food

Canberra Cafe: Urban Pantry, Manuka

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It’s Steven’s birthday today and we are of course heading out for birthday brunch to celebrate. But I thought it appropriate, on this day of celebration brunch, that we share our latest Canberra cafe feature – Urban Pantry in Manuka.

It was a few weeks back that Steve and I spent a Sunday afternoon sussing out the newly revamped mainstay of the Manuka cafe scene. Urban Pantry has been kicking around Manuka for a while now, but it had been a long time since either of us had visited and we were keen to check out their new digs.

Their fresh new look is just that – fresh. They’ve gone for a Hamptons inspired interior, it’s laid-back, very white and a space that you want to spend time in. My favourite addition is the new deck outside, where Steve and I were seated after a short wait. It seems we weren’t the only ones who wanted to see what had changed that day.

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The menu has had a makeover too and we were faced with a tough choice. In the end, we both went for all-day breakfast and chose the two most indulgent items we could find. I had the madeleine ricotta pancakes ($16) with green apple, fresh berries and vanilla bean yoghurt, which came out light, fluffy and just the right amount of sweet. Steven ordered the brioche French toast ($16) with maple bacon, cinnamon mascarpone and toasted pecans, and by all reports enjoyed every last bite.

But the real hero of the whole revamp, in my opinion, is their new drinks list. With a big range of juices, smoothies, chilled organic teas and house made sodas on offer, they have something refreshing for everyone this summer. Their spiced chai house made soda is my pick of the bunch – an interesting flavour for a cold soda, but if you’re into your chai tea, then you’ll be into this.

Urban Pantry is located at 5 Bougainville Street in Manuka, they are open every day of the week and do all-day breakfast on weekends. You can also find them on facebook and instagram.

Oh, and happy birthday Steve! Love you little bro.

– Bec x

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A Morning in Newcastle

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We all love a good roadtrip. There’s something almost nostalgic about jumping in the car, windows down, your favourite tunes pumping, and driving with no real destination in mind.

Let’s be real though – 6 hour long car trips are never that glamorous, but they can still be fun. Matt and I recently spent a week on the road, up the east coast to Byron Bay and back again. We had no set plan, just the desire to make it to Byron if we could.

Our first stop was Newcastle, so we gave our friends Pratham and Avril exactly one night’s notice that we were coming. Lucky they’re awesome.

Every time I visit Newcastle, I like it more and more. After our first visit earlier this year, I wrote a little weekend guide and it still holds true. This time we only had one morning, but we still managed to walk everywhere, eat brunch, drink coffee and even grab a couple of cakes for the road on our way out of town.

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If you only have one morning in Newcastle, here is what I suggest. If the sun is shining, start your day at the Newcastle Memorial Walk. The walkway follows the cliff edge and has great views overlooking the coastline. It only opened earlier this year and is a good little walk to get you hungry before breakfast.

There are plenty of good cafes in Newcastle, so brunch is a must. This time we tried Three Monkeys Cafe on Darby Street and it didn’t disappoint. I can recommend the quinoa porridge, but don’t be fooled by the quinoa. It’s vanilla infused and served with caramelised banana, strawberries and mascarpone – there isn’t anything healthy about this porridge.

Finally, before you leave town, head to Hello Naomi on King Street and grab some cakes for the road. We missed out last time we were in Newcastle and I was disappointed for good reason. This time, we made a special pitstop and had no regrets when the afternoon sugar cravings set in.

– Bec x

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Canberra Cafe: Milk Crate, Civic

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If you’re like me and you follow closely whenever a new cafe opens up in town, you might have noticed that a new little spot called Milk Crate opened up just a few weeks ago. These last few weeks my instagram feed has been filled with photos of delicious looking pastries and cute blue coffee cups.

Last week, I finally got to see if it’s as good as the instagram hype. Steven and I ordered a couple of coffees to start and settled in for a mid-morning breakfast bonanza.

First impressions are everything and this place hits the mark in every way. With their on trend industrial interior, exposed brick counter and milk crates scattered out the front, this small cafe oozes cool vibes. As the weather warms up, I can see their outdoor space heating up too.

For breakfast, I ordered the avocado, tomato and smashed Persian feta ($8.50) and was pretty surprised when it came out as a toastie. This different take on the very trendy avo smash that seems to be everywhere at the moment was really good.

Steven was even more impressed with his breakfast. He got the Istanbul roll ($9.50) with sucuk, poached eggs, grilled haloumi and homemade tomato relish. The sucuk is a delicious chorizo-like beef creation that Steve believes everyone should get around – your taste buds will thank you.

We were also keen to try their homemade bagels with cream cheese ($6.50), so we ordered one to share on the side and it did not disappoint. It was deliciously garlic and was smothered in just the right amount of cream cheese.

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To finish, we had another round of coffee and just couldn’t go past one of their homemade nutella muffins that were still warm from the oven. Need I say more?

As we sat and enjoyed our breakfast, we couldn’t help but notice the constant stream of people coming in for their morning coffee. Being in the city, this is a place for everyone – young, old, hip or not. If you’re into good coffee, chilled vibes and delicious food, then Milk Crate will suit you just fine.

