Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON heads back to the lake to visit a new cafe in Barton.
IT was a l-o-o-o-ng time coming, with covid part of the delay, but eventually On Lake Café opened its doors for business in a prime position right on the edge of the lake at Bowen Park in Barton.
A massive lawn area is out the front surrounded by mature trees. It’s relaxed, family friendly, pooch friendly and a fave spot for walkers, cyclists, those whipping about on scooters… who want a good coffee, breakfast, lunch or a sweet or smoothie.
Authentic Greek food is the name of the game (with some Aussie café must-haves such as pies and sausage rolls), and our lunch dishes were as pretty as the scenery.
All-day breakfast, with some super healthy menu items, is also on offer. Prices are reasonable and those with a sweet tooth have plenty to choose from, including almond biscuits, loukoumades (golden-fried puffs of sweet dough with syrup).
The Green Bowl sounded amazing ($22). After a bit of an internal struggle, I settled on the Mediterranean Bowl, chock full of ingredients with contrasting colours and textures. Half a ripe, creamy, smooth avo was a major feature and the bowl boasted a lovely chickpea hummus, quinoa, broccolini (not overcooked), bright pickled cabbage, falafel, poached eggs and mixed leaf salad. The eggs were cooked perfectly (I don’t like mine super runny or too firm… fussy, I know). It was delicious, a generous serve and a perfect dish for a summer’s day. Gluten and dairy free options are available.
My friend was intrigued by the honey-glazed Ham Hock Benedict ($21) and it was amazing. The 24-hour, slow-roasted and glazed hock was tender and packed with flavour. The two poached eggs were smothered with a heavenly aged balsamic hollandaise and the pork floss perched on top was delightful. The eggs were served on thick slices of sourdough toast. A gluten-free option is available.
While the flavours were there, the eggs on both dishes were far from hot, which was disappointing, but service had already become a big issue and we weren’t prepared to waste more time sending the dishes back (we were starving). It was late afternoon and a windy day so there weren’t that many customers about, but it still took about 40 minutes to be served, which was frustrating (we overheard the folks at the next table saying they had also been waiting so long they thought their order was lost).
I would also say that the café, while blessed with direct views of Lake Burley Griffin, could smarten up its presence a bit. We sat at a fold-out table that still had its purchase/branding stickers on it (peeling off). Petty point? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t take much to tidy matters just a tad.
On Lake Café is byo.
Who can be trusted?
In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.
If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.
Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep citynews.com.au strong and free.
Ian Meikle, editor