Some of the best cafes are the ones you find by accident and stumbling across As Nature Intended in Belconnen was a happy accident indeed. This organic cafe and grocer has to be one of Canberra's best-kept secrets hiding peacefully snug in a sunny spot at the Belconnen Fresh Food Market. Just look for the plants spilling out of their pots like a wild granny's garden and you'll know you've found it.
Step inside As Nature Intended and you'll feel the cosiness dial up a notch. Couches and tables are adorned with teapots, crocheted blankets and potato sack cushions and there are books on each table to flick through. The outdoor seating is an eclectic mix of garden furniture with pot plants and wheelbarrows bursting with flowery goodness.
Interior of the As Nature Intended Cafe, Belconnen
The café area of As Nature Intended is welcoming and the cake cabinet is packed to the brim. When I stumbled across this little gem it was morning tea time so I only tried the cake but there is a full breakfast and lunch menu which includes some mouth-watering vegan and vegetarian options and caters to lots of different dietary requirements. The cake comes served with fruit salad (so it must be healthy, right?) and the portions are really generous.
As well as coffee, tea and juice, it was so great to see some unusual options on the drinks menu including mulled apple juice which was the most perfect thing on a chilly autumn morning. It was so good that it alone is worth a visit but there is another reason to check this place out too: not only is As Nature Intended a cafe, it doubles as a whole foods store and organic grocer.
The organic fresh produce is almost entirely plastic free and the displays are gorgeous. There are bulk foods on offer and a huge variety of vegan and vegetarian foods and sustainable and eco-friendly products.
This quirky little place is well and truly worth a visit, especially if you're looking for a haven from the more hectic Canberra café scene so step inside, relax and take some time to stop and enjoy your coffee.