Barrio Collective, Canberra

Author: Pat Nourse
Photography: Andy Mullens

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Barrio Collective, Canberra.

Stroopwafels? They're two rounds of thin, crisp waffle sandwiching a layer of caramel. And at Barrio Collective you can have them on your coffee. Thinking beyond the square only barely captures the vibe on the menu at this newish Canberra café favourite. Anywhere they could go the extra mile, they've gone two. You want toast? The butter is cultured, the grilled cheese comes with McClure's pickles, the bacon in the toastie is from Pialligo, and the avocado is topped with Japan's favourite chilli spice-blend, shichimi togarashi. The seasonal juice might be fresh-pressed blood orange, the soft-drink is a house-made lemon and rosemary number. Throw in a fried-egg-on-bone-marrow-butter option alongside the offer of a tin of Don Bocarte anchovies with sourdough, paprika and lemon and the whole enterprise sounds like it's threatening to collapse under its own preciousness. But it doesn't. Quite the opposite, in fact. These guys are so good at their jobs, so friendly and welcoming, and so good at making kick-arse coffee that instead you're left with a café that walks the walk as much as it talks the talk. Unleash the stroopwafels, we say, and long may they reign.

Barrio Collective, Ori Building, 59/30 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun 8am-3pm.

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