Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published October 3rd 2011
Sydney's restaurants are known for fine dining and gourmet food – usually with an Asian twist. The cafe culture of Sydney is lesser-known, and certainly less famous than Melbourne's, but there's still plenty of excellent cafes here. If you know which places are good, it's possible to avoid mediocre coffee for the rest of your life. Here are five of the best Sydney cafes, starting with:
At Perry Lane
On Oxford Street in Paddington, At Perry Lane is difficult to find. The entrance is in a laneway next to 264 Oxford Street (Perry Lane, of course), marked by a small sign and two lonely-looking pot plants. The seating is all outdoor-ish – on rainy days, they put up a makeshift roof, but most of the time you'll be eating in the sun. The blue-grey walls and creeping vines add to the nature vibe, making At Perry Lane relaxing and comfortable. The coffee is very good, and the brunch menu ranges from old standards – big breakfast – to more adventurous options, like the poached eggs, wilted spinach, and cumin lentils. Complete with an attached art space, At Perry Lane skirts the limits of pretentious and ends up simply trendy. Definitely worth checking out.
At 130 Victoria St, Potts Point, Cafe DOV is the place to go in Sydney's inner east. It sources its food from local producers (even growing herbs and some vegies itself) for that fresh organic taste. The price is quite reasonable too, considering the quality of the food – in fact, Cafe DOV has been described as a fine dining experience disguised as a cafe. Not too thoroughly disguised, though: the "Veal and Ricotta Meat Balls on Pappardelle Pasta in Tomato Sauce" and the "Pan-roasted Blue Eyed Cod with Roast Tomato, Kalamata Olives and picked Basil Salad" should tip a savvy patron off that something's a little fancy here.
Where the magic happens.
At 248 Glenmore Road, Paddington, Tiger Mottle is first and foremost a coffee shop. Avoid takeaway - the service is a bit too slow - and treat yourself to an always smooth sit-down brew. Their secret? Using a double ristretto in place of an espresso shot. It uses more coffee grounds, but gives a smoother taste and drastically lowers the risk of an overly-bitter shot. Tiger Mottle is best visited in winter, when the fireplace is roaring and there's freshly-baked gingerbread available. Try their Maple Mottle – a double ristretto poured over double cream and a shot of maple syrup laced with chilli, topped with dark chocolate shavings. Decadent and delicious.
On the Jones Bay Wharf, Cafe Morso is probably the Sydney cafe with the best views. Sip a coffee overlooking the Sydney Harbour or appreciate the historic value of Jones Bay Wharf. Hampers and gift vouchers are available, and they'll cater to within a 1km radius (including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes). This is the best place to book out for an event – they'll personally tailor a menu to suit your tastes, and the dining room is under a beautiful chandelier. Groups of up to 50 guests can recieve a 3-4 course sit down menu, and if you want to host more people than that, Cafe Morso can offer canape menus.
Bitton Gourmet Cafe
Has bacon ever looked crispier?
At 36 Copeland St, Alexandria, Bitton Gourmet Cafe is a cafe with a personality. Parisian-born David Bitton runs the place, walking around chatting to customers and serving up what is probably the best all-day breakfast in Sydney. Unlike, say, Cafe Morso, Bitton Gourmet Cafe is child-friendly, which is important for a cafe that caters to tired families. One caveat – although Bitton Gourmet Cafe offers gluten-free menu choices, be careful. The kitchen has a bad habit of forgetting them (or accidently spilling gluten-packed breadcrumbs over a finished dish.) Regardless, David Bitton's cafe is an excellent place for a relaxed breakfast.
What are your picks for the best cafes in Sydney? Share them in the comments – we'd love to hear from you.
Sorry, Bitton, your service is very slow and, as noted above, not always accruate dishes served.
By barba26 - reader Wednesday, 5th of October @ 03:17 am
I have to agree about Bitton's service but the products they sell, particularly the jams are fantastic!
By Paula Morgan - senior reviewer Wednesday, 5th of October @ 04:12 am
What about Shenkin, Erskinevile Road Erko??? Great food with a difference but still quite traditional, friendly, unpretentious and great coffee.
By emkel - reader Wednesday, 5th of October @ 06:37 am
I mentioned them before , so apologies to those that hear them again but please try two great cafes in Annandale, inner west. First little marionette cafe on trafalgar st fir excellent coffee, pasteries and a groovy vibe and secondly revolver cafe for not only coffee but try anything off the thd specials board - yum yum! Go on Mr Melbourne blogger try these cafes x
By hwill - reader Wednesday, 5th of October @ 09:58 am
Agree about Cafe Morso. Love the place , really reasonable for what you get. Service has been either really good or very average. Bitton service can be good and David is what make Bitton really good. Also there is a great restaurant manager there.
By Paloma - reader Wednesday, 5th of October @ 11:27 am
What about Badde Manors Glebe. Their hotapple cider is so comforting on a cold night. Plus the fig and ginger pudding must have been made by angels.....heavenly!
By maryz - reader Wednesday, 5th of October @ 08:07 pm
Great article! You sure do get around to a lot of cafes! We run Barista Courses here in Sydney blackmarketroasters.com.au/barista-course-sydney and we try and get around to all the latest openings, though it is hard. Great to ave resources like this to keep us informed. Cheers
By info - reader Wednesday, 5th of November @ 06:19 pm