Dining / Little cafe with a big view

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The view from Little Brother cafe atop Red Hill. Photo by Wendy Johnson

THERE is no denying that the view from the top of Red Hill is amazing. Elevated 175 metres above the city, with sweeping views of the capital and several national icons, it’s a stunner of a place to dine in any season, but especially now with the trees changing colours to golden yellows, bright reds and autumn oranges.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

Every year, around this time, I trek up Red Hill to the lookout and have a meal at the Little Brother café, often meeting friends at the top who have also trekked, but from another direction.

And so it was, last weekend, that a group of us gathered, to soak in the views and have lunch.

The menu features many of the usual café suspects such as eggs benedict, fish and chips, and a line-up of jaffles. Mains range from $18 to $29. The jaffles and smaller dishes hover around $15, the desserts are $15 and a cheese plate (with three cheeses) $21. Tarts and slices vary from $5 to $8 (which includes a slice of the cheesecake of the day).

Sweet potato and beetroot fritter at Little Brother. Photo by Wendy Johnson

Two of us ordered the sweet potato and beetroot fritters, an interesting combination of flavours and not too sweet. The fritters were crunchy, the poached eggs cooked perfectly – not too hard, not too soft – and the wilted spinach was a healthy green element. The horseradish cream was tasty and not overpowering. Although the tastes were there, my dish was cold when served and my friend’s fritters appeared slightly overcooked and quite dark around the edges.

Having completed a trek, one of our party was in for a hearty lunch and so ordered the sausages with mash, caramelised onion and jus. It was a super generous serve ($26). The jus was packed with flavour, the mash nice and creamy and the sausages not too fatty and not too dry.

Little Brother’s chicken burger and chips. Photo by Wendy Johnson

The battered fish fillets with tartare sauce hit the mark ($29) and we all sampled the crispy chips and thought they were great.

The Asian-type salad was a big let-down. It lacked in flavour, featured very little chilli and was overall underwhelming.

The wine list at Little Brother is compact, with whites topping off at $60 a bottle and reds the same. The rose is $46.

Little Brother’s Thai beef salad. Photo by Wendy Johnson

At Little Brother you order inside at the counter. We were fortunate to score an outdoor table, with the best views. It was a windy day and on a couple of occasions we watched an umbrella tumble over with staff struggling to keep it upright. They need to be better secured.

The service was hit and miss. Even though we had booked, when I first arrived I stood awkwardly at the front counter for some time before anyone said “hello”. It wasn’t the most welcoming of welcomes.

Little Brother, Red Hill lookout. Open Wednesday to Friday, 9am-4pm; weekends, 8am-3pm. Call 6273 1166.

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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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