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Friday, July 26, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Cafe hosts a true community hub

After a bit of browsing at Meet Gather Collect, a cool homewares and gift store in Aranda, a friend and I popped into neighbouring Two Before Ten for a bite to eat. writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON

Aranda is the birth home of Two Before Ten, which now has a whopping 13 locations across Canberra and the region, as far as Murrumbateman. 

Wendy Johnson.

Two Before Ten moved into Aranda’s old shops around 14 years ago and, over time, has contributed to what is now a true community hub. 

It operates an onsite bar (10 Yards) and its café, which are housed side-by-side in the same huge, hipster-style space. 

Two Before Ten also operates a roastery for its well-known coffee blends and it has beehives, fruit trees and an expansive urban garden with an impressive array of veggies, fruits and herbs. So it’s all happening.

We were lunching and agreed several items on the compact menu caught our eye. 

I began with a watermelon, apple and mint juice (cold pressed, $7) which hit the spot. 

From the specials boards I settled on the mushroom omelette, attracted in part by the reference to greens from the onsite garden (fresh for the picking). 

The button mushrooms tucked inside the piping-hot omelette were thinly sliced and roasted with thyme (also from the garden). It features whipped goats’ cheese and, as promised, plenty of garden greens. The omelette, served with a thickish slice of toast, is a satisfying breakfast or lunch option ($24). 

My friend was originally going to order the Portuguese chicken wrap ($24) but decided on the brekky wrap ($22). It looked attractive with the wrap sliced in two so the goodies inside could be seen when plated. The flour tortilla was loaded with omelette, cheese, rasher bacon, chilli aioli and smoky barbecue sauce (not enough to be overpowering). Also healthy greens picked from that amazing garden and herbs, too.

Although high on taste, the moisture from the omelette and cheese made the wrap uncomfortably soggy, so most was placed to the side so my friend could concentrate on the goodies inside.

Also on the specials, for those with a sweet tooth, were sticky date waffles ($23). The lemon-herbed roasted chicken sanga sounded yum ($23).

Two Before Ten roasts its own beans and each blend has its own flavour profile. We had coffees after and, while we weren’t sure which blend was used, we both agreed we’d ask for coffees with more intense flavour next time. Two Before Ten also makes a spiced chai mix and a hot chocolate mix.

As night falls, Two Before Ten goes to sleep and 10 Yards comes to life, offering quality fresh produce and wines from the local region. It, too, has a casual, laid-back vibe.

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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