Remember how we introduced you to the idea of the ultimate open top road trip to Canberra (the one you never knew existed)? Well now that you are packing your weekender bag, you will need a list of places to hit up. Luckily we have that handy. We scoured the capital driving the all-new Mazda MX-5, and garnered a few impressed looks along the way. To get from coffee in the morning to tapas in the evening we kept the roof top down, a clever Sat Nav on, and our Pandora soundtracks playing via bluetooth.
Threads and palette road-tested (so to speak), here is our guide to must-visit establishments to dine at and how to sport a suitable OOTD.
Spot to be seen: Local Press Cafe
81 Giles St, Kingston
Stroll around the lake, work up an appetite but don’t take too long – by brunch time there will be a wait for the local produce driven dishes served at Kingston Foreshore’s whole-foods café. Opt for outdoor seating, the central communal counter or tables indoors surrounded by exhibiting photography art.
Eating: The Green Pea Pancake with poached eggs, macerated avo, corn salsa, fetta, chilli jam and mint. It’s the type of dish you’ll want to order again and again.
Drinking: Cold pressed juices made on premises with seasonal fruit (think combos like watermelon, strawberry and blood orange, and kale, apple, celery, cucumber and lemon). Coffee is from local roaster Redbrick Espresso.
Wearing: THE UPSIDE Issy printed jersey tank, NO KA’OI Huli colour-block stretch-jersey leggings, COMMON PROJECTS Original Achilles leather sneakers, RAY-BAN Aviator metal sunglasses, BOTTEGA VENETA Intrecciato leather bracelet, SOPHIE HULME Envelope small leather shoulder bag.
Spot to be seen: Cafe Patissez
Shop 2/21 Bougainville St, Manuka
This tiny cafe around the lawns of Manuka will send your instagram tendencies into overdrive. Co-owned by two duo’s: mother/daughter Gina and Anna Petridis, and husband and wife French pastry chefs Ismael and Astrid Toorawa, their sweet treats and ‘Freakshow’ have been causing a veritable stir (until they sell out – capped at about 150 milkshakes a day).
Drinking: Freakshakes. Epic looking milkshakes that cater to those undeterred by copious amounts of nutella (often straight from the jar). Each component is made from scratch and topped with Jersey milk. The original flavours include Nutella and salty pretzel, French Vanilla, Salty Nutz and Muddy Pat. Start freaking out … now.
Wearing: SPLENDID Chambray jumpsuit, GIORGIO ARMANI AR6028 matte gold/brown sunglasses, SENSI STUDIO Classic toquilla straw Panama hat, J.CREW Woven straw flats, VALENTINO Lock medium calf hair and leather shoulder bag.
Spot to be seen: The Cupping Room
1/13 University Ave, Canberra City
This concept cafe dedicated to all things coffee, with a welcoming wood, mint green and black interior is designed by the team at ONA Coffee, Canberra’s largest specialty coffee roaster.
Eating: Dishes from Latin American regions, where Ona Coffee source their beans from. Try Chia and sago soaked in coconut milk, tropical fruits and strawberries or Huevos Bollo – two fried eggs, Pialligo bacon, guacamole and house made Costa Rican BBQ sauce on a brioche roll.
Drinking: A cup of seasonal or house blend coffee extracted with the perfect amount of crema. If you’re super lucky, Sasa Sestic’s award-winning signature brew, which contains a splash of Clonakilla shiraz viognier juice. As world champion barista 2015 he and his team know their beans.
Wearing: INCOTEX cotton and linen-blend cargo shorts, POLO RALPH LAUREN slim-fit cotton chambray shirt, TOD’S 3.5cm brown woven suede and textured leather belt, RAY-BAN metal aviator sunglasses, TIMEX Andros Steel Watch, COMMON PROJECTS original achilles leather sneakers.
Spot to be seen: Mocan & Green Grout
1/19 Marcus Clarke St, Canberra
Močan & Green Grout is a café and bike maker under the label Goodspeed Bicycle Co that’s as much an art and design experience as a place to enjoy good coffee and food. Drink fair trade coffee, eat produce sourced from local farmers, and herbs grown in the planter at the front door.
Wearing: MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS Snake-print crepe tapered pants, SAINT LAURENT Washed-denim shirt, PROENZA SCHOULER Lizard-effect leather sandals, PROENZA SCHOULER The PS1 tiny leather satchel, PAMELA LOVE Rivera silver-plated choker, KAREN WALKER Harvest Superstars round-frame acetate sunglasses.
Spot to be seen: Joe’s Bar
Eating: Highlights include house-made Tuscan Chicken Liver Parfait with pancetta, porcini and crostini; Smoked Burrata with shaved local truffle, EVOO and crusty bread; Lasagne with slow braised deboned pork ribs; and Wagyu Beef Brisket with charred polenta and porcini butter.
Drinking: Cocktails created with big Italian heart using a technique called ‘fat-washing’ they infuse flavours like pancetta with bourbon for the Bitter Pig cocktail and pistachio with whiskey. Pair with bar snack house spiced popcorn and pancetta floss.
Wearing: ADAM LIPPES Cropped satin top, GIVENCHY Tubino pencil skirt in printed crepe, CHARLOTTE OLYMPIA Geometric cut-out metallic leather sandals, OSCAR DE LA RENTA Goa embellished satin clutch, PIPPA SMALL18-karat gold aquamarine earrings, ERICKSON BEAMON Velvet Underground gold-plated necklace.
As you can gather, our road trip agenda goes a little something like this: have a destination (somewhere to eat), drive in our convertible MX-5 to said foodie stop, eat, have next destination in mind (again, somewhere to eat) zip to that stop, eat, question where else must one eat? get there (hoping it’s a longer journey so you can digest), eat! You get our drift. We pack light and keep our plans pretty loose as you never know what you’ll discover along the way (hello cute patisserie) and spot when the roof top’s down.