La De Da above Ha Ha Bar

5 Apr

I notice it a long time before I hear about it: there’s something going on upstairs from Ha Ha Bar on Belconnen‘s Emu Bank. What is it? A club? Part of Ha Ha Bar? Eventually I hear about La De Da and my curiosity is sparked. With a new menu recently launched, visiting becomes a priority.

The first thing that strikes me about La De Da is its location. It’s above Ha Ha Bar, but we enter through the door next to Ha Ha Bar, and head up a set of stairs until we reach a steel door. It’s paradoxically a little intriguing and a little offputting. On entering there’s a long bar to the right, in front of windows and doors which pull right back so outside and inside are almost one. Outside there’s a deck which wraps around the two sides with views over Lake Ginninderra. We’re here on the last Friday before daylight savings ends, and I’m struck with a real sense of, “Why weren’t we here over summer?” It’s a real opportunity lost. The sunset is typically gorgeous, the lake looks lovely, and the design of La De Da means we really get to enjoy these views. Lovely!

More cool roof designs a la Elk and Pea

More cool roof designs a la Elk and Pea

Gorgeous view

Gorgeous view

We order beers to start ($7 each, including White Rabbit Dark Ale, Little Creatures Pale Ale, Becks, James Squire Golden Ale, Cheeky Rascal Cider and $6 Hahn Super Dry schooners) and take a seat outside. The seats are cute little stools which seem to be in vogue across Canberra, with La De Da motifs. They’re okay, and suit the venue, but they don’t do much for comfort. Some stools also serve as little tables (and vice versa), which does cause a problem for eating because we have to bend down to eat quite messy meals (you’ll see more on that later). The only bathroom is a long trek back downstairs, outside Ha Ha Bar (I can’t tell you about the men’s bathroom, but the women’s has just one stall).

20130405_184451

Pretty view over the lake

Pretty view over the lake

20130405_184403

It’s a lovely vibe, and the music’s not loud enough to be intrusive, but there’s an awkward conversation at a table across from us where the couple seems to be breaking up – but it doesn’t stop them from enjoying their tapas (a compliment to La De Da?).

The tapas includes sliders and chorizo (what self respecting tapas bar doesn’t have these staples?) and other interesting items, but we’re drawn to the tempura stuffed courgette flowers ($6 each), scallops ($16 for a plate), and the Ha Ha Pizza ($22).

While Boyfriend continues with beer, I order a Raspberry Collins. Their wine list includes a moscato (you can purchase a bottle only) and a few wines from a Canberra winery (Bourke Street), but the latter seem token. I think the waiters have to walk downstairs with each order (and go downstairs to bring the completed orders up), so I’m not sure my food order actually gets properly placed until well after the Raspberry Collins ($14) is made. The Raspberry Collins is equal measures a hit of sweet and sour, and is served with just a touch too much ice. The red and white stripey straw is cute, but it’s made of paper, which starts to disintegrate on the tenth sip. Bleh.

Raspberry Collins

Raspberry Collins

I’m not sure how long it takes for our orders to be served, but I measure it thus: breaking up couple finish their tapas and leave, we move inside out of the mid-Autumn wind, I finish the Raspberry Collins and am midway through seeing my next drink – the Stiletto – made when our dishes arrive. The courgette flowers (we ordered three) are on a separate plate each, and with the generous mushroom medley and salad seem to be a decent meal on their own. I won’t order the scallops again – they’re overcooked. They come with a fish cake which is full of flavour and moist, but still somehow falls apart on the fork and back onto the plate before it reaches my mouth – frustrating! I’m much more interested in the pizza (grilled beef, chorizo, prosciutto, roast chicken, chilli, olives and mozzarella). It’s flavoursome and the base is yum. The only disappointing part of the pizza is the beef. It provides the key flavours, but it’s way overcooked, chewy, and gets stuck in our teeth.

Courgette flower and medley of mushrooms

Courgette flower and medley of mushrooms

Scallops (disappointing)

Scallops (disappointing)

Pizza - great size, yum, beef overcooked

Pizza – great size, yum, beef overcooked

Dinner

Dinner

An enjoyable dinner activity is to watch the antics of the cars in the car park downstairs

An enjoyable dinner activity is to watch the antics of the cars in the car park downstairs

It’s a lovely venue – I’d say one of Canberra’s best – but it’s surprisingly empty for a Friday night.

It only opens at 5pm each day (Wednesday-Sunday), but I think its management needs to revisit this. In addition to its beauty on late summer evenings, it would be the perfect winter weekend afternoon venue – what better than basking in the sun on a beautiful deck with a yummy drink overlooking one of Canberra’s best lakes?

Date: Friday, 5 April

Cost: $6 x 3 + $16 + $22 + $7 x 3 + $14 + $16 = $107 (not cheap, but plenty of drinks and food)

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

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17 Responses to “La De Da above Ha Ha Bar”

  1. Andrew April 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Nice pone – succint, informative, not picky but not flowery either. Makes me want to check it out. It’s right next to my accountant, so will try to make a late arvo appointment next visit!
    Cheers
    Andrew

    • Andrew April 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      pone = one… *sigh*

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