Relaxed, hidden gem at the local shops 

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Baked eggs shakshuka… smoky baked beans, two baked eggs, tomatoes, onions, and a secret mix of spices all oven baked in a large, flat skillet. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

“Gang Gang Café… has a strong, friendly community vibe and couldn’t be more relaxed if it tried,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

CANBERRA loves its local shops. As much as we can be attached to our own, it’s worth exploring the ACT’s local shop landscape to see what you can uncover. Recently, that landed me in a sunny spot at the Gang Gang Café, a hidden gem in Downer (Frencham Place).

Wendy Johnson.

The place has a strong, friendly community vibe and couldn’t be more relaxed if it tried. Bricks are exposed on inside walls, concrete floors polished, the furniture a medley of pieces with some individual tables and some communal. And a café with the name Gang Gang wouldn’t be complete without at least one piece of artwork on the wall featuring a shy gang gang cockatoo, this one a male with a crimson red head and fluffy light-grey, feathered body.

Gang Gang is a neighbour to the Downer Community Centre and the local oval is just across the road. The shop’s bronze kangaroo sculpture, unveiled in 2019 to replace a previous sculpture that went missing (who knows where?) adds character.

The breakfast menu kicks off with simple toast and choice of jam, Vegemite or peanut butter ($9). I was peckish but couldn’t decide sweet or savoury. The berry and banana buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup caught my eye ($18) and so did the ricotta and berry raisin toast ($16). Hmmm.

In the end I settled, as I so often do with my first meal of the day, on savoury, ordering the baked eggs shakshuka ($20). Who doesn’t love a piping hot serve of a hearty Mediterranean dish to take away the tummy grumbles? Shakshuka means ‘mixture’ and the dish was just that. Smoky baked beans, two baked eggs, tomatoes, onions, and a secret mix of spices all oven baked in a large, flat skillet.

The dish arrived piping hot and was served with white sourdough toast smothered with butter. It was a huge serve and super tasty. It truly did hit the spot, although my eggs were a tad overcooked for my liking.

The coffee at Gang Gang is good. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Other items on Gang Gang Café’s all-day breakfast menu include an intriguing and healthy-sounding bircher muesli ($15), eggs Benedict, which comes with salmon, ham or bacon ($18), and avo and feta smash on toasted sourdough ($14).

Both inside and outside dining areas are quite large and Gang Gang Café is dog friendly. You order at the counter and food is served at your table. The coffee is good.

Covid-style, Gang Gang’s full menu is now available for pick up and delivery. A new pizza menu has been introduced, with delivery available from 3pm to 8pm. Open seven days. Free wifi.

Gang Gang Café, 4/2 Frencham Place, Downer, open Monday to Sunday (7am to 8pm).

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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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