MEJ Masthead

Five new places for weekend brunch in Canberra

Amanda Whitley and Emma Macdonald

Looking to try something new for weekend brunch? Here are five new Canberra cafés to check out.

SECRET GARDEN

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Raspberry and ricotta-stuffed French toast with lemon lavender curd, cherry sorbet, meringue shards, coconut emulsion, freeze dried raspberries and pure maple syrup. Image: Amanda Whitley.

It was Francisco’s Mexican for years—then, briefly, Peppermint—and now there’s a new kid filling the light-filled atrium space in Manuka Village. Secret Garden is, as the name suggests, a real hidden gem—the perfect spot if you’re wanting a quiet weekend brunch away from the busy Manuka Lawns.

An all-day brunch menu boasts a mix of old favourites and on-trend dishes, an Asian influence hinting at the owners: Jack Zhong, co-owner of Kingston pollie haunt, Wild Duck, and banker Bill Wu.

Raspberry and ricotta-stuffed French toast with lemon lavender curd, cherry sorbet, meringue shards, coconut emulsion, freeze dried raspberries and pure maple syrup is pretty as a picture—the nutty milkiness of the ricotta and tartness of berries cutting through any sweetness.

Other dishes worth a look include the Crispy Salmon Poké Bowl – cured salmon, babycapers, rice cake, avocado, tomato, eschallots; Buddah bowl – avocado, purple cabbage, parsnip, sweet potato, fennel, chick peas, English spinach, pearl barley, quinoa and a soft-boiled egg; and Turkish delight chia pudding with a raw cashew cream and pistachio crumble and fresh berries. The Bacon and Egg Roll is pretty damn good, too.

Great for a quick Campos coffee post-manicure or Witchery spree, too.

Secret Garden | Manuka Village, 33 Bougainville Street, Manuka | 7am to 4pm weekdays and 8am to 4pm weekends secretgardenmanuka.com.au

HIGHROAD

salmon-highroa

40-degree salmon, salsa, boiled egg, sesame, avocado & wasabi purée, kewpie, potato & jalapeno bread. Image: Facebook.

The ONA Coffee and The Cupping Room teams have never played it safe, so it’s hardly surprising that their latest venture on the former SubUrban site in Dickson is far beyond your average suburban café.

For a start, it’s the sheer scale of the operation. Open 7am until 11pm five days a week (and until 4pm the other two), they’re serving up food and drink from breakfast until late, the menu divided simply into ‘Day’ and ‘Night’. But there’s nothing simple about the food.

For Day, a Sausage & egg roll boasts cheddar, pickled cucumber, coriander mayo, bulldog sauce, potato bun while a dish of 40-degree salmon excites the tastebuds with salsa, boiled egg, sesame, avocado & wasabi purée, kewpie, potato & jalapeno bread.

For ‘Night’, we can’t wait to try the Lamb tartare, pickled mustard seed, egg yolk, smoked mussel mayo, cherry crouts and the evocatively-named Yuzu cloud, berries, basil oil, meringue, pink peppercorn dust.

Excellent coffee goes without saying, and shake-lovers will be tempted by Crunchy Nut, Cherry Cola and more.  And for tea-lovers? Well, they’re finally taken seriously, with almost an entire page devoted to varieties and detailed steeping and temperature notes.

Highroad | 1 Woolley Street, Dickson | 7am to 4pm Monday and Tuesday, 7am to 11pm Wednesday to Sunday | highrd.com.au

REMY’S BAKERY

An assortment of Remy's delectable sweet treats. Image: supplied.

An assortment of Remy’s delectable sweet treats. Image: Martin Ollman.

Remy’s takes up where Autolyse left off, providing superior loaves to Canberra bread-lovers by French master baker Romain Remy.

While the bread distribution plan is still being finalised, you can pop into their beautifully-airy and chic bakery premises in Fyshwick and nab a croissant fresh out of the impressive bank of industrial ovens.

Meanwhile the sweet treats are sure to delight—and don’t leave without trying their cheese and spinach rolls.

Their coffee passes the test too, and with a sunny outdoor courtyard going on, you would hardly realise you’re deep in Canberra’s industrial zone.

Remy’s Bakery | 8 Townsville Street, Fyshwick | Open 7.30am to 2.30pm Monday to Saturday | remysbakery.com.au

BAKED

The Swedish and Hell's Kitchen from BAKED. Image: Emma Macdonald.

The Swedish and Hell’s Kitchen Bragels from BAKED. Image: Emma Macdonald.

Baked is the new bakery and cafe from those accomplished Frenchies behind Les Bistronomes.

Chef Clement Chauvin cranks out tantalising pastries and perfect bread each morning as part of what he likes to describe as a “French invasion of Braddon”, bringing traffic around the corner and onto the new venue on Mort Street.

We love the cranking French tunes and the “bragels”—a hybrid of the brioche and bagel. Try the Swedish (a black bragel with sesame and fennel seeds with salmon, sour cream and rocket) or the Hell’s Kitchen (a chili flake bragel with Smokey bacon, fried egg, avo, lime and sirracha).

Baked | 4/38 Mort Street, Braddon | Open 7am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday | bakedonmort.com.au

MEADOW

Meadow's Taco – salsa fresca, turtle beans, charred bell pepper, avocado and parmesan crisps on tortillas. Image: Facebook.

Meadow’s Taco – salsa fresca, turtle beans, charred bell pepper, avocado and parmesan crisps on tortillas. Image: Facebook.

From the team behind boyandgirlco comes Meadow—a plant-based cafe that highlights local, regional and Australian produce.

Taking over the space left by Loading Zone, it boasts a small but inventive vegetarian menu, including three delicious toasties (available to order online as a pick-up lunch order during the week) and a couple of cute kids’ options.

We can’t wait to try: Taco – salsa fresca, turtle beans, charred bell pepper, avocado and parmesan crisps on tortillas and Quinoa Porridge – spiced quinoa porridge with crème fraiche, cinnamon crumble, house nut milk, nectarine and pear.

The coffee is from Seven Seeds in Melbourne, tea by Storm In A Teacup and serious hot chocolate by Mörk Chocolate.

Meadow is offering an all-day brunch menu as part of their soft opening until summer.

Meadow | Open Monday to Saturday 7am to 2pm | Odgers Lane, Canberra City | meadowlife.com.au

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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.

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism – including a Walkley or two – along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials.

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