[Sydney] It was only after typing this entry when I realised I missed Sydney’s cafes that much… Devon’s Sakuma, Bourke Street Bakery’s Funnel Sausage Roll, Single O’s Coffee, and of course the famed Strawberry Watermelon Cake from Black Star Pastry.
The Australians just do their coffee differently – balanced, smoothing. That feeling when it slips down your throat. I wanted to say I never had bad coffee in Sydney, but will change it to “seldom”.
The brunch food is also ever-changing, substantial, creative, and aesthetically pleasing (cue “instagrammable”) all at the same time.
If you are heading down to Sydney, here are 10 Must-Try café. I tried to include a mixture of the famous shoo-ins, along with some under-the-radar (for foreigners) but also worth a venture. (Also read: 10 Best Cafes In Surry Hills Sydney)
(Click PLAY for video highlights of Devon Cafe).
76 Devonshire St Surry Hills NSW
Tel: 02 9211 8777
Opening Hours: 7am – 4pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 3:30pm (Sat – Sun), 8am – 3:30pm (PH)
(Kitchen closes at 3pm)
Google Maps – Devon Cafe
Asian Fusion Food On Surry Hills, Go For The Sakuma
It is not hard to like Devon Café, which has managed to find a unique voice in an ever-evolving café scene in Sydney.
Since it opened in 2013 at Surry Hills, Devon Café which is a short 10 minutes’ walk from Central Station, continues to be packing in the crowds.
It used to have a branch at Danks, but has shifted that outlet to the more commercial district of Barangaroo.
Over at Surry Hills, you get items such as the Tropical Chia – chia pudding, almond milk, fresh dragonfruit, mandarin, passionfruit, strawberries; Eggs Blini – Buckwheat blini, poached eggs, citrus cured king salmon, salmon caviar, broccolini, maltaise sauce; Yakuza Burger – Grilled chicken, mozzarella katsu, Devon’s secret sauce, cos lettuce, pickles, milk bun, seasoned chips; and Hojicha Cookies N Cream – Hojicha cream, Hojicha sponge, Hojicha crunch, Hojicha sauce, yuzu gel and mandarin.
The famed Sakuma (AUD26) contained miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63 degrees egg, radish petit salad and kewpie mayonnaise. It was on the expensive side.
The chunky, fresh, smooth, well-seasoned salmon which melted in the mouth, the smoked eel croquette lightly crispy and with smoky hints, and the perfectly cooked egg. Devon Café (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke Street Surry Hills
Tel: +61 02 9699 1011 (To order for same day collection from the Surry Hills bakery, you can call +02 9699 1011.)
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 6:00pm (Mon – Fri), 7:00am – 5:00pm (Sat – Sun)
Life Changing Ginger Brulée Tart & Sausage Roll
There are few things I would describe as life-changing, and two items from the famed bakery would fit that bill – Ginger Brulée Tart and Pork & Fennel Sausage Roll.
Their legendary Ginger Brulée Tart (AUD5) had a firm tart shell, smooth and thick filling of subtle ginger twang that reminded me of Christmas, with a layer of crisp caramelised sugar topped with pistachio.
My first Pork and Fennel Sausage Roll (AUD4.50) was eaten hours later and cold, yet I thought it was a god-sent, literally.
The minced pork filing pleasantly enhanced with funnel seas with buttery flaky pastry was utmostly delicious. Then, I went again to get my second.
Before I forget, other pastries and bakes, are also worth the try. Bourke Street Bakery (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Black Star Pastry – Newtown
277 Australia St, NEWTOWN, NSW 2042 (Newtown Station. Lines serviced: T2 Inner West & South Line.)
Tel: +61 02 9557 8656
Opening hours: 7:00am – 5:00pm Daily
Google Maps – Black Star Pastry Newtown
World Famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake
Black Star Pastry is famous for THAT ONE THING – the Strawberry Watermelon Cake, which propelled the bakery café to almost-international fame.
Not an understatement to say this cake is world-famous.
Tastefully gorgeous with a rather girly style, a layered photogenic cake termed ‘instagram-worthy’ all around, with a taste to match.
