New eatery with a gift in store

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The heirloom carrot and black rice bowl… featuring roasted heirloom carrot, avocado and a yummy orange and almond honey vinaigrette. Photo: Wendy Johnson

EVERY so often, a new concept pops up on the hospitality scene that attracts Canberrans like bees to honey.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

We (meaning my faithful foodie friends) were excited when we heard about Calli opening a couple of weeks ago at Kingston Foreshore.

You see, Calli is more than a café. It’s a café, a wine bar and an upmarket homewares and gift store. It has a perfect possie, right on the water near Go-Boats, so it’s close to the action but far enough away to have its own lovely sense of calm.

The owners, Kay Taylor and John McCallum, are among the longest-term residents of the Kingston Foreshore and when the opportunity came up to create a special space for discerning customers, they grabbed it.

The menu continually evolves, as Calli road tests dishes in its early days of business. It’s a small menu (by design), with a strong focus on fresh, quality and regional produce. It was designed by Deb Todd who worked with John and Kay to set up the café, bar and store.

We were there for brunch and came away impressed.

Bruschetta… super creamy hummus, pomegranate salsa perky and Italian sausage. Photo: Wendy Johnson

The breakfast burrito ($16 or $21 with haloumi or chorizo) was packed with goodness. It included roasted zucchini and corn salsa, capsicum coulis and spiced chickpeas. The heirloom carrot and black rice bowl ($18) featured roasted heirloom carrot, avocado and a yummy orange and almond honey vinaigrette. You can add a lovely piece of salmon for an additional $8. The bruschetta didn’t disappoint ($16). The hummus was super creamy, pomegranate salsa perky and Italian sausage features a great combo of herbs ($5 extra).

Calli has also worked with Lonsdale Street Roasters to create a special coffee blend, perfect with homemade sweets. Quality teas are also on the menu.

The breakfast burrito… packed with goodness including roasted zucchini and corn salsa, capsicum coulis and spiced chickpeas. Photo: Wendy Johnson

John – a wine buff who headed the Oxford Wine Society – has curated a small list of wines (starting at $8 a glass). Local wineries are featured, including Mount Majura, Clonakilla and Lake George. The small selection of gins, whiskies and beers is enticing.

Calli’s “wine bar” stays open after lunch. Calli doesn’t serve dinner but offers wines and cocktails with marinated mushrooms ($8), cheese platters ($14), house-roasted mixed nuts ($10) and olives ($12). It will soon will have a tapas sharing menu.

Kay has put her heart and soul into Calli’s store. She makes and designs many items, including luxury pillows and lampshades. The rest she sources ethically and each item has an interesting back story.

Dog friendly Calli, Trevillian Quay, Kingston Foreshore. Open Tuesday-Sunday, from early through to 8ish at night.

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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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