Sydney has been taking the innocence out of breakfast for a while now. But these days cafes and restaurants are taking drinking at brunch to the next level with highly individual offerings.
Mimosas have been replaced by complex cocktails, breakfast is now prepared with fine-dining techniques, and live DJ sets are a thing. These are the bars and restaurants doing the most indulgent brunches.
Serving brunch from 9am, indulge in a classic bacon sandwich with plum sauce and cultured butter. Few things get the ball rolling in the morning better than the beef-mince dripping on toast with a fried duck egg. On the drinks front, there’s Green Tomato Bloody Marys and prosecco.
Aside from a classic French omelette with charred morcilla chunks and lettuce and a tomato tart, the menu covers dishes you’d expect at a dinner service. Get involved with bottomless Mimosas, apricot Spritzers and cold-drip coffee every Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 3pm.
Mitch Orr knows all too well that “Sydney loves brunch”, but has switched it up at ACME, offering something a little more interesting. His “Asian-leaning” brunch service is $50 for the set menu, featuring three main courses and something sweet. The menu will change weekly, and will also include a vegetarian option.
Try the Bloody Mary spin-off, the Bloody Pasi. It’s inspired by ACME friend and chef Pasi Petanen (Cafe Paci), and includes dill-infused vodka, spiced tomato, and fresh dill.
The combination of panoramic views over Bondi Beach, fresh ocean air and silver service in the morning will ease even the most terminal hangover.
Here, brunch is a Sunday affair, and the rotating set menu is $55 a head. Doors open at 10am sharp, giving way to tables covered in white-linen tablecloths covered in seasonal fruit platters of watermelon, blood orange and berries, and silver trays of house-made pastries. For something more substantial there’s a good selection of reinvented farmhouse cheeses; a goat’s-curd-and-kale frittata; and an egg-and-prosciutto focaccia.
There's also bottomless prosecco for an additional $20. The Icebergs bar opens at midday with a collection of classic cocktails that use seasonal fruits and good shelf spirits, all served short and punchy. Come for the prosecco and stay for the DJs that start at 3pm to keep you dancing into the night.
The open-air bar section of The Grounds in Alexandria is full of greenery – a lovely way to start the day. Raw-cut timber, rusted garden chairs and terracotta pots overflowing with vines and succulents make this the ideal spot to sink into a chair and enjoy.
Doors open at 11am on Saturday and Sunday. The adjoining cafe opens at 7.30am. The food menu is not typically breakfast-y. Share a pot of Mediterranean-style mussels with zucchini, tomato and olives. Or the blue-swimmer-crab risotto with clams, squid and fresh herbs.
The cocktail list is fruit-forward, with the same elegant but unfussy, and distinctly Australian, feel as the atmosphere. The house specialty is the Toiler’s Tonic, which is a muddle of basil-infused vodka, limoncello, fresh lime, strawberry and ginger beer served in a tall, ice-capped glass. On cooler mornings share a pot of spicy mulled cider with friends.
In LA, New York and London, country clubs are a pretty big deal. Champagne refills at 10am, crab cakes and smoked-salmon bagels are mandatory on a Sunday. But the trend has never really caught on in Sydney, something Adam Abrams and Julian Tobias from Darlo Country Club hope to rectify. Teaming up with Edward Levy, Michael Wang of Lobo Plantation and Peter Lew of Fei Jai; Brunch Club is a new (and temporary) innovation that encourages diners to stay put with all-day eating and drinking accompanied by live DJ sets.
Brunch Club starts at 11.30am every Saturday and continues until September 17. The venue is colourful, fun and inviting.
The banquet-style set menu offers French toast with custard, dense bagels layered in smoked salmon, and potato hash with soft-boiled eggs.
Drinks veer away from the usual Bloody Marys (although those are also available). There’s a cheery assortment of vibrant cocktails; the Mango Pina Colada is a smooth take on a classic and will transport you from the Sydney winter to a banana chair on the Californian coastline.
The classic beers-by-the-beach scenario has been reinvented here. With an emphasis on cocktails and soft lighting, this is a great place to go from morning to afternoon. Decorated in rough, raw materials with exposed-brick walls, hanging greenery and dark timber tables, it’s a place to escape to.
A range of brunch bowls feature a mix of seaweed, turmeric-fermented cabbage and kale alongside poached eggs with chorizo, smoked salmon and avocado.
Drinks run all day, so you can swap your morning coffee for a Vanilla Espresso Martini. Or for something lighter, go for the signature Elderflower Lychee Martini made with vodka, St Germaine, whole lychees and citrus.
The Double Bay institution has announced a new brunch menu featuring bottomless Veuve Clicquot for two hours. From 11am to 4pm every Saturday.
Enjoy seasonal fruit and a golden chia pot (buckwheat granola, coconut yoghurt and maple-stewed fruit) on arrival at 11am, followed by a smoked-trout blini stack with lemon and sturgeon caviar, brunch pizza with proscuitto and chilli-charred greens, and a poached-chicken “super salad” with eggplant and spiced nuts. To finish, add an optional third course – brioche French toast with rhubarb and strawberry compote, vanilla ice-cream and candied walnuts.
Kensington Street Social combines coffee and alcohol for a Sunday brunch specialising in the Espresso Martini.
Every Sunday from 11am until 12.30pm, an Espresso Martini trolley makes the rounds, and you can watch them being shaken at your table.
Guests can choose their preferred spices from vanilla, star anise, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. The spirits on offer include vodka, tequila and orange liqueur. Each Espresso Martini costs $19.
Josh Niland’s first restaurant is dedicated to Australian seafood. The brunch menu includes sardines on toast, sea-urchin crumpets and Australian oysters.The wine list is Australian-only, and coffee is from Artificer.
Updated on 8 June.