Take the stairs up and over the Greenwood Bridge into the back of Elizabeth Plaza and you’ll spot a remarkable transformation in the heart of North Sydney.

Gone is the neglected little florist that once took up the back corner of the arcade, replaced by a bright and breezy set of long bi-fold doors opening into a slick and simple little cafe called The Roots. The work of Brett Conway, The Roots opened its doors on Valentine’s Day and is already drawing an excited following with a truly excellent coffee selection from Single Origin – not to mention the siphons and pour-over options, a gleaming Hydra Synesso machine on the cinder block counter and detailed information about the origins of each coffee.

“There was nothing else really in North Sydney,” says Conway, best known for appearing behind the coffee machine at Bronte’s Three Blue Ducks. “I was looking for more of that Monday to Friday feel.”

It took four months for the renovation, with Conway project managing his own ideas and designs for the space, from the clean white tiles and open kitchen workspace to the concrete countertop and simple glass case display of sandwiches. Everything possible is made in-house, right down to the currant jam on the roast pork sangas (which goes so very well with the crisp crackling), and coffee offerings are set to change regularly.

“I really want the focus to be on the coffee,” says Conway, pointing out that they’re offering four single origins in the siphon and pour-overs at any given time, and that the first Thursday of the month promises public cupping sessions at 5pm. This is one little cafe that will send its roots deep.

The Roots
Shop 7/2 Elizabeth Plaza, 83 Mount Street, North Sydney (Under the Greenwood Bridge).

Mon to Fri 7am–4pm