SI Autumn Masthead

The Elk & Pea: Lovely Lunches

Amanda Whitley

Fresh favourites, new friends at The Elk & Pea.

Weekday lunches can be an expensive business. These days, you’re hard pressed to get change from $20 for a decent sandwich and a bottle of water, and if you’re keen to eat out — well, you may as well double that. So at HerCanberra HQ we’re always on the lookout for lunches that are as good for the tastebuds as the pocket.

Our latest discovery? It’s not a new kid on the block, rather, a Lonsdale Street stalwart that’s been serving up fresh, flavourful South American-influenced food for the last four years. The Elk & Pea, unlike the latter half of its namesake, isn’t a showy animal but its food doesn’t need frills or feathers to stand out. And its weekday ‘Lovely Lunches’ deal is too good to ignore.


Our events coordinator (and creator of The Forage), Belinda Neame, and I were overdue for a catch up so we decided it was time for an ‘eating’ — otherwise known as a lunch meeting — at The Elk & Pea to check out their $20 lunch deal – a burger, wrap or salad with a house beer or wine.

I was torn between the Veggie Wrap – a chickpea and green lentil patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and lemon aoili wrapped in a soft tortilla; and the Jerk Chicken Wrap – Carribean Jerk Chicken, lettuce, onion, avocado, tomato and cucumber salsa topped with yoghurt dressing and wrapped in a soft tortilla. I’m a sucker for anything with avocado so I went with the Jerk Chicken Wrap — I wasn’t disappointed. The jerk chicken had subtle heat and was complemented beautifully by the tangy salsa, and the wrap was so large I didn’t do more than pick at the side of skinny fries.


When I commented to owner, Bria Sydney, how much I’d enjoyed it, she told me the team had been getting so much good feedback on the Jerk Chicken on Elk & Pea’s dinner menu that they decided to make it into a quick and easy wrap for lunchtime. It’s a fresh and light option that will fill you up, but not make you feel heavy, and also provide protein to see you through the rest of your day. 

Belinda is a salad fan and decided on the Fennel & Asparagus Salad on Bria’s recommendation. The dish is a new addition to the menu and combines asaparagus, fennel, almonds, pepitas, mixed herb and pumpkin, quinoa, and harissa roti. As well as starring on the lunch menu, it’s available all day as a light brunch option with loads of smoked salmon and pumpkin roti, or as a flavour packed salad with crunch from the roasted pepitas and almonds and freshness from the mint and fennel.

salad 3

By this point, we hadn’t quite finished our ‘m/eating’ so we thought it would be rude not to share dessert even if it meant breaking our $20 budget. And, to be honest, we didn’t actually look past the first menu item — the Doughnut. Served warm, this crispy flavour bomb is lightly dusted with classic cinnamon sugar and encases a rich dulce de leche. It’s topped with  tart blueberry compote and house made vanilla ice cream, and surrounded by a slick of sweet white chocolate ganache. It’s warm and comforting and the perfect winter dessert. More please.


So if you’re looking for a little something to perk you up on a dreary winter work day, The Elk & Pea is worth checking out (even on the day before pay day!)

the essentials

What: The Elk & Pea’s Lovely Lunches
When: Monday to Friday
Where: 21 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
How much: $20 for a burger, wrap or salad and house wine or beer
Book:[email protected]

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author