Little Oink Cafe, Cook

15 Jun

Canberra’s known for its local centres. Heck, we’ve even got Parties at the Shops, which revolves around and celebrates them. But some local centres are in a bit of a state of decline (and for still others, that’s a euphemism!). So, it kinda excites me to see a range of new cafes popping up in some of the quieter centres and making a real go of it. Little Oink Cafe in Cook shops is one example.


Little Oink (I love the name but it’s hard to say without grinning!) opened at the end of April, tucked into a corner of the Cook shops in Cook Place. Apart from a few bright tables and chairs outside, you’d be forgiven for missing it: the sign is small, and it looks like it could be part of another store. Inside, the shop stretches way down the back, making good use of space with old school (I’ve no other word for it) tables and chairs, a kid-friendly area, and comfy, low couches filling another corner.

Bright cups and coffee machine

Bright cups and coffee machine

Long black and chai latter

Long black and chai latter

It’s busy when we arrive on a Sunday arvo of a long weekend. We’re seated where we like, and handed paper menus. There’s a specials board up the front but we can’t see it from where we sit, so I assume that we order at the counter. Not so: just as I pop up, our waiter arrives – and is able to recite the specials menu for us.


Brightly coloured walls

Brightly coloured walls

The coffees – made with beans from the folk at Two Before Ten – aren’t quite as delicious or as pretty as Chatterbox‘s, but they more than pass the test.

Specials board

Specials board

Interestingly, many of the meals feature meats from another Canberra institution: Jordo’s Chop Shop. Little Oink’s done a great job collaborating, and it’s easy to see that it’s paying off.

It’s a tricky choice between the croque madame and brioche french toast, but the latter wins out. It’s originally advertised as a blueberry maple compote with marscapone, but it’s late in the day and they’ve run out – so they ask if a big dollop of icecream will suffice (of course!) (and I like that they update their specials board as soon as they realise there’s no more marscapone, too – managing expectations is important!).

Brioche french toast with blueberry maple compote and icecream ($15)

Brioche french toast with blueberry maple compote and icecream ($15)

The resulting product is delicious – the brioche french toast is thick, eggy without being soggy, and buttery, and easily mops up the blueberries and juice. Boyfriend’s got a toasted sandwich ($12) packed with chicken, avocado and satay sauce and enjoys it.

It’s hard to resist the display cabinet with sweet treats when we get up to pay (with a range of gluten free options). The caramel tart is to die for.


This is a great little find: well priced, friendly and good, home-styled food. I’d love to see more of these modelled in other centres.

Date: Sunday, 8 June 2014

Where: Cook shops, in Cook Place, Cook. It’s open 7 days from early in the morning til mid-late arvo.

Cost: $33 for french toast, sandwich and two coffees

Value for money: High

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Little Oink has a very active Facebook page.

Little Oink on Urbanspoon


7 Responses to “Little Oink Cafe, Cook”

  1. Megan (@Girlhassparke) June 15, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    I would love for something like this to open in Scullin.

  2. The Food Marshall June 15, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    I love that Jordo’s is getting a shout out. We love Jordo’s butcher. I wish a cafe like this would open up at our local centre, Kambah is screaming out for somewhere nice to relax and eat a decent cafe feed.

  3. whisperinggums June 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    Do they make the GF tarts themselves? I’d cross town for that, if they did!


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