A slice of the famed Strawberry Watermelon Cake (AUD7.50) created by Christopher Thé, consists of two layers of almond dacquoise, rose-scented cream, watermelon, strawberries, pistachios and dried rose petal.
Having it was like experiencing ‘happily ever after’ or when you crush invites you for a movie when you were 17. Black Star (Newtown, Sydney)
Single O Surry Hills
60 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, NSW Australia 2010
Opening hours: 6:30am – 4:00pm (Mon-Fri), 7:30am – 3:00pm (Sat), Closed Sun
The Passionate Coffee People
Single O, formerly known Single Origin Roasters.
The epitome of good coffee is passion. Said to serve the best coffee on Surry Hills, thus the long queues for takeaways, especially during morning rush hours.
Seats are limited. I sat on benches outside the café, literally a hole in the wall.
Many cafes in Australia serve banana loaf, but Single Origin Roasters’s Banana Bread With Espresso Butter (AUD5.50) had my friends buying those every single day we were there.
Did I say every single day? Single Origin Roasters (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Address: 6-8 O’Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Tel: +61 02 9519 2920
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 4:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – Brewtown Newton
Cafe In A Warehouse In Sydney, Known For Sparkling Coffee, Cruffin and Brewnut
Brewtown Newtown calls itself a “cafe, coffee roastery, and artisan bakery”.
Pioneered by two men with serious solid café credentials, Charles Cameron previously managed Single Origin Roasters and Toby’s Estate Woolloomooloo, while Simon Triggs was manager for Toby’s Estate and owns Gnome Espresso at Surry Hills.
Coffee is roasted in-house, so that the team can take more ownership and develop into a coffee wholesaler.
Other than excellent coffee, Newtown’s food is one of the reasons you should love this place.
It boasts of rich diversity in its foods that come from an area with such a melting pot of rich cultures — Asian, European, Australian. Plus the usage of fresh, local ingredient in bistro-style dishes.
Popular foods range from simple (to mind-boggling) Scrambled Eggs on Toast (AUD12) Coffee Rub Brisket, Mushrooms & Caramelised Onion on Toast with Poached Eggs (AUD18), Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder (AUD25), Soft Shell Crab Burger with Squid Ink Bun (AUD8), to Hazelnut & Callebaut Chocolate Brioche French Toast with Orange Ricotta & Fruits (AUD16). Brewtown Newtown (Newtown, Sydney)
Paramount Coffee Project
80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills Sydney 2010
Tel: +61 02 9211 1122
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 4:00pm (Mon – Fri), 7:30am – 4:00pm (Sat), 8:00am – 4:00pm (Sun)
Industrial-Chic Cafe On Surry Hills Sydney, With Awesome Crumbed Eggs
The Paramount Coffee Project got its name as it is built into the hallway of Paramount House, a gorgeous-industrial space showcasing different styles of quality coffee.
The food matches the brilliance of the place and coffee.
You can expect the likes Pearl Barley Porridge with rhubarb, pistachio, apple and mandarin (AUD15.50); Avo on Toast (but of course) with fermented salad, vegemite sesame and cashew butter (AUD13); and Soft Baked Eggs with Habanero Salsa (AUD17.50).
For the junk lovers, there is a Buttermilk Fried Chicken Waffle (AUD21) and French Philly Cheese Sub with Southern brisket and sauerkraut (AUD18).
The Crumbed Eggs sitting on savoury mustard braised hock along with kale on toast, is a must-order. Paramount Coffee Project (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Edition Coffee Roasters
265 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 3:30pm (Mon – Thu), 7:00am-3:30pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm (Friday), 8:00am-3:30pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm (Sat), 8:00am-3:30pm (Sun)
Google Maps – Edition Coffee Roasters
Noma’s René Redzepi Is A Fan
Noma’s René Redzepi is also a fan of their coffee, and regularly visited them when he was having a pop-up in Sydney. Perhaps some of his inspirations have also rubbed off to the founders of Edition.
This café at Darlinghurst is a Scandinavian and Japanese inspired place, founded by brothers Daniel Jackson and Corie Sutherland.
They not only produced amazing meals, but are also known for their excellent coffee with beans roasted themselves.
