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FOOD & DRINK

Sydney's Best New Cafes of 2019

Start your day at one of our favourite newcomers — there are spots with cold brew bubble tea, traditional Japanese breakfasts and highly coveted woodfired breads.
By Concrete Playground
December 04, 2019
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Sydney's Best New Cafes of 2019

Start your day at one of our favourite newcomers — there are spots with cold brew bubble tea, traditional Japanese breakfasts and highly coveted woodfired breads.
By Concrete Playground
December 04, 2019
  shares

SYDNEY'S BEST NEW CAFES OF 2019

Start your day at one of our favourite newcomers — there are spots with cold brew bubble tea, traditional Japanese breakfasts and highly coveted woodfired breads.

It's often joked that the only dish Australian cafes serve for brunch is smashed avo, but, the truth is, our daytime eateries are significantly more complex than that. Especially this year's newbies. In the past 12 months, a cafe that's also a Greek bakery — serving up moussaka-filled pies, no less — has opened in the inner west, the CBD has gained a new spot by one of the country's best coffee roasters and there's also a new cafe-slash-Japanese milk bar with desserts that've been filling Instagram feeds for months. Our potential mortgages are being spent on much more than just (very tasty) green berries, thank you very much.

Our cafe culture has undoubtably boomed this year with new spots popping up all over the city. To help, we've rounded up our favourite new cafes to swing open their doors this year. Make a list, start checking it off (twice).

  • 9

    The woodfired breads at Cherry Moon are so good, the bakery regular sells out. But inner west locals don’t just flock to the venue for its doughy goods — the cafe and general store also has impressive house-made ferments, pickles and tasty brunch fare. The 20-seat venue is run by long-time hospitality vet and pastry chef Kimmy Gastmeier (RockpoolTetsuya’s and The Porteño Group) and her friend Aimee Graham, with a little help from Aimee’s husband Kenny Graham (Mary’s UndergroundThe Lansdowne and The Unicorn). All of the bread is made using stone-ground flour from Gunnedah’s Wholegrain Milling Company and baked in a traditional 18th-century scotch oven. In said oven, Cherry Moon is also baking pastries, galettes and fruit tarts, along with Italian-style cream puffs and custard tarts. A small cafe menu is also up for grabs and includes the likes of sourdough topped with avocado, tomato, basil and finger lime; and plates of woodfired cauliflower served with burrata, harissa, fermented zucchini and cashew and chickpea cream. On the general store shelves, you’ll find Aimee’s fermented goods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, keffir and tonics. Other drinks include coffee by Newtown’s 212 Blu, a house chai blend and cold-pressed orange and green juices.

    Words: Marissa Ciampi. Images: Kitti Gould.

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  • 8

    Inside Kurumac, you’ll spot a colourful mural by local artist collective Ar-chive. It celebrates both old and new Japan by combining a traditional food stall with a vending machine selling gyoza, bonsai and sneakers. This melding of old and new is carried throughout the rest of the Marrickville cafe, too. Run by Eugene Leung and Dika Prianata (also behind Kirribilli cafe Cool Mac) together with chef Junichi Okamatsu, the cafe is serving up twists on traditional Japanese comfort food for breakfast and lunch. There’s the udon bowl — inspired by a dish from Okamatsu’s home in Yatsushiro — in a hot tasty broth topped with wagyu beef and sesame, and served with a side of crispy fried shrimp. The spicy cod roe piped onto classic thick-cut Japanese white bread, topped with cheese and grilled, is another winner from the menu. As is the toast topped with a mountainous pile of curried scrambled eggs and tempura prawns. During Sydney’s long hot days, the cafe has you sorted with loads of cooling Japanese drinks, including iced mugicha (a barley tea); green tea or hojicha (a roasted Japanese tea) milkshakes made with gelato from Newtown’s MaPo; and Ume Burger‘s house-made sodas.

    Words: Gemma Plunkett. Images: Kimberley Low.

