Cedric’s owner, Taiyo Shima, is running a bit late for our meeting, so I wait at the bar near the entrance. I order a flat white that’s as good as any I’ve had in Sydney. On the counter there are three perfect-looking croissants and, on the pass, a plate of steak with a side of mash and brussels sprouts. Two diners discuss cocktails they want to order and everyone seems to be talking and laughing.

When Shima arrives, he describes Cedric’s as a coffee bar that’s a little bit cafe, a little bit bar. And if you consider his wide-ranging history in the hospitality industry, this makes sense: He did a stint in the kitchen at Edition; worked front-of-house at Rockpool and Sepia; was a barista at Gumption; and he’s also been behind the bar at Employees Only. At Cedric’s – his ambitious new venue in Regent Place on George Street, which he co-owns with Marco Chan – he’s combining everything he’s learned.

Shima and Phillip Chan’s (ex-Gantry) menu is mostly a mix of French classics and cafe standards, each with a few surprising or simply deluxe Chinese and Japanese-influenced extras. There’s steak glazed with fish sauce and drizzled with chicken jus; avo toast with a bonus layer of steamed spanner crab and chervil; and a high-quality acai bowl – essentially a granola dish with mango-spiked acai sorbet and peanut-butter gelato.

The five-item dessert menu doesn’t fit into any traditional culinary category. Our pick is a caramel popcorn creation with yuzu and yoghurt that balances salty, tart and sweet. You can get it at, say, 9pm on a Friday night with a cocktail (designed by Shima, Andrea Gauldi of Maybe Sammy, and Mr Black ambassador Martin Hudak).

Those perfect croissants are from Flour and Stone, which are among Sydney’s best. Along with the three Coffee Alchemy venues, Cedric’s the only place outside the Woolloomooloo bakery you can get your hands on them – quite the culinary coup. This is representative of the quality of the people and suppliers Shima works with. The mortadella and chorizo comes from LP’s, the bread is sourced from Annandale woodfired bakery Cherry Moon, and the coffee beans are from Stitch, the personal roasting brand of Nawar Adra, co-founder of one of the city’s best coffee roasters, Collective Roasting Solutions). They Stitch beans are used for the milk coffees, and there’s a rotating list of other top Sydney roasters for the black brews.

There’s a lot going on here and a lot of ideas, but thanks to a simple design by Vie Studio, the space straddles the conflicting identities of night and day, bar and cafe. That’s partly due to the interior bar seating, which allows punters to chat while their drinks are being prepped. Emerald tiles offset white walls, globe lighting and timber accents. And there’s cute “outdoor” seating at an exterior bar that juts out into the arcade.

“[Regent] Place is super modern, but if you go back to what it used to look like, it used to be an extravagant theatre. What I wanted to do was something that went back in time,” says Shima.

501 George Street, Regent Place, Sydney
(02) 9286 3383

Mon to Thu 7.30am–7pm
Fri 7.30am–10.30pm
Sat & Sun 9am–10.30pm