Hunt for hidden gems
Stumbling upon a café in places you never thought would offer good food never fails to put you in a good mood. These hidden gems are waiting to be discovered by you, so be sure to check them out!
1. Sappho Books, Café & Wine Bar
Sappho Books, Café & Wine Bar is Glebe’s most hidden gem. Tucked away in the back lanes of a rustic bookstore, this café offers a special vibe with its graffiti walls and street-art features in the courtyard. At night, this space is transformed into a wine and tapas bar, accompanied by live acoustic music and the occasional poetry recitals!
Start your morning off burying your head in a good book, enjoying the ambience of the courtyard, sip on a cup of coffee, and enjoy a hearty breakfast. The food served is exceptional, and they even have a vegan menu. Sappho uses Bonsoy soy milk and Tofutti vegan ice cream. The Vegan Big Breakfast ($18) sure won’t disappoint, especially with its organic lentil fritters served with hummus.
On top of your usual eggs benedict or toasted sandwiches, Sappho also offers an all-day Tapas selection. This is perfect if you are visiting with a couple of friends, and want to have a taste test of various small-portioned dishes. The Grilled Haloumi ($7) is a popular favourite, as well as the Dips Plate ($15) which consists of three different dips served with pita bread.
Opening Hours: Mon — Tues, 830 AM — 7 PM | Wed — Sat, 830 AM — 830 PM | Sun, 9 AM — 7 PM
Address: 51 Glebe Point Road, Sydney NSW 2037
2. Madera Kafe
Serbian food is not a common cuisine to find within Sydney’s CBD. Madera Kafe offers authentic Serbian food with the influences of Hungarian, Turkish, Austrian and Mediterranean dishes. This restaurant is located 30km west of Sydney’s CBD, and is hidden in a place you would least likely expect a good restaurant would be. Madera Kafe is situated in a drive-in complex of furniture shops and crafts outlet that sits just off the Hume Highway, standing alone and surrounded by parking lots.
If it is your first time trying out this restaurant, it is recommended that you try the classic Cevapi ($13.90 for half portion and $19.90 for full portion), which are skinless char-grilled Serbian sausages served with diced onion and a choice of homemade potato or cabbage salad. If you can’t decide between Serbian sausages and pork neck skewers, there is a simple alternative. The Pola Pola ($25.90), which means 50/50, offers both the Cevapi and the Raznjici Skewers.
There is also an extensive range of pizzas (dinner only) to choose from, ranging from Serbian inspired pizzas like the Lovac ($24) to the traditional pizzas like the Supreme ($22). If you are still have room for something sweet, opt for the Serbian range of desserts. The Plazma keks torta ($8.50) is a cake consisting of soaked sponge finger biscuits that is covered in cream.
However, if your stomach is leaning towards the full side but you just want to treat your taste buds to some sugar, try the Sampita ($7), which is a light fluffy meringue enclosed between two sheets of pastry.
Opening Hours: Mon — Tues, 530 PM — 11 PM | Wed, 1030 AM — 11 PM | Thurs — Sun, 1030 AM — 12 AM
Address: 34/1 Sappho Road, Warwick Farm NSW 2170
3. The Incinerator Café
This café has a unique design and a quirky name. If you haven’t guessed, the café actually used to be a functioning incinerator that was designed in the 1930s. History had been embraced, and for many years, the building was used as an art gallery. The spacious interior and high roof has been used to its advantage, where rows of tables lay on concrete floors, matching the café’s rustic theme.
For the coffee lovers, the coffee served in The Incinerator comes the commended Grounds Roasters in Alexandria. The menu changes often as seasonal produces are used, so the quality of the food is guaranteed. If the breakfast tapioca dish with coconut yoghurt, seeds, and mango is available on the menu, it is definitely worth trying.
Alternatively, if you are looking for something heartier, you could try the sweet potato rosti with haloumi, egg, beetroot relish, and a side of pork and fennel sausages. Accompany your meal with the infamous Tim Tam chocolate shake ($8) to give you your sugar fix.
On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, The Incinerator now opens for dinner from 5pm onwards.
Opening Hours: Mon — Sun, 7 AM — 4 PM | Thu — Sat Dinner from 5 PM
Address: 2 Small St, Willoughby NSW 2068
4. Brasserie Bread
It is amazing how Brasserie Bread always seems to draw in a crowd, despite being located in the middle of nowhere. Situated on a long stretch of road in an industrial area near Sydney’s airport, you would not think that this café would be home to one of Sydney’s finest bakeries and cafés. Brasserie Bread’s warehouse setting consists not only of a café, but also a bakery room where bread is baked fresh everyday, and where bread-making workshops take place!
