There are plenty of fab new inner city eateries, but it’s destination cafes like Tartine in Mascot and Wolfpack in Mortlake that are helping us fall in love with Sydney’s outer ring. We present to you the best new cafés in Sydney for 2015 (so far!).
It began earlier this year as a pop-up space in Erskineville that promised to become permanent. Last month Executive Head Chef Brian Villahermosa finally made good on his pledge by launching his new dinner menu in the downstairs space, now featuring swanky marble tabletops and delicious hare and pale ale croquettes. The eatery is also open for breakfast and brunch and already feels like a community mainstay.
Old Mate on Crown
Like the eponymous Surry Hills everyman from which this joint takes its name, Old Mate feels like a warm hug as soon as you walk through the door. It could be the fact that cinnamon scrolls from Oregano Bakery are brought in by the dozen each day. Or perhaps it’s the Toby’s Estate coffee—brewed strong and hot and served from 7am. Either way, this Surry Hills café is about as cosy at they come.
Single Origin is hitting the town in a big way with a new hole-in-the-wall on York Street and the same hipster vibe as their original Surry Hills venue. Open from 7am on business days, there’s kombucha on tap and patrons are encourage to order breakfast for lunch (both because it’s awesome and because the actual lunch offering doesn’t extend past two or three sambos). Sweet!
Its ability to tempt commuters with its Pablo & Rusty coffee before they step onto the ferry at Mosman Bay Wharf is only part of the allure of this new North Shore café. The other part is baked eggs and harbour views at a sunny window table if you happen to miss the boat. Ingredients are sourced from Sydney’s best producers (Bread and Butter Project sourdough, Barambah yoghurt etc) and everything is either free-range, organic or blissfully nitrate-free.
There isn’t a “dirty street pie” in sight at this Bondi Beach eatery, where honest eating and local produce reign supreme. Chef Bryan O’Callaghan (formerly of The Tilbury Hotel) has created a menu of healthy and casual options to reflect its beachside setting. There’s strawberry bircher muesli and quinoa and feta fritters for brekkie, as well as serrano jamon and white peach salad for lunch. Even dinner is a casual, if not slightly more elegant affair, with a house made gnocchi and prawn and saffron risotto.
This Bourke Street newbie serves up coffee from Five Senses, cold pressed juice, sodas made in house, and some tasty pastries that give nearby Bourke Street Bakery a run for its money. In fact, everything in this joint is made from scratch, including the bread for toast and sandwiches, the sticky chai tea, and hand cut pasta.
Wolfpack Coffee Roasters
The post-industrial hood of Mortlake isn’t really accustomed to good coffee. Sure, there’s a few token cafes in nearby Breakfast Point, but up until now quality cafe-roasteries really didn’t stretch past Haberfield. That’s all changed thanks to hipster brewers Wolfpack Roasters, who have devised some kind of single origin and blend grouping system for their wonderful flavours based on the hierarchy of a wolf pack. The café offers not much in terms of food, but you can get a good ham and cheese sambo to feed the pack.
Due to massive demand, this popular Randwick bakery has expanded its operations to a swanky new location in Alexandria. The fact that they do hot cross buns year-round is a selling point in itself, but there’s also the added bonus of everything being organic, sustainable and freshly baked on site.
French bar food is the name of the game at this Mascot eatery, with open sandwiches, jaffles with fancy gruyere, and even some Frenchy smoked salmon salads on offer. Everything can be had for under $10 and the Grinders Coffee is available from 9am.
Haven Specialty Coffee
Its full name is Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously, which is weird, but aside from that the coffee, which is adjusted to each customers’ preferences (so make sure you know exactly how much acidity you desire) is rather good. There’s also a big tea focus on the menu at this new Sydney café, with quite a few dishes featuring tea-infused foods such as rose tea black rice pudding and even a bowl of soba noodles in a fragrant miso, earl grey and lavender broth.
Boon Cafe at Jarern Chai
The good folks at Chat Thai have branched out with an Asian grocer that also offers Isaan (northern Thai) food in the café at the back. Try the crab congee with your Single Origin coffee from 7am or head in late for a spicy tilapia larb. The pork mince larb padt sandwiches offer something different to take back to your desk at lunch or there’s some decidedly un-Asian pastries from Penny Fours for your mid-afternoon pick me up.
The Boathouse Shelly Beach
You’d think the start of winter would be perhaps the worst time to open a beachside kiosk offering casual brekkie and lunch of mostly cold seafood, but you know what? Like its Palm Beach, Whale Beach and Balmoral siblings, this boathouse is absolutely teaming with thong-clad patrons from dawn till dusk.
Following the trend towards quality, this Surry Hills-style cafe in the heart of the CBD is all about farm-to-table produce cooked well and served with plenty of kale on the side. Many of the ingredients at Cross Eatery are biodynamic, including the eggs for brekkie, the lamb for the tagine and the roast veggies you’ll definitely need in your life.
The Farm Wholefoods
If raw vegan desserts and green juices are your thing then this place, located smack bang in the middle of vibrant Macleay Street, is for you. There’s a range of gut-friendly and chia-powered brekkie options available from 7am or you can pop next door to the bulk foods pantry for all your superfood needs (think nuts, seeds, muesli and packaged juices).
Kepos & Co.
Danks Street in Waterloo is experiencing a delicious renaissance and it’s thanks to Michael Rantissi and his awesome kitchen team, all of whom have gone bigger and better at their new digs. The menu is a compilation of Mediterranean favourites from nearby Kepos Street Kitchen with a few newbies to wow the crowds. Look out for mulukhiyah (a lemony beef brisket), as well as the famous hummus-falafel-labneh super plate and a nice range of seasonal salads.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso at Harry's Bondi