Right in time for spring, Sydney's café game kicks up another notch. Add these to your weekend schedule and hit repeat.
Meet Gerard, Alexandria
Photography by Sarah McWilliam.
They call it "The Best Roast Chicken Sandwich Ever". It's got roast chicken, herbed aïoli and rocket served between two giant slices of Sonoma bread, but the thing that adds weight to its claim to excellence is the inclusion of stuffing. We tip our hat, too, to the extensive all-day breakfast menu that includes the likes of fluffy chilli scrambled eggs with broccolini, sumac and goat's curd, and the prettiest bowl of granola in town. The coffee (by Coffee Alchemy) is sometimes good rather than great but, on the plus side, there's calorie-worthy sweets baked in-house to take away. Meet Gerard, 54 Henderson Rd, Alexandria, NSW, (02) 8021 7211, meetgerard.com.au; open Mon-Sat 7am-4pm.
Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Photography by Kate Disher-Quill.
Part all-day café, part communal motorbike workshop, RSW began as a crowd-funded pop-up but, as anyone who has tasted the ramen can attest, it's now a pleasant permanent fixture on Sydney's café scene. There's The Dark, The Light, The Monk and a breakfast ramen, the last made with what they call buttered-toast broth. The egg and bacon roll is served on "Hokkaido" milk buns and comes with kim-slaw, but the beer is made in Newtown, the coffee is excellent, and the service will make a local proud. Rising Sun Workshop, 1C Whateley St, Newtown, NSW, (02) 9550 3891, risingsunworkshop.com; open Mon-Sun 8am-4pm, dinner Thu-Sat 6pm-10pm.
Either Or, Newtown
Courtesy of Either Or.
Life is carefree at Either Or. As cars rattle along King Street, The Kinks sing "Sunny Afternoon" and locals down colourful juices and thick smoothies. For breakfast it's Bread and Butter Project toast with the likes of house-made "Notella" or beetroot butter. Or free-range eggs your way. Then there's the "Either Or" option: eggs served with all seven sides, including the house-smoked salmon, and avocado and goat's curd mash. In keeping with the pared-back Scandi decor (with Aussie flourishes), at lunch there's Danish-style open sandwiches as well as salads and dish-of-the-moment, poke - here, a pile of salmon, ginger black rice, avocado and roasted seaweed. It's a salty number, thanks to that heavy glug of soy. Coffee is Colombian Connection, milky and not bitter, and if you're into mylk or matcha, they have that, too. There are plans to open for dinner - think cheese, wine and snacking plates - good news for the south end of King. Either Or, 512 King St, Newtown, NSW; open Wed-Sun 8am-4pm.
Henry Lee's, Redfern
Photography by Zachary Duffy.
Over at Henry Lee's it's "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" that's making people nod their heads. It should probably be Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: the café is named after one of the band's songs, and the dishes are named for track and album titles. "Yeah, Aaron's a bit obsessed with Nick Cave," says one of the waiters. That's Aaron Devaney who, with his partner Kath, ran Green Tangerine on the Central Coast. For their chicken sandwich, the house bread is toasted and generously buttered, giving Gerard's claims a run for their money. Our money, however, is on The Dancer. The slow-roasted lamb in fermented curry with fried aromatics and spiced rice is killer. This is a step above your run-of-the-mill café - it's in a unique sun-filled space and the food is sophisticated. Henry Lee's, 16 Eveleigh St Redfern, NSW, henrylees.com.au; open daily 8am-3pm.
Three Blue Ducks, Rosebery
Photography by Monica Buscarino.
And then there were three. The Rosebery outpost of this growingenterprise is welcome news for fans of Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy's fresh, produce-driven style. The space and food work in perfect harmony, and although Sydneysiders lamented the closing of Kitchen by Mike, this has added a new dimension to the already refined Koskela experience. It also brings new dishes and a different ethos to the group's offering. Here it's all about fire. In the garden there's Bob, a giant Argentinian grill for cooking whole animals and inside, a wood-fired oven for charring and roasting - although this is by no means a meat-fest. There's a seafood curry, roast cauliflower with pickled grapes and a simple but super-rad poke that's been pimped up with the inclusion of kimchi. This is food you want to eat often and with gusto. Three Blue Ducks Rosebery, 1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery, (02) 9389 0010, threeblueducks.com; open Tue-Fri 7.30am-2.30pm, Sat and Sun 7.30am- 3.30pm, dinner Wed-Sat from 5.30pm.