Every item on Brasserie Bread’s menu is bound to satisfy your tastebuds. The quality of each dish is exceptional, especially when the bread used is freshly made with love. The lamb shoulder hash ($16) is the perfect if you are looking for something hearty. This flavourful Mirrool Creek lamb is accompanied with root vegetables, spinach, fried egg, and Brasserie Bread’s infamous sourdough toast.
Bread is not Brasserie Bread’s only specialty. The sourdough pancakes ($16) topped with berry compote, honeycomb cream or grilled banana, coconut yoghurt, and vanilla syrup, is one of their signature dishes, and tastes just as good as it looks.
After your meal, visit the section near the counter and take the opportunity to purchase a loaf of the freshest and finest bread you will taste, sweet and savoury tarts, or a couple of jars of homemade spreads.
Opening Hours: Mon — Fri, 7 AM — 3 PM | Sat — Sun, 8 AM — 2 PM
Address: 1737 Botany Road, Banksmeadow NSW 2019
5. White Rabbit Teahouse
The White Rabbit Gallery is home to a significant amount of contemporary Chinese art collections. These artworks deviate from the traditional and classical Chinese artworks, igniting a different vibe within the gallery space. The White Rabbit Teahouse is located on the street level of the gallery, and its cosy ambience makes it the ideal place to relax and enjoy some good bites and drinks.
The snacks offered at The White Rabbit Teahouse are healthy and tasty, consisting of mini coconut biscuits and a variety of nuts and dried fruits.
If you are looking for more substantial food, you can order a plate of fresh handmade dumplings that are available from 11am to 3:30pm.
White Rabbit Teahouse’s tea selection is of high quality, ranging from the finest Chinese to Taiwanese teas. You can choose your ‘style’ of tea, whether it be oolong, white tea, flower teas, or iced teas. And the best part is that once the flavour of your tea infusions have started to fade off, you can top up your pot at no extra charge.
Opening Hours: Wed — Sun 10 AM — 5 PM
Address: White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale NSW 2008
6. Upperroom Restocafé
Majority of Sydneysiders have walked down Pitt Street at least once in their lives. However, only a handful know that there is a café hidden behind the walls of Wesley Conference Centre. Sneak away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD, and avoid the crowd at food courts during your lunch break. Upperroom Restocafé is a place for you to unwind and savour the peacefulness of your surroundings whilst you enjoy your coffee or food.
The menu at Upperroom includes your typical café breakfast and brunch choices, but draws on Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine such as the Hainanese Chicken Rice ($12.50) and Beef Rendang ($15), which is Asian braised beef served with steamed rice.
The Upperroom Big Breakfast ($17.80) is bound to leave your stomachs filled with its combination of bacon, egg, chorizo sausage, tofu, haloumi, grilled tomato, two slices of bread and a cup of coffee. If you want to grab something light before you start your day, the muesli and granola cup served with fruits and creamy yoghurt can kick start your day for just $5!
Opening Hours: Mon — Fri, 7 AM — 4 PM
Address: 220 Pitt Street, NSW 2000
7. Bread and Circus
Tucked away in the corner of a warehouse in the industrial suburb of Alexandria, Bread and Circus still manages to draw in a crowd and is regarded as one of the most popular wholefoods café in Sydney. Wholefoods does not necessarily mean plain kale and spinach leaves mixed in a bowl with some tahini dressing. Bread and Circus serves generous portions of fresh and delicious foods that touch on healthy eating.
With emphasis on fresh produce calls for a change in their menu every day. Salad plates come in three different sizes, as a side ($10), regular ($16), sharing ($25) or takeaway ($14). Sandwich boxes consist of a deconstructed sandwich with a variety of fresh ingredients served with two slices of sourdough bread. Although the menu constantly changes, the Daily Plate is guaranteed to bring satisfaction, no matter what is on the menu that day.
Bread and Circus never fails to serve up a colourful plate of wholefood goodness, and there is definitely something on the menu for everyone.
Opening Hours: Mon — Fri, 7 AM — 3 PM | Sat — Sun, 7 AM — 4 PM
Address: 21 Fountain Street, Alexandria NSW 2015
8. Angel Café Bar
Tucked away in one of Sydney’s most magical lanes, Angel Café Bar sits right next to the whimsical installation of 50 hanging birdcages. This small café serves reasonably priced food, which is quite rare due to its prime location. Breakfast and lunch menus are available, as well as a variety of beers, wines, and spirits available at the bar.
Breakfast served at Angel Café Bar is a great bargain. You can get a big breakfast set consisting of two eggs, bacon, baked beans, sausages, and grilled tomato served with a slice of thick toast for just $13.90. There are numerous items on the menu where you can get for less than $10. If that does not scream value for money, I don’t know what would. A variety of sandwiches, such as the bacon, avocado, and cheese sandwich, are up for grabs for just $6.50. Alternatively, you can custom make your own sandwich and get a free drink for $9.90 in total.
