Bustle and buzz in Braddon

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IT’S Braddon’s newest café and the place bustles. Lonsdale Street Roasters is chaotic, noisy, cluttered, a bit Melbourne-grunge and much more.

There are bikes hanging on the wall, kids scribbling on a section of blackboard, and other bits and pieces scattered about the place all forming the “interior design”.

We had heard about the buzz and so off we went to give the place a go. You can’t miss it – with the wonderful aroma of coffee extending at least several shops down from the café in either direction.

The place immediately tickled my fancy when I saw the sign near the cash promoting the Reuben sandwich as the special of the day. I love a yummy Reuben and hadn’t had one in yonks, so it was an easy order for me. It was piping hot with layers of tender, smoked meat, tangy sauerkraut and cheese.

I am not sure exactly when the first Reuben was made in the US, where I believe it originated, but some say it goes back as far as the early 1900s in New York which, of course, continues to make the sandwich famous. I’d say the Lonsdale Street Roasters version is pretty darn good, too.

The other menu items are set out on the wall behind the cash register in a whimsical way with fun, colourful, kids’ magnetic alphabet letters. Meals are served on an eclectic mix of “op shop”-type plates (none of which match).

Lunch is mostly sandwiches and my friend chose to have a leg ham with fresh mozzarella and seeded mustard panini ($10). Not heaps of meat, although the quality was there, but she felt a greater quantity of mustard would have made a stronger statement. A personal preference, we agreed.

Also on the menu are other paninis, including goats cheese, zucchini, semi-dried tomatoes and salsa verde ($9.70) as well as mushroom bell pepper, fresh mozzarella and basil ($9.70).

Breakfast items are cheap-as and include banana bread with ricotta honey ($6), homemade yoghurt with seasonal fruit ($5) and toasted panini with vegemite or jam ($5).

As its name implies, the café roasts its own coffee – a quality product that customers can buy. My iced espresso came with milk on the side ($5). It was strong and impressive.

We loved the atmosphere, but felt several staff seemed a bit stressed and some unclear on who to deliver what coffee to. We observed on several occasions that a bit more care was needed when placing meals on tables so as not to make customers feel part of the rush. Perhaps we simply caught the place on an unusually hectic day?

Lonsdale Street Roasters, 7 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Call 6156 0975. Open Monday to Saturday, breakfast and lunch.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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