It's truffle season in Canberra bitches. Be jealous.

A quick round-up of some Canberra breakfasts

Lately, I’ve been making a regular effort to catch up with a friend/s for breakfast during the week. So I’ve been sampling some of the (ever-expanding) list of options out and about in Canberra.

Here’s some quick reviews of some of the hip places around to get breakfast (and a coffee) in Canberra at the moment.

1. Loading Zone

Tucked away in Odgers Lane, this is hopefully the start of a new laneway cafe revolution in Canberra, a la Melbourne. We’ll see. We went in the depths of winter, and even though most of the tables are outside, thanks to heaters and plastic windshield things it wasn’t too cold.

The food changes daily, I’m told. I had baked eggs and my friend had museli. Both of our breakfasts were fantastic. The Italian-styled baked eggs were rich and tasty and the museli was very hearty and as far away as you could get from any out-of-the-packet supermarket version. Definitely worth rolling out of bed early for.

The coffee was a bit bitter — maybe the machine wasn’t warmed up enough for the day? We were some of the first people through the door for the morning.

Apparently they do great lunches too, though they have a set menu (they post details each day on their Facebook page). They are only open on weekdays at the moment, but I reckon in the warmer months at least they could stir up a nice weekend breakfast/brunch trade if they were keen to.

Coffee score: 5/10

Food score: 9/10

Loading Zone on Urbanspoon

2. Mocan and Green Grout

I love this place. The decor is super hip and fun and eclectic, they are always playing great indie music and it always has a good buzzing atmosphere about it. For breakfast I would say come early and perhaps be prepared to wait for a table. The first time I came I wasn’t particularly enamored with the service, but I think that seems to have improved (or perhaps I just came on a bad day the first time). I’ve been for lunch before (can recommend the food highly) but let’s just talk about breakfast. I had the bacon and egg roll (because I could smell bacon cooking when I walked in to the place and then couldn’t resist). It was very, very good, with a homemade relish sauce. So far away from any truckstop greasy mess of a bacon and egg roll that might spring to mind when you think of more traditional renditions of this dish! My friend had the haloumi and poached eggs dish and it also passed the deliciousness test.

Coffee score: 8.5/10

Food score: 8.5/10

Mocan & Green Grout on Urbanspoon

3. Ona Fyshwick (feature photo is of Googy Eggs at Ona Fyshwick)

Fyshwick proper is a bit of a hellhole, where furniture stores, motor mechanics and sex shops hang out with each other in an architectural wasteland. But I had to get a tyre replaced so my car would pass rego, so to Fyshwick I went. Surprisingly, there are a few good cafes buried in among the ugly out there (even mechanics and the people purveying interest free loans at Harvey Norman have to eat). Ona Coffee House is a great one, a sister or brother to the wildly popular Ona outlet in Manuka with lighter crowds. The coffee is top notch and since it was the tail end of truffle season, I chose the ‘googy eggs’ dish – two hard boiled eggs with truffle butter and absolutely fantastic toast (do they bake their own bread? I should have asked about that). It was fantastic, and not too expensive either (all up, only $13.50 for coffee and brekky).

Coffee score: 9/10

Food score: 8.5/10

Ona Coffee House on Urbanspoon

4. Bean & Grain

I went here with some hungover girls (including myself) once again in the depths of winter. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the place, we had to sit outside in gale force winds. But the reasons for the popularity of the place, namely good food and good coffee, held up to the battering weather. They also have an amazing array of sweet treats inside, which are just lovely. I seem to remember the breakfast being quite heavy and rich though (I had some kind of sausage benedict), but it was probably a little unfair to review after drinking so much wine the night before.

Coffee score: 8/10

Food score: 7.5/10

Bean and Grain on Urbanspoon

5. Two before ten

A cute little place, just around the corner from Harvest with a very impressive door. Great coffee, the breakfast toasties we had were good and tasty, but not quite as impressive as some of the other breakfasts tried (though I believe they switch up their menu regularly). Fast service, not too expensive. All in all, a good one.

Coffee score: 8/10

Food score: 7.5/10

Two Before Ten - Cafe & Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

6. Lonsdale St Roasters (the new shop)

Lonsdale St Roasters expanded their empire to a second location in the year or so I was away from Canberra. The coffee is still good, the venue is still hip, the vegemite toast on sourdough is still a reliable quick breakfast while you are waiting on that car rego check. A reliable favourite.

Coffee score: 8/10

Food score: 7.5/10 (I did only order vegemite toast though)

Lonsdale Street Roasters on Urbanspoon

7. Maple + Clove

A rare Southside adventure took me to Maple + Clove, behind Realm in Barton. Nice set up, decent coffee. But the food was pretty expensive and my breakfast (the sweet corn fritter) didn’t rock my world. For $17.50, it was too dry, as it was largely made from quinoa — a poached egg on top or some relish or something would have made it much better I think. It was pretty bland. The service was also a bit slow — they needed more people working or a more streamlined system or something. It was busy, not packed, but they struggled. My friend had the spelt pancakes — they looked good, but she didn’t say they tasted amazing.

So the overall verdict was OK, a bit pricey given the quality. Not amazing.

Coffee score: 7.5/10

Food score: 6/10

Maple & Clove on Urbanspoon

8. Tilley’s

Great location, old world charm — pretty crap food and coffee. I love this place because of its hustle bustle ambiance, but the food is greasy and charmless and the coffee is meh. Plus having to go up to place your order means it can be fairly chaotic (especially on a weekend). I much prefer drinks at Tilley’s to breakfasts. Also, it really is getting pretty shabby indoors, to the point where it feels a bit unclean. A bit of a decor freshen up, while keeping the quirky charm, wouldn’t go astray. Even Canberra institutions like Tilley’s shouldn’t rest on their laurels. Though in a way the menu is almost so daggy it is hip? Almost?

Coffee score: 4/10

Food score: 5/10

Tilley's on Urbanspoon