Our Eat Drink Play contributors reveal Sydney’s best breakfast spots!
We’ve all heard the saying – ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. Here at Eat Drink Play, we also believe it makes for the best meal of the day. Trying to navigate your way through the thoroughfare of endless avocado smash, fluffy pancakes, salmon and lattes can be daunting in a city so breakfast obsessed. Offering some clarity in a foggy breakfast haze are the people who eat out the most, our contributors. From Manly to Cronulla and everything in between, our writers are located all across Sydney. We’ve asked them to reveal the best breakfast spots. Have you been to all these?
Ms Darlinghurst’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Shuk, Bondi
Picking my favourite breakfast spot in Sydney is so hard! We are spoilt for choice and I’m constantly on the hunt to try new places. One of my favourites though is Shuk in Bondi. Located in the backstreets of Bondi, away from the hustle and bustle of the beach front it’s definitely a destination cafe for in-the-know locals rather than one you just happen to stumble across. But the secret is definitely out about Shuk. They’ve been around for a number of years and their reputation for great food has spread far and wide. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner they also have a bakery where you can buy fresh bread daily. We actually did a Secret Foodies event here a few years ago. One long table outside during summer, it was fantastic. But back to breakfast. The menu here is a cross between Israeli and Mediterranean style delights. Popular dishes include their shakshuka eggs – a beautiful combination of shakshuka, capsicum, tomato, onion, spices, eggs and olives baked and served with toasted sourdough ($17) and their teff pancake that comes with coconut mousse, sweet dukkah, maple and banana ($15). But I always opt for the Israeli breakfast ($21). It comes with your choice of eggs, fried or scrambled, Israeli salad, olives , labne and hummus. Plus a side of toast with butter, jam, tahini and then a little bowl of granola and yoghurt. It’s perfect for people (like me) who can’t make up their mind whether they want sweet or savoury for breakfast plus you get to try a little bit of everything. You probably won’t have room to fit anything else in but the hummus with eight hour slow cooked lamb, pickles, olives and fresh pita ($18) also gets my thumbs up.
Lauren’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Ruby Lane, Manly
Manly locals are all aboard the whole foods train. At Ruby Lane, patrons unashamedly perpetuate the health-nut stereotype, sipping on turmeric lattes in their activewear whilst their dogs snooze by their feet. I can say all this only because I’m a Manly local myself, who often arrives to Ruby Lane in Lululemon tights with my little Cavoodle in tote. Situated off bustling Pittwater road, vitality exudes from every corner of this organic grocer/cafe.
Although Ruby Lane identifies itself as a health food hub, waitstaff don’t present the dogmatism you might naturally expect. They’re friendly and refreshingly normal. As for the menu? If you have a sweet tooth, order the Real Food Pancakes ($17). Made with teff, chia and pumpkin seed, you’ll scratch your head in wonderment – how can such ingredients make for such fluffy result? The crunch of the macadamia crumbs only adds to the appeal, with fruit and coconut yogurt injecting some necessary freshness. Those savoury buffs will be excused for ordering The Manly Daily ($15), featuring smashed avo on toasted organic sourdough with beetroot relish, crumbled feta and herbs. Those gluten intolerant can substitute the sourdough for fluffy Paleo bread. If you’re looking to spruce things up though, opt for additional extras including smoked trout and an organic egg. Having met your daily nutritional quota, no one will judge you for making your breakfast boozy with a glass of Box Grove Prosecco ($10) resting alongside your morning coffee. All booze served at Ruby Lane is organic and locally sourced. So that makes it good for you, right?
Shops 1 & 2, 200 Pittwater Road Manly, NSW, Cafe and Grocer: 7am-4pm 7 Days, Kitchen: 7am-2:30pm Weekdays & 7am-3pm Weekends, Australia.
Will’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Three William’s, Redfern
You could easily walk straight past this underground cement slab of eastern suburbs deliciousness! How very Redfern. Open seven days, there is no rush at Three Williams. The perfect way to ease yourself into the rest of the day. Welcomed by the warm smiles of the staff in the centre of the warehouse, sit back in a booth and gorge on an inventive narnie (from $15). Wedged between the doughy decadence of house-made pita bread choose from a selection of meats and veggie combinations to complete the very Australian sounding roll. Leave ordinary to your local café, Three Williams knows how to shake things up. Its not muesli, its an apple crumble bowl ($16). Forget ordinary pancakes, here they are lathered in maple bacon, apple hollandaise and chives ($20). Coffee may be more what you’re craving on a Sunday, but don’t leave without reliving your childhood with the Splice shake ($8).
