Sydney’s café scene has really stepped up its interior design game to compete for your attention and it involves a whole lot more than a generous serving of smashed avocado. These cafés deliver top shelf café fare in stunning surroundings so that you can forget about real life as you tuck into brekkie in an aesthetically pleasing setting.
The Rabbit Hole, Barangaroo
The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, Sydney
Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills
The Boathouse, Palm Beach
Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla
Kepos & Co, Waterloo
The Grounds of Alexandria
Brought to the CBD by renowned Surry Hills joint Reuben Hills, Hills Bros is understated yet arrestingly modern. A concrete bar, high ceilings and correspondingly high windows naturally encourage the gaze upwards where you’ll be inclined to ogle dramatic, sculptural wall art as you sip every last drop of your piccolo. Give the brown rice congee a try or satisfy the sweet-tooth with a cocoa waffle with basil poached watermelon, candied pistachio, grapefruit curd, elderflower toffee and white choc ice cream.
5 Martin Place, Sydney
This beachside fit-out boasts neutral tones and concrete pillars that are enlivened with a cluster of aptly hung ferns, and the weatherboard feature wall completes the look with a coastal touch without being kitsch. Menu-wise, the fresh basil yoghurt ($12) with blueberries, strawberries and macadamia is a delicious pre or post surf snack, while the Morning Glory ($21) is the full freight with egg, chorizo, tandoori roasted sweet potato, kale, pickled red onion, avocado and whipped goat cheese.
5/33 Surf Lane, Cronulla
Kepos & Co.
Embracing the Middle Eastern style of their menu and translating it into its décor, Kepos & Co. provides an exoticism without over doing it. Think low hung Moroccan pendants, mosaic features and arched door-frames that allude to the theme. Take it all in as you tuck in to a smoked trout salad with freekeh, asparagus, coriander and hazelnuts ($22). It would be remiss not to mention Dad’s favourite brekky, complete with falafel, hummus, labneh, soft boiled egg, tomato salad and taboon bread ($17).
5/18 Danks Street, Waterloo
Complete with its own bakery, roastery and pig (that’s Kevin Bacon to you), The Grounds really do rustic chic better than anyone else. With three spaces – the atrium, potting shed and the courtyard garden – every corner of this sprawling establishment is festooned with plants, impeccable floristry and carefully placed garden accoutrement. You’d be wise to sample the maple glazed kassler ham with tempura sweet potato and pickle sauce ($22) or even just pick up a coffee and a pastry and mill about the picturesque location.
7a/2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
The high ceilings, subway tiles and polished concrete floors work to create a light-filled, sleek industrial space that you don’t expect from its Art Deco exterior. Exposed brick and elegant communal bench seating soften the look so that you can focus on the exceptional coffee and food on offer. The crumbed eggs on toast with mustard, braised ham hock and kale ($17.50) is a favourite spin on the original and the salted pistachio and nutella milkshake ($8) is also a must.
80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
A whimsical CBD spot to escape for a cup of tea ‘on tap’. Marble surfaces and clean lines dominate the airy Barangaroo space, while their Redfern store boasts charming black and white tiles that perfectly frame the mandatory breakfast shot. Sample the tea houses’ original teas from the choc orange fudge to a refreshing minty Marrakesh for $5 a pop. A hearty brunch bowl is all but mandatory, with the burnt fig, almond and cinnamon muesli with ginger snap milk ($15.80) a favourite.
146 Abercrombie Street, Redfern
1/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney
A heritage listed warehouse café in Sydney’s booming Rosebery, Three Blue Ducks latest venture has exposed beams, stripped back brick walls and concrete floors – the ideal backdrop for a low-key brunch. Taste creations from their Argentinean grill or wood fire oven set up in their garden courtyard for you to observe. The hay smoked salmon kedgeree ($20) or the slow cooked chorizo with tomato, white beans, soft eggs, black sausage crumb, pork scratchings, parsley and toast are safe havens on chilly mornings.
1/85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery
Their four spectacular locations in Sydney’s Northern region are an unmatched beachside brunch destination. The understated luxe-beach-shack style permeates every detail in the venues – from white washed benches, bespoke wooden table numbers and nautical accoutrements that smatter the cafes from end to end. You’ll undoubtedly fall in love with spectacular floral arrangements or vibrant displays of fresh produce – just be sure to order the generous fruit salad ($14) or the green eggs and ham ($23).
Barrenjoey Boathouse, Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach
2 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
227, Whale Beach Road, Whale Beach
1 Marine Parade, Manly
The Grounds of Sydney is in the perfect location of The Galeries in Sydney’s CBD, and the Acme & Co design oozes 1920s bistro chic, with French timber floors, marble finishes and luxe furnishings that transport you to another time. The experience comes complete with a roaming cake trolley and for those who have a spare few minutes to wait while ‘coffee sommeliers’ ensure that your brew is nothing short of perfection, can be attended to by the shoe shiner. That is a service we can definitely get used to.
RG12, 500 George Street, Sydney