For such a small city, Canberrans certainly drink their fair share of coffee. And no matter the day of the week, nothing seems to excite us more than an all-day breakfast so you’d by hard-pressed finding somewhere turning away brunch-hunters before late afternoon. From the lively city spots to the more hidden suburban gems, here are some of our favourites.
BARRIO COFFEE COLLECTIVE
Barrio Coffee Collective is proof you should never judge a cafe by its size. The tiny coffee bar and roaster oozes effortless cool, and hums with a constant stream of Braddonites looking for their coffee fix. The equally tiny kitchen means the menu is short but filled with tasty options focused on local produce. Also hands down one of the best spots for dog watching in town.
59/30 Lonsdale St, Braddon. barriocollective.com.
Another city cafe where the coffee itself is reason enough to visit. Dodge through the lengthy lines of public servants waiting for their morning cuppa and grab a snug spot on the banquette. Dig into the quirky, seasonal menu which darts from pumpkin waffles to a pulled beef brisket burger, with a huge selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes and drinks.
26 Narellan Place, Canberra. facebook.com/coffeelabcanberra.
THE CUPPING ROOM
No, this isn’t a dodgy massage parlour. The hip, light-filled corner cafe by the ONA Coffee team boasts a dedicated coffee menu which changes almost daily, with multiple blends, single origins, filter coffees and batch brew, all roasted at Fyshwick. The all-day menu will take you from the trusty egg and bacon roll to a pork belly benedict with kimchi hollandaise, or the cured salmon with avocado cream and ginger gel (the cafe even has its own cookbook). Even the Fab Five from Netflix’s Queer Eye couldn’t resist a meal here when they visited town on their way to Yass. Be prepared to wait for a table on weekends - grab a takeaway from the side coffee window to tide you over.
1/1-13 University Ave, Canberra. thecuppingroom.com.au.
GREENHOUSE COFFEE AND CO
Who would’ve thought you could find such a cafe gem smack bang in the middle of a shopping centre? Sitting on the top floor of Canberra Centre, Greenhouse Coffee Co couldn’t be anything further from a mall food court, with a top-notch, all-day brunch menu that changes seasonally. The venture of two Canberra coffee stalwarts - Sasa Sestic from Ona Coffee and Michael Rose from Espresso Room - it unsurprisingly excels in coffee, with multiple blends, filter coffees and cold brew all on offer from ONA Coffee. Nab a spot on the balcony in the warmer months.
Canberra Centre, Bunda Street, Canberra. facebook.com/GreenHouseCoffeeandFood.
Even when it’s jam-packed, which it often is, there’s something so very relaxing about this Scandi-inspired Braddon cafe. Food ranges from their version of the classic smashed avo and eggs, loaded with broad beans, peas, feta and dukkah, to Smørrebrød Danish open sandwiches, and they serve a mean mimosa or bloody mary. Sit outside for one of the best people-watching spots along Lonsdale Street.
9 Lonsdale St, Braddon. ryecafe.com.au.
If your brunch appetite is on the larger side, Chatterbox delivers. The relaxed Belconnen cafe offers all of the breakfast regulars with extra-generous serving sizes. You’ll always get friendly service and there’s plenty of space for leisurely weekend grazing.
40 Cameron Ave, Belconnen. chatterbox-catering.com.au.
FRANKIE’S AT FORDE
They were the first Canberra cafe to ban takeaway cups, and this Gungahlin local has the experience to match their social conscience. In the morning, the menu spans from white chocolate hotcakes to a vegetable stack piled high with haloumi, and there are plenty of options for the kids. The coffee menu shares space with a full breakfast cocktail list - we say cheers to that.
1/26 Francis Forde Blvd, Forde. frankiesatforde.com.au.
Being right in the middle of heavy construction hasn’t cramped their style at Teddy Picker’s. The funky Campbell spot pours great coffee alongside a fun menu - they serve their eggs benedict with glazed Christmas ham all year round - and they’re happy to make changes for all the dietary requirements. They also cater well for children, be they of the fur or human variety.
53/65 Constitution Ave, Campbell. teddypickers.com.au.
A recent refurb has turned a former cosy bar, gallery and live music haunt into a bright and modern brunch spot. New owners Blake Proberts (partner in Two Before Ten), Max Owens (former manager at Cupping Room), and Nicky Kim (previous sous chef at Highroad) have reinvented the space, with a firm focus now on food and coffee. One to keep an eye on as they expand with a dinner and wine menu soon.
1 Wattle Pl, Lyneham. frontgallerycafe.com.
If your first thought of the day is the moment a coffee will grace your lips, the ‘I wake up wanting to kiss you’ mural at Double Shot will speak straight to your soul. From its inventive menu to its homely atmosphere, this southside cafe mecca keeps the crowds coming back. Their famous peanut butter smoothie is hard to resist, and you can also hoe into acai bowls, shakshouka, burgers, and hearty salads. Grab a table outside on the weekend for some live music alongside a decent hit of vitamin D.
18 Duff Pl, Deakin. doubleshotdeakin.com.au.
ONA Coffee is well-known around the capital, but it’s a lesser known fact that it all began at ONA Manuka. It was only when the company’s founder Sasa Sestic first bought a previous cafe at the site that he realised his passion for coffee, and started roasting. A refurb last year has opened up the space and given it a big injection of greenery. Their jalapeño, emmental and potato fritters are always a good way to start the day.
4/4 Palmerston Ln, Griffith. onacoffee.com.au/location/ona-manuka.
If you have unicorn waffles and don't Instagram them, did you ever even really have them? Certainly one of the southside’s most colourful venues, Space Kitchen is the place to go if you have a sweet tooth from the blueberry waffles with lavender custard, fairy floss and rainbow ice cream, to the boozy salted caramel milkshake, and the glass cabinet filled with the gleaming, colourful cakes. Don’t worry if you’re more a fan of the savoury - they have plenty to keep you happy too.
3g/12 Furzer St, Phillip. space-kitchen.com.au.
Also try: Maple and Clove (7 Burbury Cl, Barton, mapleandclove.com.au), 38 Espresso (4/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston, facebook.com/38espresso), Fox and Bow (4 Farrer Pl, Farrer, foxandbow.com.au), Little Bird (48 Macquarie St, Barton, littlebirdbarton.com), and Common Grounds (4/1 Jeffries St, Gowrie, facebook.com/CommonGroundsGowrie).