For something heartier and a more authentic dine-in experience, try the eye fillet of beef ($21) served with roasted garlic mash, oven roasted tomato and mushrooms, and a splash of jus sauce.
Opening Hours: Mon — Fri, 6 AM — 5 PM
Address: 10 Angel Place, Sydney NSW 2000
9. The Treehouse
Who would have guessed that there would be a tree house café in the heart of North Sydney? Okay, it might not be café in the canopy of a tree, but the interior surely adopts a forest like theme. According to owner Andrew Utiger, he explains that this café culture aims to provide “an oasis for people to enjoy an experience normally limited…” This playful space will definitely make you feel like you are in a tree house, especially when leafy plants and vines at every corner of the café surround you.
The focus on fresh ingredients is one of the main reasons why this café continues to charm their customers. The menu offers seasonal produce that include handmade pastas, fine grass fed steaks, pork cutlets, and top quality seafood.
One of The Treehouse’s signature dishes is the handmade spinach and , served with cherry tomatoes, zucchini flowers, and Parmesan. This vegetarian dish will also impress the meat lovers, as you can taste quality in each bite you take.
No matter how hidden these cafes and restaurants may be, they seem to be doing well and continue to grow their customer base. So maybe it may be time to take a break from the mainstream cafes that the whole of Sydney seems to know about, and try one of these gems to see why it is worth venturing to.
Opening Hours: Mon — Fri, 7 AM — 12 AM | Sat, 2 PM — 12 AM
Address: 60 Miller Street, North Sydney NSW 2060
10. Suzie Q Coffee and Records
If you love the good old classics and a store of vinyl records, you have to head down to Suzie Q Coffee and Records. With an interior which is replete with records from the golden age of the 60s to 80s, it resonates with anyone who’s a culture vulture at heart.
Bet you didn’t know that the music in the cafe is also carefully curated by the staff eh? If the lazy wet evening calls for something slow and melancholic, classical jazz music will be at your service.
The fare at Suzie Q Coffee and Records adopts a touch of Middle Eastern influence to delight the palate. Cue lunch favourites like “The Bazaar”, which is really an eclectic mix of roast cauliflower, baked eggplant, chickpea puree, drizzled in house labne and pomegranate seeds. How about starting the day with Jerk chicken salad with corn, cabbage, lime, chilli, pineapple, and coriander? Drooling already!
Suzie Q Coffee and Records is the place if you want to completely kick back, relax and enjoy. Not only is the music selection impressive, even the things on the menu are music to the ears.
Opening Hours: Mon — Fri, 7 AM — 4 PM | Sat - Sun, 8 AM — 4 PM
Address: 1/18 Hutchinson Street, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia 2010
11. Berkelouw Cafe 1812
Reading books has always been a favourite pastime of many, but the main gripe is none other than noise everywhere. It’s so frustrating to keep getting interrupted by the blaring of car horns and the chatter of many. Thankfully, Berkelouw Cafe 1812 is here to save the day with its quiet reading environment and TONS of books. Bookworms, rejoice!
The cafe prides itself with rows of uncountable books, which patrons can pick up and read whenever they like. It’s a book heaven in there, and you’ll surely find a book which will make you travel dimensions and lose track of time.
To keep you fueled in your reading spree, the food fare at Berkelouw Cafe 1812 is nothing short of great. The Berkelouw Eggs Special, which is an exciting fusion of sourdough with fresh avocado, tomato and poached eggs topped with feta cheese, will gear you for your reading adventures. Besides being ultra-affordable at $16, it can even last you till dinner, knowing avocado’s in it!
Opening Hour: Mon — Sun, 930 AM — 9 PM
Address: Level One, Berkelouw Books 19 Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney
12. Will & Co Culture of Coffee
Will & Co Coffee Culture is a cafe that delights everyone who has a knack for good design and aesthetics - perfect for the design geek. Right from the mural illustrations on the walls to how the cafe is themed, this is the place to get some inspiration for embarking on the next big thing. The cafe boasts seductively minimal illustrations that are just super pleasant to admire while time spends itself away.
Will & Co Coffee Culture also puts in the same dedication in ensuring that every single customer who patronises the cafe walks out smiling. For many coffee aficionados, the latte is a classical fave.
What really seals the deal for many would be the accessible rooftop, which offers you the perfect place to let loose below the vast, crystal blue skies. Chilling at the rooftop with a cuppa and musing at the horizon over the weekends sounds like the dream, ain’t it?
Opening Hours: Sat & Sun, 9 AM — 2 PM
Address: 33 Hall Street, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Hidden cafe gems found
There are one too many cafes offering the same kind of stuff these days - so much so that cafes lose their individuality. But these 12 quirky cafes reignite the flare for discovering new places to chill with a cuppa, and revive the cafe hopping trend. There are many others still waiting to be uncovered, so time to set out and treat yourself to a good time!