Dive headfirst into the capital’s cafe culture, starting with these much-loved spots.
There’s a very good chance that Canberra has the greatest number of top-notch cafes of any Australian capital city (Or any world capital, for that matter). It’s a relatively recent phenomenon, really only taking root over the past decade, yet the ACT is now home to the team that has claimed the title at the Australian Barista Championship for the past three years running, and one among them, Sasa Sestic, won the World Barista Championship in Seattle in 2015.
Ona, the roastery Sestic founded in 2008, sources green beans direct from communities in Ethiopia, Colombia, Honduras, Rwanda, El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua and India, roasts and blends the coffee in Canberra and then serves it at its Fyshwick roastery and headquarters, at Ona Manuka, and at The Cupping Room in Civic. Of the three outlets, The Cupping Room is especially notable for its adventurous menu. Accompany your java (or your Nomad hot chocolate or Camelia tea) with fried eggs with pickled onions and Spanish black pudding, say, or chia pudding brightened with pomegranate and berries.
While many of the city’s favourite coffee venues focus mostly on the bean (Harvest in Civic, for instance, or the excellent Lava at Philip and Weston Creek), others work just as hard as the Cupping Room to complement their coffee with interesting eats. Break your fast with a wild take on French toast involving banana curd, honeycomb cream and chocolate custard at Stand by Me in Lyons, with shiitake, field and brown mushrooms sauteed with baby spinach, ricotta cream and pecorino on sourdough toast at Abode Hotel’s excellent No.10 Restaurant + Bar just over the road in Woden. Pair your batch brew or shaken iced latter with corn tortillas, chicken roasted with jalapeno and lime butter at Braddon favourite Barrio Collective, or go Scandi-cool with Danish-style open-faced sandwiches topped with smoked salmon, roast beef or Snowy River smoked trout down the other end of Lonsdale Street at Rye.
In great news for thirsty students, The Coffee Lab has expanded from its Civic base with a new branch on-campus at the ANU; expect some of the best brews in town and the likes of waffles with cauliflower, wild mushrooms and brown butter at both locations. The eye-bendingly hip Mocan and Green Grout might be hard to pronounce (hint: it’s something like “motch-ann”) but its roll crammed with pork shoulder, wombok salad and ginger mayo is very easy to wrap your lips around. Fellow Acton hotspot A. Baker, as the name suggests, has excellent bread, but the kitchen has more than a few other tricks up the sleeve. Take your eggs fried with creamed spinach, labne, gai lan and chilli, baked with tomato kasundi, ’nduja, fennel oil and garlic bread, or slow-cooked with Gooda Creek mushrooms, sambal and kale.
Good morning Australia!