These cool establishments in Braddon and Fyshwick are changing the face of Canberra’s gourmet game. Here are some of the best places to eat and drink your way through the nation’s capital.
Running through the centre of Braddon, Lonsdale Street is the beating heart of fun and food-loving suburb Braddon. A stroll down the street will have you pass an eclectic collection of Canberra’s greatest gourmet game-changers, from fervour favourites to the new kids on the block.
KYŌ, Braddon ACT
An absolute gem, KYŌ doesn’t need to shout to stand out as one of Canberra’s busiest food districts best cafés. It simply is. Tucked into an inviting and airy courtyard, the café is like a little oasis just off the main drag.
The space is natural and welcoming, with communal-style tables, exposed concrete walls and a neat open kitchen. Here, chef Imojuan works her magic on a seasonal Japanese-inspired menu. The café opened its doors in September 2018, serving delicious KYŌ coffee roasted by owner Michael himself nearby. As we chat over a cup of coffee, Michael explains how the project is set up as organically as possible, encouraging casual interactions between guests. At KYŌ you’ll often see strangers striking up a conversation with one another. It’s as though we’ve all escaped into our own little world.
Frugii Dessert Laboratory, Braddon ACT
Across the road, Frugii is a dessert-lovers dream. The gelateria and dessert shop is set within the ORI Building; a small shopping arcade filled with boutique shops where you’ll find homemade wares, unique jewellery, local art and a chocolateria. A small family-run business, Frugii is owned and lovingly run by John and Ed Marshall, who have been making ice cream for more than 20 years.
John started out creating ice cream for fun on a small ice cream maker. Over the years, the pair began selling their inventions at local markets (of which Canberra has some seriously good ones, Ed tells me). They also began pairing desserts for friend’s dinner parties and selling their ice cream wholesale. All of their delicious treats were produced right out of their home.
In 2015, John and Ed opened Frugii Dessert Laboratory. The sweet-smelling cosy shop on Lonsdale Street is full every night of the week with after-dinner dessert hunters sampling a rotating menu of ice cream and gelato flavours, inventive cakes and semifreddo. I sample a good mix of the day’s gelatos as Ed and I discuss their more offbeat flavours. The strangest include potent-smelling durian fruit semifreddo and salted duck egg ice cream (for real).
Sweet Bones Bakery & Café, Braddon ACT
Cupcakes meet skull and crossbones at this cool vegan café and bakery. It sits cosily on a little side street off the Lonsdale strip. Run by Emily and Russell Brindley, who have a passion for wholefoods, the café effortlessly oozes rock ‘n’ roll and rustic charm.
Whether you’re vegan or not, this is a great spot to start out your morning (or wind down the arvo). The coffee is roasted locally by Redbrick Coffee and the meals have a homely, healthy feel. For me, it’s a Banjo Sammich, with fresh cucumber, avo and hummus, and a third coffee on my way out that I simply can’t resist. The cake cabinet is a dreamy to look at, and l notice most customers, like me, don’t head off without a pastry or two tucked under one arm.
sweetbonescompany.com | redbrickcoffee.com.au
Rizla, Braddon ACT
Possibly the most exciting newcomer to the Braddon scene, riesling-themed bar and eatery Rizla opened its doors in September 2019. And it has taken the block by storm. Run by Andy Day, Rizla serve up generous share plates, each that pair perfectly with their specialty drops of riesling.
If you’re someone new to the grape, don’t be shy! The team there will take fantastic care of you, and make the experience laidback and fun. Plus, they offer a selection of thoughtfully selected local reds and other varietals, too. The wine list shows off the best of Canberran wineries, (more of which you can read about here). For weekend lunch, they’ve begun introducing tastings of local winemakers. I was absolutely blown away and went straight out and ordered a few bottles from the day’s local Murrumbateman winery on offer: McKellar Ridge.
On a relaxing afternoon, under a warming heater or basking in the sun, Rizla’s outdoor seating provides the perfect spot for people-watching. Lean back, sip your glass of riesling, and let Lonsdale Street mill around you. Fair warning: this is not a place you’ll want to move on from!
eightysix, Braddon ACT
Right next door, eightysix has been wowing foodies for six years. With its open kitchen, modern architecture and experienced waitstaff, the one-hatted restaurant was named after ‘86-ing’: crossing a dish off the menu after it has sold out.
Buzzing with excitement every night of the week, Braddonites know this is a hit for gourmet feasts and good vibes. Think fun cocktails, rave-worthy desserts and offbeat inventive mains.
I start out with salt and vinegar scallop, which I hear they’re famous for (and duly so). Followed by spiced cauliflower with pomegranate, and pumpkin tortellini with sage, brown butter and hazelnuts. Continuing with the local theme, my waiter perfectly pairs a glass of Canberran riesling with the spice of the cauliflower. Then, a Canberran pinot gris with the rich and creamy tortellini. If you’re unsure where to start, I recommend opting for the tasting menu and allowing the experts to pair you up with local wines.
Capital Brewing Co, Fyshwick ACT
A little off the beaten track – and well worth it – Capital Brewing Co has been making waves on the craft beer scene since 2016. Starting out gypsy brewing (renting out brewing space in another brewery) in Sydney’s Hairyman Brewery, Capital Brewing Co’s Fyshwick taproom officially opened in September 2017.
Today the brewery and beer garden is a fun and welcoming space, with a super relaxed vibe; kids and dogs are welcome. There’s an interesting variety of hops regularly on tap. Plus, specialty limited edition brews, such as fairy floss-infused neipa and salty margherita-flavoured gose – which taste exactly as they sound. You can take brewery tour to learn about the brewing process, and enjoy burgers from the onsite BROD food truck. At the end of the day, I take home a selection of brews to continue the tastings at home.
If you’re looking for a little adventure before earning your beers, right around the corner is bouldering gym Blochaus Canberra. (Think rock climbing with shorter walls, padded mats and no ropes). There’s also Vertikal Indoor Snow Sports where you can ski and snowboard year-round.
blochauscbr.com.au | vertikalsnowsports.com
Not quite sure where to stay yet? Compare prices and availability here.
Looking for more Canberra fun? Check out these walking trails around the capital, or this list of outdoor activities to give you a full breath of fresh Canberran air.