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  • 7

    Cavalier started as a hole-in-the-wall espresso bar. Now, it’s a greenery-filled, 40-seat cafe pairing laid-back vibes with fine-dining flavours that’s quickly become a go-to for lower north shore locals and workers alike. Cavalier 2.0 — as the latter has been dubbed — comes four years after husband and wife duo Sara and Harry Kolotas first opened the smaller Cavalier in St Leonards around the corner. The bigger location has allowed for a bigger kitchen, from which Harry is whipping up cafe classics like toasties and salads, as well as some more creative dishes. He’s using skills from his fine-dining background and fresh produce to elevate the menu beyond standard cafe fare. The chicken in the salad is house-brined and sous-vide, and the thickly sliced, macadamia-encrusted french toast is doused in caramel sauce and topped with whipped mascarpone. As seasonality implies, the menu changes regularly. Recent specials have included sticky glazed short rib with truffle cauliflower cream; pork neck toasties topped with a poached egg and bechamel sauce; and a mushroom carbonara made with orecchiette and XO sauce. This can all be paired with a range of coffees — cold brew, white, batch and even tasting flights — chai and tea.

    Words: Marissa Ciampi. Images: Trent van der Jagt.

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  • 6

    While Redfern has retained a sense of inner-city grit, the area is undeniably becoming more upscale. Especially when it comes to wining and dining. That’s partly in thanks to the team behind Bart Jr and its newer sibling Southside Charmers. It’s a colourful, retro and full-of-character diner, and the kind of place you’ll find Redfern locals rubbing shoulders with a more transient crowd on weekends. Taking over the much-loved Eathouse Diner’s digs on Chalmers Street, Southside Charmers has kept with the Americana theme, but adding a fresh lick of paint and some kitschy nods to 70s Miami. The menu is fresh, flavourful and inspired by Mexican cuisine and its influence on Miami and southern Cali. Dishes like the Pablo Rice Bowl with mushroom, chorizo, greens and egg, Southside’s take on a Cuban sandwich and breakfast tacos are obvious nods to the Latin American influence. As well as nourishing food, expect fresh juices, well-executed smoothies, kombucha and Five Senses coffee alongside some brunch cocktails served from 10am. You can sip on espresso martinis, bloody marys and, of course, southsides all day long. Or, as the day grows later, opt for a pet nat, natural vino or a local brew.

    Words: Cordelia Williamson. Images: Kitti Gould.

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  • 5

    Having cemented its status as one of Melbourne’s most celebrated coffee roasters and cafes, Industry Beans has taken on Sydney’s caffeine scene, opening its first interstate location in the CBD. It’s made its new home on York Street, complete with a heritage façade, state-of-the-art equipment and its trademark Industry Beans offering of creatively charged food and next-level specialty coffee. The new venue features the same customised La Marzocco Modbar that put Industry Beans’ Little Collins Street store on the map, allowing customers to be front and centre to the coffee-making experience. You can watch the magic unfold as the baristas brew its signature Fitzroy Street blend and whip up treats like the bubble tea-like Cold Brew Bubble Cup, featuring coffee-soaked tapioca pearls, cold brew and normal or vegan condensed milk. As for the food, some of the Melbourne cafe’s most popular dishes — including the coffee-rubbed wagyu burger, fruit sashimi topped with coffee ‘caviar’, and avocado smash starring beetroot dust and green tea salt — have made their way onto the new menu. That’s alongside a few new additions that specifically cater to the work lunch crowd, like the selection of baguettes and avo, broccoli and broad bean green bowl that can be eaten in or taken away.

    Words: Libby Curran.

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  • 4

    Newtown’s 28-seat no fuss cafe One Another has garnered quite the following since opening in March. Its casual ‘non-trendy’ vibes are matched by an accessible menu that locals can’t seem to get enough of — the place is packed most weekends. Run by Chef Louis Spangaro-McAllan, who jokes he’s cooked at over 40 cafes in Sydney, and Mitchell Antman (Fleetwood MacchiatoCornersmith and Sample Coffee), One Another has opened in the back streets of Newtown, tucked away from bustling King Street. Its much-talked about ‘$20-and-under’ menu features regularly changing specials — like the wild asparagus miso butter, crispy potatoes and a poached egg — and staples that have stood the test of the cafe’s (short) time, including bacon and egg rolls, silken tofu rolls and smashed avo on toast. The cafe’s signature hot-smoked ocean trout can become a protein accompaniment to any dish — the gents recommend adding it to the potato croquettes with charred brussels sprouts, capers and anchovy dressing. Attractive tables, chairs and stools have been lovingly made from recycled Australian hardwood, sourced from old warehouses down the coast, and coffee comes courtesy of Antman’s old hood: Sample Coffee.

