Last Updated: March 22, 2016
Sydney, the capital of New South Wales in Australia, is home to a bevy of trendy cafes every cafe-hopper dreams of.
The Sydney cafe scene is largely urban, creative and chefs play a large focus on using local produce in its many wholesome, nutrition-driven dishes.
Many such cafes share a spot with local design retailers to complement a space that attracts Sydneysiders and tourists alike looking for good brunch, and the most insta-worthy of locations. Queues at many brekkie spots are evident of the region’s love for great cafes.
Taking a trip to Sydney courtesy of Destination New South Wales and Singapore Airlines, I found myself exploring every nook and cranny of the city to find old and new establishments alike, contributing way more than my daily calorie intake to put together this guide to Sydney cafes. I had a local guide of course, pointing me to the most reputable and delicious of cafes.
If you’re lost in the sea of Sydney cafes popping up and need your legit brunch fix, read on my friend.
Bourke Street Bakery is quite the institution in Sydney, evolving from a dodgy operation out of a beaten old car to the wildly successful cafe/bakery chain it is today.
Nestled amongst the gentrified charming estate of Bourke street, the bakery found themselves a home that could serve the local community.
Small, rustic, homely and timeless, this is a bakery with the vision of making comfort food that locals can indulge in everyday.
The hearty beef pie is a lovely rendition of homelines all packed into a crusty puff. Its just like how grandma would make a pie.
Other well-known favorites include the Almonds croissant, Pork and fennel sausage roll, carrot walnut cake and ginger brulee tart.
A humble layout with sunny alfresco seatings, you’ll find many Sydneysiders queuing up at Bourke Street Bakery for a good taste of baked simplicity.
Bourke Street Bakery (Surry Hills): 633 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia | Website
The original Devon Cafe, aptly named due to its location on Devonshire Street, serves cafe favorites fusing East and West twists of quirk in the heart of indie Surry Hills.
Grungy and suburban in cafe vibes, the interior plays homeage to Sydney’s rag trade of the past, without all the nefarious folk anymore, mind you.
Jacqui Ektoros, head chef of Devon Cafe, believes that people eat with their eyes first and that dishes need to be visually stimulating before even taking the first bite. Hence her detailed attention to each minute aspect as seen in her rendition of a raspberry Cookies n’ Cream.
You can feel the Asian influence Devon cafe is so known for with the Breakfast With The Sakuma’s, a miso-grilled king salmon with smoked eel croquette, 63 degree poached egg, radish petit salad and Kewpie mayonnaise. Tenderly marinated salmon with a myriad of flavours that don’t overwhelm each component.
Other highlights include the Devon’s style Fish Cake and Porky Pig for a filling fusion brunch you won’t regret. Slightly edgy, Devon is mandatory when in Surry Hills.
Devon Cafe: 76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia | Website
Located near the iconic Bondi Beach, Porch and Parlour’s guests can be seen sitting by the open wooden frames enjoying a delightfully sea breeze with a flat white.
Amongst the paint-peeled walls and cool navy tones, Porch and Parlour’s coastal maritime ambiance matches the laid-back beach life many Sydneysiders have grown fond of.
The Green Brekkie Bowl is the epitome of an all-Aussie healthy eating diet. Anyone would look like a Yoga instructor pretty damn fast if you ate this everyday. Kale, Spinach, Quinoa, Corriander, Mint, Parsley, Poached Eggs and Avocado, the squeeze of lemon gives it some acidity to alleviate the monotony of greens.
If living well isn’t so much your cup of smoothie, more balanced alternatives like The Devil’s Breakfast, with chorizo, roasted potatoes, bean molé, and chilli and papkrika doused eggs, are also available.
Porch and Parlour: 17-18/110 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi NSW 2026, Australia | Website
Cornersmith is a small, well-loved couple-run cafe in Marrickville that also doubles up as a housemade picklery.
They believe in sustainable and ethical foods revolving a seasonal menu with locally-sourced produce from small-scale growers and makers.
Housemade pickles and relishes make their appearance on dishes and can also be bought home.
In fact, Cornersmith believes so much in their work that they also conduct a range of home food craft workshops for the public -You’ll learn everything you need to know from equipment to sourcing. Talk about practicing what you preach.
Sweet toast: Poached quince (a kind of pear), almond butter, ricotta with star anise. On the surface this looks like a decadently saccharine treat, but the tart pomegranate and herbal anise sauce balances the sweet poached quince.
Both the interior and menu of Cornersmith is minimalist, yet with intricate details underlying its earnest simplicity. Pickles, anyone?
Cornersmith Picklery: 441 Illawarra Rd, Sydney NSW 2204, Australia | Website
West Juliett is a cafe on the corner of Marrickville that makes simple rustic food and coffee for eating in, or for takeaways.
Wide open spaces with a deep veranda for more outdoor seats, there is a mix of tattooed Newtown hipsters as well as families pushing prams of joy. Or anguish, depending on your perspective.
West Juliett gets their fundamental brunch foundation spot on, serving classic poached eggs, salads and the like without a hitch.
The Poached Eggs, avocado, feta, parsley, cress, lemon, dukkah on toast was textbook, and if you can get your basics right everything else will be a breeze.
