Sydney’s CBD is an awkward place for hungry people to be at breakfast time, between the serious business crowd, average coffee shops and limited brunch options. Or so you thought. The CBD is actually heaving with top-notch breakfast spots, if you know where to look that is, and oh boy, do we know where to look.
Because life is far too short for bad coffee.
Airy and light-filled are words that come to mind when strolling into Cross Eatery on Clarence Street. It’s a welcome respite from the bustling CBD and the aroma of freshly brewed coffees only sweeten the deal. This is the place to head for a breakfast that has been thoughtfully created with sustainability in mind, serving things like 63˚ eggs with single origin olive oil, black salt and sourdough dippers and millet and oat porridge with baked apples and feijoa.
Fratelli Fresh Walsh Bay
You may not immediately think of Fratelli Fresh when you hop out of bed in the morning with a hankering for eggs on toast. But that’s not all they do, because they have a menu filled with classic breakfast fare, each dish featuring their signature Italian spin. Think eggs benedict bruschetta or poached eggs, hollandaise, tomato, basil and extra virgin olive oil or avocado crostini with pancetta, tomato and ricotta on sourdough (go on, add a poached egg too). Our personal favourite is the baked truffle eggs, because truffle.
Pablo & Rusty's
An institution on the Sydney café scene, Pablo & Rusty’s is a foolproof option for your daily coffee fix, regardless of whether you prefer espresso or filter (they do both). The space is all exposed wooden beams, hanging plants and high ceilings, while the menu is filled with hearty winter warmers and filling café favourites. Order the miso buttered mushrooms on sourdough with sweet potato hummus, charred broccolini, poached eggs and togarashi shichimi. If you don’t, we will.
Combining two of our favourite things—espresso and wine—Baker Bros, is the brainchild of the Panetta brothers; two Italian Sydneysiders who promise to serve beautiful and simple food, using the best seasonal produce. The cafe’s name comes from their own, since Panetta loosely translates to baker (get it?) and they serve heavenly things like parmesan eggs, smashed avo with dukkah and mushroom bruschetta.
Can’t afford a trip to New York? Same. But what we can afford is a trip to Bowery Lane where we can pretend we’re in the second best city in the world, scoffing waffles and sculling flat whites. It’s nestled inside one of O’Connell Street’s high rises, so don’t be put off when you have to walk past three times before finding the door (or is that just us?), because the West End Waffles (with maple cream, maple syrup, cinnamon sugar and honeycomb) and the Smashed Avocado (with Persian feta, rocket, poached eggs, diced romas and quinoa on sourdough) are well worth the search.
Klink Handmade Espresso
It should come as no surprise, but Klink is the place to head for coffee if you have very particular tastes, because they do it all. No really, V60 pour over, cold drip and espresso are all on the cards, utilising their staggering range of single origin blends, boutique beans and their old faithful; The Golden Cobra. This is one for people who need breakfast on the go, since they also do breakfast specials like a three cheese, field mushroom and egg roll, French toast and ready-to-eat pastries from the cabinet.
Single Origin Roasters
As one of Sydney’s most trusted coffee suppliers, visiting the Single O café is like going straight to the source, since they are one of Sydney’s biggest and best coffee dealers. Their beans are on display in store and treated with the respect and awe they deserve, set in recessed porthole-style shelving along the main wall. And while coffee is most certainly the main event here, the food doesn’t disappoint, with their brekkie box and next level toasties. Toasties are always a good idea, but when they involve things like provolone, truffle oil, smoked ham and cheddar béchamel, they’re even better.
They serve Five Senses coffee and brew matcha lattes like a boss, so on the beverage front that is all you need to know. But the food menu at Blaq Piq is where things really get interesting, since they serve Japanese-inspired café fare with gusto. Rightfully, their most popular breakfast dish is the pandan buttermilk pancakes, served with coconut ice cream, fresh berries, mango, nata de coco, pecan crumble AND salted caramel sugar syrup. You can see why it’s popular, right? There are also less intimidating options, like the smashed avocado with slow poached egg and Danish feta, which you could order, I guess.
A Thai-inspired café by the same folks behind Chat Thai, Boon is a café and South East Asian supermarket thrown into one. Their selection of Thai drinks is staggering, with house-made iced tisanes, traditional Thai coffee and matcha as well as classic Single Origin blends for the coffee addicted among us. In the way of food, there are sweet options like fig and walnut sourdough with mascarpone and house jam and for savoury lovers, there is crab congee, the boon omelette with rice and kai gatah (Thai-style pan-baked eggs).
Kansas City Shuffle
Kansas City Shuffle is the kind of place that makes basically everything in house, from the pillowy brioche to the butter and condiments. American diner is their food theme and you can expect to see beef brisket waffles with chilli butter, pancakes with lemon curd and cream cheese parfait and pumpkin bread with avocado and goats cheese on the menu at any given time. The coffee is by Single Origin, which you can grab on the go from their Little City Window, or settle in to wrap your cold fingers around before heading to the office.
Looking for more brunch inspo in Sydney? Check out our list of 20 of Sydney's best brunch spots here.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso at Bowery Lane