- Really friendly and welcoming staff
- Good coeliac knowledge
- Nice food
On a sunny Tuesday morning in January, Michael and I cruised into Lyneham carefree and childless after dropping the girls off at childcare. We had some R’n’R planned starting with a bit of brunch at the Front Café and Gallery. I’d seen a couple of positive reviews online saying that the Front was good for coeliacs and was keen to give it a try.
We reached Lyneham around 10am and parked around the back of the Lyneham shops. It was midweek during the school holidays and parking was surprisingly easy, as it can be quite difficult to get parks. We walked round and went into the Front. You can’t see the café from the street because there is a wall of potted plants hiding the view. Behind the plants there are tables and chairs outside. Inside, the space is split into two rooms, the gallery and the coffee shop. In the gallery, the walls were painted white with black concrete floors, and there’s lots of art work up on the walls. When we visited, we caught the last day of Fresh Canberra Classics – New Works by Trevor Dickinson – the artist responsible for the iconic Clem Cummings bus shelter prints. The walls were covered in prints of Canberra landmarks and I loved it! There were wooden tables and chairs set out and it was very relaxed and comfortable. The coffee shop section has the same laid-back feel. The floor and coffee counter were wooden and there were plants hanging from the ceiling. The counter itself was strewn with coffee paraphernalia and in the back was a bustling kitchen.
As we walked into the café, we were met by the friendliest staff member. Despite being busy, he was cheerful and helpful, telling us to take a table and explaining that the menu was accessible via QR code at the table. We sat outside, near the entrance and after a few minutes, the staff member returned to see how we were going. I asked him about the best way to order, regarding my coeliac requirements and was pleased to find out he was also coeliac! He stated the kitchen had procedures in place to avoid cross contamination, discussed my options and said that he frequently ate the food without any problems. He said we should be able to order using the menu online without problems but said he’d come back to check if we needed any more help.
Accessing the menu was challenging – my internet connection was bad and the menu wouldn’t load, plus it was incredibly slow and glitchy on Michael’s phone. Fortunately, there was a menu in the window we could look over to make our choices and when the staff member came over we ordered and paid with him on a tablet.
The menu is compact – there were eight cooked options that looked quite good and could all be done gluten free. Everything is well labelled with allergies and food preferences. There are also pastries and sandwiches inside although I didn’t get a good look at these to know if they were ok for a coeliac. When we ordered I went for a large skim decaf flat white and the brekky burger, while Michael opted for the french toast and an iced latte. It’s worth noting that the there is a gluten free option for the french toast substituting out the brioche for a gluten free alternative.
Our coffee came out after a short wait. Michael’s iced latte was ok. The coffee flavour was good but they committed the cardinal iced coffee sin of not stirring the sugar in so it all sat at the bottom of the glass, undissolved like sugary sludge. Also, and this is a very small criticism, it came out in a weird glass! Really big and short so it was difficult to hold. My flat white was ok. I had ordered a large, expecting a mug sized coffee but it was really big – like a bowl instead of a cup! Considering how large it was, there was the risk that it could’ve been too milky but it actually wasn’t. They had gotten the ratios right so that it was a reasonable drink. The coffee was smooth and quite creamy, a good temperature and although I couldn’t taste the sugar (I’d requested 2 because the cup was so big) it was good.
Our food came out promptly and it all looked really good, the French toast portion was very generous with a large piccoli chocolate brioche sandwich and loads of bacon and maple syrup. The combination of bacon with the bitter-sweet dark chocolate was odd, and Michael wasn’t keen on eating the bacon with the French toast, only nibbling a little of it at the end. Some fruit or cream would have complimented the chocolate in the French toast better, or adding something sweet like maple syrup to balance the bacon. The brioche was thickly sliced and nicely cooked, so it wasn’t too eggy, and the piccolo chocolate was a nice and dark, not too bitter or too sweet.
The brekky burger came out with a little salad that was nice and fresh with a slightly sweet dressing and some tiny pieces of pickled carrot, celery and what I think was red onion. The burger itself was like eating two separate things. I think it had unintentionally been constructed a bit off-centre, so one side of it was a bit sparse and the other contained all the ingredients!
The sparse side contained some fried egg, spiced lentil and potato fritter and lots of mayonnaise. It was very delicate and the lentil fritter was so good! The texture was smooth and you could taste the lentils. The other side of the burger had all these ingredients plus the cheddar cheese, tomato chutney, house pickles and salad leaves. It was much more flavourful and still quite delicious. Overall it was quite creamy and savoury. I couldn’t taste the tomato chutney at all so it could’ve done with more of this and I think extra pickle would’ve given the whole thing some extra bite to cut through the creaminess. Overall it was very nice though and I’d get it again, just for the lovely spice lentil and potato fritter!
In total we paid $44.00 for our brunch. I think this was reasonable considering the quality of the food. What made The Front so good was the staff! The wait staff was friendly, helpful and really good with coeliac requirements. It meant that I felt comfortable and welcome. We’ll definitely be going back to the Front!
1 Wattle Place LYNEHAM ACT 2602
0473 403 054