25 May 2023

Hot in the City: Roy Jr raises the bar for Canberra cafe culture

| Lucy Ridge
Two people smile in front of Roy Jr sign

Front-of-house manager Mirabelle Wagnon and head barista Nick Toze. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Roy Jr has recently opened on London Circuit west of the City Centre. It’s a burgeoning precinct with new office blocks and apartment buildings shooting up all over the place and Roy Jr is the perfect place for those new tenants to relax, work and dine.

The space at Roy Jr is huge by Canberra cafe standards. There’s space for 150 people in the main restaurant seating area, plus a deck for alfresco brunches and a lounge area designed to encourage the business crowd to have breakfast gatherings, meetings over coffee, and for students to park themselves with a laptop and lunch.

Green coffee machine with three grinders

Coffee service at Roy Jr is fast, without skimping on quality. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The team behind Roy Jr also runs the popular Barton cafe Maple and Clove, and they’re planning to build on that success to make Roy Jr the next big thing in Canberra.

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The owners are using the new venue to encourage younger staff members to grow and learn more as they take on management roles. Mirabelle Wagnon started working the floor at Maple and Clove as a summer job, but now she’s the front-of-the-house manager at Roy Jr and plans to study business.

“I’ve grown up in restaurants my whole life because my Dad had restaurants, but I didn’t want to work for him! Maple and Clove was how I got into the industry,” she told Region.

“We’re aiming for Roy Jr to hit that next level. We’ve got a luxe fit-out that we’re matching with incredible food, a barista who’s dedicated so much passion to coffee, and floor staff who are there to make sure you have a lovely experience. Everything is covered.”

scrambled eggs with chilli sauce and cashew cream

The Chilli Scrambled Eggs at Roy Jr are delicious. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The kitchen is a partnership between husband and wife powerhouse team Ilham Kusumahadi, who has come from the kitchen at Maple and Clove, and Aulia Esa, formerly of fine dining restaurant Vincent. They’ve joined forces to bring together their experiences of cafe culture, fine dining and Indonesian heritage into an ambitious menu.

Breakfast covers all bases with lighter dishes like baked granola with honey panna cotta to a very luxe blue swimmer crab omelette. The chilli scrambled eggs come with a zingy house-made chilli sauce, tempered by nutty cashew cream, and served on sourdough. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the buttermilk waffles with kaya, a caramel coconut spread.

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There’s a counter for sandwiches and quick takeaway pastries, but to get the full experience, it’s worth lingering for a proper old-school business lunch. Classic Steak Frites comes with a 200 gram grass-fed hanger steak, grilled cos lettuce and bearnaise sauce. Or if you’re feeling healthy, try the Good Life Bowl, which has your daily dose of greens along with halloumi, quinoa and turmeric vinaigrette.

Green coffee machine with three grinders

The coffee service at Roy Jr is fast without skimping on quality. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Nick Toze, formerly of Harvest, will head up the team of speedy baristas on the two forest-green La Marzocco coffee machines. The drinks menu also features freshly squeezed juices and an impressive list of supercharged smoothies: the mango is made with turmeric, pineapple, kiwi, hemp seeds, yoghurt, almond milk, honey, cinnamon and Australian bee pollen.

Roy Jr is hoping to encourage a regular weekend brunch crowd to complement the weekday customer base of professionals. And with plenty of choices and lots of seating space, they’re in a good position to succeed. The next stage of light rail will also bring more people into that part of the city so they’re banking on a busy future.

Roy Jr is located at 7 London Circuit. They’re open Monday to Friday from 7 am to 3:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm. Check out the menu on their website or follow them on Instagram.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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