Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cafe Review: Penny University, Kingston Canberra

So today I let someone else do the cooking for me and ventured out to where everyone in Canberra seems to be talking about.. Penny University - a new coffee roast house, brunch spot in Canberra's inner south.  With an in-house coffee roaster, a terrific range of succulent sweets and a modern breakfast and lunch menu Penny University has something for everyone!

We timed our arrival for the cross over between the breakfast and lunch menu so as to satisfy the brunch and more traditional lunch lovers of the group.  But our timing seemed to be the same as half of Canberra.  The 25 minute wait was expected though and we walked around the growing Kingston precinct sticking our noses into the old favourites and the booming hip new places (that seem to be popping up all over Canberra).

After receiving the phone call that the table was ready, we took a seat and began perusing the menu.  For a coffee lover, like myself, it's always a simple drinks order.. not at Penny University.  With salted caramel milkshakes, homemade cordial, house-roasted coffee and a large variety of smoothies and juices the choice was a little harder.  And that was only the beginning!  The menu was a totally different mission!

Avo Dish - yum!
With so many great options on the menu we spent about 15 minutes looking at the menu, asking the waitress three times to give us "two more minutes" to finalise our order.  In the end, none of us were disappointed.  I chose the Avo Dish; avocado on toasted rye, charred corn and quinoa tabouleh , chevre, chilli oil and poached egg.  Others chose the McPenny; a breakfast burger of fluffy cheddar scrambles, streaky "Pialligo" smoked bacon, spinach and Pennys tomato salsa, the Low GI Breakfast Pudding with black sticky rice, char-grilled mango and coconut and the Steak Sanga on gluten-free bread featuring a grain-fed sirloin steak, egg and all the trimmings you could imagine!

Mc Penny
Then to top today's brunch/lunch feast we tried some of Elliane's dessert cabinet.  And these bad boys were off the CHAIN!  There were homemade croissants, tarts, muffins, cronuts, friands.. there were options for the gluten-free, dairy-free.  Really, the options seemed pretty endless and they all looked amazing!

So to give each of these reviews a little context I thought I would make specific comments on a few aspects of each of the places, rating them on decor, service, menu, desserts, coffee and price.  So lets start with:
Decor: With mismatched chairs, tables, re-loved cabinetry and brick and timber finishings Penny University ticks all the boxes at nailing that hipster eclectic look.  My favourite aspect are the quirky artworks stickered on the walls.

Wall Decor
Service: Other than the wait (which on a Sunday in Canberra is now something to expect), the service was great.  Our orders were taken promptly (or as quickly as we could decide) and our food was the same.

Menu: Penny University really does offer something for everyone.  They were flexible to cater to the intolerances and requests made at our table and had something for the savoury and sweet tooth diners.

Desserts (this is my favourite category): The desserts offered at 
Penny's were great!  We only tried two, but the two we did try were mouth-wateringly good.

Blueberry and Orange Frangipani
Coffee: Now as mentioned in previous posts.. I like my coffee strong and I take it with soy - which is usually pretty hard to pull off and a baristas worst nightmare (as the soy milk tends to get lumpy when the coffee is stronger).  With this in mind, Penny's didn't do a bad job at all!  I think that if it was a little bit less busy it would have been off the charts (as the coffee had a wonderful flavour) but they were really busy and the barista was busy pouring out endless coffees from when we got there to when we left.  Today they were pouring from either a Guatemalan or Papua New Guinean blend.  Which ever it was that I had, was rich and nutty!

Price:  Their prices are on the slightly higher side of your standard coffee shop - where depending on your order you might be close to hitting the $5 mark for a cup of coffee.  But with that in mind their quality is higher than that of a standard coffee shop and so you are paying for what you get.

Overall guys -- you need to check this place out!!! It's an adorable, delicious gem in the inner South of Canberra, I know it won't disappoint!

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