Things I ate in Canberra and didn’t tell you about.

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I had a bit of stint of taking myself out to breakfast towards the end of last year, simply because I was trying to make myself feel less blergh and it felt like some small treat I could give to myself. I would often take my laptop and try to do something productive. Editing is slightly less tiresome with coffee and a cooked breakfast, I find.

Anyway, here’s a couple of places I like. And one that I wish would pick up its act.

Eighty Twenty

Eighty Twenty is one of my favourite spots lately. The food is great, it’s usually pretty fast, and if you come early, even on the weekend you can bum around with your laptop for a bit before you start to feel like you are about to unfairly deprive someone else of a table.

There’s lots of good food here. The coffee is good, the smoothies healthfully delish (Nutty Professor and Matcha Immunitea are my favs), and the food tastes ‘clean’ (whatever the hell that even means) but tasty.

Delicious Japanese salad bowl at @eightytwentyfood #braddon #canberra w @cynical_coffee

A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on

Sweet potato rosti at @eightytwentyfood . Only outside of house adventure this weekend! #treatyoself

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Another Braddon hideout, Barrio is a cute little place with bar-stool seating (so it must be good if I deal with their bar stools… much harder on my fatiguey muscles than regular chairs) that does very lovely coffee (though I must protest that for takeaways they are a bit small for my liking, I know it’s for optimum taste etc but I prefer my takeaways to ease me into the day by sipping away at a larger size). I’ve also eaten here a couple of times, and while the tiny kitchen may make you think it is not a food place, it is a food place. A very yummy food place.

Towards the end of last year, they hosted a too-popular ramen night, which was great. The ramen was delicious (Canberra seriously lacks in the good ramen department) and the busy BYO vibe was lots of fun. Many people missed out on a seat though.

Ramen!!! So good. At @barriocc

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The breakfast eats are tasty. I had the brisket and homemade saurkraut with rye one day (hearty, but actually surprisingly suitable for a summertime breakfast) and the brioche toastie with local bacon was very yum. I’m also a sucker for wood and subway tile, and it has both.

Awesome toastie with Pialligo bacon from @barriocc

A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on

Yummy brekkie at @barriocc . Brisket, homemade sauerkraut, rye and an egg.

A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on

The Cupping Room

I’ve had takeaway coffee/afternoon coffee meeting coffee at this place many times, but it has always been so busy for brunch/breakfast that I haven’t had a chance to check out the food. The coffee is obviously great, since the place is owned by a guy who won the title of world’s best barista, but the food also gets raved about so I was keen to check it out. Lo and behold, one of the little known side effects of chronic fatigue syndrome is occasional insomnia (for me, it is an unusual symptom that occurs very rarely, for others it is a frequent symptom). So after a night of tossing and turning, cursing why I couldn’t sleep even though I was exhausted, I went here super early a couple of times because I needed to get out of the house so I didn’t have some kind of breakdown. Both times I had a fabulous breakfast and got adequately and lovingly caffeinated to survive the day. See below.

Long weekend, small indulgences. @thecuppingroom

A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on

Amazing jamon and anchovies breakfast @thecuppingroom . It’s massive!

A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on

Other un-photographed tips

  • For anyone who orders from EatNow, the new Dickson Indian restaurant The Wild Spice is a very delicious option.
  • The veggie dog at Broddogs in the Hamlet at Braddon is very good yes. Cheese, cauliflower, bread. Such a combination.
  • One of my local cafes, Good Brother, still does a mean egg and bacon roll.
  • Miss Van’s at the shipping containers by the lake is very delicious. Their banh mie is great and they often have very delicious non-traditional banh mie as specials. Shame the shipping container village doesn’t seem to be going that well, as the rooftop bar there is also nice on a sunny day and the other food places seem to have yummy things too.
  • The new Vietnamese place in Civic in the Melbourne building (Bistro Nguyen) does very good, affordable pho and other dishes too. The fried sweet potatoes in honey are very delicious.
  • The new Cuban-themed speakeasy, The Highball Express, upstairs in the Melbourne building, is a very nice summer drinks venue.
  • For anyone stuck at ANU, the cafe formerly known as The Ivy that had very poor customer service, very poor coffee and really didn’t do much to utilise its great space in Old Canberra House has now had a very overdue revamp. It is now called The Ivy & the Fox, and is much, much nicer, and they even have picnic rugs to sit on the beautiful grassy space outside.

Canberra’s new Cuban themed bar, the Highball Express.

A photo posted by Ashlee Betteridge (@ashbetteridge) on

Aaaaaand…. a small rant

Lonsdale St Roasters, what is your problem these days? Have you just got too popular for your own good? Standards have drastically dropped, both for coffee and for food. The original LSR (7) is somewhat better than the bigger newer one (the eatery), but every time I have been to the new one the food has been overpriced and bad. The staff are always faffing around with the music and seem disinterested. The coffee is very hit and miss.

On the bad food, I ordered eggs on toast. It was served on something resembling supermarket bread. I ordered mushroom and goats cheese on the side. The mushroom was a grilled portobello that had been seemingly soaked in cheap cooking oil (I wondered whether they had tossed it in a deep fryer), the goats cheese was poor quality and was just this giant splat on the side. And the butter was the cheap-ass little sachets you get with your continental breakfast at some Best Western Hotel in some rural town. I remember a time when you served Pepe Saya butter? On another visit my friend ordered a quinoa salad. It was basically a giant bowl of plain quinoa, no discernable dressing, and a few leaves. It was the kind of thing you would expect at some country cafe that thought they were being gourmet just by cooking quinoa.

They seem to try a bit harder at LSR7, but it is still not what it was. Just before Christmas I ordered vegemite toast to takeaway (was about to leave for a couple of weeks so didn’t want to buy groceries). I got the toast in a bag, with a small container of vegemite. No butter, no knife. And again, hit and miss coffees there too, sometimes with long waits.

There’s competition now guys, and there will be even more in Braddon when those new developments with new retail are completed. You better pick up your game.

OK, end of rant.


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