The Q on Harris
On Harris Street, this quaint café is famous for its Indonesian coffee – the owner, Benji Salim, even runs specialty workshops for those who want to learn all about it. It also serves up gourmet breakfast and lunch plates, as well as its signature dessert: a fluffy, decadent matcha cheesecake.
Utterly unassuming, Kopitiam is one of Ultimo's best-kept secrets. Locals make a beeline there for the generous bowls of laksa, Malaysian curries and sambal dishes, before finishing off their meal with a slew of Malaysian sweets. The eatery is reasonably priced, and a hive of activity come lunchtime.
The Pigeonhole Cafe
With a mix of upcycled and modern décor, and a menu of artisan coffees, breakfast rolls, Korean-inspired lunches, wines and beers, The Pigeonhole Cafe is a pleasant contradiction that locals flock to. If you’re dining in, their menu is a delight: think breakfast milk buns, spiced ginger muesli and brown rice and mixed grains bowls.
A 1920s-themed cafe on the corner of Wattle Street, The Local Mbassy has mastered the art of quirkiness – think exposed pipe lighting, antique bike pedal stools and impressive graffiti murals. While the interior is something to ogle at, The Local Mbassy’s most talked about dish, its red velvet pancakes, is something to drool over.
Sydney’s ode to American-style filter coffee, Soma - Mecca Espresso's sister cafe - serves up some of the best espressos and filter coffees in the neighbourhood. As we've come to expect from the Mecca brand, the team is continually pushing the boundaries of coffee experimentation, and it's worth lingering a little longer for the food.
Chambers Fine Coffee
This alfresco style two-storey coffee nook in the heart of Haymarket is buzzing with coffee connoisseurs who have made it their morning pitstop. The café roasts its beans in-house, and is known for its specialty coffee – it’s even a member of various associations across the world. Chambers also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner - and do all-day breakfasts which is something we can definitely get around. Don't leave without trying one of their Insta-ready frappes, smoothies or milkshakes!
The Black Groodle
Toted as serving some of the best breakfast in Ultimo, this industrial-chic cafe is all about distinct Middle Eastern flavours. Get your fill of the daily salads, marinated meats, couscous, and savoury pastries, but if you’re stopping by on a Thursday or Friday, look out for their end-of-week special, Knafeh (cheese pastry with sugar syrup).
Ducet Cakes & Sweets
Haymarket has just scored a brand-new boutique patisserie, that churns out an enticing selection of desserts, cakes and treats. After the booming success of their first outpost in Burwood, inner-city dwellers can now get a taste of the action. Serving up innovative Asian-inspired treats that are equal parts delicious and Insta-worthy – from the creamy Signature Matcha soft serve, to their Galaxy chocolate mousse cake; a quirky take on the solar system – everything at Dulcet is guaranteed to satisfy ...
A vintage speakeasy come espresso bar, 80 Bay is a shrine to all things coffee. Booth seating, gold lighting, a sprawling central bar, and impressive glass syphons set the scene for an all-day caffeine indulgence. Toby’s Estate is the bean of choice, order their coffee degustation – three bean varieties served in a syphon.
Sip on ONA coffee and Thai lattes in the homey fitout of vintage couches, an art-gallery-style sitting room and coffee bar. The Brainwave’s fusion menu includes Thai-style burgers, rice porridge with spinach, steak with Thai relish, hot dogs with green curry and hotcakes with sweet banana and pandan sauce.
Three Beans Coffee Vanilla Mung
A gem inside the Broadway Shopping Centre, Three Beans is the picture of health. Like the other cafes in the franchise, the menu features all-day breakfast and lunch dishes, and each plate is as colourful and nourishing as the next. The cafe caters to all sorts of dietary requirements.
Knight's Coffee & Tea Co
If you don’t know, now you know. Hiding underneath TAFE’s Marcus Clark Building, close to Central, this hole-in-the-wall serves up some of the best coffee in the Ultimo/Haymarket area. Owner and barista Jake Knight trained at Toby’s Estate, and now brews a range of beans, in a range of methods, at Knight’s Coffee & Tea Co.
Merchants of Ultimo
Tucked inside the Broadway Shopping Centre, The Merchants of Ultimo is a European food collective that works like a mini food court. It’s made up of five artisanal ‘stalls’: a coffee roaster, bakery, salad bar, pizzeria and rotisserie, and roving waiters offer table service and a menu of all the offerings.
Coco Cubano Central Park
Tucked away on the ground floor of the dining piazza in Chippendale’s Central Park, Coco Cubano embraces its Cuban influence. They have a tapas style menu that will take you from breakfast through to dinner and late-night cocktails, and colourful tables and plush chairs - it really is easy to linger here.
The Old Clare Hotel
The Old Clare Hotel’s boutique rooms beautifully combine contemporary design and heritage features. The Clare is the venue’s public bar downstairs, but for a more intimate drink, head upstairs to the Hotel’s heated rooftop pool with a lounging deck and a tempting cocktail list. What’s more, the Old Clare Hotel has impressive dining options – Automata and Kensington Street Social.
Kensington Street Social
A cafe, restaurant and bar hybrid sitting inside Chippendale’s Old Clare Hotel, Kensington Street Social is the brainchild of Jason Atherton, who has an accolade of Michelin stars to his name. Modern Australian cuisine stars on every plate in a setting that has soaring ceilings and a sophisticated chic décor.
Stroll past Coffee Trails any morning of the week, and you’ll spot the regulars chatting while they wait for their caffeine fix. Open seven days, Coffee Trails serves up specialty coffee, as well as a simple but strong list of brekkie and lunch classics – many of which feature a slice or two of Brasserie Bread.
Koi Dessert Bar
Ever since he wowed the crowds with his delectable desserts on MasterChef, Reynold Poernomo has been busy building a sugary empire. His Indonesian-inspired dessert bars are seriously the stuff dreams are made of. Instaworthy Koi Dessert Bar is just as delicious as it looks.
Concrete Jungle Cafe
The plant-based menu at Chippendale’s Concrete Jungle will have you glowing from the inside out. Crafted with ethically sourced meats the menu (with kitchen helmed by Bryan O’Callaghan) is equally about teaming excellent flavour with nourishing ingredients as it is about promoting sustainable eating.From Tuesday the 28th August until Thursday the 30th from 8am-2:30pm, the cafe is taking on the name Energy Exchange Cafe which is an initiative where you can exchange your step count for their delicious meals! Each ...
Something for Jess - SFJ Cafe
Amid the bustle of Chippendale is this little corner café that has a rustic, country-kitchen type feel to it – thanks in part to its mismatching vintage furniture. Adding to the charm, Something for Jess serves up organic breakfasts and lunches with vegetarian and vegan options.