Every weekend morning there are waiting lists and agitated queues outside not only Sydney’s best cafes but the city’s everyday locals as well. We’re happy to say 2015 has already raised the bar for both, with game-changing greats and more excellent neighbourhood favourites in the making. Following on from our list of best restaurants of the year, here is the list of the best new cafes of 2015.
We’ve always felt there could be more sandwich experimentation in Sydney. Thankfully the owners of Chat Thai agree. That’s why they opened Boon, the only place you can get intensely spicy, pungent and textural Thai salads stuffed between slices of Brickfields sourdough. It’s best to match your sandwiches at Boon with a bowl of Thai congee or kamut pasta with north-eastern Thai toppings. If you want to take the experimentation home you can find most of the ingredients in the cafe’s attached grocery.
Over the past five years, the Sydney cafe scene has exploded. Unfortunately for all the daily CBD pilgrims, the city centre hasn’t evolved at the same speed. Hopefully Cross Eatery is a sign of more to come. Ex-Mecca man Marcelo Soto has created a beautiful space with beautiful ingredients. The fit-out looks like the all-white Matrix loading room, but sparsely filled with wood-panelled, minimalist furniture. The menu is similarly sleek and elegant with fresh salads, well-crafted sandwiches, kombucha on tap and Brickfields pastries.
Mecca Alexandria Roastworks and Cafe
Mecca has long held a reputation for roasting and serving exceptional coffee. Now that its Alexandria roasting site has reopened as a cafe, you can taste its coffee brewed straight from a fresh roast. It’s not just about coffee, though. The new cafe has an in-house smoker, picklery and butter production line. Everything not produced in house is sourced from Sydney’s top-class providers. When it all comes together you get menu items such as coconut black rice with house-made buttermilk, amaranth, dehydrated fruit, mint, almonds and yoghurt, or beef brisket, smashed kipflers, white-bean puree and sauerkraut.
Kepos & Co.
Kepos & Co. is the offspring of Redfern’s Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-influenced Kepos Street Kitchen. As much as we adore the elegance and richness of flavour at the original site, there’s now an excellent reason to move to Waterloo’s Kepos & Co – the wood-fired oven. The oven is at the centre of the new site’s menu with freshly baked za’tar bread and Middle Eastern-style pizza. We recommend getting both of those with a side of hummus – it’s creamy and textured from being freshly crushed in a mortar and pestle.
Boathouse Shelly Beach
The newest venue from Andrew and Pip Goldsmith of The Boathouse at Palm Beach and The Boatshed at Balmoral opens straight onto the sands of Shelly Beach. The relaxed menu features mod-Aus classics mixed with fresh seafood and the fit-out, like at the group’s other venues, feels as though it was designed by a team of hedonistic, wealthy mariners. When summer hits you’ll be able to walk straight onto the beach with a takeaway single origin cold drip and beer-battered fish and chips from the refurbished Shelly Beach kiosk.