First published on 9 Jan 2013. Updated on 13 Feb 2014.
If you're an old hand at Sydney breakfasts you'd know that this is where it all started. Bills has been the touchstone for café breakfasts in Sydney since the '90s. They're still going strong – just ask anyone waiting in line for a table on weekends. Order the classics like ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and banana or sweetcorn fritters with tomato, spinach and bacon.
This little bakery café boasts some of the best bread in the city, not to mention some epically delicious sambos. But you might also try the breakfast plate: it's usually a riff on eggs on toast, but filling in the flavour gaps could be anything from a pile of roasted capsicum with labne and olives or some fried eggplant, tahini, lemon and spicy green relish. Grab a house-made soda and one of their excellent coffees while you're there.
You won't regret ordering the Peruvian B’n’E roll. This translates as a Brickfields roll stuffed with a thick slice of roast pork belly complete with crackling, a fried egg and sweet potato slices, with lemon mayo and an onion-and-capsicum salsa thrown in the mix. You’ll need two hands to eat it – it’s a full-cooked breakfast disguised as a sambo. The industro-style café also offers a coconut hot chocolate: just like a Bounty, only in liquid form. Mercy.
The sins of last night may still be a little hazy but you can even the karma scores with a breakfast of local, ethical produce at this tiny café in downtown Marrickville. The menu changes with the seasons and the tides so no Cornersmith plate is ever the same but you can rest easy knowing that it'll be a collection of delicious things. Perhaps a soft boiled egg, some sardines or ham with beetroot and lentil salad and some broad bean and fetta mash. Who knows?
The beautiful, bleached-wood space with its high windows and vintage dusty-green awning is pretty much a giant breakfast welcome sign. Inside is where you can make all your cowboy breakfast dreams come true with the pork hock hash. Here, shreds of smoky shin are mixed in with fried buckwheat and iridescent slivers of shallot, topped with a perfectly poached egg. All that's missing is a bucket to spit your tobaccy. Settle down with a flat white or milkshake instead, pard.
It's the little details that make breakfast at this Erskineville hotspot so great. They make their own sodas, your toast comes with pear and vanilla jam or pink grapefruit marmalade and you can order eggs with a side of jerk salmon. When the bitumen is melting they'll sort you out with a cold pourover coffee and a bowl of peaches, watermelon, lemon myrtle yoghurt, raspberries and pistachios. Be refreshed.
Can't get into Reuben Hills? Give their sister café a shot, where sweet waffles with a scoop of peanut-butter ice cream, a drizzle of dulce de leche and a shower of toasted-and-crushed hazelnuts sit on the menu alongside a maple-smoked bacon, egg and raw kale wrap with house-made barbecue sauce. There's also a world coffee styles and varieties to nerd off with too. Try pourover, cold or just a straight espresso. Or hang it all and order a peanut butter milkshake.
It’s only available one day a week, but breakfast at one of the year's funnest restaurant openings is so good it should be a daily happening. A long slab of bacon and maple tart shares bench space with cakes aplenty but look to the savoury menu first, where the croque madame sits next to the fried chicken burger of your dreams. Order it with all the sauces (barbecue, tomato and jalapeño!) and a flattie on the side. It’s about the only place in town where the food and the coffee are on equal footing. And that, sports fans, is reason enough to get out of bed on a Sunday.
The new-look diner is bigger, fresher and more delicious than ever, boasting a dizzying selection of coffee and different ways to drink it. On the plate there's light and fresh coconut quinoa Bircher with sliced mango, mint, pistachios and a pot of heavily caramelised coconut sugar syrup. A sweet and sticky vegan banana smoothie keeps the Eastern beaches health junkies happy, and there are gingerbread milkshakes for the rest of Sydney.
When a café hits that sweet spot it doesn’t matter how many tables they have, they’re always going to be full on a Saturday morning. This is certainly true for West Juliett. Which is why we're telling you to order the cookie. We don't care that it's breakfast time, secure yours now or risk missing out. With your sweet treat locked down you can kick back and enjoy two perfectly poached eggs with avocado, fetta, lemon, parsley, cress and dukkha in peace. Once you find a seat, that is.
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