Find this cute little cafe at Shop 6, 12 Moore Street in Civic. It’s open 6.30am to 4.00pm. They’re also on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

Note: This article was originally published on the RiotACT as part of their Weekend Cafe Hot Spot series (see here).

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Canberra Cafe: Silo Bakery & Cafe, Kingston

Often hailed as the best bakery in town, Silo Bakery and Cafe is a bit of an institution when it comes to pastries, artisan breads and a more than decent breakfast or lunch in Canberra.

Located on Giles Street in Kingston, the small shopfront is instantly recognisable with it’s orange chequered tiles and few tables scattered out the front. Being small and popular means that it can be hard to snag a table any day of the week, let alone Saturday mornings. They also don’t take bookings for breakfast, so when Matt and I rocked up for a sneaky breakfast, we were lucky to be seated straight away.

We ordered coffee and juices to start and then spent a bit of time gawking at all their beautiful pastries laid out on their marble counter. The good news is they taste as good as they look and can all be made to order. The only bad news is that once you try one, you’ll be going back for more.

Silo keeps things interesting with a killer breakfast menu, filled with dishes that show off their baked goods and words you’ve never heard of before. Maybe it’s just me, but ingredients like “rumtopf”, “piperade” and “kishik” just aren’t in my everyday food vocabulary.

Not one to shy away from something new and exciting, I ordered the grilled brioche with fried milk, rumtopf and creme fraiche ($15). For those not in the know, rumtopf is a delicious German and Danish dessert involving rum-soaked fruits, and fried milk, well that’s just my new favourite thing. I did my research (thanks wikipedia) and from what I can gather, it’s a Spanish milk pudding with a crunchy fried shell of flour and egg. What I know for sure is that it’s rich, creamy and oh so delicious.

Matt enjoyed his meal too, ordering the somewhat-more-conventional eggs florentine ($17). With a commitment to using only the best ingredients, it doesn’t really matter what you order at Silo, you just can’t go wrong.

On my way out the door, I had a quick peep at their lunch menu and am already planning my next visit. Luckily, they take bookings for lunch. Just don’t try to go on a Sunday or Monday – they are only open from Tuesday to Saturday, 7am to 4pm.

You can find Silo Bakery and Cafe at 36 Giles Street, Kingston. They are also on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

Note: This article was originally published on the RiotACT as part of their Weekend Cafe Hot Spot series (see here).

Canberra Cafe: Sweet Bones, Braddon

Sweet Bones has been kicking around the trendy Braddon precinct for a little while now. Originally located in the old Lonsdale Street Traders (now a fully fledged construction site), this little organic vegan cafe and bakery can now be found just down the road on the corner of Lonsdale and Elouera Street.

As a vegetarian, it’s probably not surprising that I’m a big fan – having free reign of an entire menu is not a luxury I normally get – but Sweet Bones isn’t just for those with plant-based diets. It is a seriously good little cafe, vegan or not. And for any skeptical carnivores out there, you don’t even have to take my word for it – Matt and Steven, both meat-eating young men, have only good things to say after our visit a few weeks back.

It seems that many in Canberra agree. It was Sunday afternoon and we were out for a leisurely lunch in Braddon. Sweet Bones was absolutely pumping, but after a short wait, we managed to hawk a table inside and settle in with some drinks and baked goods to start.

While Sweet Bones do a pretty mean coffee (and they don’t charge extra for soy!), it’s their smoothie menu that really keeps things interesting in the drinks department. Matt ordered “The Elvis”, a peanut butter, chocolate and banana smoothie, which had both Steve and I envious from our respective sides of the table.

The chocolate chip cookies and delicious brownie more than made up for it though. I’m not even kidding, the cookies are that good that we went back for seconds before our lunch had even arrived.

Speaking of lunch, the menu at Sweet Bones is almost entirely Mexican-inspired. In fact, the whole place has a Mexican feel to it, with sugar skulls for table numbers, cute cacti in pots on all of the tables and the whole rock ‘n’ roll desert vibe going on. I love it and their food is seriously delicious.

I got the “Big Breakfast” ($18) with hummus, tomato, avocado, coconut bacon, sourdough toast and the best tofu scramble going around. Matt was also a pretty happy camper with his “Nacho Mountain” ($16) made with homemade refried white beans over corn chips and all the other vegan nacho goodies.

Steven got amongst it too. Not usually one for fake bacon or cheese, I think he was surprised by how much he enjoyed his “Bacon Cheeze Burger” ($15) with a marinated tofu patty, smoked coconut bacon and cheddar-like “cheeze”.

We all left with smiles on our faces, full bellies and happy feels right down to our bones. Sweet Bones is a great little cafe for vegans and non-vegans alike. Open every day of the week, you can find them at 8/18 Lonsdale Street in Braddon (entry on Elouera Street), or on facebook and instagram.

– Bec x

Note: This article was originally published on the RiotACT as part of their Weekend Cafe Hot Spot series (see here).

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