    Words: Marissa Ciampi. Images: Kimberley Low.

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  • 3

    The Devon team has found a winning formula with its cafes (located in Surry HillsBarangarooNorth Sydney and Brisbane), but now it’s trying something new: a Japanese take on the old-school Aussie milk bar. Dopa by Devon, as the new concept is called, has over twenty varieties of donburi. These rice bowls come topped with teriyaki chicken, katsu pork and scrambled egg  — plus more interesting flavours like cheeseburger wagyu, beef tongue and lingcod. But, the dishes making waves on social media are Dopa’s desserts. Matcha toast, OTT parfaits, loaded milkshakes — in flavours like truffle, mocha and matcha — and shaved ice desserts are all on the lineup, and we can’t get enough of the latter. The strawberry kakigori (Japanese shaved ice dessert) is sweet, surprisingly creamy and refreshing. We think it’ll be a big hit with city workers during the summer months. Designed by local Darlinghurst studio Tom Mark Henry, the 70-seat cafe offers a range of bar, banquette and outdoor seating. Expect light timber furniture, red tiles and pastel finishes throughout. Japanese manga artist Andrew Yee has also created the venue’s ‘Dopa Boy’ logo.

    Words: Marissa Ciampi. Images: Kimberley Low

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  • 2

    A specialty coffee bar and cafe, kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment, Went to See the Gypsy is a true caffeine-lover’s paradise. A contemporary fit-out by the Guru Project features an edgy mix of polished concrete, blond rattan and exposed timber, pushing the focus to the cafe’s custom-built brew bar. With its under-the-counter Mod Bar, where most of the equipment is hidden away, this next-gen beauty allows customers an up-close glimpse of the coffee-making process. Settle in with your standard latte, or with crafty sips like the iced cascara (cold brewed coffee cherry skin) or The Bob Dylan, which blends espresso, salted pistachios and caramelised nuts. The food menu, designed by head chef Bryan Loong (Cho Cho San) spans breakfast dishes and lunch plates, and a handful of all-day offerings in between. In the first half of the day expect the likes of roast mushroom toasties with braised leek and smoked fior di latte; bircher starring kombucha, chia and pandan; and truffled smashed eggs with Meredith Dairy goat’s cheese. Lunchtime might mean a crisp chicken katsu sandwich, matched with shaved cabbage and mint slaw, or miso glazed salmon with wasabi celeriac cream and a soft egg. Just don’t forget to leave room for the Golden Gaytime tiramisu for dessert.

    Words: Libby Curran

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  • 1

    Owners Aki and Kathy Daikos bring a little Greek hospitality to the inner west at their bakery and cafe Alevri — but it’s got an Australian twist. At the welcoming Dulwich Hill spot, guests are greeted with white brick walls and pillars, the sweet and spicy smell of freshly baked bread and pastries, and cabinet after cabinet of classic Greek pastries, cakes, sandwiches and, the shining star, a moussaka-filled Aussie pie. There’s also a bunch of twists on your standard eggs benedict, scrambled eggs and omelette dishes. For sweets there are sesame bagels, mille-feuille (similar to a vanilla custard slice), loukoumades (doughnuts), fruit tarts and baklava cheesecake, plus Greek frappes and imported drinks. Alevri — which means flour in Greek — fills a cultural gap in the local dining scene, providing a spot for casual Mediterranean treats with the atmosphere of a traditional Greek bakery. It aims to be somewhere you can stop by to pick up your baked staples, stay for a bite to eat and feel right at home chatting with locals.

    Words: Leisha Kapor

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Top image: Cherry Moon by Kitti Gould

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