17 May 2019


| Editor

Bookplate occupies the lobby of the National Library of Australia–possibly Canberra’s most majestic building. Like the library, Bookplate represents the classic side of Canberra. While most cafés in the nation’s capital these days are jostling to be seen as heralds of the ‘new’ urban and gritty Canberra–you know the ones; sit on a milk crate, preferably next to a shipping container, place your coffee on a table made of pallets–Bookplate is none of these things. Inside, soft diffused light from glorious stained glass windows creates a warm environment. Always busy but not necessarily buzzing, this café prefers to hum–we are in a library after all–with noise levels perfect for a chat about the latest book you’ve read or the thesis you are working on. Outside, an expansive seating area is vantage to a pure Canberra postcard. A look through the lens of Burley Griffin’s mind’s eye; lake, fountain, treetops and mountains under a blue umbrella sky. Forget the cold–on a sunny winter’s day, with scarf and warm coat, this is near enough to perfect. Service here is overseen by new owner Tracy Keeley, who took over in late 2014 and prefers to let the team do their thing while keeping a keen eye on proceedings from a short arm’s length. Her 15 years experience in the industry tells her to trust the staff. And they deliver. Smooth service, like the precinct, is not overstated. From the kitchen, expect quality food with no surprises and a focus on seasonal produce along with a changing blackboard selection. Here, familiar but well executed dishes cover breakfast and lunch. From the coffee bar, expect excellent espresso from highly regarded roaster Veneziano, smoothies, pressed juices, and a range of freshly baked pastries and cakes from the in-house pastry chef.

National Library of Australia
Parkes Place Parkes
02 6262 1154

Mon-Thu 7.30am – 5pm
Fri-Sat 7.30am – 4pm
Sunday 9am -4pm

Modern café


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