613a Elizabeth St, Redfern, (02) 9698 1111, Open 7am to 4pm daily — kitchen closes at 3pm
Siobhan’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Rustic Pearl, Surry Hills
Stroll down Crown Street on a Saturday morning and you will notice a small crowd of people milling around a tiny, nondescript café opposite The Clock Hotel. I do not believe in queuing for food, but Rustic Pearl is an exception to the rule. This family-owned café can seat no more than 20 people at any one time and it is worth the wait. I love Rustic Pearl because it serves a menu full of unique and one-of-a-kind brunch options – stuff you will never cook at home. Although I enjoy going out for an indulgent weekend brekky, sometimes I can feel a bit conned when I pay $25 for a dish which I could easily make at home.
Rustic Pearl specialises in Turkish, Balkan and Mediterranean-inspired breakfast and lunch dishes like the Aegean Breakfast with a boiled egg, marinated olives, a selection of white cheeses, relish and fresh tomato. When I visited last week I tried one of their daily specials – poached eggs on a bed of avocado, spinach, black sausage, labne and halloumi, topped with almonds and fresh dill. If you are looking for a more adventurous brunch option than smashed avo, look no further than Rustic Pearl.
415 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am till 3.30pm.
Hannah’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Indigo, Double Bay
Underneath white clouds of alfresco dining is where you’ll find Indigo, Double Bay. It is within this simple setting where the breakfast lover will find colourful culinary creations of every Instagrammers dream. One of the prettiest of the patch? Indigo’s house made natural muesli ($15). With a raspberry and strawberry compote served with yoghurt and fruit, you’ll be hesitant to disrupt the view with your spoon. The brightly ambitious green brekkie bowl ($23) is however, a major player on this breakfast menu. Poached eggs and seasonal greens are served with millennial favourites of dukkah, mirin aioli, kimchi and kale. If you’re after a classic breakfast favourite however, choose from the pancakes, eggs benedict and of course the beloved smashed avo. The best part though? Indigo support the breakfast lover, serving up the breakfast menu all day long!
To take a peak of what Indigo have to offer, check out the menu here.
6/15 Cross Street, Double Bay NSW, (02) 9363 5966, Open Monday-Saturday: 7am-4pm, Sunday: 8am-4pm
Chantelle’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Bernasconi’s, Rose Bay
Plumer Road Shopping Village is an eastern suburbs establishment. From it’s famous chicken shop to one of the tastiest smelling and authentic patisserie’s in town, the little street has it all. Including Bernasconi’s Cafe. Ranging from naughty to nice, the menu hasn’t changed too much over the years. But all the same, you’ll never seem to get sick of it.
I’ve been going to the cosy café on the corner for as long as I can remember. While I would have once simply sipped on endless baby chinos and munched on the gingerbread cookies showcased on the counter, I’ve since delved deeper into their menu. You can sit outside on the street or in the little courtyard during summer and people watch whilst sipping on thick chocolate milkshakes and feasting on their famous gluten free ricotta hot cakes, smothered in poached berries and honeycomb (summer body? Never heard of it). Or warm up inside the homey café during winter with a cappuccino or peppermint tea in one hand and some classic rhubarb porridge in the other.
There are plenty of other mouthwatering breakfast meals to choose from, like their spring breakfast with quinoa, goat curd, avocado, spinach, smoked salmon and a poached egg, their decadent take on French Toast with crispy bacon, grilled banana and loads of maple syrup or their gluten free zucchini and quinoa fritters complete with a poached egg and roast tomato.
23 Plumer Rd, Rose Bay NSW 2029, 9327 5717, Open Mon – Sun 6.30am-5.00pm
Emilie’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Dead Ringer, Darlinghurst
Now, from time to time, I am partial to a bit of booze with my weekend brunch, and no one does this better than Dead Ringer in Surry Hills. Only having just launched their new brunch menu in March this year, Dead Ringer decided to deviate away from the usual poached eggs and mimosas. And it works. Their brunch menu is split into entrees, mains, sides and desserts. You must try the entrée of duck rillettes ($18) a dish very similar to a pate, with potato cripsies perfect for scooping. From the mains, the simple but decadent ricotta and tomato tart ($20) is a winner, or rip into roasted lamb ribs ($22) or ocean trout tartare ($21) paired with a fluffy brioche.
However, it’s their drinks that have me hook, line and sinker. They have bottomless mimosas for $25 a pop. There’s a spicy bloody mary, using gin and umami ($14). The Mandatory ($19) speaks for itself, a great morning cocktail of cold drip coffee mixed with bourbon, vanilla and spices. Dead Ringer know their cocktails and produce the perfect “morning-after” brunch. If it’s a nice day, try and snag one of the outdoor tables if you get the chance. The courtyard is stunning and makes day-drinking all the better!
413 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, (02) 9331 3560, Brunch available every 11am – 3pm every Saturday and Sunday.
