4 June 2021

Hot in the City: Lagom is Gungahlin’s newest cafe

| Amelia Bidgood
Salmon poke bowl

Try a salmon poke bowl at Lagom in Gungahlin if you want a healthy and fresh meal. Photo: Amelia Bidgood.

It’s not often you’re greeted with a peacock on top of your coffee, but it’s one of the incredible coffee art pieces you might find on your caffeinated beverage at Lagom. Opening in mid-March at the Gungahlin Marketplace, Lagom has quickly become a popular breakfast, brunch and lunch spot for locals. With an all-day menu, they even have something for your fur baby.

Lagom is a Swedish and Norwegian word meaning not too much, not too little, just right. So it basically means moderation, and that’s exactly what the team at Lagom is hoping to achieve across all areas, including service, food, the atmosphere and décor.

Owners Jason (Kihong) Lee and Tony (Guo-Lun) Peng have spent many years working in hospitality. Jason is a self-taught barista and has been making coffee since he was 14. Over the years he’s worked at well-known venues in Canberra like Cream and Gus’. He’s built a devoted following of coffee lovers who have followed him across town to get their coffee fix.

Jason (Kihon) Lee

Jason (Kihong) Lee is the co-owner of Lagom in Gungahlin and he’s the friendly face you’ll see behind the coffee machine. Photo: Amelia Bidgood.

Tony hails from the kitchens of Lonsdale Street’s popular Lazy Su and award-winning Raku. He brings his love and experience of cooking Asian food to the Lagom menu where you’ll find a selection of beautifully plated dishes with some featuring Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese flavours.

The interior is gorgeous and while the Lagom team designed it, a handful of small local businesses helped bring it all together. The café is split into three different areas with large glass windows at the front, filling the cafe with natural light creating an open and airy space.

Mural by local artist Lawrence Tan

The mural by local artist Lawrence Tan at Lagom in Gungahlin. Photo: Amelia Bidgood.

The lower level is where the action happens. It features a few booths, a cushioned seat that runs along the wall with several tables and numerous types of wall tiles. Several round backlit mirrors light up one of the walls, and some greenery is weaved in.

Enter from Hibberson Street, and you’ll walk on to the upper level that features marble walls, several tables, another seat that runs along the wall and a bright mural by local artist Lawrence Tan. He’s created a range of wall art in Canberra for other cafes and restaurants, including Zaab, Ganjees, Altas Café and Shook. Pops of orange bring some fun to the venue and make the cafe a bright and inviting space.

Lagom in Gungahlin

The lower level at Lagom in Gungahlin. Photo: Amelia Bidgood.

There’s also a small dog-friendly outdoor area, and if you want to bring your fur baby, you can even treat them to a puppuccino. It’s warm frothy 100 per cent organic coconut milk topped with whipping cream that’s dusted with dog treats. They’ll also get one BIG Boss treat. All dog treats are locally made and 100 per cent plant-based.

I visited mid-morning during the week and it was busy with tables of couples, families and friends of all ages. I’m told the three dishes on their specials menu are the most popular. So I order the char siu taco ($18) with three tortillas topped with braised pork belly, green salad, spicy pickled cucumber, fried shallot, chilli mayo and chips. The tender glazed pork pairs nicely with the fresh herb salad and there’s a warmth from the chilli mayo in every mouthful.

Char siu tacos

The char siu tacos are one of the most popular dishes on the menu at Lagom in Gungahlin. Photo: Amelia Bidgood.

I also order the salmon poke bowl ($20) with miso salmon, brown rice, spicy pickled cucumber, edamame, pickled carrot, avocado, sweet pickled ginger and sweet soy sauce. The crispy-skinned salmon fillet is cooked perfectly. There’s a kick of spiciness and it’s a fresh and flavoursome dish.

I’m told their omelette and scrambled eggs are the French-style eggs so I have to try their loaded croissant ($16) that’s filled with scrambled eggs, your choice of Black Forest bacon or ham, and chives. The eggs are luxuriously smooth and creamy, and the lightly dressed side salad helps break up the richness of the dish.

Their nori salt that seasons the chips and calamari is made in-house and they’ve already had customers ask if they can make it to sell. It makes the chips taste even better, and if it were for sale, I’d buy a jar.

Lagom’s drinks menu features thick shakes, milkshakes and gourmet shakes, fruit smoothies, fresh juice, a selection of hot and cold tea and coffee-based drinks. Jason is pouring Campos coffee and the double shot skinny latte I ordered was faultless.

Cup of coffee

Lagom co-owner Jason (Kihong) Lee makes a great cup of coffee with beautiful coffee art. Photo: Amelia Bidgood.

Their sourdough is from Sonoma and they have a range of sweet treats to choose from. The menu is likely to change in a few months and I can see this place being a popular spot in Gungahlin for a long time. They currently have a range of vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options on the menu and they’re working on some vegan options for their new menu.

Lagom is located at 26/30 Hibberson Street, Gungahlin and is open from 7:30 am until 5:00 pm every day.

Original Article published by Amelia Bidgood on The RiotACT.

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