braddon

Sweet Bones Bakery Cafe | Braddon, Canberra

Sweet Bones Bakery Cafe | Braddon, Canberra

"It's amazing what you can do with tofu!", says Emily from Sweet Bones, as we shovel another bite of her vegan chocolate and peanut butter cupcake into our mouths. It's about 12 months ago, we're sitting down with her to choose a flavour for our wedding cake, and Emily's responding to our near-disbelief at how good the cupcakes taste and how creamy and buttery the peanut butter frosting is (trust me, you wouldn't even know there was tofu in it).

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Elemental | Braddon, Canberra

Elemental | Braddon, Canberra

Every couple of years, whether we’re ready for them or not, a new wave of food trends gradually descends upon us. They range from being a whole genre of food (Vietnamese street food, Japanese izakaya, American BBQ), standalone menu items (ramen, cronuts, burgers) specific flavours or ingredients (miso, offal, soft shell crab, sriracha, matcha, salted caramel), or techniques and methods (sous vide, fermenting, raw).

(P.S. If you want to see which food trends have dominated the last 30-40 years, check out the New York Times’ ‘Fried Calamari’ index!)

Recent years have increasingly seen food trends based around health and nutrition, convincing us that a certain type of diet or lifestyle will help us live to 140, shed a few spare tyres, or just feel more energised and ready to take on the world. One of the more popular of these diets, billed as the ‘healthiest way you can eat’, is of course, the paleo diet.

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Barrio Collective Coffee | Braddon, Canberra

Barrio Collective Coffee | Braddon, Canberra

At school, I always wondered what it was like to be one of those kids that moved around with their families every few years (or less). Having grown up in little ol’ Canberra, I wondered how much more of the world they’d seen; how much collateral knowledge they’d picked up on the way. But I also wondered how they approached their relationships with new people and these new places, knowing that they would most likely be short-lived and transient.

Why the philosophical start to this post about a small, 12-seater café? Well, this week marked the start of my gradual transition up to Sydney, after almost three decades living in Canberra. And it was only when I was up there this week that I realised I’d already spent my last full week in Canberra (for now, at least). It made me realise that I had a pretty great connection with the town I’d grown up in, and also how much I’d miss about it – the open spaces, the network of bike lanes, the community minded people, the honest politicians, and not least – the incredible evolution of our cafe, bar and restaurant scene.

In terms of this evolution, Braddon has obviously been one of our biggest success stories in recent times, gathering national – and even worldwide – attention for its quick and organic development into a vibrant, cultural hub. One of the newer coffee shops along the Londsale strip is Barrio Collective Coffee, a locally-owned operation that joins a number of other Canberra cafes in (ethically) sourcing and roasting their own beans.

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Grease Monkey | Braddon, Canberra

Grease Monkey | Braddon, Canberra

The words ‘Grease Monkey’ are on everyone’s lips at the moment – and judging by the number of Instagram posts about them, so is the taste of their delicious burgers. If you haven’t heard, Grease Monkey is the newest Braddon hotspot (at least until something new comes along), located on the corner of Lonsdale and Elouera Street. It’s the brainchild of Canberra hospitality stalwart Soc Kochinos, and its name, design and concept pay respect to the mechanics and wrench heads of Braddon’s past.

Grease Monkey’s idea is simple, but like finding a good mechanic, not necessarily easy to achieve – it’s billed as a place where you can grab some of the best burgers (and fried chicken) in Canberra, and where people can hang out and have a drink. You could argue that the burger market is reaching saturation point these days, but Grease Monkey has got a few things going for it: prime real estate, a different offering to everywhere else nearby in Braddon, an experienced team, oh – and the fact that they actually do make excellent burgers.

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