A dog friendly cafe with a breakfast worth tweeting about
Little Bird café is located in the inner south suburb of Barton, just a short walk or drive from the Parliamentary Triangle. The café itself is situated on a corner behind the Australian Federal Police, under a multi-storey carpark and amongst several government buildings, making it a busy café during the week with local workers. On the weekends however, when the streets are quieter and it has little passing traffic, Little Bird has become popular with runners, cyclists, dog walkers and tourists staying in nearby hotels - creating a relaxed weekend vibe in which to slow down.
Pardon the pun, but "a little bird told me" (ie. a friend who works nearby) about this café and she raved so much about their delicious food, large servings and reasonably priced menu - that I thought it was time to check out this hidden gem. It has only been open for a year, however Little Bird has the local working population talking. On a hot Saturday morning in summer, our family arrived for an early breakfast and already, cars had lined the streets and the outside tables were filling up fast. It seems there have been quite a number of "little birds" telling people about this popular Barton café - and deservedly so!
Outside the café there are large tables to sit at, perfectly spaced so you don't feel like you are listening to conversations on other tables. On the weekends, as the roads are quiet, we noticed that this outside area was particularly quiet and peaceful, despite the number of people sitting along the verandah chatting.
When you walk into the café it is light and airy with greenery hanging form the ceiling and recycled timber features on the back wall and around the counter. As well as the tasty menu on offer, they also sell toasted sandwiches and a tempting array of freshly baked treats, made in-house, if you want to pop in for something lighter than a meal. The friendly staff will bring you a menu and water and then you have time to scan the menu and decide. With "Ham and Potato Croquettes with Sriracha fried eggs and smashed avocado" ($17.50), "Little Bird Baked Beans with cannelini beans, speck, roast capsicum, fetta, basil and poached eggs" ($17.50) and "Egg and Bacon Roll with cheddar and barbecue sauce" ($12.90) as menu choices - could we really go wrong?
On our table we ended up choosing the "Field Mushrooms with hash brown, lemon herb ricotta and basil pesto on seeded rye" ($16.90) and "Poached Eggs and Dukkah with goat's cheese, avocado, almonds and lemon on seeded rye" ($17.50), as well as iced coffees with icecream for us and a banana smoothie for our daughter. If you are taking young children, there is a particularly tasty banana bread on the menu which (usually) goes down a treat with the littlies.
When our meals came out we were impressed to say the least, as they looked colourful, inviting and most of all, decent servings. There were so many delicious looking components to the plates, that we didn't know which to try first. Each scoop of the fork into something new caused us both to cry "Wow - you must try this!", so in the end we had a taste of each other's meals on our plates so we could try them all. The result was one of the best breakfasts that we have ever had, which is a big call to make, however the combinations, flavours and presentation on the plates were simply perfect.
Field Mushrooms with hash brown, lemon herb ricotta and basil pesto on seeded rye ($16.90)
When you discover a café or restaurant that has the whole package - food, décor, service and relaxed general vibe, you look forward to the next time you will be able to experience it all over again. Little Bird is one of those cafés. Since visiting this café, I have learnt that two of the co-owners Craig Wade (who is the chef) and Dan Buttress (the friendly barista behind the counter), both have a wealth of Canberra hospitality experience behind them and have obviously mastered the art of how to put together a welcoming café. Moving into their second year, Little Bird is sure to soar even further.
If you are in the Barton area on the weekend, or wanting to go out for breakfast or brunch before walking around the national galleries, Little Bird is worth tracking down to try. If you have dogs in particular, this dog-friendly café is a welcome sight if you are walking your dogs around Lake Burley Griffin, just a short detour away. These happy pooches (below) seem particularly happy that their owners have discovered it - so they can enjoy a well-earned rest!
Who me? Image: Original photos from Little Bird Facebook