Other must tries include the Twelve hour pork, fennel, sharp cabbage, apple, kohl rabi, parmesan, as well as the Lamb shoulder, truss tomatoes, freekeh, burnt chili, cashews, currants and tahini yogurt. Great balance of proteins and veggies for that beachbod you always wanted.
West Juliett: 30 Llewellyn St, Marrickville NSW 2204, Australia | Facebook
Brewtown Newtown is a cafe, micro roastery, brew bar and retail floor (O’Connell St Merchants) upstairs with nifty locally designed apparels and other knick-knacks.
In this industrial rustic cafe, rich specialty coffee including single roast origins are sourced to provide patrons a quality caffeine fix.
Brewtown serves breakfast and lunch with a seasonal menu philosophy of bringing paddock to plate, and its as fresh as you can get in a cafe.
Using only free range, organic and pasture fed produce, new age brunch dishes are served in all its natural glory. Dishes may play on basic ingredients like eggs, muesli, avocado, toast, but have that extra touch of healthy-eating.
One of my favorite brekkie item here was the Vegan Bircher muesli, coconut & ginger with mango, passionfruit salsa, with dehydrated strawberries. Tart, delicious and completely guilt-free.
Freshly baked goods are also showcased in the small glass display to tempt customers with a takeaway bag.
Hit up Brewtown for one of the most instagrammable cafes in Sydney.
Brewtown Newton: 6-8 O’Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia | Website
With more than 10 years of history, The Book Kitchen is a relaxed foodie corner with of course, a cookery book library that guests are invited to browse. There’s a strong emphasis on wine education as well, with many Wine degustation dinners being held here.
Inside the exposed-brickwork cafe, favorites like the Avocado Sourdough and Crispy Smoked Ham Hock are regular favorites on the menu, while a rotation of seasonal dishes never fail to keep things interesting.
For a casual setting with sufficient space, The Book Kitchen is a spot to drop by.
The Book Kitchen: 255 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia | Website
Bills is a modern Australian restaurant/cafe offering brekkie staples along with other western mains.
Opened by Bill Granger, the restaurant reflects the Aussie spirit: sunny, casual and generous. Its wide space and communal tables provide an environment adored by both locals and tourists, while leading as a role model for many other cafes.
Scrambled organic eggs and sourdough toast, with a side of smashed avocado. Bills’ scrambled eggs are simply legendary. Smooth, creamy without any of that barnyard accent, the scrambled eggs themselves are worth a trip down to either their Bondi Beach or Surry Hills outlet.
Ricotta hotcakes, banana and honeycomb butter. Hotcakes as fluffy as pillows, one simply can’t get enough of Bills’ hotcakes.
Brunch gets all that better with a refreshing bellini or sparkling wine on the side while the afternoon winds by.
Bills is possibly my favorite brunch spot in Sydney with its mix of food and ambiance.
Bills: 79 Hall St, Bondi Beach NSW 2026, Australia | Website
Black Star Pastry is all about the old-ways of baking, working with natural ingredients to bring out flavours rather than tinker with the unconventional.
With taste as the cafe’s primary motivation, foods are simplified yet married in a combination of interesting flavours otherwise thought impossible.
The iconic Strawberry watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry consists of 2 layers of almond dacquoise, rose-scented cream, fresh watermelon, strawberries, pistachios and dried rose petals. Born from a simple birthday cake creation, this has become a cult signature for the bakery – a must try when you pop by.
Fresh watermelon in cake? Who would’ve thought.
Black Star Pastry: 277 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia | Website
The Grounds of Alexandria looks like a venue straight out of some fairytale that the whole family can get in on.
Located in an old refurbished pie factory from the 1990s, this massive flagship space hosts a grand cafe and restaurant along coffee research and testing facilities.
The whole compound is a huge garden bursting with freshness and nature. There’s even a small petting zoo for the kids, featuring chickens, sheep and Kevin Bacon, a most well-known local celebrity swine.
Its no surprise that the Grounds of Alexndria is wildly popular for weddings too.
Inside, expect elements of the converted factory used harmoniously as a backdrop for munching on a paddock to plate concept menu.
The cafe is crazily packed as if half the population of Sydney was here for brunch, so you’ll want to come early if not expect a wait of 30-40 minutes (no reservations).
Can’t get a seat? Takeaways are also available.
Grounds Baked Eggs. Two free range eggs baked in a skillet with a rich tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, white bean, dried cherry tomatoes and salsa verde. Hearty and filing with all your breakfast needs on one skillet.
Other great brunch dishes include the Chef’s Brekkie pan and Berry Hotcake.
Offering a fresh and rustic menu, the team of chefs at the Grounds of Alexandria constantly push boundaries to reinvent classics to deliver the perfect combination of flavours.
I’m simply blown away by the vibrant atmosphere of The Grounds of Alexandria, making this one brunch destination in Sydney you can’t afford to miss. Perfect for families.
The Grounds of Alexandria: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW | Website
I hope this guide has shed some light on marvelous brunch spots in Sydney, but there’s a lot more to explore too. What better way to discover Sydney than flying in comfort directly via Singapore Airlines? With Singapore Airline’s well-trained crew, you won’t miss a beat before landing in the warm hospitality of Sydney.
Flying to Australia, Singapore Airlines also offers a curated selection of Australian wines, hand-picked by renown Australian wine consultant, Michael Hill-Smith.
You’ll most certainly be well-taken care of aboard an SQ flight.