U & CO Cafe is a new cafe which has opened in my local area. And I was lucky enough to be allowed to do a review of it. The following photos were also all taken on the premises by me. So, here goes!
U & CO Café might look small on the outside, but it’s a comfortable little café that is surprisingly spacious. The doors open wide offering fresh breezes and you can also choose to sit outside, in the shade or in the sun.
Walking in, I noticed a cupboard of fresh baked breads behind the counter. This bread comes par-baked and is finished on site to give it that delicious freshness. And above this cupboard is a big sign advertising that gluten free options are available. That’s the sort of thing I like to see right off the bat.
As you can see in the photo above, at the counter there is a wide array of baked treats, wonderfully presented and looking sinfully scrumptious. This café has steered clear of the same-old treats of muffin after muffin, typical of cafes, offering instead a wide selection of little cakes, slices and scones – the works.
My mother was with me for lunch/brunch this time, and she ordered the scones. They came with fragrant cinnamon cream and jam. I couldn’t believe how good that hint of cinnamon was, as I have never had cinnamon cream before (thanks for those bites of your scones mum!). And in my opinion those scones were the lightest and fluffiest I have ever eaten. My mother agreed they were the best she’s had in a while.
So the two of us drank English breakfast tea while my lunch cooked. And as soon as it arrived I had something else super yummy to dig my teeth into. I had ordered the Angus burger, which comes with crispy bacon, cheese, ripe tomatoes, tomato relish, and of course an Angus patty, all on a fresh Turkish roll. The beer-battered chips on the side were crisp and crunchy, with soft potato insides. It was great! And because I wasn’t able to finish it all I took the rest home. So if you have leftovers it’s not a problem. They have takeaway containers there and are happy to pack up any leftovers, which was just as well. I wasn’t going to let that burger go to waste!
There was lots to choose from on the menu. It’s divided into Breakfast, Midday, Drinks and Kids sections. The breakfast menu includes Muesli with fruit, French toast, fruit bread and more. The Midday menu includes the Angus burger, my favourite, fish and chips, lasagne, etc. The drinks are tasty too – with there being tea and coffee, milkshakes and thick shakes to choose from.
The pots of tea, much to my delight, are bigger than what I’m used to receiving at a café. Our tea was also served on a breadboard, now doubling as a handsome serving platter. This was both interesting, as it’s not something I’ve seen before, and visually appealing against the smooth black tabletops. But I can’t go on without mentioning that U & CO Café has lactose free milk on hand. This is the first café I have ever been into which, when I asked for lactose free milk, didn’t tell me that they only have soy – or, frighteningly enough, lite soy. The first time I came into U & CO Café, they even told me I could bring in my preferred milk substitute and they would keep it in the fridge for me.
And speaking of allergies, as I mentioned before this café does provide gluten-free options. All gluten-free foods at the counter now sit on green plate, and have green coloured tags to help separate them from foods containing gluten. The chef also takes special care not to prepare foods for people with gluten allergies on anything that has been contaminated with wheat, etc. I even noticed that there are special serving tongs, labelled as being for gluten-free food use only. And the owner, Michael, has been working with a member of staff who is a celiac, in order to get a better understanding of the condition. This, combined with their appreciation for people needing milk substitutes, is just awesome.
So is the fact that Michael is also taking into account that some people need other options outside of the two mentioned above. He is fully prepared to test out allergy/diet friendly alternatives to what’s on the menu. I mentioned to him about using coconut cream to make a dairy-free alternative to whipped cream, and he is now trying it out himself. He takes suggestions; he cares about trying new things and about listening to his customers. As someone who loves food, this was a really heart-warming thing to see.
This café is a family business. Michael runs it with his wife and family, and the chef is a good friend. So the atmosphere is comfortable, relaxed and personable. That it is a family run business seems to fit so well with its surroundings. Kaleen is the suburb where I grew up, and to me there has always been a big sense of community and togetherness there. A family run business in Kaleen is just right.
U & CO Café even supports local artists. As you come in, you’ll notice artworks pinned to the right wall next to the counter. These artworks are all done by a local artist and can be purchased in store. The artist will also change from time to time, giving others a chance to be viewed and appreciated. Sometimes the artists also have handmade cards on sale. And as handmade cards are not normally so reasonably priced, we couldn’t resist getting a few. Not to mention Michael has now invited two local schools to get involved in this as well. Each school will be able to do art projects that will be displayed in the cafe. And I was delighted to hear that my old primary school is one of the two taking part!
But you might be asking what are the prices like? The prices at U & CO Café are quite reasonable. And both the food and service are great. For example, the scones were only $4.50.
So, what do I give the café overall? I would give it a straight ten out of ten. A café like this one that cares about food and caters for those with food allergies will always have my vote.
NOTE: All these photos were taken on premises by me. So please give credit/at least link back before re-using them.
NOTE: Michael is also looking at organising a chocolate event, in-store, but seats will be limited. The date and time are unconfirmed, but so far early december is a possibility. The event will involve a Chocolatier coming to the store, and giving a brief class about chocolate making, chocolate history, and even providing a chocolate tasting session! Then there will be three dishes served to the participants, which include one entree, one main and one dessert, all involving chocolate somehow. I, for one, am super looking forward to it!
OWNER: Michael Angelosante
U & CO Café
Unit 7 Gwydir Square, Kaleen
Canberra, ACT, 2617
MID-WEEK – 7.30-5
REGULAR WEEKEND – 7.30-4