Throughout its long Kirribilli life, Cool Mac has witnessed a lot of transformation. It started as a sandwich-slinging deli, switched its focus to coffee, then finally settled in as a Japanese-inspired cafe.

The cafe’s history is evident in its menu, which includes cheese melts, Campos coffee and Japanese rice soup. The Japanese portion comes from Jun Okamatsu, a sushi chef who left Atarmon’s Sushi-ya under the promise of being able to make whatever he fancied. That happens to be ochazuke, a light congee-like soup of green tea and rice with soft chicken breasts and nori.

He also makes eggplant benedict, with roasted eggplant and crisp pancetta topped by onsen eggs and miso hollandaise. Okamatsu’s sushi training comes out in a delicate crusted salmon, and salmon tartare with house-made tarragon oil.

The most popular dish is from the pre-Okamatsu period. The “special” is a bacon-and-egg roll with cheese, sriracha and aioli. Confusingly, the cafe also runs a few daily specials, which have ranged from sandwiches with sous-vide chicken; onsen eggs; and miso-bolognaise rolls, to katsu plates and Hainanese chicken rice.

Inside, the alley-wide cafe doubles up as an art gallery with a rotation of Sydney-based artists. Pieces change monthly, or after being sold. Ask Cool Mac’s owner, Eugene Leung, for a price if you want to make a purchase.

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Updated: July 27th, 2023

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