Many of you may know that the much loved Two Before Ten (TBT) in the city temporarily shut down due to the redevelopment of the building. A coffee cart/trailer acted as a substitute enabling city workers to grab their coffee fix. The plan was to build a brand new bigger and better TBT out in the suburbs, and that suburb is Aranda. The new TBT has been open for a couple of months now with more plans soon to be completed, adding on the Bolt Bar and beer garden, a gallery to exhibit art works and a yoga studio. The Library offers a space for those that want to study or work while having a coffee. The Canberra Times states a pizzeria will be opening with an outdoor terrace serving pizza, pasta and wines. This is all part of a master plan to redevelop the Aranda Shops. Exciting times.
TBT have kept the decor similar with a funky industrial vibe, black and exposed brick walls and have knocked out part of the wall so that you can see into the roastery. Some art work for sale is hung up along the back corridor.
I could see a computer set up next to the roaster and, being the coffee noob that I am, I enquired about what that was used for. The computer ensures the coffee is heated up at the correct temperatures for a light roast/dark roast etc.
I wanted to try something differed and ordered TBT’s own Batch Brew poured through a drip filter. Usually $3.30, there was only half a cup left that day so I received this on the house. I don’t think I will ever get used to pure black coffee because all I could taste was bitter and some fruity flavours. Each to their own.
The all day menu offers a few breakfast and lunch options. On my first visit to TBT, I noticed the menu differs slightly to what’s on the website. To be honest, nothing on the menu jumped out at me and I was starting to think I had picked the wrong place for a spontaneous solo lunch. I settled on the Ploughman’s Lunch ($16) with pork and sage meatloaf, boiled egg, aged cheddar cheese, house piccalilli and sourdough. The two thick slices of warm meatloaf and a steaming hot boiled egg were the only warm items of the dish. The piccalilli of pickled chopped cauliflower, broccoli and corn had been mixed in with seeded mustard to give extra acidity. The meatloaf wasn’t overly flavoursome compared to the sharp cheddar cheese and sour piccalilli. I think I’d prefer cured meats to meatloaf but this wasn’t a bad dish.
On my second visit with a friend, he ordered a medium latte while I chose something different again, and tried TBT’s house made chai latte ($4). Sweeter than I thought it would be but it remained delicate and fragrant.
Food-wise I ordered the sweet corn bread with poached eggs, bacon and avocado salsa ($17). The bacon was crispy and plentiful, the two perfectly poached eggs had silky yolk oozing out and I enjoyed the healthy avocado, tomato and onion salsa mix. The sweet corn bread tasted very much like corn so I hope that means it’s as organic as possible. The sweetness of the bread helped to offset the savoury bacon. The size of the corn bread was quite small, I would have liked a slightly bigger piece to go with all that salsa and yolk. Overall, I enjoyed this dish.
Prices at TBT are reasonable and I didn’t find anything on the menu over $20. The food is down to earth and simple. A range of TBT coffee beans can be purchased as well as fancy looking cold drips and other coffee making equipment. I believe cupping sessions are being offered on Thursday afternoons – best to contact them to double check and book in. The first time I visited, I didn’t know where the front door was as it’s not clearly marked. I’m glad that the front door now has ‘This is the front door’ written in chalk for those like me. There is table service and you are encouraged to find your own seat before someone arrives with menus. Glasses and tap water are placed on each table. Service is excellent and our waitress was knowledgeable about both the coffee and the food. Best of all, split billing is allowed!
TBT’s new ‘Twelve’ has opened opposite their old space on Marcus Clarke Street in the city. Twelve is an espresso bar that also serves pastries, toasties and fresh wraps. TBT’s instagram tells me they are working on a new recipe for the espresso butter toast…intriguing!
Value for money 9/10
FPJ score 26/30
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