Saturday, 29 October 2011

Review: Mojo Rising – Lonsdale St Roasters, Braddon

What is it about a little cafe that draws people in and keeps them coming back, again and again?  Good food?  Good coffee?  A little bit of magic, or mojo, perhaps?  Whatever it is, there is something about Lonsdale St Roasters in Braddon.  This place is ultra-hip, ultra-cool and very, very trendy.
Every weekday morning I walk past Lonsdale St Roasters on my way to work, longingly looking inside as I go by.  I envy all those hip, trendy people inside who can luxuriate over breakfast and a coffee during the week, while the rest of us mere mortals have to be in the office by 9am. 
Every now and again, when I make a special effort to get going early, I manage to squeeze inside Lonsdale St Roasters (and some mornings it really is a squeeze, but the service is quick).  The heady aroma of roasting coffee beans jolts all my senses awake.  And I am glad, for the coffee is good and the coffee is strong! (So strong it will grow hairs on your chest!). It is the best coffee I’ve had in Canberra.
Every so often, I grab breakfast on the run from this tiny cafe.  I love the raisin toast with oh-so-sweet-and-delicious cinnamon butter served in a little tub on the side.  Once in a while, if I am lucky, on a weekend morning I can sit down and eat breakfast and drink coffee and hang out, just like all those trendy, hip things I have envied during the week.  Then it’s the gorgeous waffles with honey butter that make my heart sing.  The music box plays cool, sultry blues like Billie Holiday, melding with the coffee aroma like a couple embraced in a slow dance. The darkened cave-like room hums with energy and I just mellow out and relax, absorbing it all and recharging my tired soul.
Waffles with honey butter - $7
Once in a while, I also venture to Lonsdale St Roasters for lunch.  The energy buzzes as I catch up with good friends and family.   Packed to overflowing as usual with beautiful, trendy people, the little cafe opens its windows and the people all tumble onto the pavement, sitting in the sun on upturned milk crates and tiny stools, among all the bicycles parked out the front.  If only there could be proper chairs and tables and umbrellas!  I guess shabby-chic is part of the quirky charm, but still! 
The panini are a lunch-time specialty, and Lonsdale St Roasters has got them down to a fine art, along with the kitsch artwork on the walls.  Slow roasted meats with chilli and spice, cransky, chorizo and roasted portabello mushrooms are the stars, arriving in beautiful, crusty toasted bread rolls with other tasty fillings like rich, melted cheese and tasty relish.  However, while this food is good, it is very heavy going.  I would love to see some fresher, lighter meals as well.
Panini with roasted portabello mushrooms and melted gorgonzola cheese - $11
Panini with cransky and sauerkraut - $12
I walk by Lonsdale St Roasters on my way home again every evening.  The little cafe is dark and quiet now – it’s well past closing time.  I look through the window as I pass, thinking when I might come in again.  The mojo keeps drawing me back.  And the great coffee.
So tell me, what keeps you coming back to a place again and again?  And do you believe in mojo?

Post Script:
Lonsdale St Roasters now has umbrellas set up outside.  Yay!
Lonsdale St Roasters
7 Lonsdale St
Braddon  ACT
Open Monday – Sat for breakfast and lunch.  Closed on Sundays. L
Lonsdale St Roasters Facebook page

Lonsdale Street Roasters on Urbanspoon

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