Cool cafes in Canberra

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Thanks to a little research, blog stalking and tweeting I headed off to Canberra for a cold but fun-filled weekend clutching essential information – where to get good coffee (thanks Miss Piggy and Corridor Kitchen!). And I’m so glad I did, as wandering (I mean, driving) around Canberra it’s pretty unlikely a non-native would accidentally come across a decent place for a caffeine fix. But tucked away in some unassuming spots are some amazing places that seem straight out of Surry Hills or Marrickville, or whatever your benchmark best coffee suburbs may be. Case in point:

1) Mocan and Green Grout
Mocan and Green Grout is a gorgeous cafe a short drive from the city centre on the ground floor of a very new looking apartment development, fronted by herb gardens. Inside, it’s all rustic wood and recycled objects, with a warm and homely atmosphere, cool music and cooler staff. The coffee is amazing (strong, smooth, just right) and the atmosphere noisy and communal, in a want-to-stay-all-day kind of way. We had brunch here – a blackboard special of poached egg with smoked salmon, snow pea tendrils and horseradish (delicate and subtly flavoured with high quality ingredients – the salmon was silky soft, the horseradish not too overpowering) and the triple baked eggs with hummous, pickled radish and yoghurt (also subtle, delicious, quality – are you sensing a theme here?!). This was my overall favourite cafe of the trip.

Mocan & Green Grout on Urbanspoon

Mocan garden
2) Two before Ten

Two before Ten has a sleek, industrial warehouse kind of look and reminds me a little of Double Roasters in Marrickville. It’s a serious coffee joint – they roast their own coffee on the premises and use ethically sourced beans. We had breakfast here twice – the first day I had their warming porridge with poached quince and walnuts, which was the perfect antidote to the chilly temp outside, and the next day, the poached eggs with cherry tomatoes, pesto and greens on sourdough, which was delicious, but perhaps not as refined as the equivalent at Mocan and Green Grout. The staff here were super friendly and it’s the kind of place you can imagine being your regular if you worked nearby.

Two Before Ten - Cafe & Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Two before ten
3) Lonsdale Street Roasters

We only stopped by here for takeaways but I loved it – think photography, bikes and buzz. The coffee was beautiful and caramelly and smooth – a Colombian blend. Just go here!

Lonsdale Street Roasters on Urbanspoon

There are so many more places on the to-try list for next time, but for now, I’m blown away by Canberra’s cafe offerings. I’m loving escaping my Sydney bubble now and then and realising that perhaps this is not Australia’s cafe epicentre after all (and I know most Melburnians would beg to differ that we are anyway!).

Which Australian city or town do you think is worth exploring for unexpectedly cool cafe finds? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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3 Responses

  1. Missy Piggy July 30, 2013 / 11:10 am

    I went to Mocan & Green Grout too – I walked from the city which wasn’t too bad…but had to cab it bad due to torrential rains. I enjoyed the cafe, loved the food (thought the staff could smile a bit more) but HATED their uncomfortable seating that was just squished into to ever nook & cranny. Loved that they have a BIG focus on free-range product.

  2. Jasmin BarkerMitchell July 30, 2013 / 8:57 pm

    I love that when you’re eating inside at Mocan it feels a bit like you’re eating in someone’s home kitchen. Such a cool concept!

  3. devoured July 31, 2013 / 5:58 pm

    Mel – I didn’t really notice the seats were uncomfortable (ours was like a little booth tucked around the back) but I know what you mean, it’s definitely cosy!

    Jasmin – yes, the way the kitchen is kind of ‘in’ the cafe and the whole warm, cluttery look and feel make it all seem really homely, loved that about it!

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