Sanjana’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Reuben Hills, Surry Hills
A Surry Hills institution that can do no wrong in the coffee, food and service department (the three ticks for a great breakfast) is my standout breakfast place, Rueben Hills. In summer, the open garage door at the back creates such a nice breezy vibe, whilst in the cooler months, the hearty food and generous drinks will do the trick. With a communal table donning a big bunch of fresh flowers and pretty blue tiles, but also an edgy neon sign giving the exposed brick walls a warehouse vibe, the place screams personality.
The menu whisks through a South American trend with Ancho Poached Pears, Horchata Porridge, Green Chilequiles, Huevos Divorciados, Soft Baked Eggs with Jamon or Chorizo, Confit Salmon Toastadas, Pork Arepas and the list goes on and on. The Espresso Of The Day is continually being sourced from different destinations around South America and Africa usually. They also specialise in Pour Overs, Fetco Filter and Cold Brew coffees. The teas are also sourced from destinations around the world. But for the routine coffee or tea drinker, the house blend black and white options are exceptional and always available.
The café has free cupping sessions weekly, for those wanting to learn more about the origins of the coffee, developing your palette and casually become more knowledgable no matter what your level of experience in the matter. The café also sells their coffee blends to take home.
61 Albion Street, Surry Hills, 02-92115556
Sophia’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla
My go-to brunch spot that never fails to impress is Blackwood Pantry. Located on Cronulla Beach, it’s The Shire’s definition of a breakfast sanctuary. With a seasonally rotating menu, there’s always something new to look forward to. Whether it be strawberries on toast in the summer sunshine, or warm Turkish eggs to beat the winter chill. A guaranteed number of ‘activewear mums’ means you’re bound to see at least one cute dog prancing around outside. They also have extensive menu options for vegan/vegetarians, with the ‘felafel balls’ being a standout for vegos and carnivores alike. Take-away options leave room for flexibility. From a sit-down meal, to a picnic on the sand, Blackwood shows off the true essence of The Shire.
5/33 Surf Ln, Cronulla NSW 2230, (02) 9544 4857, Open Tuesday – Thursday 7am – 4pm, Friday – Saturday 7am -4pm, Sunday 7am-4pm
Anne’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen don’t play around. Housed inside a cafeteria-style space in Alexandria, Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen serves breakfast, lunch, drinks and fine teas.
This place does communal dining well – the atmosphere is bustling, friendly and fragrant (due to a large selection of fine teas). The menu rotates according to season and keeps regular diners on their toes, and bonus points for naming of their menu items; ‘Breakfast w/ Gwyneth’ ($22), ‘Parmesan not-so-scrambled eggs’ ($22), and a ‘Foxy Summer Porridge’ ($16). The lunch menu gets serious with a six-hour grass fed lamb farro with kale and carrot ($33), goats feta butternut biodynamic egg frittata ($25), and a list of gourmet sandwiches you’d trade your best friend in for. And what’s brunch without coffee (or an elixir of choice)? Bread & Circus offer an extensive drinks menu offering coffee, cold pressed juice, hot chocolate and more. The staff are friendly and can tell you if your muffin is gluten-free at the drop of a hat – The menu provides plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, so you can take your ‘dietary requirement’ pals here as well.
The cafeteria tends to hit traffic on the weekends, so if you’re heading there to meet some friends arrive with plenty of time.
Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen
21 Fountain Street, Alexandria, Open 7 days, Mon-Fri 7am to 3pm & weekends 7am to 4pm
Iselin’s Favourite Breakfast Spot: 169, Darlinghurst
I have a very romanticised relationship with brekkie spots in Sydney, each representing a phase in my chaotic life. I came to Sydney five years ago, “fresh off the boat”, not knowing that I was about to experience five years of perfectly poached eggs, smashed avo and freshly brewed coffee. My first favourite brekkie place was Cafe Jacks in Kensington, where I discovered my undying love for their thick shakes and delicious sandwiches. Only a year or so later I moved closer to the city, and found Four Ate Five in Surry Hills. This place has an amazing menu and the staff go that extra mile to make your visit memorable.
Now, however, I find myself at 169 Darlinghurst, located opposite the Coca Cola sign. Here, my close friends and I meet up every so often to have a single shot coffee, accidentally followed up by a mimosa or two. Just around the corner from their iconic sister venue Tatler’s, 169 Darlinghurst is a popular spot for most locals, sitting on the border between Kings Cross and Darlinghurst. Catering an aesthetically pleasing and wonderfully tasting menu, head chef Chui Lee Luk knows what he’s doing. Gravlax, fresh herbs, coconut sago pudding, oat trifle, buckwheat pancakes and… did someone say the best bacon and egg roll in the inner east? 169 Darlinghurst also caters for lunch and dinner, making this a perfect spot for those who love watching the sunrise and others who enjoy to sleep in. And just to top it off, no suburb provides better people watching in all of Sydney than Kings Cross. Fact.
169 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst 2010, Open Sun – Tues 7am – 4pm, Wed – Sat 7am – 10pm