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FOOD & DRINK

Sydney's Best New Cafes of 2020

Sydney's cafe scene now boasts a bagel-filled Bondi deli, a gluten free CBD bakery and a Darlinghurst brunch spot with caviar service.
By Concrete Playground
August 05, 2020
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Sydney's Best New Cafes of 2020

Sydney's cafe scene now boasts a bagel-filled Bondi deli, a gluten free CBD bakery and a Darlinghurst brunch spot with caviar service.
By Concrete Playground
August 05, 2020
  shares

SYDNEY'S BEST NEW CAFES OF 2020

Sydney's cafe scene now boasts a bagel-filled Bondi deli, a gluten free CBD bakery and a Darlinghurst brunch spot with caviar service.

The first half of 2020 has undoubtedly been a difficult one for Sydney's hospitality scene. Despite obvious pandemic setbacks, our cafe culture kept on trucking, with new spots popping up all over the city. In the past seven months, we've gained a Japanese import slinging fluffy soufflé pancakes, an outpost of a south coast institution serving up famed vego burgers, a 100 percent gluten free bakery in the CBD and a next-level Darlinghurst brunch spot with caviar and truffle services. Don't know where to start? We've rounded up our favourite new cafes to swing open their doors in 2020 — so far. Check back because we'll be updating the list throughout the year.

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    Small's Deli

    Small’s Deli now occupies the hole-in-the-wall that previously housed French restaurant Mère Catherine (for 45 years, no less). New owners Emily Van Loon and Ben Shemesh have revamped the pint-size digs to create an Italian-style delicatessen with freshness as its focus. There’s none of that pre-made nonsense here. Instead, all Small’s sandwiches are built-to-order, and the offering changes regularly based on seasonality. Famed Bronte bakery Iggy’s is the bread of choice, and diners can purchase loaves of the stuff every Tuesday–Saturday from 11am (until sold out). House specialties include the croque monsieur ($13) — double smoked ham and dijon mustard with a blend of comté, béchamel and gruyère cheeses — and the fan-favourite Florence & the Aubergine ($14): a panini piled with sopressa, eggplant, walnut paste, creamed pecorino and rocket.

    Image: Leigh Griffiths

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  • 7

    This south coast institution is now serving up its famed vego burgers and Mexican feasts in Bronte. First set up in Milton in 1980, Pilgrims is now a five-branch mini-chain. The reason Pilgrims does so well is that it takes simple vegetarian staples and makes them tastier than you thought possible — then hands them to you in generous serves. For breakfast, you can choose from from acai bowls, avo on Iggy’s sourdough toast, haloumi stacks and smoothies. Then, for lunch, its famed veggie burgers — think chilli jam and haloumi, curried lentil patties and mixed grain patties — are a must. On Fridays and Saturdays from 5–9pm, you’ll find the menu changes a little, with a Mexican feast on offer. Burritos, tacos, nachos and bowls all come stuffed and topped with the likes of beans, spiced potato, cheese and generous dollops of guac. Cocktails, wine and beers are on offer, too.

    Image: Kimberley Low

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  • 6

    Darlinghurst’s new cafe is an opulent affair. Located in a 90s art deco building just down the block from East Village Sydney, The Mayflower is offering full caviar service for breakfast and lunch, along with generous portions of black truffle.The venue pays homage to the the building’s former florist with the greenery-filled, floral-themed interior. The luxe food offering starts with the caviar, which is served with blinis, crème fraîche and chives. As it’s currently truffle season, there’s also truffle service for a tenner, which lets you add a generous amount of either Western Australian or Victorian truffle to any dish. There are also truffle specials on the menu, including the croque monsieur. Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find poached lobster rolls with sea urchin mayo and brûléed french toast topped with fresh berries and edible flowers. Open for brekkie and lunch daily, the cafe is also slinging cuppas, along with kombucha and PS40 sodas.

