I thought that I’d have to head down to Melbourne to find more innovative cafes outside of Sydney, but surprisingly, I found a cafe in Canberra which would give any Melbournian cafe a run for its money thanks to a recommendation from a friend. It’s called The Cupping Room and at 8.30am on a Sunday morning, the place is pumping – we even have to wait for a table because the place is packed to the rafters.
We decide to get some takeaway coffees while we huddle outside next to the heaters to wait for our table and are surprised to find that instead of the usual coffee types (cappuccino, flat white etc) they only offer a Milk Coffee ($4) or a Long Black, with a choice of 2 types of beans – the House Blend of 60% Brazil Santa Lucia/20% Rwanda Nkora/20% Ethiopian Bonga which has more of a chocolate/caramel flavour and the Seasonal Blend which features 30% Ethiopian Bonga/30% El Salvador Himilaya/30% Colombia La Rivera and has more berries and malt in its notes. Needless to say, they really know their coffee here at The Cupping Room and the Milk Coffees we got (one each of the House and the Seasonal) are both super smooth.
When we finally get inside the cosy cafe, we’re intrigued by their adventurous menu, which features more interesting items than it does classics. The boy opts for the Salmon, which showcases a fresh, tender salmon fillet cooked sous vide and is served with an interesting lemonade foam (so fancy for breakfast), a sesame seed coated soft boiled egg, plum gel, wasabi kewpie, pickled ginger and watercress. There’s so much going on for this dish, it hardly seems like something you’d have for breakfast – but all the unconventional flavours do work together, especially with that spectacularly cooked salmon fillet anchoring everything.
Similarly, my Korean Broth is way more substantial than your usual breakfast fare – think twice cooked pork belly, with a bed of vermicelli noodles, carrots, zucchini, a soft boiled egg and a traditional Korean broth in a cute mini milk jug to be poured over the top of it all. It’s a comforting dish, although I thought the flavours in the broth tasted more Japanese according to my tastebuds, but that could’ve been because of the dried fish flakes sprinkled on top. There’s also some chilli sauce on the side if you like things hot.
Korean Broth, $21
Canberra continues to surprise me with the quality of its food scene – we really enjoyed our breakfast at The Cupping Room and it’s easy to see why the crowds descend on it on the weekends even when the rest of the city is eerily quiet.