Denman Masthead

City lunches to keep you warm all winter

Natassja Hoogstad Hay

There’s no doubt about it, winter is well and truly here.

A change in season means a change in diet. It’s time to move over salads and sushi, because there’s nothing like a hot lunch to perk up your spirits and get you through the long – actually, make that short – winter days.

Winter really has me reaching for everything hot and filling. It’s all about comfort food: soups, toasted sandwiches, or really anything with a decent amount of carbs to fill you up.

So when lunchtime hits and you’re looking for something warm and comforting, try one of these winter lunch treats.

Soups and toasties

Soups we know are a fantastic way to indulge in something warm but stay healthy (well, depending on which one you choose). Luckily there are lots of lovely spots to grab a quick soup or a hot toasted sandwich.

Tuckshop in Garema Place just down from Shorty’s Bar has hot jaffles for $5 each including classics ham, cheese and tomato and the more adventurous pulled pork and cheddar. They also have a daily soup special (last week was Thai pumpkin), and toasted sandwiches and cakes you can pick up on the go. Great vegetarian options here.


Counter goodies from Tuckshop


Just down from Mezzalira on London Circuit you’ll find Da Rosario. If you’re brave, take a seat for a European style al fresco dining experience (don’t worry though they have heaters!). With daily dine in pizza and pasta specials, you can also pick up a toasted sandwich or daily soup special.


Coffee and toasties at Twelve


Blink and you may have missed the opening of Twelve on Marcus Clarke St a few weeks ago. Sitting between the Supermarket and Chicken Gourmet, Twelve is part of the Two Before Ten group. The main focus is coffee, but they have a gourmet menu of toasted sandwiches like beef brisket, caramelised onion and cheddar, or roasted pumpkin, goats curd and apple, which you can pick up while getting your midday caffeine fix. The coffee is of course excellent.


I don’t know about you, but sometimes in winter I just crave a hot, comforting plate of pasta. One of my favourite places for down to earth Italian fare is Loading Zone, nestled in the alleyway running through the centre of the Melbourne Building. The menu changes daily, but usually you’ll find a few pasta dishes, often one with a slow-cooked ragu of some kind (yum!). There are plenty of vegetarian options too, and if you’re gluten free they’ll happily switch out the pasta for rice, or you could try the soup of the day or specials like braised beef cheeks.

Jamie’s Italian seems to spark disagreement between my friends. Personally, I’ve had good food and service every time I’ve been. If you haven’t tried Jamie’s yet and have a hankering for some fresh pasta, at lunchtime Monday-Friday you can grab a plate for $15.

Porcini Fettuccine at Jamie’s Italian. Photo courtesy Jamie’s Italian

Porcini Fettuccine at Jamie’s Italian. Photo courtesy Jamie’s Italian.

And if you’re after a carb hit with a healthier edge, you can’t go past a delicious hot baked potato from Spud Bar, filled to the brim with fresh toppings. Still carbs, still satisfying but healthy too.


It’s no secret that I love a good Asian Noodle House laksa or pho thai from Bistro Nguyen’s, both located in Civic’s Melbourne Building.

If it’s a hot and spicy noodle soup to warm you on a cold winter’s day, there are lots more places around the city that do a warming noodle soup.

Noodle Café is a lunch favourite for city dwellers with an extensive menu of noodle soups and more. Even better, most noodle soups you can pick up for just $10 as a lunch special.

If it’s delicious rare beef soup you’re after, iPho, also in Garema Place serves up pho in it’s all its forms. The thing I love about pho is that you’re in charge of how much, spice (chilli), salt (hoi sin) and fresh lemon, herbs and bean sprouts that go in to your bowl of steaming soup. Plenty more traditional Vietnamese dishes on the menu here too, all for a great price.

Char Siu Ramen from Ka Sushi. Image courtesy Ka Sushi.

Char Siu Ramen from Ka Sushi. Image courtesy Ka Sushi.

Over the other side of the city just off Marcus Clarke St, Ka Sushi Ramen has plenty of Japanese ramen soups to keep you toasty warm. Even if you decide to go with one of the sets, don’t worry, in Japanese style they all come with miso soup.

Curries, spice and all things nice

If you’re after something spicy to increase your temperature, there are lots of tasty, cheap curry deals in the city.

Mon Thani in Petrie Plaza serves up a choice of 2 dishes of your choice with rice for $8. They serve up hot curries and stir-fries with a Thai influence, with around 8 to choose from every day..

Around the corner in the interchange, you can get a more Burmese flavour at the Burmese Curry Place. Again, this is a bargain at $7/8 a plate depending if you dine in or takeaway. A long time lunch favourite for city-dwellers, and practically a Canberra institution by now, it’s quite common to see queues out the door at lunchtime. A must-try this winter.

Chicken praram lunch special at Lemongrass Thai.

Chicken praram lunch special at Lemongrass Thai.

And don’t forget Lemongrass’ $12.50 lunch deal which includes a great selection of stir-fries, curries and noodles is sure to warm you up.


Natassja Hoogstad Hay

Natassja Hoogstad Hay is a communications professional working in Canberra. An unashamed foodie, she loves cooking and going out to eat, and has a special love of coffee and wine. She’s obsessed with social media (handy in her field!) and is working on perfecting her Instagram game. In her spare time you might find her at a yoga class, cosied up on the couch with a book or the TV, or outside taking photos of beautiful Canberra sunsets. More about the Author

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