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  • 5

    While you’ll want to visit Sample Coffee’s new Chippendale spot to try its coffee and croissants, you’ll also want to check out its digs. Dubbed Old Gold, the cafe is located inside a converted MacRobertson’s confectionery factory — the OG makers of Cherry Ripe, Freddo Frogs and, yes, Old Gold. All the coffee beans come from Sample’s St Peters roastery, and are put to the test using the cafe’s gold-wrapped La Marzocco KB90 espresso machine. It’s brewing a selection of single origins and a house-blend dubbed ‘Sweet Tooth’ for all your flat whites. Local suppliers are keeping the kitchen well stocked, too, with fresh produce coming from The Vege Box, Leichhardt patisserie Penny Fours whipping up the croissants and bakers ThoroughBread supplying sourdough baguettes and bagels. The menu is heavy on plant-based dishes for breakfast and lunch — think mortadella and bocconcini sandwiches, avocado bruschetta and a grilled fennel and borlotti salad.

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  • 4

    Bondi’s Jewish deli Lox in the Box is serving up babka, cured fish, all the schmears and some of the best bagels our city has to offer. While the Bondi delicatessen is only open from Thursday–Sunday, you can order a box of bagels for delivery any day of the week. Choose from the signature bagel with pastrami-spiced lox (salt-cured salmon), capers, tomato and schmear; the hot salt beef with mustard and pickles; or the loaded ‘salad bagel’ with vintage cheddar, pickles, grated carrot, sliced beetroot, rocket and jalapeño schmear. You’ll want to grab extra of that tasty house schmear — it’s cream cheese whipped with lemon, dill and shallots. In store, you’ll also find the herb egg salad bagel with caramelised onions and sliced tomato, plus filtered coffees from Reuben Hills, Minor Figures nitro cold brew and iced chai.

    Image: Kimberley Low

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  • 3

    Founded by Takeshi Takata, Gram Cafe opened its first store dedicated to sky-high soufflé pancakes in Osaka back in 2014. Since then, it has opened more than 60 stores in Asia, Canada and the US. As of February 2020, a Chatswood cafe is among that number, too. To make sure each pancake is as light and fluffy as its Osaka counterparts, the Sydney chefs have been trained by the big boss from Japan. They’re whipping up a batter heavy with egg whites, steaming it under metal domes and then cooking it until its golden on the outside and white and fluffy on the inside. You’ll get a stack of three ultra-light pancakes, each with a soufflé consistency and drizzled with syrup. There are eight different flavours to try, including matcha, tiramisu, caramelised banana and coconut custard. Plus, there are a few other brunch items on the menu, too, including french toast, savoury pancakes and smoothies.

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  • 2

    Gone are the days when coeliacs and gluten-intolerant Sydneysiders had to live without buttery croissants, fresh loaves of sourdough, sausage rolls and eclairs. And it’s all thanks to 100 percent gluten free cafe Wholegreen Bakery. Opening its first permanent venue in Waverley last year, the bakery expanded to the CBD in March. To accommodate the usual work crowds, the Clarence Street cafe is much bigger than its Waverley predecessor, with room for 60 diners. And it’s baking bread and pastries each morning (six days a week). This means you can always get your hands on one of Wholegreen’s golden croissants, pain au chocolats and loaves of sourdough to take home. The cafe is licensed, too, so a cheeky lunchtime bevvie is on the menu — in the form of gluten-free wine and beer, of course.

    Wholegreen Bakery’s CBD outpost is temporarily closed, but its Waverley bakery is open.

    Image: Leigh Griffiths

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  • 1

    Sydneysiders with a sweet-tooth should make tracks to Clovelly, where renowned pastry chef Yves Scherrer is now pumping out his goods at new patisserie and bakery Madame & Yves. Scherrer has worked across several of Sydney’s fine dining institutions, creating stunning desserts like Saké‘s much Instagrammed dragon egg dessert. While the dragon egg will not make an appearance at Madame & Yves, a few of Scherrer’s other famed creations do grace the menu — including the salted caramel eclairs from Ananas and the white sesame gelato from Saké. This leaves room on the menu for a whole heap of new creations, like the matcha yuzu roll and the piña colada tart. There is also handmade gelato and a whole host of croissants, from the classic ham and cheese, to a Ferrero version filled with hazelnut and dipped in chocolate. You’ll notice a focus on native and seasonal Aussie ingredients here, with no artificial colours or additives to speak of.

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Top image: Old Gold

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