It is easy to locate in Braddon. If you are driving along Northbourne Avenue, the main thoroughfare in
and out of Canberra, turn into either Elouera or Cooyong Streets and head for Lonsdale Street. The section that also boasts the Elk and the Pea also hosts an unassuming, Melbourne styled cafe that drew in the crowds as early as 8am on a holiday Easter Monday. The relatively nippy air may have enhanced the flavour and aroma of the brew but I reckon it is the easy and informal atmosphere created here as well that proves irresistible. The bricks remain neglected and the seats are quickly occupied but nobody is bothered about such things, as all are intent to sip and enjoy not just coffee, but to soak in the experience.
Cyclists, early morning risers, women's groups, couples, twenty somethings - they all gathered and waited patiently in front of the sole window counter. The menu is simple enough with not too many choices but it is the coffee packs that stand out calling us to take them home! Staff stand whilst they work, whether the baristas or those handling the food. I could sense this is an institution. The other icon of Canberra coffee I could think of at 11 degrees Celsius this morning was the Ona from Manuka.
The coffee provides different sensations from Campos in Sydney, Ka-Fe in Wollongong or those found along Lygon Street in Carlton, Melbourne. My cup is served after I hear my name called out and a smiling and cheerful young lady brings it over. There is no internal seating, everyone is placed all over the wide pavement area. What happens when it rains? I chose the panini with leg ham, mozzarella cheese and mustard (photo below), which was sufficiently light to provide a contrast with the thick, creamy and pleasantly presented cuppa in front of me.
The choc topping over my cappuccino takes my breath away - and then I await for more. I forget about the cares of the world and realise that this is one moment I work for. I am not going to be distracted about this brew creation. My first impressions are that this is a heavy blend and yet so tasty on the palate. There is little bitterness and more full gulps of a nutty undertone. Just what I prefer! A good looking woman in the queue has a toy dog and boyfriend accompanying her. The customers are all dressed up against the morning cold but the cafe staff seem to be geared for perpetual summer.