Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
Photos by Maddie McGuigan
BRADDON is still booming with new hospitality venues. Rye has recently opened. Close by is new Zaab (Lao and Thai food). Across the road is La Mono (Lebanese). So many choices with more to come. While Vitis, next door to Rye, now appears to be closed, the space is being renovated.
Rye won out on this visit to Lonsdale Street. It was breakfast, a meal I enjoy having out on the weekend. The place was packed, but I snapped up a table outside.
The fit-out at Rye is refreshingly different and I was comforted by the minimalist Scandinavian approach, complete with light wood tones and dove-grey accents. I adored the sweet set up near the fireplace, with a round table and two comfy chairs. Window seating on the inside is fun. Small tables with bench seating outside allow you to enjoy the herbs the café and bar has planted, and life passing by on Lonsdale Street.
Rye’s menu is compact, with the emphasis on food quality. It’s great to see enticing sandwiches and salads on the menu. Tasty but simple. And the Danish open sandwiches served on seeded, dark-rye bread look lovely served on wooden serving boards.
The prices are super reasonable, with options such as a bacon and egg brioche roll with chilli jam only $10, bircher muesli with coconut labna and berry compote, $11, and toasted orange and raisin sourdough with ricotta, banana, spotted gum honey, coconut and blueberries coming in at $15.
I opted for the Snow Mountains, premium-quality, smoked trout with potato rosti, a fried egg (sunny side up) and dill crème fraiche ($19). It was a beautiful breakfast. This trout is famous for its delicate texture and flavour and it married well with the other ingredients. I loved it.
The next time I’ll dig into the avo and poached eggs on dark rye with broad beans, peas, Danish feta and dukkah. What a great start to the day ($18).
Options for lunch, other than the open sandwiches, included crumbed lambs brains, steak, fish pasty and salads created daily.
Coffee at Rye is by Five Senses, which began its journey in the highlands of Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea. I enjoyed a fabulous cappuccino. I was joined at breakfast by two friends who’d just had coffee and they also gave it a thumb’s up. We all agreed that the music outside was too loud for comfort – especially for early breakfast.
Rye was cracking it on my visit. I know Canberrans buzz to new places like bees to honey. Some survive and some don’t. Rye will make it, for sure.
Rye, 9 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Monday to Sunday, breakfast and lunch (6.30am to 4.30 pm); Wednesday to Saturday, drinks and bar plates (4pm until late).