Come and Tuck In at Betty Day

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By Mary McConville

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but if you head on down to the Betty Day Community Centre (67 Argyle Street, St Kilda) you can enjoy the next best thing: a cheap and tasty lunch – with three courses for $6 and two courses for $4.50. To qualify, diners need to be a resident of Port Phillip aged over 55, someone who has a disability or their carer. The food is subsidised by the government and supplied by Meals on Wheels with proper controls on hygiene and nutritional balance.

Serving time runs from 11.30am to 1pm in the ‘meals area’ at the back of the centre, with tables that will seat about 4 to 5 diners. Plates and cutlery are serviceable, solid but not pretentious, with serviettes and water glasses alongside. The waiting staff are friendly amateurs, they might have to double-check who’s getting what but they never play the power games of an arrogant head waiter.

The food itself is conventional with occasional forays into the mildly exotic, like risotto or sweet potatoes. The usual three course meal is a thick soup, a meat and vegetable main with gravy (Emile Mercier would have liked that, he had an obsession with gravy), and a dessert with custard – If given prior notice, they also cater to vegetarians. In fact, it would be sensible and courteous to call ahead on 9209 6422 so that the organisers can have a clear idea of the numbers they need to serve. It would also allow diners to negotiate if they have any particular religious, medical or personal preferences on their food.

If you need a drink you’ll find fruit juice, water, tea and coffee available. You won’t be able to drink any hipster coffees though, it’s just an old fashioned cuppa. Alcohol is not allowed.

Hot Lunch at the Betty Day Community Centre
67 Argyle Street, St Kilda
11.30am to 1pm
$6 for 3 courses, $4.50 for 2 courses
Ph: 9209 6422

Note: Emile Mercier was an Australian cartoonist in the 1950s that thought “Gravy is Great” and sometimes drew his characters posed upon sprung stages – The men often had floppy feet that curled over the edge of the stage.

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