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By Concrete Playground
June 05, 2018

Sydney's Best New Cafes of 2018

These cafes serve up more than just top-notch coffee.
By Concrete Playground
June 05, 2018


These cafes serve up more than just top-notch coffee.

Cafes are no longer just serving great coffee. They're serving great locally roasted coffee in many forms (from cold drip to batch and single origin espresso), great fare that caters to all dietaries, they boast interesting decors and are passionate about sustainability and the ethical sourcing of ingredients.

And our favourite cafes of the year (so far) do an impressive job at covering all fronts. From vegan shakes and coffee-rubbed pork hash, to in-house coffee training studios and pasta making classes, these five cafes are doing it all.

With so many openings hitting the city in a five-month period, we whittled it down to our favourite newcomers raising the bar for Sydney's caffeine scene. Well, our favourites so far — there are still another six months to go.

  • 5

    Surry Hills has scored itself a specialty coffee destination — Melbourne-born roaster Veneziano Coffee has landed in Sydney. With cafes in Adelaide and Brisbane, and a roastery and headquarters in Melbourne’s Richmond, Veneziano’s Sydney project comes backed by almost two decades of experience and a reputation for some pretty top-notch coffee.

    The sleek Surry Hills espresso bar serves a rotation of the brand’s favourite creations, from house blends to featured microlots sourced from one small area of a plot. They’re available to take away or enjoy in, perhaps teamed with a sweet treat from Shortstop Donuts.

    In even more exciting for local caffeine fiends, the cafe also includes a state-of-the-art training studio, which’ll play host to a range of specialty coffee events and training courses, catering to everyone from novices to professionals.

  • 4

    Paddington’s Italian eatery Barbetta wears many hats, including daytime cafe, gourmet smallgoods store and workshop space. The venue on Elizabeth Street is the casual sister venue to nearby Cipri Italian and the owners are, not surprisingly, focusing on classic Italian food. The all-day cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon coffee.

    For breakfast, think deconstructed Sicilian buckwheat pancake with fresh ricotta, figs and crushed cannoli ($16) and Italian sausage with baked free-range eggs, Tuscan cabbage, baked ricotta and toasted sourdough ($20). Lunch will focus on heartier dishes, like house-made lasagne and spinach ricotta ravioli ($22 each), porchetta paninis ($18) and spicy meatball burgers ($21), along with salads and snacks.

    If you’re looking for your next date idea or just want to learn a new skill, Barbetta is also hosting twice weekly pasta making workshops on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Classes include a hands-on cooking demo with antipasti and BYO wine, followed by dinner/lunch and the pasta you made to take home.

    Image: Nikki To

  • 3

    Sydney’s latest culinary collaboration comes from the minds behind two homegrown favourites: cosy Kings Cross cafe Room 10 and the poké masters at Fishbowl. Side Room is a 20-seater rocking a sleek, minimalist look. The schtick here is fast, fresh and flavour-packed food, with an emphasis on Aussie ingredients and elements crafted in-house.

    All smoothie options star at least one native addition, from the Fireball — blending quangdong with banana, mango, coconut meat, turmeric and cayenne — to the Bondi favourite Green Fairy, featuring lemon myrtle. Even heartier are the savoury ‘whole bowls’, crafted around Side Room’s own native herb mix and your choice of protein — perhaps the punchy chilli chicken with shredded apple and walnut, or the eight-hour slow-cooked beef in master stock.

    Don’t forget to help yourself to a generous slug of the house-made fermented chilli, before you eat in, or take away. A careful list of Mecca coffee, pressed juices and PS40 sodas round out the offering, which should make for a good post-swim pit-stop or a healthy take away lunch by the beach.

  • 2

    This new Marrickville eatery takes cues from NYC in a number of ways: it’s open all-day, it serves booze — including neighbouring brew Grifter on tap — and it has an unabashedly bold fit-out. A jewel-toned colour palette tracks through orange table-tops, a crimson-tiled communal table, green velvet chairs and a mural on the back wall. There are references to old-school milk bars in the blue marmoleum flooring and a neon-lit menu above the coffee machine.

    For drinks, coffee is a custom house blend by Collective Roasting Solutions, plus there are vegan shakes and the aforementioned alcohol. The majority of sweets — including a delectable lemon meringue tart and caramel slice — are vegan and gluten-free. In fact, tell-tale symbols for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free appear all over the menu, again signalling a well-thought out approach, rather than a tokenistic one.

    For the most part, the kitchen has avoided fads (à la cronuts) and instead does fresh takes on well-worn cafe favourites. The coffee-rubbed pork hash ($18) is flavoursome and the Persian rice kedgeree ($15) with currants, almonds and goat’s feta is a winner, particularly when hacked with hot smoked salmon ($6). As a chilli fiend, the table staple habanero hot sauce (from local producers The Fermentalists) is a welcome addition to both dishes. 

    Image: Letícia Almeida

  • 1

    Owned by an ex-Coffee Alchemy barista, new neighbourhood café Double Tap is serving up coffees to froth over. Despite its remote Marrickville location, hidden among warehouse lots and residential terraces, the new family-owned coffee shop is already starting to pick up steam, with many considering their brews pretty hard to beat.

    Double Tap sources all its coffee from small batch roasters only, with its house blend Silver Bullet by Panorama Coffee Roasters in Sydney’s Wetherill Park. For black coffees, customers can choose their own single origin beans, with offerings from Sample Coffee, Wood & Co, Grace & Taylor, Small Batch Roasting Co and Market Lane, among others.

    If you’re starting to get the jitters, try hitting up the food menu, with Double Tap serving a homely menu of toasted sarnies, fresh salads and brekkie bowls. Cakes are also a standout with Karaconji’s wife and mum hand-baking the selection. While Double Tap may not be doing anything “new” or “different” per se, sometimes just doing the simple things well can be pretty revolutionary.

    Image: Letícia Almeida


Top image: Letícia Almeida

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