First Look: Short Eats Cafe

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It’s a funky food truck like no other, and while Short Eats may be a bit small, it’s never lacked for flavor. But now the food truck has found a bigger home on the South Side and has a new menu to match.

Located in the growing food precinct of Furzer Street, Woden (just around the corner from The Alby and Eighty-six South), Short Eats Café has officially opened its doors.

Offering a Sri Lankan take on a traditional Australian coffee, Short Eats owner Michael de Silva has put a spin on a menu that showcases the bold flavors that made his van so popular.

“I’ve always made western-style coffees and then when COVID hit I sold my coffee and brought the van,” says Michael.

“I didn’t think about going back to the cafe scene until this place came along. But then I decided there’s a lot of competition around here and the only way I can survive is by doing something very different.”

Serving breakfast and lunch six days a week (hoping to eventually open for dinner), Michael says he wanted to set himself apart from other cafes in the area with his unusual menu (including some Western favorites) and his own specialty coffee. Beans.

Working closely with business partner DD Mishra, former Espresso Warriors manager, they have perfected a signature coffee blend that pairs perfectly with the menu.

“Many people associate Sri Lanka with teas, and Sri Lankan coffees, like our food, are generally quite intense in flavor,” says Michael. “Specialty coffee is fairly new to Sri Lanka, and I have said from the beginning that I want to change the way people see South East Asia… You pair wine with food, why not coffee with breakfast?” .

While the cafe is worth visiting on its own, what makes Short Eats’ breakfast offerings truly unique is that everything — and we do mean everything — comes in the form of toast.

“We find especially around here that people don’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast,” explains Michael. “That’s why we moved all of our breakfast items in the form of toast.”

“For example, with Lankan breakfast you usually get curry, eggs and bread, so we just swapped it for toast.”

And that is just the beginning. The Sri Lankan Egg Benedict Toast is stuffed with a curry hollandaise, while the Steak and Egg offering includes slow-cooked peppered lamb shanks with capsicum and a fried egg. For a sweet treat, a toast of Lankan French toast (with palm sugar, cream and seasonal fruit) is also available.

If that’s not enough, there are also four different shakes on offer, including a Chunky Monkey, Michael’s personal favorite.

“Our breakfast is different. I want people to want to travel here for breakfast because it’s something you can’t get anywhere else. It’s for open-minded people who want a little bit of difference. That’s the people we want to attract,” says Michael.

While the breakfast menu is new territory for Short Eats, the lunch menu harkens back to what makes the elegant Tiffany blue van so popular: food from the heart and home-inspired.

“I learned to cook with my mom. He was a chef by trade, but he was a western-style chef. For the last 15 years, I have been learning from my mother and she is not a trained chef,” says Michael. “So the flavors are very authentic and I didn’t want to change that.”

Including dishes like Chicken Biryani (spiced yellow rice with chicken, yogurt, Sri Lankan-style salad and boiled egg) and string hoppers (a delicious combination of three homemade curries, rice noodles, coconut sambol and papadam), most the dishes are Gluten and dairy free, with vegetarian and vegan options.

But if you’re craving something quick and easy, there’s plenty to choose from, like ham, cheese, and tomato roti toast, panrolls, banana bread, and gluten-free brownies.

It’s Michael’s love of fusion that also inspired the unique interiors of Short Eats Cafe. Open and airy, the space features a giant graffiti-style mural of Michael and DD, as well as a traditional Sri Lankan mask representing trade.

While the cafe is already becoming a popular spot on Furzer Street, Michael and DD have many plans for the future, including using the space for functions, bringing a special weekend menu – no toast – and opening small satellite stores to sell their specialty. coffee and pastries.

But for now, Michael’s ultimate goal is to continue to introduce Canberrans to his take on traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. But don’t worry, the Short Eats van isn’t going anywhere.


What: Short Eats Café
When: 7:30 am – 3 pm, Monday through Saturday. Sunday closed.
Where: G06/35 Furzer St, Phillip
Instagram: @shorteatscafe

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