Entire generations of Canberrans have come of age in the space which, over decades, has…
Finding a dining spot for the whole family is no easy feat.
And you’d be forgiven if Lyneham’s Hockey Centre wasn’t the first place you started looking. But its in-house eatery, Pick Up Stix, is easily one of the most versatile dining destinations in Canberra – and is open to all, not just visitors of the Hockey Centre.
Want a spot to watch the footy with a beer and some bar snacks or dinner? Done.
Grabbing cake and coffee with the mother’s group after gymnastics lessons? Not a problem.
Need a venue for your next corporate, social or team function? Easy.
Whether you’re a busy single, a family with young kids, a couple looking for a casual night out or a sports fan, Pick Up Stix should be your new go-to.
The space itself is stylish and massive, and it’s clearly been designed with active individuals and families in mind. There’s a play corner for the kids, outdoor seating, a pool table, sports screens, a fully stocked bar and even a striking lighting feature made from hockey sticks—an homage to the café’s location.
The fit out and atmosphere certainly fit the bill, but what about the menu? We took a family of four to Pick Up Stix for a meal to put it to the test – HerCanberra’s own Belinda Neame, her husband Tim, daughter Tilly (13) and son Fletcher (16).
First off, younger diners are not a mere afterthought here. The kids fish & chips and chicken and chips are served in child-friendly portions and have the two teens smiling. A smoothie and shake completed their meals. The chocolate shake was everything you’d expect – fresh milk and ice cream with a rich chocolate syrup. The Berry Lemon Blast smoothie was a favourite: zesty raspberries, strawberries and a lemon sorbet blended with coconut milk.
Next was the pizza: a sweet potato and pancetta. We’d assumed that the sweet potato would be in chunks scattered over the pizza, or part of the base itself. Surprisingly, however, the crisp base was smothered with a sweet potato purée – unconventional, but it gave the dish a sweet, earthy flavour. A three-cheese blend of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan were sprinkled over the purée, and the pizza was finished with roquette and fresh slices of pancetta.
Heads swerved as the Kung Fu Tacos approached. Pick Up Stix added their fresh take to a Mexican classic, using not only hard and soft taco shells but an outer shell made entirely of crispy grilled cheese. The fillings didn’t disappoint, with avocado, sour cream, chilli corn salsa and a choice of either pork or beef—we went with pork.
The final main dish was the Thai Beef Salad. The portion was extremely generous and could easily be shared as a side dish between two or three, or between an adult and child as a main course. It was packed to the brim with fresh veggies and herbs – wombok, carrot, chilli, capsicum, coriander and mint, topped with tender seared beef and a Thai dressing that was to die for. This would be the perfect mid-week date night dinner, accompanied with a cold glass of wine or beer.
It would have been rude to leave without trying something from the impressive cake display, so we sampled a muffin and a few delicate macarons. These aren’t the kind of cakes you’ll find scattered across cafés in Canberra: everything is made fresh in-house and are a mix of classics and unique flavours—think Milo, bubble gum or chilli chocolate.
What could be a better accompaniment to some baked sweets than coffee? Pick Up Stix source theirs from Red Brick Espresso and it truly is delightful.
While we would have loved to sample the whole menu, our stomachs could only handle so much. Other dishes we were eyeing off included the zucchini chips, fried pickles and nachos —or the homemade yoghurt with a whey shot for a healthy breakfast on the run.
One of the best things about Pick Up Stix is the convenience. It’s co-located with a hockey field, sports courts, gym, gymnastics studio and physiotherapist—with more wellness facilities set to arrive in the coming months. That means that whether you’re picking up the kids from classes, refuelling after a workout or want to grab a bite after J-Ball, Pick Up Stix makes it so easy to have a healthy meal, or to treat yourself and indulge. Plus, its location in Lyneham means that it’s en route to work, school or home for many north siders.
For your next date night, function or family meal, Pick Up Stix is certainly worth a visit.
Images via Tim Bean Photograhy