In our Year of Eating Healthy we’re looking at café breakfasts around Canberra. We’re huge fans of a good breakfast, and any café who can do the perfect poached egg—which is not as easy as you might think; offers a gluten free option on the toast, and has the nous to offer an all-day breakfast, gets our vote. Surprisingly the latter are thin on the ground with most places moving to lunch around 11.30am, and in our opinion a good breakfast for $15 or so, is much (much) better value than lunch for upwards of $20, so a big tick from LFW to those who offer all day breakfasts.
Here are LFW’s five fave north-side Canberra breakfast spots.
Ricardo’s Café, Jamison Centre, Macquarie
Yes there really is a Ricardo, and yes, he does run the café. Ricardo’s is famous for its cakes and gateaux, and more recently it’s cronuts, and self-injecting donuts—where you get a donut and choose your own filling which comes in large syringe that you shove into the donut, but great cakes and gimmicks aside; Ricardo’s also does a totally fabulous Eggs Florentine, and an All Day breakfast!
The Eggs Florentine comes under the guise of Eggs Benedict which you order without the salmon or ham—ergo, two divinely poached eggs atop a bed of perfectly wilted spinach with just the right amount of Hollandaise. GF options on the toast are offered. We’re also advised that the smoked salmon breakfast is worth a go.
Ricardo’s expanded its seating arrangements in 2014 by enclosing its outdoor area—great if the weather is not the best, and prevents passers-by meandering through the tables. http://ricardoscafe.com/menu/
Two before Ten, Bandjalong Crescent, Aranda
Two before Ten is a coffee roaster so you’re forgiven if you’ve only been there for coffee. But give it a try for breakfast which you can also have for lunch! Yeah! Breakfast is on at Two before Ten from 7am to 2pm—actually it’s not really breakfast but just part of the regular all day menu. The café is a little off the beaten track at Bandjalong Crescent Aranda (yes, its website still has its Marcus Clarke St address – but its FB page shows Aranda), but that means it’s also quiet and doesn’t have the rush and bustle of the inner city cafés.
We highly recommend the poached eggs (done to perfection), cherry tomatoes, pesto and herbs served on sour dough with GF option available. As an extra you can add smashed avocado, crispy smoked bacon, or house-cured trout. Service is friendly and quick and you’re not pushed out when you’re done—you can sit and sip their great coffee for as long as you like. http://www.twobeforeten.com.au/
The Cupping Room, University Avenue
The Cupping Room is on the corner of University Ave and London Circuit. Its main downside is that it doesn’t take bookings, however, if you’re after a breakfast it’s likely you’ll be arriving before lunchtime anyway so you should be able to get a table. Upside: The Cupping Room serves all day breakfast!
The way it works. Select your eggs first—either poached, scrambled or fried—then choose sides from bacon, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, smoked salmon, or avocado to more-or-less make your own breakfast. GF options on offer. http://www.thecuppingroom.com.au/
Tilley’s Devine Café, Lyneham
Let’s be honest. Tilley’s is the iconic north side café/restaurant and has been operating in Canberra since 1984. The only downside with Tilley’s (well actually there are two) is: 1) you still have to order at the bar—which means that if you decide you want another coffee or tea after you’ve eaten, you have to go back and queue at the bar again to order it, and 2) they cease breakfast service at mid-day.
The menu is quite specific and a number of items are flagged no changes, in other words, no substitutes. However, they do serve Eggs Florentine which includes two perfectly poached eggs, garlic spinach, and a lovely creamy Hollandaise. If you want the ham or salmon order Eggs Benedict instead. They also do a ‘build your own breakfast’ with extras including bacon, ham, salmon, hash browns and various veggies, so you can exactly what you want www.tilleys.com.au
Beess & Co, Yarralumla
Strictly not north side but only just over the lake, Beess & Co has been one of our faves for many years, and despite its (occasional) ups and downs it still serves a great breakfast with an awesome range of eggy products, and its gorgeous outdoor seating under the trees is fabulous on a summer’s day. Downside: no breakfast after 11.30am—so get there early!
The LFW crew usually go for Eggs Made Your Way, where you can choose your favourite egg dish—be it fried, poached or scrambled, and served atop your choice of toast. You can also ‘upgrade’ to a Benedict by adding your choice of bacon/ham/salmon or spinach. Our scrambled egg LFW fan tells us their Italian Scrambled Eggs are brilliant! With tomato, pesto and pecorino, and served with mushrooms, and a balsamic dressing, they make an awesome start to the day! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beess-co/146690108755740?rf=107202202680394