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Two Before Ten: in the ‘hood

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Six weeks on since we first reported on the happenings in Aranda, and the crew at Two Before Ten are excited. Why? Because they’re now officially open in Aranda! The doors have flung open and their new community hub, in one of Canberra’s older suburbs, is waiting for your order!

There’s a new buzz in the air at Aranda and the response from the locals, says Chris Dennis, has been insane. What was once a derelict building with a carpark full of seedy activity has fast become a 700 square metre hive for people to connect, share in a coffee and invest in their community. And it’s largely thanks to a bold move from the city to suburbs.

The strategically placed pieces of paper are now long gone and what now stands is Two Before Ten, exactly as it stood in the City, only bigger.

“We literally pulled everything out and brought it with us,” says Chris.

“The coffee counter was cut in half and thrown on the truck and the bookshelves from the main shopfront even made it too.

“The idea was to make our old regulars feel comfortable and bring the old shopfront with us, like nothing had changed, just the location.”

Hank, the roaster, has a new home too, which means the boys now have their own space in the Roastery with plans for the cafe to ramp up production ‘a fair bit’. Aiming high, they’re hoping to double their distribution.


Hank, the Roaster.

It’s hard to find a little nook perfect for kicking back or banging out the next best seller with a glass of wine or chai in hand, but the Library is just that. Yep, that’s right Two Before Ten is now licensed with the Bolt Bar and Library offering more than just your regular flat white.

Winter evenings are looking a whole lot cosier.

The cafe itself, with its new chef, Jess, is promising a new take on the old menu offering customers more of what they want including some old favourites like the Roasted chicken, lemon aioli, smashed avo and provolene cheese toastie. But it’s the playful breakfast dishes that will be a hit with not only the regulars, but the kids too.

Toasties are still on the menu.

Toasties are still on the menu. But you really should try the Honey roasted Pumpkin, goats cheese and apple. Yum!


The BEAR and his mates Grizzly, Polar, Brown and Big Bear serve up variations on the soft boiled egg with smashed avo on a rye muffin. The Polar Bear comes with a side of salmon while Brown Bear has mushrooms. As for the rest, well you’ll have to head to Aranda to find out.

The Big Bear - two eggs, bacon and avocado on sourdough.

The Big Bear – two eggs, bacon and avocado on sourdough.

But by far the naughtiest dish for breakfast would have to be the Banana bread fresh toast with ice cream and caramelised popcorn. Words don’t need to describe it. The photo says it all.

Dessert for breakfast, anyone?

Dessert for breakfast, anyone?

For those conscious about just what it is they’re eating, Two Before Ten’s menu is largely gluten free, though at a glance you probably wouldn’t think it. The seasonal fruit plate with Greek yoghurt and gluten free granola is already a favourite. And if you don’t have time to sit an enjoy, grab it to go with your coffee!

While the menu focuses on breakfast and lunch, there are some exciting plans on the table for dinner says Chris.

Dukkha crumbed chicken breast with nectarine, cucumber and roquet salad.

Dukkha crumbed chicken breast with nectarine, cucumber and roquette salad.

“We’re thinking rather than a seasonal menu, we have a seasonal kitchen where we invite a chef from around Canberra to come in with a team and do their thing but change it up so there’s always something new happening,” he says.

Inside the interior is rustic, raw and yes, dare I say it, a little hipster. The black, while a little dark for some is intentionally so, drawing attention to what’s on your plate not on the walls because after all it’s the food that’s important.

To pick one word to sum up the vibe down at Aranda, it’s community, and something that Chris says is incredible to witness.

“We were open across the Christmas break, after much debate as to whether we should, and we had grandparents coming down with their families just sitting chatting and having coffees,” he says.

“The cafe is a talking point for neighbours who might only ever give the good old Canberra wave to each other but who are now inviting one another for a coffee. It’s really cool.”

The essentials

What: Two Before Ten
Where: Bandjalong Crescent, Aranda Shops
When: 7am-4pm Monday to Friday; 8am-2pm Saturday and Sunday

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