Sydney's love for a breakfast knows no bounds – we will queue for ages, seek out the most Instagram-able dish and champion our favourite brunch for days. There's plenty to choose from, but these cafés are a cut above the rest – think eggs everywhere, coffee like liquid gold, menus that branch out beyond bacon, seaside locations and service that'll have you all to happy to have left your bed. Here's Time Out's guide to the best breakfasts in Sydney.
The best breakfasts in Sydney
Order the: Baked eggs
Kepos knows full well that Sydney is a breakfast town and have ensured their soft-baked eggs and tomato shakshuka appears on both the breakfast and lunch menu. Two eggs with just-set whites and runny centres come girt by a sea of spiced tomato sauce – you’ll need a second slice of toast to mop up the rich, yolky remainder as well as the side of tahini mixed through with fresh coriander.
Order the: EFS omelette
This ace brekky option is halfway between those famous egg pancakes that Kylie Kwong does down at the Carriageworks Markets and a Vietnamese spring pancake. They mix eggs with a little coconut milk and turmeric to make a golden fluffy omelette that has a gentle tropical spice flavor, and then fold it like a taco around fresh bean shoots, snow peas, red capsicum and mushrooms. A lug of ginger, lime and sesame dressing gives it a zippy kick that makes this one of the most creative breakfasts in Bondi.
Order the: Scrambled eggs
These guys understand that you can mess with the classics, but not too much – there are certain expectations when it comes to a café breakfast. Of course, you want silky scrambled eggs on sourdough, but here they are topping it with silky strips of lemon myrtle-cured salmon. The side salad of baby spinach, kale, cress, fennel and fermented cabbage sits like a healthy shrub on top of a sour swipe of natural yoghurt. In one dish you get the things you want as well as the things you need. Smart.
Order the: Ora plate
You get two eggs fried in ghee alongside a pile of greens sautéed with mushrooms and topped with turmeric-rich, gingery chilli sauce, some mashed-up avo, and pink, nicely sour sauerkraut. You also get sai bread; the dense, seedy, totally delicious bread they make in-house (which they now sell by the loaf to take away). Not that hungry? Try a snack of the same bread topped with soft Central Coast cheddar, sauerkraut and olive oil.
Order the: poké bowl
They might do a swift trade in smoothie bowls, but we love them for their take on the latest trend in healthful eating: poke. Now that smoked salmon is par for the breakfast course, it’s time to graduate to raw salmon, which here comes on a bed of quinoa and is mixed in with bright green soy beans, red and green onion, cucumber, red cabbage and a little seaweed salad. They dress the lot in a ponzu and sesame sauce that give everything that extra fresh citrus sweet kick, and while it doesn’t look huge, it’ll fill in all the edges.
Order the: Leek and Goat's Cheese Quiche
This is a handheld brekky at it's finest. The thin pastry shell has just enough gumption to hold in a king's ransom of golden fluffy egg filling punctured with molten deposits of tangy goat's cheese and soft, sauteed leeks running through the lot. It's a thing of beauty, as is their Lorraine if you're traditional about quiche.
Order the: Waffles
Whether you prefer it sweet or savoury, there’s a waffle for all seasonings here. Take yours dessert-style with a scoop of peanut-butter ice cream, a drizzle of dulce de leche and a shower of toasted-and-crushed hazelnuts. Or go savoury and top that carb raft with bacon, a fried egg, smashed avocado and tomato.
Order the: Croque Monsieur
Let's sashay to France for a minute, and talk about the "Mr Croque" cheese toastie. I once heard a guy say the best thing France ever gave us was the Croque Monsieur. He had a point. The basic premise “à la française” is a sandwich filled with ham, cheese, and then drizzled in béchamel sauce before being grilled to perfection. Here the bouncy, chewy sourdough comes from the Bread and Butter Project, and it’s filled to the breaking-brim with generous swathes of tender leg ham, a lick of Dijon mustard and a thick layer of cheddar cheese-enriched béchamel. Then it’s fried. In butter. On the side: a tart salad of pickled vegetables and rocket to cut through the richness. It's a bloody glorious thing – one of the best sandwiches in the CBD, hands down. Order it.
Order the: Ricotta hotcakes
Seats outdoors spill onto Hall Street where most people are eating classics a la Bills – corn fritters, creamy scrambled eggs and Bloody Marys. Inside, squashy leather banquettes and big ass wood-and-rattan chairs work against a backdrop of caramel wooden ceilings and white walls covered in a messy pastiche of sculptures, oil prints and lithographs. Copper pepper mills on marble tables give a sort of Balthazar-via-Bondi vibe, though the cold-drip coffee sitting on the counter next toa mass of oranges waiting to be juiced is pure Sydney. The hotcakes here are famous for a reason – they are light, fluffy and piled with maple syrup.
Order the: Brioche with Persian fairy floss
You’ll see it stationed on every other table, and all over Instagram. And there are good reasons why the brioche piled with fruit, flowers and hot-pink fairy floss is the pin-up-pretty number that everyone wants to order at this Petersham café. Yes, it’s designed to rack up double taps and approving emojis, but this dish is actually delicious. Served like French toast, the brioche slices are dusted with crumbled pistachio and partly sealed with mascarpone. A ring of mixed berries, Canadian maple syrup and salted caramel surrounds the toast like a security detail. And the crown of Persian fairy floss tastes like pure rosewater, not the oversugared frizz you’ll find at carnivals. For a dessert with an OTT presence online, it’s a surprisingly balanced mix of sweetness, nuttiness and well toasted carbs.
