The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free Gourmet Menus book - offer ends 26 February 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Neighbourhood by Seán McManus: the best new coffee in Sydney in 2016

A former Single Origin barista steps out on his own with a café that redefines the idea of small but beautiful.

It's week one at Neighbourhood and Seán McManus already knows the names of everyone on the block, if not all their coffee orders. Designers, social-media marketeers, Krav Maga instructors and other sundry heavily inked denizens of lower Surry Hills are already flocking to the tiny storefront, just up from Sydney's Central station, for the chat as much for the friendly barista's distinctive milk-work and expertly pulled espresso.

Apart from the occasional croissant from Penny Fours and doughnut from Woah Nelly, the bean is squarely the focus here. To call Neighbourhood a café is almost overselling it. It's two dudes, McManus and fellow barista Marc Wiebe, and a coffee machine in an eight-square metre shopfront fitted out with superb Australian walnut and Tasmanian oak joinery from Porter & Maple (Sydney's café fitters of the moment), with a couple of stools and a small bench out on the street. Hell, they don't even open on weekends.

Chat and coffee is pretty much all these guys do, so it's a good thing they do both so well. Coffee nerds rock up to discreetly fondle the shiny MVP Synesso Hydra machine, while hot-chocolate and mocha fans roll by to check out the shop's proprietary blend of oat milk.

McManus's coffee credentials are solid. He worked at Single Origin for many a year, and his last port of call was with Artificer - he and the Artificer gang still roast their single-origin beans together.

Neighbourhood's look, meanwhile, is all about warmth, welcome and humble comfort. "I told Porter & Maple I wanted something like a Roger Moore-era James Bond sauna," says McManus. "What could be warmer than a sauna in the '70s?" 

Neighbourhood by Seán McManus, 16b Buckingham St, Surry Hills, NSW. Open 6.30am-3pm Mon-Fri.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017
What’s happening in South Yarra?
15.02.2017
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s chef collaborations
14.02.2017
Hot Plates: Long Chim, Melbourne
14.02.2017
Eleven Bridge’s bar menu returns
13.02.2017
Hot Plates: Vaquero Dining, Albion
09.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Bang, Sydney restaurant review

Panache could be a watchword for Bang, Surry Hills’ first fo...

Sydney's new cult burger, layer by layer

Sokyo's Chase Kojima's new project is something completely n...

Silvereye to close this August

Chef Sam Miller is heading back to the UK.

Back to the 1980s at Bennelong

A collection documenting the life of the Sydney Opera House ...

Chase Kojima's rice burger bar opens this week

Prepare to hold a new style of burger glory – wrapped in ric...

Balla

Pronounce it "bah-la" for Piedmont-born artist and composer...

Otto Ristorante

The best Italian cooking captures occasion and place, and R...

Papi Chulo

Sitting pretty on the Manly Wharf, Papi Chulo is a welcome ...

Pendolino

It's as discreet and romantic as any ristorante on a backst...

Popolo

Popolo is "for the people", and the people of the leafy eas...

Porteno

Get the skirt steak. Sure, the fire-licked pork and lamb of...

Prime

There's an almost monastic feel to the muted tones, sandsto...

Red Lantern on Riley

A chef's TV travelogue is a great appetiser, so diners at L...

Sake - Sydney

A spacious, dark-timbered room in a heritage-listed buildin...

Sokyo

Has anyone pinpointed when certain Japanese restaurants and...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×