7 May 2024

There'll be a new café to try on your bridge-to-bridge walk soon

| James Coleman
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The new café will be located near the main entrance to the National Gallery of Australia. Photo: National Gallery of Australia.

Another possible pit stop is coming to your bridge-to-bridge walk around Lake Burley Griffin.

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has signed an architect and caterer for a new café located in the building’s main entrance near the existing art store and front foyer, and a five-minute detour from the lake.

This will be an addition to the ‘Street Café’ already located near the main entry – marked by a sea of orange chairs – that offers “fresh seasonal salads and sandwiches”, as well as sweet and savoury snacks and coffee from Seven Miles, one of Canberra’s best speciality roasters.

The National Gallery Café, expected to open in July 2025, will take it to the next level.

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The Trippas White Group, with a proven track record of over 30 years, and a catering CV that includes venues at Sydney Tower, Taronga Zoo, the Australian War Memorial and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to name a few, will provide the food.

The NGA is tight-lipped on the menu, except to say it will “showcase the finest in fresh contemporary and locally sourced ingredients”.

KTA also designed SUNDA, a modern Southeast Asian restaurant in Melbourne. Photo: Ari Hatzis.

The café itself will be designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA), the same company behind the Bundanon Art Museum and Bridge which, in 2022, awarded it the highest honour among the NSW Architecture Awards – the Sulman Medal for public architecture.

KTA also designed the new Melbourne Holocaust Museum.

An NGA spokesperson told Region the café will include outdoor seating in the Australian Garden and overlook the James Turrell Skyspace monument and visitor-favourite Pear sculpture.

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KTA lead Kerstin Thompson, awarded a Gold Medal from the Australian Institute of Architects, said it was an “honour” to work on the gallery’s iconic brutalist-style architecture.

She said the cafe’s dining experience will complement the gallery’s art experience, as not only a “destination for … visitors but also for locals passing by”.

“Welcoming, connected to landscape, a place to meet, stay a while,” Ms Thompson added.

Architect Kerstin Thompson is thrilled to work on the NGA. Photo: Jessica Lindsay.

NGA director Dr Nick Mitzevich is “thrilled” to add the café to the gallery’s attractions and “looks forward to … add significant dimension to the amenity and the experience of the National Gallery”.

“Great food and beverage served in an inspiring new space will provide new opportunities for connection, reflection and enjoyment.”

The NGA says plans for the existing Street Café will be confirmed at a later date.

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Hopefully an improvement on what’s currently on offer.

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