Top 10 Cafes in Sydney to Experience Food with a Twist
If Sydney has one thing to boast about other than its sightseeing and adventure offerings, it’s that it sure knows how to dine – with a twist. Much to the delight of foodies out there, there’s always a new café or restaurant swinging open its doors in Sydney, each with its own unique take on common dishes to stand out from the crowd.
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1. Devon Cafe
Devon Café, known for serving tongue-in cheek comfort food take on café staples, has become a favorite with locals. Though the café differs slightly from branches, this foodscape never fails to serve up a delightful assortment of Asian-fusion mains and seasonal desserts – most famous for its Japanese-inspired Breakfast with the Sakumas, a dish made up of a miso king salmon sprinkled with a smoked eel croquette and mayonnaise. For those with a permanent sweet tooth, you can opt for the DD Special’, a matcha and hojicha soft serve topped with well-seasoned hot chips. If the hot-cold pairing is too much for your taste buds to take in, there are always other novelty desserts to choose from – a flaky pork floss cronut or a milk tea soft serve topped with black tapioca pearls.
• Devon Café Barangaroo, 19/200 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo, NSW 2000 | Open daily
7am – 4.30pm
• Devon Café, 76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 | Open daily 7am – 3.30pm
2. Manly Wine
Craving mouth-watering and Instagram worthy food? Hit up Manly Wine this Spring with its recent menu additions, poké cones and kombucha cocktails (limited time only). Wrap your hands around the Hawaiian-influenced poke cones filled with a choice of rice and salad and two available protein – salmon and crispy tofu – for a scrumptious snack. Next, wash them down with three thirst-quenching and refreshing kombucha cocktails: Spring Sour, Cherry Pop and the Kombucha Mule. Aside from their specials, hit up other menu items that are worth trying, such as their roasted Spanish mackerel with heirloom beets and goats curd. Don’t forget to stop by for a lazy stroll along Manly beach afterwards – voted one of the top 25 beaches in the world on Trip Advisor.
WHERE: 8/13 S Steyne, Manly, NSW 2095 | Open daily 7am – late
3. Maybe Sammy
Cue the newly opened Maybe Sammy, a classic cocktail bar with its interior screaming 1950s Hollywood and Vegas. Though food is not the focus at Maybe Sammy, outshone by its extensive list of signature cocktails and a selection of spirits, wines and beers, it is certainly not an afterthought. Helmed by Maybe Frank’s chefs, the kitchen whips up bar food offerings that complement perfectly with their drinks, such as a delicate paper-thin blue corn taco with lavender-marinated salmon, avocado, corn and coriander, or a bagel with chunk strips of Wagyu pastrami.
WHERE: 115 Harrington St, The Rocks, NSW 2000 | Open Tuesday to Sunday 4.30pm – 1am
4. Don Taco (Redfern Surf Club)
The owner-chef duo of Sydney’s Bar Ume and Ume Burger will be opening Don Taco inside the innercity bar Redfern Surf Club, known for its laidback beach vibes and canned cocktails. Here, the pair will be unveiling their take on a ‘Japi-Mexi’ taco rice bowl, an Okinawan specialty of koshihikari rice topped with Tex-Mex flavours, catered for both carnivores and veggie-lovers. The chefs hope to roll out more funky assortments on their menu soon, but in the meantime, enjoy food from this holy union between the two cuisines.
WHERE: 60 Botany Rd, Alexandria, NSW 2015 | Open Tuesday to Sunday 4pm – 12am
Yet another ‘Japi-Mexi’ food instalment, Sash focuses on eye-searing technicolor Japanese-style pizzas, tacos and sliders, most known for its “sashizza” – an award-winning sashimi pizza. Built on either squid ink dough or oven baked rice, the toppings consist of raw fish, avocado, mango, strawberry and wasabi mayo. Bite-sized chili mayo prawn sliders and spicy tuna tacos with avocado salsa are available for sharing as well. For the afters, head for their raspberry macaron ice-cream sandwich —a dessert that's as pretty as it is tasty.
