A few friends and I stopped in at Common Grounds Cafe in Gowrie for brunch one Saturday morning. I’d never heard of this cafe until reading a Canberra Weekly article about the place. Located at the Gowrie shops in Tuggeranong, the cafe is easy to find. Just follow the signs to the shops. At 10am, there were already plenty of people outside enjoying breakfast.
As soon as I walked in, what immediately grabbed my attention was the funky feature wall. Pretty impressive! There is minimal seating inside with tables lined up against the feature wall providing a bit of space for the traffic from diners and those waiting for takeaway orders. An outdoor courtyard at the back with outdoor umbrellas provides additional space for those wanting to sit outside.
The cafe has a crisp, clean but homey look to it with dark wooden floorboards and a wooden front counter, contrasting against a backdrop of white walls and white chairs. I like the charcoal grey hanging pendant lamps (Ikea?) that match the back wall holding chalkboards of the menu.
The mango bruschetta written up under the specials sounds great.
Table numbers in the form of cute chalkboard signs are placed on every table.
I noticed some smoothies were written up on the chalkboard and ordered the mango smoothie ($6) as soon as our waitress came over to take our drinks order. I haven’t ordered a smoothie in such a long time as I usually pick mochas or fresh juices, so I was expecting something Boost-Juice-esque. This came out within 10 minutes of ordering. Do smoothies always have ice cream in them? This one did and it tasted fantastic! Blended until it was smooth and creamy, this gave me the hit of sugar I needed. I couldn’t taste any fresh mango or much of a mango flavour at all, but I was starving so I didn’t care. The creamy sugary goodness went down very quickly.
There’s a good selection of items for breakfast and lunch. I was stuck between some kind of egg dish or pancakes. The Conquistador was tempting – who doesn’t love chorizo?
I ended up choosing the Eggs Mediterranean ($15.90) consisting of sauteed mushrooms and sundried tomatoes on toasted ciabatta, topped with a poached egg and grilled haloumi. Being a little greedy, I added in spinach ($2) and salmon ($3). This looked a little messy on the plate, but there was a good mixture of different flavours. I broke the perfectly poached egg and let the yolk cover the mushrooms and the ciabatta. The sundried tomatoes were delicious and was my favourite element of the dish. It must have been marinated in some tasty sauce/jam as it was tangy and I thought worked well with the overall dish. The small piece of grilled haloumi was just enough for me, and I loved eating this together with a bit of everything else on the plate. The ciabatta was crunchy and didn’t go soggy from all the other items. The mushrooms were a little cold so I’m not sure how long it had been sitting there. Other than that, it was an enjoyable breakfast.
My friend ordered the eggs benedict with salmon ($15.50) and gluten-free bread. The menu does not state whether there is a surcharge on gluten-free bread, so he got a bit of a surprise when he was charged an extra $3 for it. He had also ordered a juice which never arrived. It was very hard catching the attention of staff, even after calling out, so he had to wait at the counter for service. His juice order had gotten lost and wasn’t provided until after finishing his meal. What’s annoying is that it wasn’t freshly squeezed juice, but juice in a bottle from the fridge.
|Eggs benedict with salmon ($15.50) on gluten free|
Some food porn of the other dishes:
|Poached eggs on two pieces of toast ($8.90) with asparagus ($2), tomato ($2), and spinach ($2)|
|Canadian pancakes with bacon, fried eggs and maple syrup ($15.90)|
It took a little while for our food to come out – about 25-30 minutes from ordering. After initial drinks and food orders were taken, it was difficult to get the staff’s attention. This is more than likely due to the fact that it was a busy Saturday morning with several people ordering take away. The additional charge for gluten-free bread, however, should have been advertised on the menu or staff should at least inform the person ordering it that there is an additional charge.
Split orders are not accepted on weekends but as there was no queue, the girl behind the counter was happy to let us pay separately. I noticed these mini cinnamon rolls on the front counter, how cute are they?
Overall, apart from some minor annoyances, I enjoyed my food and drink, and would go back to try out the other items on the menu.
Common Grounds is open both Saturday and Sunday for brunch. It’s also open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday to Friday. Bookings recommended.
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