really nice and creamy. I kind of wish I asked for soy because I really like the nutty flavours that soy adds to everything, but this time I saved myself 50c and went for the standard. This tasted really wonderful and definitely served its purpose in warming us up!
Even with their limited menu our lunch at Stand By Me was fantastic. The food was very different and I really wasn’t expecting that from a new cafe. The food at Stand By Me was much more heartier and reminded me of home food on a cold winters night. I guess its a little different to all that fresh, clean and healthy food I’m so used to getting at all the other hip cafes that are around in Canberra, so this was a nice change, though I’m not sure how much of the menu will stay the same without a giant explosion destroying their kitchen. Must go back in the near future to check out their breakfast menu, though I don’t really have high hopes because it ends at 11am and well, my weekends don’t start until noon. I guess there is always Stand By Me’s full lunch menu, I wonder what other awesome hearty treats they have.