When early risers stroll down to the foreshore at Henley Beach for breakfast, they’re spoilt for choice – there are now a dozen places in and around Henley Square to get coffee and brunch. On weekends, it’s borderline impossible to get a parking spot and dogs just about outnumber humans across the stretch of beach.

“Henley right now is absolutely pumping,” says Mattis Vanzati, who alongside his chef brother Liam is heading up the suburb’s newest spot, Sunnyside, in the former Little Shoo site on The Esplanade. “It is flat out every weekend and even during Covid-19 and everything else that is happening.”

In the past six months alone we’ve seen the arrival of restaurants Blue Rose and Hnly and the relaunch of Clutch (formerly Acacia). And Mattis, whose family owns and runs Henley stalwarts Swedish Tarts, Malobo and Hermanos Cubanos, has been watching the transformation.

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“The market is becoming a lot more casual,” Mattis says. “We looked at the site and we felt like we knew that this was a site that could do really well because it’s the right location, it’s got the right fit-out and it’s a great building.”

Mattis, who also owns Seamore’s around the corner, opened his previous venues with brother Lukas and parents Louise and Bo Matschke. This is younger brother Liam’s first time as both chef and part-owner, notes Mattis. He says they had a window of a “matter of weeks” to fit out the venue and create a menu before the height of summer. They have further plans for evening trade and a function space. “We have sort of big ambitions for the site for what it could be and what it will be in six or seven months, but we didn’t really want it sitting empty over summer.”

The brothers have brought a splash of colour and warmth to the site – originally a circa-1900 beachfront home – with muted greens, rattan furniture, timber tables, white walls and a mural by artist Ella Germein.

The compact menu deals in the classics – pancake stacks, bacon and eggs, things on toast and veggie and smoothie bowls alongside breakfast tacos, dumplings and a 250-gram steak frites served with a sunnyside egg. An even slimmer lunch menu consists of a couple burgers, some fish tacos and a spaghetti bolognaise – refried with butter – that’s appeared on the Seamore’s menu.

“The thing with Henley Beach is it’s a community of routine,” says Mattis. “They get up, they walk their dogs every morning, and they want to have their pancakes with their bacon and they want it done well. This isn’t really a destination place where you come every couple of months to visit – this is more of a place where you are walking the dog every morning and this is the place you come to.”

To drink? There’s coffee by 1645 Coffee Roasters, an evolving wine list featuring locals such as Koerner and Ochota Barrels, and breakfast cocktails including bottomless Mimosas ($35 for 90 minutes).

“We want people to have a big stack of pancakes, and maybe a breakfast cocktail and a coffee, and to be a part of our customer’s daily lives.”

Sunnyside
245 Esplanade, Henley Beach

Hours:
Weds to Mon 7.30am–2pm

sunnysidehenley.com.au