Urban Pantry: All I want for Christmas is coffee?

by Barrister Barista

Urban Pantry 3‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. They’d all gone for breakfast, or coffee, or both – and at least half of them had gone to Urban Pantry in Manuka.

Urban Pantry is about The Food, first and foremost – we feel that this can be said without controversy.  The Coffee is made by baristas with care, in the hope that large food orders soon will be there.  The important thing is that The Welcome comes with coffee, and this happens three times out of four on our yuletide visit.  We wait patiently for a motley crew of skim latte, regular latte, short black and soy cappucino, and line up our could-you-please-add-or-subtract-this-and-make-that-gluten-free food order, with only a minimum of attitude from our all suff’rin’ waiter.

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It’s fairly understandable Urban Pantry are roasting chestnuts on an open fire (doing well) on this and many a weekday morning.  The Vibe is trèsagreeable, and The Decor smells like money (if not teen spirit).  The giant tree may not be original as a motif, but it’s the key to Manuka’s courtyard charm (before horrible pruning circa October 2012).  Urban Pantry (UP?) are nice to the lactose intolerant, and to the coeliac.  They add or subtract from one’s order, and let one pay on credit card (for a fairly annoying $2).  One can buy Sonoma-delivered sourdough which is almost fresh, and take one’s coffee away in a pretty cup with a tree on it.  It’s a thing, we’re fairly sure of it.

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We doubt that anything we say about the coffee will un-deck the halls of this southside stalwart, especially not in the jolly holidays.  The complete beanheads will be across the lawns sipping long blacks at ONA Coffee, unless they’re looking for a table, some sourdough or some customer service.  They will generally get all of these at ONA, with coffee that’s ‘not too strong’, ‘creamy’, ‘nice’ and ‘delicious soy’.  The Short lacked bright notes, but was hot and unbitter.   The Long in soy form was a triumph of alternative milk-wrangling (pity soy milk is possible bad for you, like everything else).  Avec cow’s milk, your latte will probs be a smooth, warm cup that gently washes down your friand or your buttermilk pancakes.  We had to wait wait wait for our second coffees, but the fact that we wanted them was a deserved compliment.

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The Latte Word: On the first day of Christmas, Urban Pantry gave to us, a decent cup of coffee and a reasonably reliable hit of wi-fi.  In our incredibly humble opinion, it wasn’t coffee to dance around the Christmas tree with, but we find that the descriptor ‘pleasant’ usually applies.  Take your mum, her mum, your boss, her boss and make staff happy by booking if you can.

Urban Pantry

5 Bougainville St Manuka ACT 2603
(02) 6162 3556


Monday – Friday : 7.30am – late
Saturday : 8.00am – late
Sunday: 8:00am – 4:00pm (NB food ends early)