Canberra: The Milkshake Capital?

To the casual observer, Canberra’s weather always seems less than hospitable come the winter months. This was particularly prominent a couple of weeks ago when I found myself caught in the city’s Winterfell-like conditions.

I ventured out that morning in order to test for myself the gastronomical sensation that was the Pâtissez milkshake, a joyous occasion. But, as I stood out in the cold waiting in queue, I felt no joy whatsoever – only my teeth chattering and my breath condensing.

During this melancholic time, my mind was filled with the many complaints I could make of Canberra. To begin with, the fact that I had an entire hour to wait for a mere milkshake alluded to just how lacking of vivacity this city was.

Or is it?

As soon as my eyes set upon that delightful mess of a milkshake, this pessimism gave way to a flurry of excited energy which re-ignited in my mind the true vibrancy that Canberra offers.

Yes, although the wait that morning was less than agreeable, the fruit thereafter not only inspired me, but according to Facebook, captivated foodies nationwide. Now that Canberra is on the radar for foodies around the country, the city’s culinary landscape has been exposed for outsiders to see.

Beginning with the well-established precincts of Braddon, New Acton and Kingston Foreshore, Canberra began conciling itself with a hipster-esque identity. Particularly through her many hospitality-based enterprises, Canberra has affirmed itself as a niche hub for food and beverage.

Rather than dining at Chicken Gourmet and proceeding on towards Academy, a night these days is typically characterised by dinner and drinks at Hopscotch, leading to further shenanigans at more cultured attractions such as Knightsbridge, Honkytonks and Molly’s. That’s old news though.

Canberra has seen even more development in recent times. Nowadays, the likes of Westside Acton Park or the humble suburban café-bistro beckon. If we consider the city and surrounds as the nucleolus and nucleus of Canberran nightlife, the suburbs present exciting opportunities for new kinds of venues, creating waves within the community.

There are now hopes for all demographics to explore Canberra’s bustling food scene. No longer are we limited to steaks and schnitties at the local club, rather these new establishments put on off er the likes of simplistic, traditional and organic foods, historically atypical for Canberra.

It does not only stop there. In addition to these permanent venues, organised but informal food festivals are dotting the landscape. Just as the annual Multicultural Festival’s stalls pull an immense crowd, so too do the likes of the Night Noodle Markets at the Enlighten Festival, and the World Curry Festival in the City initiative of recent weeks.

As much as Canberra may have seemed a desolate and frozen wasteland that day, the fact remains that Canberra has become a metropolitan attraction for culinary fanatics and bar-goers, Australia-wide. In the words of the iconic songstress, Kelis, Canberra’s milkshakes really do bring the boys to the yard.