Breakfast in the Public domain

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Public’s Green Breakfast Bowl… the avocado was ripe and creamy, the baby carrots sweet and crunchy, the hummus smooth and two eggs poached to perfection. Photo: Wendy Johnson

I HAVEN’T dined in public at Public for yonks. I went through a phase when I wasn’t convinced the food was worth the visit, but happy to accept a friend’s invite to head to Manuka for breakfast on a beautiful, sunny morning.

Public’s outdoor spaces are huge and well designed. Loads of greenery, various zones (big communal tables, smaller tables), cushions, interesting light fixtures, attractive posters (often with a touch of humour). It commands a presence on the corner of Franklin Street and Flinders Way.

The breakfast menu has some quirky items that immediately caught our attention. It didn’t take long for us to choose.

We ordered at the bar and were greeted warmly by a young female member of staff who provided us with friendly and prompt service throughout our stay.

For breakfast, you can start with something small, such as the mini fruit loaf from Three Mills Bakery with beautiful cultured butter and spreads ($10). Health addicts will no doubt gravitate to toasted granola with fresh fruit ($14) and those looking for a hearty start to the day can dig in to the Big Breakfast ($23).

We were after something different and found it.

The Green Breakfast Bowl looked stunning, tasted amazing and was great value at $18. The avo was beautifully ripe and creamy, the baby carrots sweet and crunchy, the hummus smooth and not overly garlicky and the quinoa not overdone. It came with loads of greens and two poached eggs cooked to perfection. It was so pretty I didn’t want to disturb the dish by digging in. I felt healthier with every bite.

My friend’s dish was equally appetising and also a feast for the eyes. The zucchini and corn torta ($16) was packed with flavour and the coriander yogurt balanced nicely against the tangy romesco. Two more perfectly poached eggs.

We shared a serve of yummy crispy bacon. Next time (and there will be one soon) I may give the coconut panna cotta a go ($16), made with maple pumpkin, fresh berries and granola.

Public coffees… made with love. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Hats off to Public for tantalising tastebuds at breakfast. One expects the usual suspects to be on the menu, which is totally fine – indeed essential – but when you’re not so keen on just eggs and toast, it’s great to order something refreshingly different. Sure, there are breakfast bowls in loads of places these days. The key is to get a great one and I did.

Our coffees were super, too – just the right temperature and prepared with love.

I’ve had some run-ins with bad service lately, but not this time at Public. We weren’t pestered but not forgotten, which added to the experience.

Public, 1-33 Flinders Way, Manuka, open seven days. Call 6161 8808.

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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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