In what passes for a local custom, the newly arrived to Canberra are introduced to Silo as a culinary speakeasy. For those of us accustomed to the easily accessible and scrumptious breakfast outing options in the arcades of Melbourne, the bakeries of Surry Hills and the cafes of Paddington we are prone to embrace Silo like a prohibition era gin swiller clutches their mug of hooch.
And if all that mattered was what is inside that mug then Silo would be the best little speakeasy in Canberra. I won’t fault the freshly baked pain au chocolat, the chocolate melting within the still warm buttery layers of pastry, or the piperade with chorizo which makes for a charmingly European breakfast and I’ll rave about the eggs with chilli jam on bruschetta shortly. But someone really needs to inform Silo that the perceived wasteland of fooding options in Canberra is lifting and that shortcomings in service, atmosphere and overall attitude cannot be surmounted by its food alone.
I arrived with a new Canberra arrival one Friday morning, and was informed by our breakfasting companions that there would be a wait for a table for four. I, quaintly, enquired as to whether the Silo staff had taken our coffee orders in anticipation of getting us seated shortly. They had not. This is not an unreasonable expectation, the far better and busier staff at Melbourne’s Mitte and European consistently provide this simple service.
Twenty minutes later, breath frosting before us, we ordered coffees to have on the street until a table become available. In a farcical Fawlty Towers-esque scene we were seated (ten minutes later still sans coffee) next to the entrance with its constantly opening door, eventually given our coffees (apparently silverware isn’t d’jour for we were provided paddlepop sticks), and had our menus taken but not our orders. When we attempted to order at the counter we curtly informed that we must wait for table service. Silo’s mission to make its patrons feel an inconvenience was thus complete.
But then the poached eggs with chilli jam on bruschetta arrived and it was mouth wateringly good, as Silo’s food invariably is. Simple rustic food cooked well: the eggs were light and the yolks runny, the tomatoes sweet, and the chilli jam a delectable addition to smear across the grilled bread.
As the friend I introduced Silo to this breakfast rightly summed up: “it was almost worth waiting for.”
Food: 4 spoons
Service: 2 knives
Atmosphere: 2 spoons
Overall: 1.5 spoons
Bookings? Not for breakfast, “essential” for lunch ((02) 6260 6060)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 7am to 4pm
Silo Bakery, 36 Giles St Kingston ACT 2604