The fusion of Scandinavian and Japanese style cuisine is unusual. Some of the dishes they create are quite unusual which creates buzz amongst other foodies. Edition Coffee Roasters (Darlinghurst, Sydney)
The focus is on using the freshest ingredients, keeping a small and easy to read menu and providing Sydney siders with something exciting, new and different from the traditional breakfast you might find at local cafes (e.g. eggs or avo on toast).
101/21 Alberta Street, Sydney, Australia 2000 (near Surry Hills)
Tel: 02 8021 1629
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 4:00pm (Mon – Fri), 9:00am – 4:00pm (Sat)
Google Maps – Cre Asion
So Much Matcha Love In This Green Tea Café
I have never quite expected to find a ‘legit’ Japanese matcha café at this part of the world. At least not with a name called “Cre Asion”, located at a hidden alley off Alberta Street in Sydney.
Cre Asion has quickly entered my heart as one of my favourites down under, because it serves two of my desired food in a single place – matcha latte and scrambled eggs. And do them well.
It is no wonder the quality of the bakes are respectable. Owner-Chef Yu Sasaki comes from a fine dining background, having worked at Marque, Universal and French Laundry.
Offerings at Cre Asion include Sandwiches (AUD10 -12) such as Double Smoked Ham, Spinach, Gruyere and Dijon Mustard; House Made Granala (AUD8.50), and Crushed Avocado and Preserved Lemon (AUD8).
The Scrambled Eggs with Toast (AUD10) was just on a class of its own. Truly just eggs and bread. But how they could make something so look so seemingly simple taste so fluffy, gooey, layered, flavourful and smooth at the same time, beats me. Cre Asion (Alberta Street, Sydney)
(Click PLAY for video highlights of Grounds of the City.)
The Grounds of the City
500 George St, Sydney, 2000
Tel: +61 2 9699 2235
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 6:00pm (Mon – Sun)
The Go-To Cafe-Restaurant In Sydney’s CBD
The team behind the insanely popular The Grounds Of Alexandria hits another home-run with The Grounds of the City at 500 George Street.
Furnished with 1920s charm like within the Orient Express, open-plan kitchen, The Barista’s Bar… from the conception of the design to the finish, many of the furniture you see around have been custom-made.
It LOOKS expensive, and IS expensive.
A tea lady will roam the room with her trolley, with selection of ethically sourced teas (50 Sips of Grey, Moroccan Gunpowder, Lemongrass & Ginger, Nasheman Chair) and cakes baked fresh daily in The Grounds Bakery & Patisserie.
From the breakfast menu, some items you could eye on include the Freshly Baked Croissant with king crab salad, soft herbs and lemon (AUD22), Brekkie Roll of bacon, pork sausage, fried egg, avocado and tomato salsa in a brioche bun with spicy green sauce (AUD17) and Wild Mushroom Feuilleté with sheep’s curd, spinach, peas, poached eggs and hazelnuts (AUD23). The Grounds Of The City (George Street, Sydney)
Bread and Circus Wholefoods Canteen
21 Fountain St, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia
Tel: +61 0418 214 425
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 3:00pm (Mon – Fri), 7:00am – 4:00pm (Sat – Sun)
Google Maps – Bread and Circus Wholefoods Canteen
Bustling Cafe With Daily Changing Menu Of Organic Food
This is a canteen located within the industrial area of Alexandria. Breakfast, lunch and drinks, with a focus on sustainability and biodynamics. I thought of introducing something different from the rest, for those looking for organic or vegan food.
The meals are all elegantly presented, and look very fresh and clean. Lots of fresh fruits, veggies and superfoods such as quinoa.
It has a communal vibe, with six long wooden tables for visitors to sit at. You can strike up a conversation with other people that also enjoy healthy lifestyles. The menu is also designed to be shared, e.g. the salads can be mixed and matched and are served on a big plate.
Basically it is very high quality food and environmentally friendly. The ingredients are organic, eggs are free range/biodynamic, packaging is biodegradable, and it caters to vegetarians and vegans.
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Devon Café (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Neighbourhood by Seán McManus (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Brewtown Newtown (Newtown, Sydney)
The Grounds Of The City (George Street, Sydney)