Buvette Masthead

Five essential Canberra food & drink experiences for Floriade

Amanda Whitley

Floriade starts this Friday and chances are you have visitors inbound, keen to check out more than a million blooms and experience everything that goes along with this four week festival of flowers (p.s. if they’re looking for accommodation recommendations, Peppers Gallery Hotel in New Acton has some great deals). And while it’s easy to spend a whole weekend tiptoeing through the tulips in Commonwealth Park, or doing the cultural institutions circuit, there are oodles of other interesting things to do…and eat. Here are five of our favourites.


The hub of the hipster haven that is Braddon, Lonsdale Street is the place to be if you’re a serious foodie or fashionista.

The neighbourhood hang out is The Hamlet, a motley assortment of food vans clamouring for attention in an open space: artisan pizza, Peruvian street food, souvlaki, coffee and donuts, hot dogs, milkshakes, schnitzel…it’s all here! Grab your dish of choice, pull up a seat at a communal table and say hi to the locals. Step inside the converted garage and you’ll find a collection of local makers producing everything from unique furniture to fine jewellery and fashion.

The Hamlet on Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Image: Facebook.

The Hamlet on Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Image: Facebook.

If you’re a beer fan, pop across the road to Bentspoke Brewing Co., a microbrewery and taphouse, or wander down the block for more food and fashion action.

The architecturally arresting ORI building houses local boutiques, homewares, a barber and Canberra’s ‘ice cream alchemist’, Frugii’s John Marshall, who whips up flavours like Tim Tam, salted butter caramel, musk stick and the more outrageous peanut butter and bacon.

Sweet delights from Frugii - just as good as the ice cream!

Sweet delights from Frugii – just as good as the ice cream!


Even us locals can’t find this bar — and that’s just how the owners like it. It’s Canberra’s only ‘real’ speak-easy (a hidden drinking den) and it’s so cool it hurts. To find Molly, you first need to find the place (the website offers little more than map coordinates), but once you do locate the unmarked door, descend down a fairly uninteresting staircase and open an incredibly weighty wooden door; you are immediately transported somewhere different.

Charcuterie at Molly

Charcuterie at Molly

The drinks are made with care by experienced staff, there are secret rooms, a cheese and charcuterie station, live jazz and more. This is one place worth whipping out the GPS for.


We tell no lie. Canberra is officially home to the best coffee in the world, and that’s because the World Barista Champion, Sasa Sestic, lives here and owns a handful of coffee haunts around town.

Sasa Sestic, officially the world’s best barista.


At ONA Coffee’s concept cafe, The Cupping Room, passionate staff educate caffiends on everything from production processes to what ends up in the cup in special ‘cupping sessions’. But there’s also plenty for non-coffee drinkers to love, with a menu that takes inspiration from South America, and some tasty teas and shakes.


When you’ve had your fill, head north along the Barton Highway past Hall and turn right up Nanima Road to discover Poachers Pantry – a wonderful country restaurant and winery specialising in smoked meats and boasting some pretty amazing wine.

Then pop back in the car for the short trip to Robyn Rowe’s Chocolat d’Or, a quaint workshop and cafe in a converted shed nestled next to a dam. It’s not fancy, but her divine and deliciously smooth, glossy and creamy chocolates made from Fair Trade coverture are some of the best you’ll ever taste.

Chocolatey goodness from Robyn Rowe's Chocolate d'Or.

Chocolatey goodness from Robyn Rowe’s Chocolate d’Or.


If you’re still up for more action, push on a little further and you’ll find the Canberra region’s most-talked about winery, Clonakilla.


Standing on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin on a former futsal slab is a tower of shipping containers, fashioned into a community space – this is Westside Acton Park. Street food vendors dish out a range of fresh options – from Vietnamese to Middle Eastern cuisine and tender meat sandwiches, while commuters idle nearby as they pick up their drive-through ‘Damn Fine Roasters’.

Miss Van's char siu pork noodle bowl and a Vietnamese style creme caramel.

Miss Van’s char siu pork noodle bowl and a Vietnamese style creme caramel.


A rooftop bar offers some of the best views in town, a basketball court just begs for slam dunks, and Sunday markets offer up a great assortment of wares. It’s a great place to while away a sunny afternoon.

What’s on your ‘Canberra foodie essentials’ list?

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author