Buvette Masthead

Alphabet Dating in Canberra: J, K, L

Beatrice Smith

By now, you’re hopefully familiar with out Alphabet Dating series, where we showcase the best of Canberra’s activities and attractions for date nights with your special someone (or just your mates).

We’re almost half way through the alphabet! If your date nights are getting a little boring with the same old movie and dinner routine then you need to read on! In a city bustling with events, festivals and institutional attractions you would think there’d be plenty to keep you occupied without doing the same thing over and over again.

There’s a new trend emerging – Alphabet Dating – encouraging you and your partner to take turns tailoring a ‘date day’ (or night) for the two of you that is themed with a letter, working your way through the alphabet. Your partner will know the date and time of the date as well as the letter, however the challenge is to take turns to surprise each other with activities.

For example, Krissy will plan dates A, C, E while Peter will plan dates B, D, F and so on. Krissy will know that Peter is planning their ‘B date’ for Saturday at 10am but won’t know what they’re doing until the day.

So everyone feels inspired, we’ve included our suggestions for Alphabet Mate Dates too which are low budget with kid-friendly options too!

Before you read ahead, read our suggestions for dates A, B & C here, dates D, E & F here and dates G, H, I here!

Here are our suggestions for Alphabet Dates J through L…


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Ideal night: Wednesday

6pm: The obvious choice for J date is Japanese and luckily Canberra has a great selection of venues to choose from.

Bon Kura has just opened in Dickson with a shiny, modern fit out, huge range of menu options and very reasonable prices. Dinner for two from $50.

AKIBA’s intimate, woodsy fit out and sharing plates make it great for couples who want to expand their palates and AKIBA’s large dining spaces make it easy to make J date a double date if you so wish. Dinner for two from $80.

LiloTang in the Realm Hotel in Barton is a great choice if J date falls on a special day or if you feel like spoiling your foodie partner. Operated by the ex-sous chef of Nobu Melbourne, LiloTang’s delicate, thoughtful plates are sure to impress. Dinner for two from $150.

8.30pm: Hippo Co in Garema Place has been presenting weekly live jazz nights for over 13 years. Hippo Co’s dimly lit, intimate atmosphere is perfect for easing into a lounge with a whisky in hand and letting the jazz wash over you. Drinks for $20 for two. 


What to tell them to bring: Active wear

10am: Sky Zone in Westfield Belconnen is a trampoline park that also runs trampoline based fitness classes. Jumping to build strength instead of running or the gym will be a welcome change for some gym bunnies and a novelty day out for others. Kids have an extensive range of activities and trampolines to play on so parents can work out without worrying and there’s even a Mums & Tots class for those with smaller children. There are at least three classes per day from Monday-Thursday. A single skyfit class is $15 per person.

6.30pm: If a dinner date suits you and your friends better, the japanese sushi train at Sizzle Bento in Garema Place is a great novelty date for friends. The central location is great for people coming straight for work and the pay-by-plate system makes it super easy to split the bill. Dinner from $15 per person.

If it’s a Wednesday and you’re looking for an after dinner activity you could wander across Garema Place to Hippo Co for some live jazz. See above for details.

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What to tell them to bring: Walking shoes, warm clothes

10am: Take a drive out to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. From the visitors center you can walk one of the designated trails for anywhere from one hour to six to see if you can spot a Koala or two. You could pack a picnic with a kale salad, burritos with kidney bean tex mex or some kiwi fruits. The drive takes about an hour from Civic and entry to the reserve is free.

4pm: If you’re looking for a pit stop to refresh after a day of walking the trails you could stop by the Kurrajong Hotel in Barton for some tea on their beautiful terrace or at any café in Kingston if you’re keen to stick closely to the theme. You could also drive via Yarralumla instead for a hearty lunch at the Yarralumla Kebab Shop – arguably the best kebabs in Canberra.


Ideal day: Sunday

10am: The Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston are always a bustling hive of activity on a Sunday and offer everything from organic olives to antique chairs, balloons, knitting wool, cheese, arts and crafts and vintage clothes. Take your friend for a stroll around the markets and finish up with a short walk over to the Kingston shopping precinct for some lunch.

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Ideal time: Weekend

What to tell them to bring: Warm active wear

12pm: Ask your date to meet you somewhere around Lake Burley Griffin. Hopefully the sun will have come out by midday and you and your date can enjoy a leisurely stroll around its perimeter. A mild paced walk ‘bridge to bridge’ will take about an hour. You could even walk past the snack bars next to Reconciliation Place and buy a lemonade or a Lemon and Ginger Tea.

1.30pm: You can either walk or drive to Kingston from here to Little Brooklyn in Kingston’s Green Square. Little Brooklyn serve tasty burgers, tacos and beers on tap.

6.30pm: Looking for somewhere special for dinner? Make a reservation at Lilotang and hit both J and L in the alphabet!


6pm: Invite your friend round for dinner!

You can easily make a basic lasagne either completely from scratch or from store bought ingredients. Here are our recipes for Lasagne Lite and vegetarian Pumpkin Lasagne!

If you’re looking to make a classic lasagne, simply make a meat sauce (dash of olive oil, mince meat, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper sautéed over the stove for above 10 minutes) and layer the sauce in a deep dish with lasagne sheets, cottage cheese and freshly sliced buffalo mozzarella. Top with a béchamel sauce and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top has browned and the pasta sheets are soft.

While you and your friend are warming your tummies with lasagne, you could pop on a DVD of Love Actually, Lilo and Stitch, Lord of the Rings, The Lego Movie, Letters to Juliet or The Little Mermaid.

If you want to stick firmly to the theme you could serve Lemon Tarts for dessert.


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author