In short: Rye Café on Canberra’s foodie mecca strip of Lonsdale St. offers up top notch coffee and café fare in a chic, warm, and inviting space. The café competition on Lonsdale is strong, and Rye Café more than stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best.
Canberra, on a crisp winter’s morning with shards of sunlight warming the frost from glowing spaces where they land, has that cosy feeling I’ve felt in other great winter cities like Toronto, New York, Montreal, and many more. It’s that sharp, brightness to the air that makes you want to cup a warm mug between your hands, and watch the joggers, dog walkers, and pram pushers slide on as you sip and sit from a chic, serene café perch. On Canberra’s Lonsdale St. foodie strip, Rye Café is that perch.
We’re down for the weekend from Sydney and wouldn’t you know it, our hotel is a block from the city’s foodie mecca of Braddon, or more specifically, Lonsdale St and surrounds. It’s as if us die-hard foodies planned it that way! Surely not! There’s really so many great cafes and food experiences on the Lonsdale strip, but on this very early Saturday morning, we slide into a seat along the window at Rye Cafe and order up a cappuccino and chai latte.
The cap not only fulfils the brief of a warm mug to cup between one’s hands, but more than delivers with smooth chocolatey and caramel notes. The froth is uniquely creamy and silky. Rye Café’s barista is on point in the milky skills department. Bravo!
The chai latte sports the same masterful frothy topper. Combine that with a light, pleasantly sweet chai spice that finishes with a refined liqueur note, and this is a chai definitely up there with some of the best. Oh, and it warms the hands just about as good as the cap ?
Trying not to be too naughty as we watch the eager joggers trot by, we opt for a wholesome bircher muesli with coconut labneh and berry compote. Topped with a ton of textures from almonds, coconut flakes and berries, the magic continues the deeper you dig. The muesli base has an almost creamy cheesecake richness to it. What really sells it though, is how the berry compote mingles with the silky muesli blend and adds sparks of tart brightness to the mix. This bowl is a reason to stop at Rye Cafe alone.
So, there are a few staples one can use as a benchmark of a café’s foodie street cred. Being that Rye Café is smack dab in the Aussie capital, surely we have to test their “banjo” or what is otherwise known as, the bacon and egg roll. Naturally we push the button on the Deluxe Bacon & Egg Roll. Rye Café also has your basic version, but hey, you had me at deluxe. The toasty brioche bun, spread with punchy aioli and chilli jam, cradles a perfectly runny egg, fresh tomato, cheese, lettuce, and of course a generous stack of salty, smoky, bacon. Done right, the humble bacon and egg roll can be a thing of beauty. Rye Café has done this Aussie institution proud! On ya!
Rye Café on Lonsdale, with it’s clean, warm, wood-clad and inviting space, plays a part in lifting the Canberra café and coffee scene to an impressive level. From food to fit-out, Rye checks all the boxes of what a world class café should aspire to, but does it in a way that is friendly and accessible to all.