Order the: Mushroom pond
This breakfast dish was inspired by a dish at Noma, conceived by barista Corie Sutherland (ex-Toby’s Estate and Mecca, and co-owner of Edition with Daniel Jackson, who was a co-founder of Room 10 and Clover) and realised by New. The big earthenware bowl holds barely more than a trickle of rich, flavoursome mushroom consommé with soft, chewy, udon noodles (although the menu reads “noddle” – LOL) dancing about within it. On top you'll get a selection of mushrooms – when we visit it's enoki, shimeji and oyster, and one big Portobello, braised and buttery in texture, on top. Crowning the whole is a quenelle of crème fraîche or mushroom cream depending on when you're in. We've had it both ways and it’s fair to say that the mushroom cream has the edge.
Order the: Pork hash
It's been nearly four years since we stumbled upon this café in the quiet suburban streets of Ashfield and ordered the pork hash breakfast. That dish was a revelation. Tender strands of pork hock with crisp, caramelised edges tossed with sweet, roasted eschallots, golden potato nuggets, chives and micro herbs. This crisp, crunchy mess wore a wobbly poached egg like a jaunty cap, but the truly genius addition was the crunchy little buckwheat kernels. It was the most exciting thing to happen to café breakfasts that year and still is just as good.
Order the: Pancakes
Or should we say singular, pancake. Nine inches wide and an inch thick (it's fried then baked to retain that height) the beautiful beast is fluffy, light and almost like a moist sponge cake. It’s served drenched in tart lemon curd and topped with slivers of toasty, crunchy almonds, fresh strawberries and blueberries. There is a massive quenelle of cheesecake cream bedecking the top and - genius of geniuses - little sprigs of lemon myrtle that add spice and perfume. It's like Uncle Buck’s pancakes and lemon cheesecake are having a party and you're invited.
Order the: Corn pudding
You know those That’s Not My... baby books full of different textures? The corn pudding is the breakfast edition. You've got a soft and creamy poached egg as the prize in the centre of a ring of chewy spelt grains; charred corn kernels; a sweet creamy corn puree base; and bits of corn bread. A smattering of parmesan adds savoury grunt and the combination of fresh and picked celery slices adds fresh zip and vigour. We’ll be coming back for the breakfast rice with chorizo and bacon with a nectarine soda on the side.
Order the: Breakfast ramen
Open for brekky, lunch and dinner, Rising Sun Workshop – half motorcycle workshop and half café – is serving breakfast food with a Japanese bent. The breakfast ramen, in particular, is such a good idea that our heads hurt a little from the excitement. It’s a beautiful big bowl of rich, fatty broth made from an infusion of buttered toast, topped with stretchy, firm noodles made exclusively for Rising Sun Workshop to their own recipe. The whole lot is topped with a just-set onsen egg, shards of crisp bacon and a charred tomato – the savoury, umami depth of which is a strike of pure genius.
Order the: South Side smashed avocado
You know how people talk about food miles? You’d only need a short tape measure to size up distances between Bondi café the Nine and its suppliers. The meat is via Field to Fork Butcher on Hall Street; the loose leaf is sourced locally from the Organic Tea Project; and the beans are by Coffee Bondi Beach. The 'South Side' smashed avocado is so named because it’s seasoned with seaweed scooped off that stretch of Bondi beach. The dried, crunchy specks of algae bolster the breakfast staple; instead of the snoozy avo-and-lemon cliché that bedevils cafés, the Nine gives its version extra heft and contrast, thanks to a nutty layer of tahini, light fennel shavings, two kinds of sesame, a shower of salty feta crumbles and a #cleaneating cameo by kale (it’s Bondi, after all).
Order the: Scondo breakfast
Do you prefer your morning meal to be as precise and segmented as an edible Duplo set? The Scando breakfast is for you. A tray with a big wedge of the gentle, creamy and slightly nutty Maffra cloth-bound cheddar, half a pear and a little pot of sweet apple and quince jam is joined by two finger-scalding boiled eggs, two thin slices of a dense rye bread peppered with sunflower seeds, and a pat of Pepe Saya cultured butter. You can approach it like a cheese board; make eggs and soldiers the priority; or treat it like a three-course toast tasting platter – there’s no wrong way to graze.
Order the: Yoghurt panna cotta
This totally boss spot for a haloumi and egg roll understands the importance of multiple condiments. Not only do you get a herby aioli with your fried egg and cheese, but also a sweet swipe of tomato relish to brighten the wilted greens. Want something a bit more adventurous than a brekky roll? You’re in luck, because these guys are taking the café menu to great new heights with a wobbly yoghurt panna cotta surrounded by a sea of berries – breakfast for dessert is the way to go.
Order the: House smoked salmon
Forget everything you think you know about cured fish – at this beautifully appointed café in North Bondi they are curing, smoking and dry aging their salmon in house and the result is ribbons of smoky, pink fish that has a proper meatiness about it. They lay the fish like shingles over toast topped with a dill yoghurt, with a fresh tangle of bitter leaves, cherry tomatoes and shaved fennel on the side. A squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground pepper and that’s a five-star start to your day right there.
Order the: Liquorice bread and 63-degree eggs
If you’ve never tried the liquorice bread at Yellow, you’re missing one of the best darn cakes in town. It’s a big wodge of warm, fudgy, black-as-night cake imbued with the flavours of melted down liquorice and liquorice root infusion. Also try the 63-degree eggs (which are like poached eggs but a thousand times more delicious – think just-set whites and loose, creamy yolk spilling onto the plate) with a thick ham hock consommé, cheesy crumbs, charred corn and lengths of snake beans for crunch.