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FOOD & DRINK

Ten Sydney Brunch Spots Where You Can Eat Right on the Water

Sit back with a mimosa and take in the sparkling views at these waterside cafes.
By Katie Mayor and Leisha Kapor
October 30, 2019
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Ten Sydney Brunch Spots Where You Can Eat Right on the Water

Sit back with a mimosa and take in the sparkling views at these waterside cafes.
By Katie Mayor and Leisha Kapor
October 30, 2019
  shares

TEN SYDNEY BRUNCH SPOTS WHERE YOU CAN EAT RIGHT ON THE WATER

Sit back with a mimosa and take in the sparkling views at these waterside cafes.

When Sydney gets all summer-like, us residents like to boast about our many beaches — there are more than 100, in case you hadn't heard. And then there are our stunning rivers, sparkling estuaries and numerous other bodies of water. So, what we're trying to say is, there are very few excuses for not spending the sunny summer mornings basking in rays reflecting off one of these waterways. And these ten brunch spots are perched by a pool, sitting pretty over the sea or next to a harbour and reached by ferry, and they all have one thing in common – good coffee and tasty morsels to go in your gob.

  • 10

    For decades, communities have been flocking to the local rowing, sailing, surfing or fishing club for a bite to eat, a stellar view and some neighbourhood hospitality. One such local treasure is the century-old Mosman Rowers, which is now home to Archie Bear — a 100-seater cafe slinging coffees, breakfast and long lunches. Settle into a spot on the outdoor deck and enjoy views of Mosman Bay, while tucking into almond milk porridge, a classic bacon and egg sanga, a green brekkie bowl or the Santorini Bear — avocado, tomato, grilled haloumi and radish on sourdough toast, drizzled with truffle oil and chilli flakes. If you stay put through brunch and into the afternoon, no one would blame you.

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  • 9

    For almost as long, Bathers’ Pavilion has been part of the waterside scenery of Sydney’s lower north shore, and it, too, has recently received a loving makeover. There are a few different dining options, but your best bet for brekkie is the Bathers’ Bistro. The breakfast menu caters for every mood, from fruit, cereal and pastries if you’re not too hungry, to classic hot dishes like pancakes or eggs, and open sandwiches with ingredients like labneh, roast capsicum, fig and pistachios. There are some staff picks for when you’re feeling a little more adventurous: try the fried rice lap cheong sausage with shredded chicken, a fried egg and cashew satay sauce; or, if you’re feeling a bit rough, the Hangtown Fry pairs egg and bacon with fried potatoes and crumbed oysters.

    Image: Nikki To.

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  • 8

    Don’t forget your camera — or clear some space on your phone — when heading to The Fenwick for brekkie. The cute-as-hell Balmain East spot is inside a heritage-listed sandstone building right on the water; a pitched roof, exposed timber beams and big barn doors that open out to views of the Harbour Bridge make this place pretty as a picture. Modern Australian fare is on the menu, including pancakes with berry compote, banana, coconut and pistachio crumble, and Atlantic salmon, quinoa, pumpkin, feta and pomegranate. Upstairs, there’s a public gallery, so get yourself a Little Marionette coffee and explore the exhibitions from local and international artists.

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  • 7

    We probably don’t need to tell you about this Sydney institution, but if you somehow missed the memo, or need a reminder, Sean’s Panaroma is waiting to welcome you right off the beach at North Bondi. Beloved for its unpretentious vibes and food, Sean’s is where to go for top-notch hospitality and ocean views. There are roses on the table picked from the garden, the menu is scrawled on the wall in chalk, and the house-made bread comes out warm and slathered in butter. Expect dishes that are fresh, seasonal and worth the price tag.

    Image: Enzo Amato.

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  • 6

    Renovated in early 2014 by Pip and Andrew Goldsmith, the power team who brought us The Boathouse in Palm Beach and the Armchair Collective in Mona Vale, the Boathouse is a glorious improvement on the modest cafe it once was. It’s hard to look past the seafood when you’re sitting outside in the sunshine on a deck suspended over the ocean. For breakfast, we recommend the smoked salmon fritters, served with caviar, creme fraiche, zucchini, cucumber and a couple of perfectly poached eggs. And for lunch, try the beer battered flathead served atop a mountain of thick cut chips with a side of Boathouse tartare. Sure, the food is a little pricey, but at the Boathouse, you pay for the stunning view of the beach.

    Image: Jessie Ann.

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  • 5

    A trim brekky menu won’t stop us from perching over Circular Quay with a house made mint and ginger iced tea, preparing to take on some zesty exhibitions. If you’re left wanting more after toasted banana bread with salted butter, granola covered in yoghurt and fruit or a smoky bacon and free-range egg roll, go see some of the cutting-edge art and head back on up for a poke bowl and a cheeky glass of Australian wine.

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  • 4

    The owners of Celsius Coffee Co. could have easily rested on their pylon laurels — given that they do sit atop a ferry terminal just opposite Sydney Harbour — but the food here is as Instagrammable as the rustic wood-and-window structure it’s served in. The cafe is doing inventive things with breakfast’s biggest love — eggs — with twists across the menu like chilli-buttered eggs, house-made balsamic glazed eggs, or eggs served with a Japanese yuzu hollandaise.

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  • 3

    The Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton pool is tucked behind the Domain and just a short stroll from Mrs Macquarie’s chair, with views across Woolloomooloo Bay. The bright on-site cafe has all the fresh flavours of summer to match the sparkling water of the public pool below. Even if you don’t dive in for a swim, you’ll walk away feeling the glow of health once you’ve eaten one of the bowls or smoothies, like the Summer Sunrise, named for its mix of mango and raspberries. And boy, do these guys love coconuts! You can drink them, sprinkle them, have them in a milkshake or on top of your french toast in the form of ice cream. 

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  • 2

    They say change is as good as a holiday and at Church Point we argue that brunch is as good as a holiday. This family-run general store on stilts may be in the far reaches of the Pittwater, but you should go because it’s in the far reaches of the Pittwater. Kick back on the breezy deck and watch tug boats and tinnies drift through the water before you, and stake out the gum tree covered land across the estuary you plan to purchase when your side hustle goes global. The deconstructed breakfast tacos and french toast with caramelised banana are also very viable reasons to visit.

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  • 1

    Come get your breakfast cocktails. If a Seaside Spritz or Bower Mary won’t sort you out, the sea breeze drifting by surely will. In Manly, beaches beckon at every turn and this window-fronted gem sits on the sea wall not far from Cabbage Tree Bay. Ever felt somewhat vague about the exact construction of your coffee preference? Its handy coffee guide will help (and let’s face it, if you need a morning cocktail you may need a few mind prompts). The breakfast burger with double bacon, a fried egg, gruyere, avocado and kimchi mayo on a milk bun with sweet potato fries will probably knock out a few cobwebs as well.

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Top image: Bathers’ Pavilion by Nikki To.

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