Grub’s Up: Grapeshot reviews the new food on offer from the Campus Common

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Illustrations || Daniel Lim

Does the new Campus Common live up to the cheap nachos and piles of pad thai of the Campus Hub that it replaced? The Grapeshot team investigates.

Falafel Snack Pack

I’m going to preface by saying the new food court has a goddamn depressing vibe (perhaps because the design was literally created for earthquake disaster relief) and I would rather walk in 40-degree heat all the way over to the Macquarie Centre than eat in a precinct with the personality of a bomb shelter.

With that this in mind, I wandered around the food court looking for a meal. I noticed an interesting sign at Doner Kebab. Snack packs. Falafel. I had never even heard of a falafel snack pack before, but I was very interested. It would be the perfect deep-fried Band-Aid for my wounds.

While it was pricey, it’s almost worth it. The two falafels were big, crispy and probably the best falafel I’ve ever had. There was just the right amount of seasoning on the chips, and they are very generous with the sauce. In fact, they have an ample selection of sauces too, so go wild and mix up some flavours. I was honestly surprised at how decent this tasted. If you’re ever looking for comfort food to fill the 5-dollar-nacho sized hole in your heart, Doner Kebab remains a tried and true excellent go-to.

Chicken Curry

I am one of those vanilla losers that commented aloud recently that Woolies coleslaw is rather spicy. So when I tasted a chunk of the potato from the chicken curry served by Sambal Express I was relieved to not detect a skerrick of chilli. The curry was pretty tasty, although patrons with less pathetic tastebuds might crave some kick.

The side-dish of dhal seemed appetising until someone mentioned it was the exact same colour as the phlegm-coloured table we were dining at. Seriously, who decided baby-diarrhea yellow, traffic-cone orange and off-white was a colour palette pleasing to the eye for food court tables?

The curry came with a roti, and there’s no way you can’t enjoy a fried wheat-based product. But as I ate I did find myself lusting after 5-dollar nacho goodness served up by the Wicked Mexican team (especially as this selection amounted to $16.50) before they were kicked out of the Campus Hub prior to its demolition, despite student petitions and support from staff. There seem to be a few empty containers in the enthusiastically-hyped  new campus common area – perhaps Macquarie could ask them back?

Roasted Veggies & Hummus Sandwich

I suppose one good thing about the Campus Common is that I’m no longer spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing what to eat. Options are scarce, and become scarcer with the limited amount of food outlets that accept card or offer vegetarian options. With all that considered, I hung awkwardly out front of the tiny Cult outlet, not wanting to spend $10 on a sandwich, but knowing it was my best bet. Also, I can’t pass up the word ‘hummus’ in any context. I would eat it by itself with my fingers if the opportunity presented itself.

I kinda love Cult up in Y3A. They make a good soy mocha, and last week were even selling brownies with almonds and hazelnuts mixed into the batter. Perfection. Their sandwich was on the same level of quality, but the Campus Common version is confusing. They still wear the ‘In Coffee We Trust’ logo across their uniforms, but there’s not a coffee machine in sight in the two-square-meter space they’ve been given. An array of milkshake options are written in chalk across the glass cabinet with the food in it, but no caffeine appears to be on offer. In coffee we trust, but only if it comes from Ubar.

Rating: wouldn’t join the cult.

Nothing

Walking through the slim pickings at the new food court, if you can even call it that, my eyes set upon the mouthwatering fried rice at the Chinese food stall. It looks scrumptious, decadent; I could feel it in my bunions, I knew I had to have some. Unfortunately, destiny had other plans, since they only  accept cash, and now the closest ATM is at the Macquarie Centre. I knew I wouldn’t survive the 20-minute walk to the Centre and back. I had to improvise. My starvation-infused eyesight honed in on potential nourishment. Were there bugs in the pot plants to feast upon? None. The bins? Empty. My options were shrinking fast, just like my waistline. My eyes turned to the tables. Bacteria have calories, right?

My survival instincts took the wheel. I leaned over the table, opened my ravenous mouth. My tongue scrapped the forgot-to-put-the-lid-back-on mustard coloured table. It actually didn’t taste bad at all. The cleaners sure do a fantastic job. A slight aftertaste of musty pennies lingered in my mouth; could’ve been worse.

If I’m hospitalised from a bacterial infection, though, the bill’s on you Macquarie. And I only accept cash.

(Editor’s note: apparently since this article was written the Campus Common has become cashless and all outlets now offer eftpos payment. It is too late for the writer of this review, Nathaniel. He died.)

Sushi World Vegetarian Box

As another way to fill the void that is my personality I also recently became vegetarian, and let me tell you; most vegetarian sushi options are the pits. If you want cheap, vegetarian sushi, you should prepare for disappointment.

Back when I was a meat-eating trash-human and the Campus Hub didn’t look like Sunnydale High at the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I frequented Sushi World as a source of cheap grub. As one of the few survivors of the Great Hub Calamity™ I thought I’d pay a brand new visit to ‘ol faithful in the year of our lord 2018.

My choice was the ‘Vege Box’. For six-and-a-half of your Earth dollars you get a pretty decent selection, like tiny cucumber boys, scroll boys with some pretty dang good tofu, and those tasty boys wearing a skin suit full of rice and tiny veggies. The tofu scrolls also had a mystery ingredient, which I initially thought was pineapple ‘till our deputy Sarah identified as a potential radish. So, for $6.50 you get a decently filling meal that tastes pretty good as far as sushi goes, has a lot more variety than your average vegetarian sushi, and even includes mystery vegetables.

(Note: I’d still rather peck through the trash like an Ibis than eat at your sorry excuse for a food hub, Macquarie).