Is the Canberra cold getting you down? Heat up with some of the happiest hours…
Delicious, delightful doughnuts dancing in my head.
That’s the sweet dream I had the night after my first trip to the new Doughnut Department, recently opened in the city’s No Name Lane.
These are no ordinary doughnuts. They’re gourmet, yeast-raised, hand-cut doughnuts made daily with locally sourced and artisan ingredients. They’re larger than your run-of-the-mill doughnut and what I fancy is that some are sweet, some not so sweet, and some savoury. It’s no wonder The Doughnut Department has already sold more than 200 of these beauties in one day.
Chef Nathan Frost is at the helm in the café’s small kitchen and he’s spent months and months thinking through flavours. “We only use high-quality toppings and fillings that are a cheeky nod to fine-dining flavours,” says Nathan.
Different doughnuts pop up in the display cabinet every day. Think chocolate, cacao nibs and black sea salt. Dulce de leche with roasted almonds. Vegan cinnamon sugar. Apple, white chocolate and lime leaf fritters. Vanilla bean glaze. Yum.
And if a small sugar fix is what you’re after, buy six cute doughnut holes.
The café’s breakfast and lunch menu is small, but mighty (with plans to expand), and Nathan is already incorporating doughnut elements into some dishes. To kickstart your day, get stuck into the granola and doughnut crunch. The house-made toasted granola features crunchy doughnut bits, seasonal fruit, panella syrup and coconut yoghurt. For brunch or lunch, the citrus and thyme house-cured tuna chunks are refreshing. And it’s fun to see thin slices of doughnut served on the side.
Also on the menu is a decadent ‘cheesy bread’, made with Emmental and Dijon melted on ancient grain sourdough by award-winning Three Mills Bakery and served with a beautiful tomato relish that Nathan makes sure packs a punch.
Eventually, The Doughnut Department will host champagne and doughnut experiences as they’re all about special touches. Ethical coffee is sourced from Six8 Coffee Roasters in Yass, and the organic, fairtrade Australian-made tea is from Love Tea, Victoria. Milk is from award-winning Little Big Dairy Co in Dubbo. Adding charm are coffee cups made by Hillgrove Pottery in Murrumbateman, designed just for the café. Barrista Kyra Hansen loves their shape, size and feel.
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The Doughnut Department is a great looking spot and dares to be different in other ways. It’s a mixed-use space, where creatives meet other creatives, connecting and sharing ideas. The public café is at the front and at the back is office space now home to FASHFEST, HAUS Models and HAUS of Artists, three businesses co-founded by Clint and Andrea Hutchinson (also partners in The Doughnut Department).
The warm and inviting fit out was designed by award-winning Capezio Copeland, a member of the Design Institute of Australia.
What: The Doughnut Department
When: Open 7.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Where: No Name Lane, 40 Marcus Clarke Street, with its shop front on Alinga Street
Feature image: Tim Bean Photography