This corner of Canberra has swapped car yards for cafés and resurfaced as a hub for seriously savvy diners.
You may have to jostle for a spot at Barrio Collective but the fact this café is short on seating confirms its locavore ethos is winning crowds over. Most of the produce is sourced from farms on Canberra’s outskirts and choices include homemade pickles on veg-heavy toasties or alongside creamy smoked trout.
Anchored by the open kitchen, Eightysix is lively and welcoming – take a seat at the counter and watch the spectacle. The menu of hearty fare such as hoisin duck bun or pumpkin and mascarpone tortellini, slick with burnt butter and sage, sees only slight seasonal tweaks.
The gin list at Tipsy Bull spans four pages and more than 80 varieties so no prizes for guessing what tipple makes this eatery feel so merry. The tapas-style menu is full of shareable bites; recent winners include croquettes that yield their crunch to gooey gruyère and fleshy red snapper blanketed in a coconut-lime crumb.
Bentspoke Brewing Co.
Canberra’s craft beer scene has a few notable champions and one is Mort Street’s BentSpoke Brewing Co.. Award-winning brewer Richard Watkins is at the helm, with all 18 varieties of beer and cider made on site. Can’t decide? Grab a sample paddle of four taster beers.
Hidden at the back of a popular trattoria, chic Bacaro wine bar has an impressive list of Italian and local wines. But there are other reasons to stay, namely a range of housemade salumi and regional Italian cheeses that lead you to country-style dishes such as oxtail ragù with semolina gnocchi.
Wandering Lonsdale Street is the best way to get to know Braddon. Start at Haig Park, the street’s northern tip, where pop-up bars and festivals get their start. The Mandalay Bus, which serves Burmese-inspired fare in a car park on the corner of Girrahween Street, springs to life from Wednesday to Saturday evenings. Head south on Lonsdale and you’ll find the futuristic Ori retail precinct, bespoke suits at Braddon Tailors, women’s fashion at Pink Ink and quirky kids’ gear at Tip You’re It.
Accommodation-wise, Braddon is a work in progress so drive less than 10 minutes south to Ovolo Nishi – formerly Hotel Hotel – which looks more like an art gallery than a place to stay. The hotel’s entrance, a riot of reclaimed timber slats that sweep overhead, is your first clue that artists had a hand in the space. The efforts of more than 50 creatives are in the nooks and crannies, including the Mid-century Modern furniture dotted around guestrooms. The hatted Monster Kitchen and Bar is also on site.
But first, caffeine…
Rye’s menu and décor have a dash of Danish; the coffee makes it a local favourite.
Top image: Tipsy Bull