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Best CBR eats according to Executive Chef, Josh Smith-Thrikell

QT Canberra’s Josh Smith-Thirkell shares the best way to eat through 24-hours in the Capital. 

It’s no secret that the Canberra food scene has exploded with choice, flavours and quality in the last few years.  Fortunately, we had our culinary expert spill his favourite Canberra meal spots.

Executive Chef Josh Smith-Thirkell QT Canberra Capitol Bar and Grill Best of Canberra
Josh Smith-Thirkell, QT Canberra Executive Chef


First up Coffee. You can’t go wrong with The Cupping Room. It’s on the corner of London Circut and University Avenue and designed by the team at ONA, the capital’s largest specialty roaster. In fact, any of ONA’s venues are worth visiting, there’s no better local coffee in Canberra. Bringing a faultless café experience to your morning cuppa, there’s outdoor seating, warm timber décor, indoor plants and all. It’s always bustling on a Sunday morning so expect to queue. If you’re after a classic order the avo. It comes DIY smash, with poached eggs, tahini labna, Hungarian dukkah, lemon and serious sourdough.


Head to Dickson for Scholar Yum Cha. No special fit out here, it’s old school style but the food is great, quintessential fish tank and all. Don’t miss anything from the dumpling trolley. The crispy fried whitebait is also a top pick.


Raku is hands down Canberra’s best Japanese. Take a seat at the raw bar around 2pm and watch the open kitchen work their meticulous magic. Opt for their freshly rolled sushi, or the sashimi plate served on an impressive bed of ice and presented like a work of art. It’s popular and right in the city so book in advance.


Dinner time calls for some Italian classics and unforgettable steak cuts. Start by catching the last of the day’s rays from Capitol Bar and Grill’s deck. Vino in hand and the signature Antipasto plate in arm’s reach. Once seated, order the Burrata and ooze into the goodness paired with artichokes, anchovy, lemon and green olive bed. For the main event, share the T-Bone Bistecca Fiorentina, served with Salsa Erbe, it’s a mouth melting dish and not one to be forgotten. Finish with Tiramisu, served at the table from nonna’s bowl. Classic and boozy.


One of Canberra’s finest bars, Bar Rochford is found in the Melbourne building, boasting arched windows and an enviable vinyl collection. In winter, grab a spot near the fireplace and take a minute to peruse the wine list. My pick is the Don Pinot Noir from Martinborough and if you’re there not too late, marry your glass with a cheese platter and enjoy the old school hip hop tunes.


A stone’s throw away from Bar Rochford is Molly, a prohibition bar and naturally the next destination. If you can find it, visit for a late night negroni and live jazz. There’s old fashioned service, classic cocktails and secret rooms – Say no more.

Next Day

For the dusty morning after look no further than a Yarralumla Kebab. It’s a local cult classic and well-oiled service, the servings are generous and wrapped in freshly made bread. Plenty of Turkish classics to pair with. For more scenic dining, take it away to enjoy by the lake near Yarralumla Bay.

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