Following Melbourne’s stunning success in turning itself around from economic ruin 25 years ago into one of the world’s most vibrant cities, largely off the back of its vibrant street culture – including a strong coffee and foodie scene; Sydney has now caught on to the fact it needs to up its game when it comes to attractions that go beyond its famous beaches, harbour and landmarks. While it’s taken some time, Sydney can now claim its own fair share of world class cafes, including these ‘hidden’ gems scattered around its central neighbourhoods, as uncovered by True Local:
1631 Botany Road, Banksmeadow NSW
Located on a suburban shopping strip in the quiet southern Sydney suburb of Banksmeadow, not far from the city’s busy international airport is De Luca Coffee – a popular neighbourhood café that also doubles as a specialty coffee brewing business of the same name. With head chef Rhiannon Coombs creating a menu that reflects the seasons of the year, De Luca gives its loyal locals a chilled spot to hang out or catch up for a social drink amidst its giant map of the world (covering an entire wall) and its stylish interior combo of polished concrete flooring set against Scandi-style communal tables. As for the food itself, there’s All Day Brekkie Granola for $8, Deluca Bowl with Pita for $12 and De luca’s very own specialty roasts starting from $3.50.
“Granola was $8 per jar so I asked to combine two jars in one bowl which they happily accommodated. The granola mix was the definition of perfection! Lots of nuts throughout the mix as well as seeds, oats, fruits, etc. The yoghurt used was rich and thick. I was full for hours. Order and pay at the counter. Service was quick and the staff are friendly” – Bircher Queen
281 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW
An intimate café with a hole-in-the-wall window that opens out to Sydney’s Clarence Street, just off busy Druitt Street, Kink Handmade Espresso has placed the city’s CBD firmly on the radars of those seeking a decent brew and a quiet space to sit back and recharge. The interior itself is dominated by earthy wood, clean white walls and a handful of coffee making contraptions that add a welcome European flavor to this venue. Menu items include Avo & Tomato on Toast for just $6.50, Roasted Feta & Pesto on Toast for $7.50 and Lightly Toasted Chorizo Sandwiches $8.50. Meanwhile Coffee options include Take Away Coffee for $3.50 and Cold Drip on Ice for $4.
“I highly recommend this place if you are looking for a great daily coffee in the area. I love their milk blend (Golden Cobra), has nice body and flavours in. I feel really happy when I face so much lovely staffs there too 🙂 Love this place” – Henry
Shop 7, 2 Elizabeth Plaza, North Sydney NSW
‘Hidden’ in a quiet corner of Elizabeth Plaza in Sydney’s second CBD of North Sydney, The Roots is the baby of Brett Conway, a barista turned business owner who takes his coffee very seriously. With a gleaming Hydra Synesso coffee machine taking pride of place on its stark stone bench, alongside fancy siphons and pour over contraptions, The Roots specialises in single origin coffees and delicious brunches – including Biodyanamic Poached Eggs on Sourdough ($12.50), 12 Hour Brisket Roll Beetroot Slaw Pickles with Shoestring Fires ($19) and Health Bowl Salads with Za’atar Chicken ($20.50).
“Service was quick and the lunch special (braised brisket done Mexican style with charred corn, salad and tortilla chips) was flavoursome. Lovely quiet location to escape the bustle of Walker St” – Samantha_s
315 Clovelly Road, Clovelly NSW
Close to glamorous Clovelly Beach in the eastern Sydney suburb of the same name lies TopHat Coffee Merchants, a cosy neighbourhood café that welcomes its customers with a bright yet intimate interior featuring white washed walls and deep wooden floorboards. Having first tasted success with Swallow Coffee Traders, Tophat’s owners Jess Hol and Angus Nicol have brought a strong focus on house-blend, single origin and multiple filter coffee to the latest venture of theirs. Prices start from $4.50 for Cold Drip coffee, whilst bites on their menu include Smashed Avo ($12), Smoked Salmon Salad ($13) to colourful Acai Bowls ($15).
“This place’s coffee is the real deal! I’ve tried both hot and iced blacks and both are splendid. Unfortunately I can’t yet give a good opinion, but will definitely be there soon!” – Suzy of Sydney
Greenwood Plaza, 101 Miller Street, North Sydney NSW
Tucked in a quiet spot within North Sydney’s busy Greenwood Plaza, Underground Espresso serves up specialty coffee with beans from local Sydney roaster Di Lorenzo in a small space marked by stark concrete walls, softened by the red and white colour scheme of their cups and packaging. Popular items on their menu include Latte, Mocha’s, Long Blacks and Chocolates for $5, Piccolo Coffee (for bubs and littles ones) for $3.50 and Affogato’s for $4 (regular serving size).
“Love this tiny place, it’s so cool, you have to remind yourself you’re not in Rome! Everything is top notch -most importantly, the coffee brew, it is superb. The loyal following of caffeine addicts speaks volumes. Worth it for sure” – MustangSally