When the well-loved owner of Jackie’s Cafe, Jackie Milijash, passed away in 2016, long time customers were devastated. For years they had visited Milijash’s Paddington institution for al fresco brunches, great coffee and dishes with a Japanese influence, and it was now unclear what would happen to the venue.
New owners Jono and Lucy Bowman kept this front-of-mind when they took over the venue. They purchased the business from the late Milijash’s mother, Gina, promising to stay true to the original.
“Jackie was Sydney’s cafe queen,” says Jono. “She created an extremely special cafe in Paddington, building close relationships with her customers. She was well known and well loved for her kindness and generosity.”
The space itself remains largely untouched; diners will still vie for space in the sunny courtyard in the mornings (or at the more industrial sushi bar later on). The majority of the menu will also remain the same, but head chef Josh Booker (The Boathouse, Establishment Bar, Ivy, Slip Inn) has added a few seasonal additions.
The chicken baguette now features free-range chicken on Sonoma sourdough with a lighter dressing. The Salmon tataki salad has been renamed the 'Jackies' salad – a seared chilli-spiked Tasmanian salmon served with foraged upland watercress, carrot and pickled ginger dressed with a light soy sesame dressing and dried shiso leaves. The dish is then topped with wasabi mayonnaise and chives (chicken is also available).
For breakfast, Jackie's parmesan scrambled eggs are still on the menu, alongside a green vegetable bowl (kale, parsley, mint, avocado and sesame seeds with a poached egg; or coconut and cacao granola).
“I just let the ingredients speak for themselves,” says Booker. “My philosophy is that the farmers and the producers are the true heroes, I am just the match maker.”
Sushi chefs Tatsuo Ito and Masayuki Takegawa remain on board after 10 years with the business, serving up fresh sushi and sashimi at the sushi bar. They receive a text at 4am every morning informing them of the best seafood available that day.
To drink, there’s juice courtesy of Simon Says, classic cocktails, and coffee thanks to Jono Bowman’s experience running Urban Baristas in London.
The wine list was designed by Lucy Bowman, who has worked for Moët Hennessy in the past. It features just 10 wines, all available by the glass or bottle.
1C Glenmore Rd, Paddington
(02) 9380 9818