A cosy fireplace in winter & outdoor dining in summer
Rye Cafe is located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon, just a few minutes walk up from the city centre. It is one of those cafes that you walk by and it is always busy. It doesn't matter what day it is, or what time it is, there are locals sitting outside at the tables and along the small verandah at the front, basking in the sun. When you peek through the glass into the interior, it is also wall-to-wall with people enjoying themselves and sipping their coffees as they talk. Although the menu for Rye isn't the cheapest in town, locals flock to it each weekday and weekend, with happy people milling around the outside socialising in the sun.
So why do locals and visitors love it so much? There are many reasons...
Summer outdoor dining at Rye, Lonsdale Street. Image: Rye Facebook
Although it is particularly popular in the summer months due to the outside dining area, it is also just as busy in winter months for its warm interior. After reading my recent article about Canberra's cosiest winter cafes, my friend suggested we meet up for breakfast at Rye as it is her favourite cosy café, due to its particularly warm and traditional fireplace. On a cold winter's morning, we walked inside and were lucky enough to find an empty table not far from the fireplace itself. Instantly we thawed out, peeled off our jackets and were embraced with a comforting, cosy hug from the flickering fireplace.
Lonsdale Street in Braddon has a wide variety of funky cafes to choose from, and they each have their own unique strengths and reasons to go back. As soon as we walked in the door at Rye, it was evident that one of their strengths was their service. Despite being busy, we were given a friendly welcome straight away and our chosen table was cleared and wiped before we sat down. We were then provided with water and time to peruse the menu, before the friendly gentleman who served us was back again to take our order. Everything was smooth and effortless so we could settle in and relax in the Scandinavian, minimalist surrounds.
Light and airy, with a dozen tables, high benches and bar seating looking out the window
The menu at Rye is extensive, with creative dishes and an All Day Breakfast Menu which is perfect for lazy weekend mornings, when you want to sleep in. After much consideration I chose the "Avocado & poached eggs on dark rye with broad beans, peas, Danish feta & dukkah" ($20), while my friend built her own dish with "Two Eggs (Poached) with Sourdough and Smashed Avocado with Fetta" ($17).
On such a cold morning we were looking forward to our hot coffees and they didn't disappoint. There are some venues that make a nice coffee and there are others that make a coffee that you would walk across town for - Rye coffee is the latter. It was creamy, hot and beautifully-made and according to their website, the beans were from Five Senses in Western Australia.
As we sat and enjoyed our coffees, we were impressed by the range of breakfast meals that were quickly delivered to the tables around us, presented beautifully on wooden boards. When our own meals arrived we were more than impressed by how they looked - particularly the avocado dish with broad beans and peas scattered around the plate. It looked like a piece of art that I didn't want to disturb!
Underneath the pile were two pieces of rye toast which were delicious combined with the dukka, feta and egg yolk, as it dribbled out amongst the peas. It was an adventure to eat - as each time I tried to cut into the hard toast, a pea would fly in the direction of my friend across from me. It became a game by the end, to see how many peas I could scatter with each cut of the knife - which created some amusement in our dining experience!
We enjoyed our experience at Rye, with the outstanding service and walk-across-town coffee that had us tipping up our cups for the very last sip. This cafe has almost been open for 2 years now, at the time of writing, and it is easy to see how it became so popular - especially with the breakfast crowd. The lunch menu also looked a treat, with a Danish Open Sandwich which would be fresh and inviting on a warm day, sitting outside watching the world go by.
Rye is a predominantly a healthy café which showcases fresh ingredients - however, when you go up to the counter to pay at the end of your meal, there is a decadent display of slices, tarts and pure winter comfort food. If you are looking for a cosy winter café, you can't get much cosier than the combination of coffee, cake AND a fireplace...
...which is why you will find us enjoying all three, on our next winter visit to Rye! Image: Original photos from Rye Facebook