A little while ago, we headed out to Chatterbox Espresso Bar in Belconnen. This was pretty exciting, in recent times it seems that I’m able to go to any little place in Canberra and end up with a really good breakfast. Living right in Braddon, we’re only ever a five minute walk from some really food eats, so it’s kind of nice to drive out into the suburbs and get something equally as nice like Stand by Me in Lyons, Common Grounds in Gowrie, Little Oink in Cook and now Chatterbox in Belconnen.
We decided to head out to Chatterbox as our Sydney friend who previously lived in Canberra for work was down for the weekend. He wanted to visit something new that had opened up since he left and I was happy to use that as an excuse to go somewhere I’ve secretly wanted to go anyway. I had heard and seen some really great things from Chatterbox, so I was pretty keen to try it out. Arriving at about 11AM on Saturday, Chatterbox was completely going off, they have a relatively large restaurant with seating space inside, over near the HP side and outside as well. We had a group of about ten people and they had no trouble fitting us in (we did book in advance). This was a massive plus. I find that a lot of Canberra’s best cafes are quite small and cannot cater for big groups. Big groups want to eat delicious food too! At least now I know there’s always Chatterbox for those situations!
Alright, food talk time.
First up, the Potato stack ($14.50) layered herbed potato rosti with cottage cheese topped off with poached eggs and a choice of ham, salmon or bacon. We opted for ham here but some other people in our party opted for salmon and bacon. All of which looked as good and tempting. The potato stack came out with the poached egg still intact. However, by the time I took the photo and what not, the poached egg under the top potato rosti burst. I’m normally don’t care too much for presentation but I did notice that this was done in a really awesome way. This dish comes with a potato rosti on the bottom, then some ham, followed by a poached egg, then the crew at Chatterbox balance another potato rosti and poached egg on top of all that. Its a pretty crazy balancing act and all four potato stacks that came out to our table were perfect. One thing I should mention, if it’s not obvious from the picture, but these eggs were poached, not pwned. Delightful.
As for the taste, it was just as amazing as the presentation. Both eggs were perfectly poached with gooey, creamy egg yolk oozing out as we cut into them. The ham was tasty and brought all the savouriness this dish needed. But the best part of this dish was the potato rosti. This rosti is probably close to my favourite in all of Canberra so far, up there with the hash brown from Fox and Bow in Farrer. On the inside, there was this delicious herby and buttery mashed potato. On the outside it was super crispy and crunchy. It felt like they mashed up the potato, seasoned it perfectly then put it back inside a potato skin, where it was then either deep fried or roasted to give it that great crispy texture. To top it all off, there was a good serving of cottage cheese which just brought together all the rich flavours of the egg, rosti and what not to make it a delightful treat.
Next up, the Chatterbox baked eggs ($15) free range baked eggs served with spiced mince lamb, onion and herbed infused tomato sauce with a side of toasted turkish bread. These were one of the most interesting baked eggs I’ve experienced in a while. They’re not your typical baked eggs which tend to have a really strong tomato base and taste. Here it was quite Middle Eastern with strong spices and herbs. The base of the baked eggs was essentially a lamb mince which was heavily spiced with various herbs, giving it a really strong flavour throughout. Once you mixed in the yolks with the flavoursome mince, you get some lovely added creaminess. This dish was really great, especially with the generous serving of crispy bread. However, towards the end I did find the richness of the lamb a little much, especially as you’re getting the same flavours throughout the whole dish. I guess it is a great dish for people out there to share, as it’s a little too samey to hammer down all by your lonesome.
Finally, the Smashed avocado ($14.90), smashed avocado with fresh basil, persian fetta and poached eggs on toasted bread. For something a little cleaner, greener and vegetarian, we went for the smashed avocados. I really enjoyed this dish. We were at Chatterbox during prime avocado season, so our serving of smashed avocado was generous, super creamy, flavoursome and delicious. The two poached eggs which came with this plate accompanied the avocado perfectly, adding that delicious creamy egg yolk flavour. For more savouriness and flavour there was also some fetta which was bitey and strong. It worked perfectly to cut through the richness of the avocado and eggs. Like with the baked eggs, the smashed avocado came with a generous serving of thick toasted bread. These soaked up all the oozy yolk goodness and was the perfect base for everything else.
Here is a shot of our two poached eggs. Both were perfectly cooked and still completely runny when we cut into them. Not a single sign of poached egg pwnage here. I really enjoyed this dish. It was basic and the crew at Chatterbox didn’t do anything to jazz it up. They just ensured that every component was done perfect, simple, rustic and delicious. This surprising actually worked really well and is probably my favourite smashed avocado dish to date which is surprising because I’m usually a massive fan of jazzed up dishes with lots of different elements. If you love all things eggs and avocado or are limited to no meat or fish for whatever reason, this is definitely a dish worth trying.
Finally, our drinks for the morning, first up the Cappuccino ($3.20). This was nice, not much to say here. It was a well made, extremely frothy, a creamy and delicious cappuccino. To be honest, I drink cappuccinos entirely because I enjoy the froth so don’t take my word on whether the coffee at Chatterbox is good or bad. I really can’t tell the difference between good or bad beans yet, so who knows. Yes, my friend tested once with shopping centre coffee and Lonsdale Street Roaster’s coffee. I could not tell the difference for the life of me. One day, I’ll get better and I’ll actually be able to talk about coffees. Or not. For now, you can just look at the pretty pictures of coffee cups! Though, I’m assuming the coffee here must be pretty decent, looking around at the reviews for Chatterbox, people are loving it and normal people like coffee, hence if the coffee at Chatterbox was bad, it probably wouldn’t be this successful!
Of course, finishing off with a Chai latte ($3.70). Here is something I can actually talk about, chai lattes which have no coffee in them are more to my liking. This chai was nice, it had a rather strong spiced flavour to it and plenty of creamy delicious froth to it as well. My favourite part about our drinks were the complimentary mini cookies you get. Here at Chatterbox they had little choc chip cookie ones. Its always nice to have something to nibble on while you’re sipping your hot drink. I don’t drink much coffee or hot drinks around Canberra, so I don’t know much about it but I absolutely love Taze in the city for this single reason, where every hot drink you get comes with the most amazing passionfruit butter cookie.
I’m really glad I went out to Belconnen to try out Chatterbox, the food was absolutely delicious and there was just so much space. Its always great when my elbows aren’t bumping into the people next to me, especially if they’re strangers. I look forwards to trying Chatterbox again in the near future, they had a couple of other cool sounding menu items that caught my eye. Plus, I think Chatterbox is the sister cafe of Mingle in the city. Considering that Mingle focuses on coffees and only offers pre-done or really simple food options, their coffee must be legit! Right?!
Chatterbox Espresso Bar
40 Cameron Avenue, Belconnen
Monday to Friday
6:30am to 5:00pm
Saturday to Sunday
8:00am to 2:00pm