Avocado toast? Bacon and eggs? It’s difficult not to judge those typical breakfast favourites as impossibly basic after experiencing the culinary creativity of Sydney’s dynamic brunch scene. From scrambled eggs with the works (smoked salmon, portobello mushrooms and spinach, oh my!) to kimchi-spiced Fuji apples and black garlic labneh on poached eggs on toast, restaurants across the Aussie city are pushing the envelope when it comes to brunch – and serving their dishes up in interiors that’ll make you want to linger long into the afternoon.
Here are Sydney’s best brunch bites that you’ll definitely want to add to your itinerary on your next visit.
Photography: Alana Dimou
Edition Coffee Roasters
Much like the terms “artisanal” or “molecular gastronomy”, “fusion” is one of those buzzwords that’s thrown around a little too liberally, often calling to mind flavours and culinary techniques that should stay far, far away from each other. At first glance, Edition Coffee Roasters’ blend of Nordic and Japanese cuisines – capped with fresh-roasted single-origin coffees – might cause a bit of head scratching, but sceptics will soon discover a surprisingly harmonious match. Try the smørrebrød (a traditional open-faced Nordic sandwich featuring charcoal bread, parsley sour cream, pickles, almonds and cured kingfish) or the mushroom pond (udon noodles in mushroom broth and mushroom cream topped with herbs and a variety of mushrooms). Enjoy the thoughtfully prepared dishes amid matching minimalist interiors: white walls with a subtle hexagonal pattern, wood furnishings and muted grey tones.
Images courtesy of Kansas City Shuffle
Kansas City Shuffle
Take jazzy tunes, cool industrial interiors and comfort food done in style, mix ’em all together on The Rocks’ covetable waterfront setting, and you’ve got the Kansas City Shuffle. Spearheaded by Kayne Mordini and Ben Sweeten, who operate other beloved cafes throughout Melbourne and Sydney, this establishment does typical breakfast fare with a twist. Sure, there are granola bowls and jam on toast, but there are also waffles with beef brisket, poached egg and smoked chilli butter – the cafe’s take on the classic American chicken and waffles – and the Pancake, which is fried and then baked to create its unique fluffy texture, then served with lemon curd, cheesecake cream, berries and toasted almonds. (Clearly, Kayne and Ben aren’t afraid of going to the max with their menu.) A number of bites and baked goods – and, of course, coffee – are also available from the takeaway counter. But with the space’s exposed brick walls, black-and-white graffiti accents and hanging-bulb lighting, it’d be a waste not to enjoy your meal in the cafe’s edgy ambience.
Images courtesy of Design Hotels
Gowings Bar & Grill
Housed in the historic Gowings and State Theatre buildings in Sydney’s Central Business District, Gowings Bar & Grill possesses a significant amount of dramatic flair, thanks to its contemporary cool interiors – think dark woods, bold brass pendant lamps and the occasional quirky, theatrical touch, such as the mannequins emblazoned with psychedelic colours. Gowings does breakfast favourites with a touch of class – black truffle scrambled eggs with asiago cheese, or the toast with macadamia nut butter, riberry jam and kiwi, in stark opposition to the plain old jam or peanut butter. A range of pastries, juices, coffees and granola bowls are also available. All the dishes are made with fresh local produce and cooked in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven whenever possible.
Photography: Petrina Tinslay and Anson Smart
A Sydney staple, Bills has locations in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Bondi Beach, as well as international branches in London, Tokyo, Seoul and Honolulu. We recommend the breezy Bondi Beach location for its charming pastel pink tiles, marble-topped tables and eclectic artworks on the walls. Light wood tones, leather banquettes and rattan chairs grant the space a sense of airiness. While lines might be long (booking in advance is recommended), the wait is more than worth it. There’s something for everyone at Bills, from healthy mango, avocado, cucumber, almond milk and aloe smoothies to sinful hotcakes with ricotta cheese and honeycomb butter. The “broken eggs” spinach and ricotta frittata served with pine nuts and sourdough crostini in a cast-iron pan is a modern Aussie breakfast plate that’s not to be missed.
Discover more great eats by perusing our Food & Entertaining tag.
Photography (lead image): Alana Dimou