WHERE: 82 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 | Open Monday 4.30pm – 11pm, Tuesday to
Thursday 12pm – 11pm, Friday & Saturday 12pm – 12am, Sunday 1pm – 12am
6. Valet by V Lounge
Hopping on to the Butterfly Pea Flower trend is newcomer Valet by V Lounge, serving up their showstopping Beach Balls –
deep-fried sweet potato mochi balls paired with a blue butterfly pea flower custard as the dipping sauce – the embodiment of a summer beach on a plate. To differentiate itself, this playful café is also introducing their liquid nitrogen infused Tiramisu bingsu and their udon topped with salted egg curry sauce that is both delicious and picture-perfect. With that, this modern Pan-Asian cafe is not only bringing Cabramatta a wide array of decadent dishes, but also the new kid on the block for Instagram lovers.
WHERE: 38 Arthur Street, Cabramatta, NSW 2166 | Open daily 9am – 6pm
7. General Chao
Located in Sydney’s suburb of Chatswood, the kitchen of General Chao is not only busy preparing decadent culinary creations such as their Jasmine tea smoked duck dumplings and crispy caramelised pork belly salad, but also focusing on perfecting their in-house XO sauces. Featuring flavours such as black truffles, abalone, dried scallop and shrimp, jamón and gold leaf, the XO sauces are a perfect accompaniment to the dishes. Not forgetting the dessert lovers, indulge in an intriguing Shanghai Banana – a fried banana wrapped in crispy egg noodles served with coffee caramel and stem ginger ice cream, blending the flavours of east and west. For something quirky, knock yourself out with their Thai green curry ice cream. Taking inspiration from street food of pan-Asian countries and preparing it with Western techniques, General Chao is definitely a go-to on days that you would like to tantalise your taste buds.
WHERE: District Dining, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, NSW 2067 | Open Sunday to Wednesday
12pm – 10pm, Thursday to Saturday 12pm – 12am
8. Mark + Vinnys
Just when you think you know all about your pastas, hold that thought because you haven’t visited Mark + Vinny’s. This intimate restaurant has a menu full of surprises that will tantalise your senses – from a neon-blue spirulina tagliatelle made with a nutrient-dense powdered alga topped with blue swimmer crab, bottarga and pangrattato, to a ruby-red beetroot spaghettini paired with truffle and cashew crème faiche and a charcoal-black bucatini finished with a vegan sweet potato “egg yolk”. With a full menu of over 50 spritzes to offer, wash your meal down with a drink, or two. Perfect for the adventurous health-conscious millennials, this gem is the place to be.
WHERE: G08, 38-52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 | Open Monday to Saturday from 6pm,
Fridays for lunch from 12 – 3pm
Over at Speedos, you’re certainly not short of Insta-worthy opportunities, but the one that takes the cake is their Caramelised Banana and Chia Vegan Pancakes – a mouthwatering stack of three fluffy pancakes, topped with poached berries, fig, pistachio crumble and maple syrup. For a lighter but equally yummy option, try their Raspberry, Lime and Ricotta Hotcake, a drool-worthy combination of fig, semolina, strawberry, pistachio ice cream, rose and lime reduction. Taking up residence in Bondi’s trendy north side, Speedos Café is a favourite among locals and those just visiting.
WHERE: 126 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi, NSW 2026 | Open daily 6am – 5pm
10. Cuckoo Callay
Cuckoo Callay has surely established a name for themselves with their very own Mi Goreng chicken thigh burger – packed with maple bacon, house-made kimchi, avocado and coriander aioli on a potato burger bun. That’s definitely one way to do a burger right. This very café is the brainchild of two minds not content with providing a location for die-hard coffee lovers, nor subsidising Sydney’s impressive café eateries – but bringing together the perfection of both. You’ll find the ‘Pimp Mi Goreng’ at both outlets.
• 13-415 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 | Open Monday to Friday 7am – 4pm, Saturday 8am – 4pm, Sunday 8am – 3pm
• BC1 Newtown Train Station, Newtown, NSW 2042 | Open Monday to Friday 6am – 4pm, Saturday 8am – 4pm, Sunday 8am – 3pm
This article is brought to you by Destination New South Wales.