Jardin St James
Sydney’s oldest church, St James Anglican, also houses a venture by Sydney Restaurant Group (Ripples, Aqua Dining, Ormeggio). Jardin St James (jardin means “garden” in French) occupies the church’s sandstone courtyard, balcony and cool, welcoming crypt.
The coffee cart serves breakfast in the garden. The tunnel-like crypt alcoves open for dining from 11.30am (next to the basement chapels, still in use, below the church). The building’s heritage status limited co-owner Julien Besnard (formerly front-of-house at Ripples) when he upgraded the existing kitchen (no fryers allowed). But Besnard instantly saw potential.
The menu offers light French classics, including salad nicoise and steak tartare, that use quality Australian produce – the fish en papillot uses ocean trout – and minimal saucing. All pastries are made in-house in the open kitchen; coffee (including one-litre bottles of 12-hour cold drip) is from The Little Marionette; and the restaurant offers BYO bubbles and wine.
Towards the end of the working week the cafe stays open a bit later, serving tempura olives, four-cheese croquettes, charcuterie and cheese.