We slide into one of the Highroad’s wide, round-edged booths, excited that we got this prime seat on a Saturday morning. Highroad in Dickson does not take reservations on the weekend.
The large, minimalist interior offers a variety of seating options. Perch up at the bar, sit on tall stools around a large slab of rough-hewn stone, or relax at regular café tables or the booths. Large wooden tables outside welcome brunchers into the spring sunshine.
Highroad is Canberra’s newest project by ONA Coffee. They opened their doors in November 2017.
“We wanted to create a space designed for everyone – whether looking for a quick coffee or a brunch experience, without having to venture into the city,” says manager Lauren.
Highroad’s design pays homage to the uniqueness of Canberra’s wide, open spaces juxtaposed with its urban architecture.
Unfinished timber and exposed elements contrast with a classic, earthy style that is timeless.
An impressive wine rack stretches along the sidewall.
Our smiling waiter hands us each two menus, one dedicated to coffee and other beverages, but mainly coffee. The coffee menu can appear confusing at first, but the waiter takes us through the options, taking time to explain.
The regular coffee list offers three milk-based blends, espresso and two filter coffee options. Each featured coffee comes with a flavour profile, spicing up the process of selecting a brew.
Highroad serves all their milk coffees in the style of a flat white. “This helps with consistency and showcases our range of blends on offer,” Lauren explains.
Highroad knows that anything by Ona will pull in the coffee connoisseurs, so earlier this year they added reserve coffee lists for both espresso and filter to the menu.
“We aim these coffees at customers who are seeking an exciting coffee experience,” Lauren says.
“Each list features several gold-labelled coffees. They have been carefully weighed out, vacuumed sealed and frozen. This method preserves the coffee so we can serve them all year round.”
The coffee I select is a special: Toffee Apple. I can fully taste the toffee notes and perhaps a whisper of apple.
The all-day brunch menu will appeal to seasoned brunchers, as most of their classic dishes come with a twist if you look closely.
Our waiter is intuitive; she materialises as soon as we straighten up from scrutinising our menus.
The tiramisu French toast is a generous piece of brioche, dense and slightly sweet. The toppings: ONA coffee cream cheese, chocolate mousse, sour cherry, shortbread and mascarpone sound like they might be too sweet, but the tart cherry balances it all. The dish gets a ‘scrum-diddly-umptious’ rating from me.
It is poetry to the tastebuds to eat a meal where the textures, a mix of salty, sweet, sour, mean that no two forkfuls taste the same. That is the waffle dish.
Paper-thin shavings of asparagus, soft pillows of herbed ricotta, the bite of jalapeno and tangy slivers of marinated capsicum, with salty bursts of capers, lift the richness of the cheese and chive waffle and the perfectly fried egg.
I discover my new favourite milkshake in the drink specials. Salted honey and 70% dark chocolate. Thick and ice cold with a satisfying hit of salted honey. Tiny chocolate flakes infuse every chocolate and salted honey mouthful.
As we leave, we pass by our waiter. She is crouched next to a table, deep in conversation about the menu with a little girl wearing a frothy princess skirt and a gap-toothed grin. I can recommend the milkshake …
The Highroad is located on the corner of Cape & Woolley St in Dickson.
They are open from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays and from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on weekends.