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FOOD & DRINK

Seven Canberra Cafes Worth Planning a Whole Weekend Around

Fuel up for a busy day of sightseeing at one of these top-notch spots.
By Jasmine Crittenden
November 19, 2019
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Seven Canberra Cafes Worth Planning a Whole Weekend Around

Fuel up for a busy day of sightseeing at one of these top-notch spots.
By Jasmine Crittenden
November 19, 2019
  shares

SEVEN CANBERRA CAFES WORTH PLANNING A WHOLE WEEKEND AROUND

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Fuel up for a busy day of sightseeing at one of these top-notch spots.

There are stacks of reasons to spend a weekend in Canberra, from the magic of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands to the city's scenic cycle ways  and friendly cellar doors. Here's yet another: all the excellent cafes. Over the past decade or so, baristas, chefs and designers have been teaming up to create beautiful venues, where you can sip a cracking single origin and feast on creative dishes. So we've scoped out seven that are worth planning a whole weekend around. Whether you're staying in the buzzy inner south or heading for relaxed Farrer on the outskirts, there's a good brew near you.

Regional holidays to the ACT are now permitted for some states — check the rules for your own state or territory here. Also, some of the places mentioned below may still be closed or operating differently due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please check websites before making any plans.

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    There’s a cornucopia of cafes, restaurants and bars that could inspire a weekender in Braddon, an inner northern neighbourhood just a few minutes walk from Canberra central. Let your adventures begin at Kyo Coffee Project. At just over a year old — it opened in September 2018 — Kyo has already sparked a loyal following for its red-and-black design and Japanese-inspired menu, featuring udon noodles, green bowls and more. Keep an eye out for specials, like udon noodles with burnt miso butter, mushrooms, zucchini, nori and yolk.

    Image: Nathan Harradine-Hale.

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    In the tranquil, leafy neighbourhood of Deakin, in Canberra’s southwest, Doubleshot is a local favourite. There’s loads of room so on a cool day, stay cosy inside; if the sun’s out, soak up some rays outdoors. Either way, you’ll be welcomed by the ‘I wake up wanting to kiss you’ neon sign on the wall and tempted by the peanut butter smoothie — a moreish blend of peanut butter, dates, banana and almond milk that’ll keep you going all day.

    Also worth a road trip in and of itself is the strawberries and cream hotcake, loaded with vanilla, macadamia, white chocolate gelato, rose white chocolate, vanilla cream and fresh strawberries.

    Image: VisitCanberra.

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  • 5

    Since opening in 2008, Ona has expanded from one cafe to three — with a fourth in Sydney and another set to open in Melbourne in 2020. You’ll find Highroad, one of its most interesting spots, in the laidback neighbourhood of Dickson, in the inner north. Take a seat in the light, airy space — preferably near the floor-to-ceiling windows — and choose your specialty brew.

    There are several signature roasts on the list, plus a special reserve list of vintage roasted beans that have been vacuum sealed and frozen to slow down ageing. Your cup will be served alongside a flavour profile card so you can get to know your blend. Or, if you’re feeling particularly festive, the venue also has a range of local beers and wines available. Feeling peckish? Try the manchego and chive waffle with a fried egg, herb ricotta, asparagus, capsicum and jalapeno peperonata.

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  • 4

    Also in Braddon is Barrio Collective Coffee. This pint-sized, timber-laden, pendant-lit cafe gets a little bit nerdy over its specialty brews, which change out regularly, and its dairy-free nut milk, which are made in-house using a combination of macadamia, cashew and almonds with some raisins for added sweetness. For food, expect a sweet selection of pastries and a number of variations of ‘stuff’ on toast — think avocado and togorashi seasoning, marrow butter and fried egg or anchovies. Plus, it sometimes doubles as a bar. Managers Jack Muirhead and Angus Rodden burn the candle at both ends, opening at 6am with sunrise coffees, and then keeping the doors open late on the odd occasion. There are just 20 seats, so you can count on making friends at any time of the day.

    Image: VisitCanberra.

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    Arranda, on Canberra’s southwestern outskirts, is a pretty neighbourhood next to Black Mountain Nature Reserve. Begin or end your cafe adventure with a stroll among woodlands, listening out for bird song and catching panoramic views of the city. Two Before Ten, which opened in 2014, is an easygoing spot with its own veggie garden that’s devoted to community-minded living. Kick off your day with vegan loaded toast, piled with kale, purple potatoes, lemon and radish, followed by a coffee made with ethically sourced beans.

    Image: Nathan Harradine-Hale.

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  • 2

    Another cafe that’s not far from the shores of Lake Burley Griffin is Intra Specialty Coffee in Campbell. This spot is all about keeping things simple but high in quality. Take a seat in the minimalist, Scandi-inspired space and choose from just four coffee options: black, white, batch and pourover. The food menu is similarly tightly curated with highlights being the pizza jaffle and, for vegans, the tofu bagel with yuzu jerk sauce and pickled zucchini. Come evening, take your pick from a tiny selection of wines, which change from one night to the next.

    Image: Nathan Harradine-Hale.

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  • 1

    This inviting cafe is on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin in Kingston. For the folks here, words like ‘health’ and ‘wellbeing’ aren’t just buzzwords, they’re an ethos. Start your day right with wholemeal hulled millet, topped with cashew cream, spiced poached seasonal fruits, berries, coconut and cinnamon crumble. Or swing by at lunch for a warm confit duck salad with kale pesto, chickpeas, green beans, smoked tomato dressing and pangritata (breadcrumbs). Wash it all down with a fresh cold-pressed juice, which is where the cafe gets its name from.

    Local Press also has a bulk wholefoods store barely 50 metres away, where you can fill up your pantry with products that have been sourced ethically and with the environment in mind.

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To discover more top-notch spots to eat and drink in Canberra, head to VisitCanberra and start planning your next city break.

Top Image: Nathan Harradine-Hale.

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