Saturday, 18 January 2014

Casual Dining - Jude Kitchen and Bar

A new year at work means setting of new goals and planning for the year ahead.  For the last couple of years I've been meeting regularly with a mate I met on an intense training course where we bonded and have formed a strong peer relationship.  It's always great to have someone to bounce ideas off and basically tell you if you're going to make a huge mistake or to help shape your thinking in relation to your strategic thinking (yeah, a bit of business speak). We've mostly met for coffee, or in my case milkshakes but decided to mix it up a little bit for 2014 and make our catch ups a regular lunch instead.

It's a bit of a luxury taking an hour out for lunch, it's well worth the time and effort, but it's difficult to find a spot where you can sit down for a decent chat and but can get through the meal in an hour (especially at busy lunch time in the CBD).  Sure, there are the usual fast food joints around town, but they are just not the right spots to meet and you generally can't make a reservation, so its 'first in best dressed'.  After a bit of contemplation I thought that Jude Kitchen and Bar would be perfect and a short phone call later, we had a reservation booked in for a midday catch up.

Jude Kitchen and Bar is located right in the heart of the busy Eagle Street Pier precinct, right next to the new Guzman y Gomez and across from Grill'd.  It's an interesting place to go for lunch, not quite a fast food joint, not quite a restaurant and not quite a bar - it's a mix of all three and is really like a very up market carvery.  Jude is mostly a weekday breakfast and lunch spot, but it's also open later on Thursday and Friday nights with a tapas menu and obviously a bar that serves as a great watering hole for the 'suits' in the area after work.  Up until recently, I wasn't aware that Jude Kitchen and Bar also opened up on Sunday mornings for breakfast and lunch.....  I need to get down to the Eagle Street Markets more often.

I'd arranged to meet my mate at Jude at twelve and I was the first to arrive to a mostly empty dining area and was directed to my 'reserved' seat.  It wasn't long before MJ arrived and we lost ourselves in catching up about the Christmas and New Year period and filling each other in on the latest work news.  After a while we finally directed our attention to the menu and decided on what we would munch on for lunch.  While there are a number of cafe style options and interestingly some 'Jude Ball' combo options (meat balls, fish balls, rice balls etc) the menu is dominated by a list of great looking burgers.  I'd have thought there would be stiff competition for burgers in the area with Grill'd so close but Jude has a bit of a reputation for great burgers, so that's what we went for.

All of the burgers at Jude Kitchen and Bar come with the option of just chips or chips and salad and MJ kicked off with a chicken pesto burger with chips only.  The burger was delivered in a cardboard box with a pile of chips and it was clear that the burgers had that home made and rustic feel to them.  The burgers came with huge buns that were filled with simple fresh and fresh ingredients.  It looked great and after MJ had taken a few bites he commented that he'd picked a winner.

Where MJ had got straight into his burger, I took a different approach and started on the chips that came with the meal.  It's something I always do when I chips come with a meal (any meal), I pretty much fill up on the chips and then get stuck in eating the rest.  The Jude chips were clearly fresh out of the deep fryer and were lovely and crisp and quite tasty, although I would have loved a little more salt on them.  After eating most of my chips, I thought it was timely to start on the burger.  I'd picked the Jude cheese burger, which had heaps of cheese just melting off the thick meat patty.  As with MJ's chicken burger, my cheese burger came with lots of fresh ingredients and a huge bun.  It was a pretty good burger but the best thing I loved about it was the home made taste that came with it, which is hard to describe but you know it when you come across it.

Before I knew it our burgers and chips were mostly eaten and an hour had almost passed, so it was time to finish up and head back to work.  We'd both been happy with the burgers and the service had been great, with our meal actually being delivered instead of waiting for our paging buzzer to alert us to pick up our meal at the kitchen.

It was a bit weird, last time I had eaten down at Eagle Street for lunch it was pandemonium, there were people everywhere and queues at all of the lunch spots but there were hardly any people around on the day we visited.  It ended up being the perfect spot for us to catch up, so good that I think we'll come here next time and try some of the other goodies on the menu, I actually spied a steak sandwich that looked pretty tasty....

It was pretty quiet when we first arrived
But got much busier but there were none of the large queues you can see in the area at times
The bar is open on Thursday and Friday nights for after work drinks (well, I assume its open at lunch too!)
Like a lot of carvery style diners, you order at the counter and get a buzzer.  We were luck to get some personalised service on the day!

Jude Kitchen & Bar on UrbanspoonJude Kitchen & Bar


  1. I absolutely love Jude's food - we sometimes get their food ordered in for breakfasts at work and their bacon and egg rolls are just delicious! I haven't tried their lunch menu so I might have to go and take a look - how is their gluten free range for lunch?

  2. Hey there April, that sounds like a great idea, I might have to try one of the B&E rolls soon. I didn't see a huge amount of gluten free stuff, but I wasn't looking. They have a good range of items, so I am sure you will find something great :)


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