When it comes to café breakfasts, Sydney is a hard town to impress. But when Edition Coffee Roasters opened their light, bright Japano-Nordic café in Darlinghurst it rocketed to the top of everyone’s brunch bucket list with fine-dining inflected dishes like the mushroom pond, inspired by a dish at Noma and featuring consommé, udon noodles, mushrooms, and crème fraîche.
Fast forward a few years and we’ve been gifted a second bite at the fusion cherry, but Edition’s Haymarket outpost is no carbon copy. In fact, it’s almost a complete contrast, and we’re not just talking about the fact that the CBD Edition is painted black. The pared-back layout is inspired by Japanese farmhouses, and it feels almost like you’re inside a piece of activated charcoal – like Valhalla for minimalists. It’s also leaning more heavily on the Japanese half of the concept. Sure, you can get open sandwiches (smorrebrod) on a malty, chewy rye that they bake in-house. As far as smugly beautiful lunches go, your plate of three slices topped with sweet chunks of butter-poached prawn meat just fastened to the bread with a yuzu kosho buttermilk dressing is the one to beat. Dill and fresh apple keep it light, and an extra allotment of seafaring credentials in an amber sprinkle of briny flying fish roe.
From here, the menu steers into more recognisably Japanese territory. Students slope in wearing hoodies for a pork katsu burger anchored by the sharp twang of miso and a bright yuzu coleslaw; business folk from nearby highrises whip through for a bento; but it’s those who have time to slide down into the sunken seats lining the windows and commit to the 20-minute wait for the soufflé pancake who will triumph. Whipped to within an inch of its life, risen in the oven like a phoenix and served with a vanilla and white chocolate ganache and strawberries, this outrageously wobbling dessert wearing three Michelin Man rolls is not quite what it seems. Instead of a high glycemic sugar rush, it has fallen closer to the soufflé tree, with a gently sweet egginess that registers as rich, but not heavy.
Of course if you don’t have time to sit down, a coffee here will transport you to a place far from the new business precinct in the time it takes you to drink your DIY macchiato (they let you add your own milk). The Costa Rican beans result in a brew that balances acidity and sweetness so perfectly they conjure the flavour of a toffee apples in your cup. Not into rocket fuel first thing? They’re making an A-grade chai and their own genmaicha tea.
The two Edition Coffee Roasters go hand in hand, but they are siblings, not twins. One is the light bright Scandinavian hangout you visit on your weekend; the other is the sleek, fast brewing city slicker in designer blacks. Both are very good, but Haymarket has the pancake, so that’s why we’ll be going back as often as our pancreas allows us to order dessert for breakfast.