Brunch in Sydney is not so much a meal as a ritual.
By Ute Junker
Sydney's brunch scene is more than just perfectly poached eggs and single origin coffee. It’s a chance to slow down a little, catch up with friends, and try some of the most creative food in town. From citrus chia puddings to Lebanese lamb pizzas, these Sydney brunches will make your day.
There are flashier places to brunch in Bondi, but none draws crowds as big as those that line up outside Brown Sugar. This long-time local favourite has an innovative menu with something for everyone, including vegans and gluten-free types: try the quinoa and coconut bircher muesli, or the breakfast platter piled high with seasonal vegetables, avocado, quinoa, almond & cauliflower tabouli, hash, eggs, and fermented cabbage.
This cute corner café was the birthplace of Bill Granger's international culinary empire, the place where he served up the first batch of those famously fluffy ricotta hotcakes drenched in honeycomb butter. Bill's empire has grown exponentially since then, with a batch of overseas outlets as well as two additional Sydney addresses – in Surry Hills and Bondi – but the hotcakes are still the go-to dish, alongside the equally famous corn fritters.
It's a coffee roastery and a bakery, a café, a restaurant and an organic garden, all wrapped up in one mouth-watering package. It is also ridiculously popular, especially on weekends, so don't add The Grounds to your itinerary if you are pressed for time. Chances are you will have to wait a while before you can sink your teeth into a tasty cheddar ciabatta toastie (that's Australian for toasted sandwich). Fortunately, The Grounds also offers some of the best people-watching in Sydney.
At night this smart little bistro is a meat-free zone, but the rules at Yellow are relaxed in the morning, so you can still enjoy a serve of bacon with your 63 degree poached eggs, floating in a charred onion consommé. Other highlights of chef Brent Savage’s creative menu include a kombu scrambled eggs dish with dashi and fushimi, and, replacing the ubiquitous banana bread, a sensational grilled licorice bread.
Sydney's longstanding love affair with Middle Eastern flavours is in full bloom at this Waterloo café, where chef Michael Rantissi reinvents brunch with plates of spicy Lebanese lamb pizza and an egg and bacon brioche roll, so skip your standard coffee and try an Egyptian hibiscus iced tea or a labneh, honey and cinnamon milkshake instead.
Launched by three young chefs from one of Sydney’s top kitchens, committed to sustainability and making things from scratch, Three Blue Ducks at the beachside suburb of Bronte has gone from strength to strength. Sydneysiders love to order up a cold-pressed juice and a house made vegemite and avocado on toast, or black sausage with scrambled eggs, before strolling down the hill to Bronte Beach for some fun in the surf.
There seems to be a café on every corner in Newtown, but Brewtown is the undisputed leader of the pack. What makes it so special? Some point to the cold-brewed coffee; for others, it's the brunch dishes, from beetroot-cured ocean trout to the mysteriously addictive muffin-croissant hybrid known as a cruffin (don't forget their enormously popular take on the cronut, either - a cross between a croissant and a donut). The one thing all fans agree on: this airy warehouse-style café is a cut above the competition.
It doesn't take long to realise that Sydney takes its Asian food seriously, and that includes breakfast. Boon Café is the place to chow down on authentic dishes such as congee (rice porridge) as well as multicultural mash-ups such as a runny egg omelette with rice and Sriracha sauce. If that sounds a bit too adventurous, try a toasted croissant with pandan custard instead.
It all started with coffee. As the Reuben Hills team scoured the length and breadth of Latin America looking for the best beans, it picked up the odd recipe along the way, and those dishes – such as achiote pork and beans, served with tortilla chips and a soft fried egg – now form the core of an eclectic brunch menu, which includes everything from fried chicken to a salted caramel ice cream sandwich.