One of Canberra’s most-experienced food critics and this paper’s longest-serving columnist, WENDY JOHNSON indulges herself with her top eating experiences for 2018
SOMETIMES when you walk into a café you instantly feel comfortable; like you’re at home. That’s what it’s like for me at Little Bird in Barton.
The café is bright and airy with healthy green plants thriving here and there. The wall of wood at the back, and the wood on the front of the long serving area at the front, adds warmth. The tables and chairs are nicely spaced and the outdoor area plenty big.
It was at the end of lunch, but Little Bird welcomed us with open arms and didn’t make us feel like we had to rush.
The menu isn’t large, but everything was appealing so it was challenging to choose.
We both eyed the house-made ricotta gnocchi ($18.50). My friend won, and big time. The dish was slow-cooked lamb and porcini mushroom ragout and had bags and bags and bags of flavour. The gnocchi were beautifully made – nice soft pillows that melted in the mouth. It was a super generous portion and tremendously soul satisfying.
Having lost out on the gnocchi, I ordered the gremolata-crumbed fish, with chips, a lovely, creamy tartare sauce and lemon ($18.90). Another generous serve (couldn’t finish it). The crumb was a fabulous texture and the fish nice and moist.
Salad lovers can opt for the slow-roasted pumpkin salad with caramelised beetroot, avo, lentils, feta, almonds and sumac yoghurt ($17.50).
If you’re not keen on a main-sized meal, Little Bird has a line-up of great toasted sandwiches, all $11.90. The roast pumpkin sandwich is loaded with field mushrooms, feta and basil pesto. My bet is that the café makes a great Reuben and the salami sandwich with roasted capsicum, baby spinach and Swiss cheese sounds inviting, too.
It’s all-day breakfast on weekends at Little Bird, with lots of yummy options such as smoked speck cassoulet with cannellini beans, capsicum, fetta, basil and poached eggs ($17.50). The ham and potato croquettes with Sriracha fried eggs and smashed avocado ($17.50) is no doubt delicious. I haven’t been, but two foodie friends have raved about it.
Staff double checked, as we paid the bill, that we had enjoyed our time with Little Bird – a simple, free and important customer-service touch. Not enough places do it. My only comment about our visit is that staff shouldn’t clean tables with spray bottles of strong-smelling product when diners are close by. It’s not pleasant.
Little Bird is a great spot to enjoy good coffee, yummy food and good service. It’s BYO and the new grocery store around the corner sells wine.
Little Bird, corner Macquarie and Broughton Streets, Barton, open seven days for breakfast and lunch (from 7am during the week).