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The Team Behind Surry Hills Cafe Dad and the Frog Chat Coffee, Community and Their Favourite Spots in Sydney

Daniel Ng and Baptiste Viard of Dad and the Frog were voted local legends by their Surry Hills community for a reason.
By Joe Rivers
December 08, 2023
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By Joe Rivers
December 08, 2023
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If you had to pick the toppings for a perfect french toast, berry compote is almost certainly a go-to. Caramelised apple and crumbled pistachio also sound pretty good. What you probably wouldn't immediately think of is brie — yet the French cheese joins the aforementioned trio on the plate for one of the signature all-day breakfast menu items at Surry Hills' Dad and the Frog cafe.

Co-founders Daniel Ng (the 'Dad') and Baptiste Viard (the Frenchman who is apparently fine with being referred to as the 'Frog') highlight this twist on a brunch classic when asked for the best dish on the menu. "It's like a kiss from Normandy," enthuses Viard.

Passion is at the heart of Dad and the Frog's success, with the cafe becoming a much-loved part of the Surry Hills community since its opening in 2022. Ng conceived the idea during Sydney's first lockdown in 2020. By the time lockdown hit again in the following year, he knew he needed a business partner who shared his experience, passion and vision. Enter long-time friend and colleague Viard, who, like Ng, had years in hospitality under his belt and knew the value and secret to a phenomenal cup of coffee.

As well as serving up world-beating cups of joe, you can get menu items as diverse as buttermilk fried chicken burgers, kimchi chicken toasties, and kabocha salads, not to mention that sweet and savoury french toast concoction. Dad and The Frog is also fully licenced, offering beers, wines and cocktails, including a killer espresso martini made with Toby's Estate beans. Viard and Ng's have created a charming space to spend time and relax, hence Dad and the Frog's top-quality ingredients, welcoming feel and al fresco dining area.

With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the twosome won the coveted Toby's Estate NSW Local Legends award for 2023. Now, we're asking the pair to pay it forward and shout out some of their local favourites around Sydney.

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Outside of Dad and The Frog, where's your favourite local spot to grab a feed?
Viard: You must visit Chez Crix. Upstairs at Cricketers Arms – a touch of French-ish charm. The ambience and the food are like a little journey to France without the jet lag.

Ng: My wife and daughter are big on ramen, so we'll often find ourselves rotating between my local spots like Ichiban Boshi, Chaco Ramen, and Rara.

Where's your favourite local spot to grab a drink after work?
Viard: Lokal Wine on Fitzroy Street. It's not just about the drink; it's the company, the stories, the atmosphere. The wines, they speak of places far away, but the warmth, that's all Sydney.

What's the most underrated spot for dinner in your area?
Ng: Vacanza Pizzeria. It has quality toppings, and the pizza dough is spot on. They're my first choice for pizza in Sydney. We'll usually grab a couple of boxes and drive over to the beach or a cliff with a view like Clovelly and eat our pizzas while sitting in the boot of our car with an ocean view.

Viard: You must try Bar Chaplin, tucked away and unassuming but with a menu that will transport you. A treasure hunt for the curious!

Where do you like to go to escape in nature nearby?
Viard: Centennial Park, hands down. It's like stepping into another world. Great for a walk with my dog, Mia, a picnic, or just to sit and breathe. It's my little escape from the hustle.

Ng: I'm an amateur spearfisher, and I love bringing my family to Kurnell. I park the car on the beach and go for a snorkel with my daughter or out for a spearfish with my mates. We'll bring back our catch and cook it up on the beach.

If you had a friend come to visit, where's the first place you would take them?
Ng: I'd take them through the walking parts of Sydney. Into the Inner West, Newtown for some thrift shopping and a Mary's burger for lunch. Then onward to Surry Hills for dinner and bar hopping.

Viard: Straight to the heart of Surry Hills! To feel the pulse of this vibrant neighbourhood, to see the art, to taste the life here. A walk through the streets, a coffee from Dad & The Frog in hand, stories flowing.

What are some other local small businesses you think people should support? 
Viard: For a workout, it's Befit in Double Bay, where you'll find me after a long day at work. Sam, Joe and their team are local legends. Need a haircut? Hair Show by Jim Ajouz; he's an artist with scissors. And for the fashion? Teamm8. Michal, the owner, dresses half the neighbourhood, including us!

Ng: We definitely need to give Teamm8 a shout-out. Apart from a tailored suit, I wore their underwear on my wedding day, so that's saying something! Otherwise, ByKai on Hutchinson Street in Surry Hills does an incredible smoked trout. It's a product that I reserve for a special occasion when entertaining at home.

Dad and the Frog is the Toby's Estate Local Legends winner for NSW in 2023. For more information on it or other cafes that serve Toby's Estate, visit the website

Published on December 08, 2023 by Joe Rivers
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