Terrific Two, good for coffee

SERIOUS coffee drinker? Love two fab coffees before 10? Happen to be in the city?

If the answer to these questions is “yes” then head over to the café and coffee roasters at Hobart Place. This is where Two Before Ten takes the coffee experience to new highs.

I’d walked by several times and finally popped in for a serious coffee and then, on a second trip, for a light lunch – great results on both visits.

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The fit-out is funky urban, with innovative graphics behind the serving counter, great lighting (including a bright yellow fixture that looks like it belongs in outer space), a cool slate wall, and a mix of eating areas. In one of these is a large, communal table with magazines scattered across it and, in another bench, seating and pillows with contemporary black and white designs that seem to be the all-time favourite of those with laptops.

Two before Ten isn’t a big café, but it’s well designed so you’re not packed in like sardines. A silver, shiny coffee roaster holds a prominent place towards the front – this is serious coffee culture – and I understand green beans are sourced from all over the world and then roasted in-house.

I loved the menu, too. Again, not a large selection, but certainly just what it takes for a yummy breakfast or lunch. Reasonable prices. Good quality.

Breakfast features roasted muesli with orange blossom yoghurt, fresh strawberries and honey ($11), stuffed herb and tomato-filled mushrooms ($13) and items for those “who have no time to wait”, including croissant with ham and cheese ($8), banana breads ($4), and a good, old, ham toastie with provolone, tomato and honey mustard ($10).

I arrived for lunch on my second visit and thoroughly enjoyed the warm chicken and avocado salad with toasted pine nuts, prosciutto and a light honey-mustard dressing. The avocado was beautifully ripe, and super creamy and the bits of salty prosciutto a great touch. It hit the spot and was just $14.50.

The organic beef burger was popular with other customers and I made a mental note to try the sesame-crusted, seared tuna next time, served with julienned salad and a citrus dressing ($15).

Two Before Ten, 40 Marcus Clarke Street, Hobart Place, Civic. Open from around 7.30am. Outdoor seating also available.

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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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