The Hills is definitely one of Sydney’s worst kept secrets, with small bars and brunch options that rival any Saturday morning spent in Surry Hills, it’s little wonder why locals tend to keep it exactly that—local. Between sustainability conscious cafes championing local produce and some of Sydney’s best brews and small bars with their bespoke cocktail lists, extensive wine offerings and generous share platters, here are seven more reasons to never cross The Bridge again. You’re welcome.
Home to house made coconut yoghurt, The Chislett breakfast plate and a killer flat white, Youeni Foodstore is a wholefoods café loved by locals. Their ethos is to deliver wholesome foods, rich with wildly diverse ingredients that they use to create sweet treats and hearty meals that are, quite simply, works of art. Equally as pleasing to the eye as to the belly, you can’t really go wrong with the Life-Extending Bowl or a slice of their decadent salted caramel mega cakes (our words, not theirs), which is a multi-layered cake that is both gluten free and refined sugar free. Yep, we’ll just let that sink in for a minute.
Crooked Tailor is exactly the kind of place that The Hills was crying out for and finally our dreams have been answered in the form of this dimly lit small bar and their cracking bar menu. Little brother to Pocket Bar, Stitch and Button Bar, Crooked Tailor features a seasonal cocktail menu, mixing up the classics and bespoke offerings. You would be forgiven for forgetting mid sip that you weren’t, in fact, in Surry Hills because the décor is top notch with its spacious booths, concrete tables and hanging botanicals. Also worth a mention is the American style food. Order the BBQ beef ribs or black figs with goats curd and vincotto, we dare you.
With Single Origin brews, a rotating seasonal menu and an airy canteen feel, The Tuckshop is the poster-child for The Hills. Balance is king here and they strike it perfectly, oozing laid back vibes while still maintaining high quality dishes, made from local produce (the eggs literally come from a farm down the road in Kenthurst). The menu ticks all of the boxes, providing breakfast boxes and salted caramel milkshakes, cheeseburgers and green juices—all available to-go.
Wolfe & Co.
The menu at Wolfe & Co. is a revolving door of all that is right in the not-quite-rural suburb of Dural, changing seasonally to feature the best produce that The Hills and surrounds have on offer. Brews are by one of our favourites, Five Senses and the food menu features house made preserves, sauces and even yoghurt. Although they are sustainability conscious and pride themselves on minimising food miles, they never skimp on quality, happily venturing further out for Australia’s best teas, truffles and Tasmanian saffron. Order their brand spankin’ new breakfast burger, which is a stellar combination of Iberico jamon, black truffle, scrambled egg, green shallot, harissa aioli on a soft milk bun.
The Lane Wine & Tapas Bar
Once a BYO only wine bar, The Lane is now a fully licensed venue with an extensive wine list and tapas menu that takes advantage of the best produce from Byron Bay and the Hunter Valley. The share plates, as you would expect, pair perfectly with good company and a great bottle of vino. Think Spanish chorizo with baked petit vine tomatoes and garlic and three share platters, all featuring an assortment of charcuterie, dips, cheeses and crisp breads.
Wild Pear Café
Popular among Hill’s locals, Wild Pear Café is a hidden gem, tucked away in the back streets of Dural. The bacon and avocado stack is everything you want in a morning after brunch, all piled upon crispy toasted sourdough, with a house made hash brown on the side. But it is the sweet dishes that’ll really draw you in. Topped with Persian fairy floss, the Turkish delight pavlova will catch your eye before immediately stealing your stomach’s heart (it’s a thing). People have been known to wait for tables for up to an hour, so we suggest you book before trying your luck here.
A Hills institution, The Baron was one of the first on the brunch scene in Castle Hill. Over the years, their menu has been whittled down to a concise selection of breakfast and lunch offerings combining café classics and contemporary additions. The BAE roll has lasted the years and sits happily alongside Luke’s Avenue muesli and doughnuts from Woah Nelly. New to the scene are the Gains and Eggs, which is a healthy sized bowl, heaped with sautéed greens, soft eggs, grains, house made Sriracha and wakame powder. The smiling staff and expertly crafted Single Origin coffees keep the locals returning week after week.
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Image credit: Alex Squadrito at Wild Pear Cafe