From the outside, Teddy Picker’s has the bland uniformity that seems common to so much of Canberra.
Even the dog bar is clearly signposted, with three silver bowls arranged in an orderly row.
Wondering if I had chosen the right sort of café, I was delighted to open the door to see an interior that makes soaring bare concrete the centerpiece.
As much as I’ve come to hate Edison bulbs, as a symbol of design artifice over substance, the industrial wall-mounted versions are visually appropriate to this minimalist, industrial looking setting. The only thing I’d lose is the painted grey band - it distracts from the beauty of the exposed concrete walls.
Upstairs there’s a curiously artificial lounge room decked out with couches. The furniture mostly keeps to the café’s monochrome colour palette. An old school television set joins an assortment of objects that continue into the floating bookshelf that divides the main dining room from the busy coffee counter.
Bar from the tea collection and house-made pickles, it's all a bit pointedly hipster for me, down to the sawn-off water glasses.
The House Blend ($4) scrubbed up well enough in a latte and flat white, though I found myself getting bored after a few mouthfuls. Suspect I should have coughed up the extra buck to try the Premium Blend ($5).
From ‘our favourite plates’ we opted for the Spanish Snack ($17) that teams a spicy Black Forest chorizo with two fried eggs, hash browns, coriander and house-pickled jalapenos. We’re a bit surprised to see that’s all the plate contains – it’s my view that eggs call for toast to soak up all that runny, yolky goodness – so we add on some Toast ($8) to make the Hilltops free range eggs from near Cowra sing. With the toast, we're surprised that we also have to ask for butter.
By the time my Eggs Benedict Hack ($22) lands, I’m getting the distinct impression that Canberra hates carbs. While it did mention they were replacing the usual English muffins with hashbrowns and chilli jam, I was surprised the potato products weren't big enough to sit as a base. This meant the average ham, poached eggs and light, lemony Hollandaise were whacked directly onto a cold plate.
To my palate the accompanying chilli jam had too much tomato and not enough heat, but all was not lost. Teddy Picker's have a great house-made chilli sauce. It’s very runny, but has good heat and flavour. To make the lack of bread-like objects work for people who actually eat carbs, we opt to create a shared breakfast plate from both dishes. We do it quickly, but as I eat my cold breakfast, I can’t express clearly enough: it’s Canberra, it’s winter, you gotta heat the plates.
Unit 53, 65 Constitution Avenue, Campbell