There’s no need to rise at the crack of dawn to secure a delicious beginning to your weekend. Just mosey along to one of Canberra’s top brunch spots any old time the sun is shining. By Diana Streak and Kate Phillips.
The Cupping Room
Avocado is not the only thing being smashed at The Cupping Room; Canberra’s hottest brunch spot churns out barista champions and the city’s only single-venue cookbook. This coffee heaven doesn’t take bookings so just rock up and join the throng as they tuck into salmon tartare with confit egg yolk, avocado purée, wasabi Kewpie and black-rice cracker or French toast with dollops of sour cream, fruit, honeycomb, crème anglaise and lemon balm. A street-art-style mural forms the backdrop to the kitchen, where bespoke coffee blends, such as Black Betty and Raspberry Candy, fly out in fragrant, steaming cups. Prefer something cool? Inject liquid panela sugar with a syringe (sans needle) into an iced coffee for your daily fix.
1/1-13 University Avenue, Canberra; (02) 6257 6412
Canberra’s bibliophiles make a beeline for Muse, where they can pore over the latest political thriller in the bookshop then indulge in housemade Jammy Bastards marmalade with sourdough toast. For a dish that’s as sophisticated as the book selection, try the much-hyped buckwheat waffle with berries and Greek yoghurt. Sip on a Buck’s Fizz (orange juice and prosecco) and sink into a baked soufflé made with Ashgrove cloth-wrapped aged cheddar and double-smoked ham. Or linger over a coconut-chia pudding with seasonal fruit dusted with bee pollen. Recovering from a big night out? Dark glasses, a Bloody Mary and a serious full English breakfast (black pudding, pork sausage and housemade baked beans) should do the trick. Or grab a Koko Deluxe hot chocolate before heading home for a nap.
East Hotel, corner Canberra Avenue and Giles Street, Kingston; (02) 6178 0024
A recent addition to the ever-expanding dining scene in Braddon, Rye’s Scandinavian-inspired fit-out alone is worth a visit. The warm, light-filled space, with timber surfaces and neutral tones throughout, inspires long, slow brunching. Order accordingly. The toasted orange-and-raisin sourdough with ricotta, fresh figs and honey is a great place to start before moving on to something more substantial such as the blue swimmer crab omelette with greens and chilli jam.
9 Lonsdale Street, Braddon; (02) 6156 9694
Maple + Clove
Maple + Clove indulges those with a healthy conscience: the menu is made up of dishes free from artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and sweeteners. And the brunch dishes are as tasty as they are organic and nutritious. Enjoy a free-range egg-white omelette with green asparagus, zucchini, baby spinach and Snowy Mountain smoked trout, served with a pear and apple salad and seeded rye bread. Or, for the sinners, there’s a wholemeal spelt and cinnamon waffle with caramelised banana, vanilla gelato and maple syrup.
7 Burbury Close, Barton; (02) 6162 0777
Be warned: you may encounter a room full of people Instagramming their meals at Penny University – they look that good. The open kitchen turns out pretty plates of banoffee-croissant French toast with crushed peanuts, caramel popcorn and shaved chocolate; black-sesame crêpes with vanilla mascarpone, mango cheek and pistachio praline crumb; and healthy açaí or coconut smoothie bowls. In need of a caffeine hit with your brunch? Penny University will sort you out with their very own coffee blend.
15 Kennedy Street, Kingston; (02) 61612 1500
A bustling Manuka institution, Urban Pantry is the perfect brunch spot to visit with a group. Floorboards and wooden furnishings throughout the café create a sophisticated yet relaxed vibe. The menu is updated seasonally with a focus on fresh, local produce – think pea and broad bean fritters or mushroom bruschetta. The drinks menu offers an array of teas, coffee, pressed juices, housemade sodas, milkshakes, smoothies and frappés.
5 Bougainville Street, Griffith; (02) 6162 3556
Teddy Picker’s has become a local favourite since opening in 2016. The airy café with high ceilings has a laid-back, easygoing vibe. The menu has classics – eggs benedict and smashed avocado on toast – but we recommend Teddy’s French Toast with fresh and preserved figs, treacle ice-cream and a milk crumble.
65 Constitution Avenue, Campbell
Image credit: EdibleCities CBR
Be prepared to wait for a table at Ona Manuka (previously Ona on the Lawns). The good news? It’s worth it. This recently refurbished café focuses on bringing people together with its open-plan design and relaxed atmosphere. Sample such brunch specialties as the roasted field mushrooms with puffed ancient grains, eggplant kasundi, salsa verde and smoked goat’s curd on sourdough or go for a classic Ona Roll: double egg, double bacon and guacamole on a brioche roll with Ona’s special “sauce roja”. Add fries if deemed necessary.
4 Palmerston Lane, Griffith
Mocan & Green Grout
An oldie but a goodie, Mocan & Green Grout remains a go-to in Canberra. The intimate eatery, filled with an eclectic mix of vintage furnishings, has a refined menu of Middle Eastern-inspired brunch dishes – think smoked trout with israeli couscous, pomegranate, poached eggs and dukkah; or baked eggs, charred eggplant, harissa and Meredith chèvre. The café also serves notable organic fair-trade drip coffee.
1/19 Marcus Clarke Street, New Acton; (02) 6162 2909
Main image: The Cupping Room
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