Make your visit to the National Library of Australia memorable and make a full day of it. Enjoy a coffee or lunch at Bookplate, the aptly named cafe attached to the library. Serving up top seasonal, local produce, this Canberra eatery is the ideal spot for both visitors and locals to sit back, take a rest and have a bite to eat and escape the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital for just a little while.
Bookplate is owned and run by Tracy Keeley, who took over in 2014. Giving the run-down restaurant a much-needed facelift, Tracy has put Bookplate on the map for those visiting Canberra and making it a must-do when visiting the National Library.
The kitchen is headed by Chef Natalie Shultz, whose attention to detail in choosing combinations of flavour for daily baked goods does not go unnoticed in the quality of food that comes out of the kitchen. Breakfast offerings span a classic selection of Australian favourites, like Poached Eggs with sweet potato hash browns and spinach drizzled in-house made hollandaise sauce, or a Sweet Pancake Stack with lemon curd, raspberry coulis, mascarpone, meringue and sweet dukkha. Pair either of these with a freshly squeezed juice, smoothie, tea or steaming hot coffee, and there lies a wonderful, fresh and simple breakfast experience.
When it comes to lunch, the Salmon Nicoise Salad is Bookplate’s signature dish, combining fresh salmon fillet with sugar snap peas, olives, poached eggs, cherry tomatoes and a house-made green dressing that makes for a nutritious and immensely satisfying midday meal. Other healthy, yet delicious, options include Zucchini Spaghetti with blistered cherry tomatoes and pesto, or a Green Papaya Salad with peanuts, herbs, lime and ginger dressing. Treat yourself to a glass of bubbles while you’re at it to complete the Bookplate dining experience.
Take up a seat in the sun in the gorgeous outdoor courtyard overlooking the glistening waters of Lake Burley Griffin. Alternatively, head inside to the main cafe where you’ll sit under the light of coloured stain glass windows casting beautiful shades across the whitewashed room. It’s also the ideal spot to indulge in Bookplate’s High Tea that takes place each day from 1:30 pm. Gather a group and settle in for an afternoon of lemon curd tarts, vanilla and buttercream cakes, chocolate mousse vacherin and fruit custard plans, followed by freshly baked scones with jam and cream. Open sandwiches and savoury options like pumpkin fritters and roasted vegetable quiches will be served, as well as a glass of bubbles and tea or coffee.
Whether you’re taking a break from studying at the National Library, just stopping by or making the journey especially for this delightful Canberra cafe, satisfaction is just a mouthful away.