Kendall Lane is the oldest alleyway in the Rocks, and it’s home to one of the historic suburb’s favourite cafes. The Fine Food Store sources its own beans then roasts all its coffee in-house, experimenting with a rotating menu of single-origin brews. You can also look forward to a fresh breakfast, brunch and lunch menu plus a selection of wine and beer, all within a quintessentially Sydney laneway setting.
The corridors of the Museum of Contemporary Art overflow with one of Australia’s top collections of modern masterpieces, but the view from the MCA Cafe is every bit as good. Located on the rooftop of the waterfront Art Deco building, this museum eatery boasts panoramic vistas of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House across Circular Quay — and this winter, the cafe is serving a special Chinese menu in alignment with their exhibition on contemporary Chinese artist Sun Xun.
Roasting beans sourced exclusively from Indonesia at their St Peters cafe since 2011, Aslan opened a second store in the heart of Sydney in June 2018, bringing their passion for South-East Asian coffee into the Rocks. Aslan’s stylish new espresso bar showcases single origin brews from around the Indonesian Archipelago — Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra — alongside an inventive brunch menu plus cupping sessions and workshops for true coffee nerds.
Sure, the Tea Cosy is more of a teahouse than a coffee shop, but this Rocks institution is too good to leave off this list. We’re talking hand-made tea cosies that adorn every loose-leaf pot, delicate old cups and saucers, the family recipe used for the home-made scones, and a 180-year-old heritage-listed building that oozes the character of the neighbourhood.
First opened by a French-trained pâtissier way back in 1974 before moving into its current digs in the Rocks on Bastille Day in 1992, La Ren is a landmark within the Rocks. And the building itself — constructed by an Irish highway robber in 1842, before being converted into a cosy courtyard and coffee shop by the current tenants — is almost as gorgeous as the inventive pastries on display.
Sticking with the French theme, Creperie Suzette is just a one-minute walk around the corner from La Ren, and dishes up an equally delectable taste of Paris in the heart of the Rocks. Found at the Harbour Rocks Hotel on Harrington St, the creperie serves sweet and savoury crepes and galettes with their Double Roasters single origin blend.
Pop across the border into Belgium at Guylian, situated just next door to La Ren. The Belgian chocolate cafe is all about indulgence — desserts, choccies, cakes, truffles, waffles, and any number of other mouth-watering sweets go down a treat with one of Guylian’s signature hot chocolates or one of their fragrant coffees.
Pass the elegant green and gold facade on George St to enter one of the Rocks’ classiest cafes, with a variety of indoor and outdoor dining spaces to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the area. The Rocks Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers an upmarket menu made up of modern Australian and European cuisine, as well as consistent cups of coffee.
This bustling cafe in the Clocktower Shopping Centre in Harrington St is one of best spots in the Rocks for a quick coffee, served Italian-style alongside home-made paninis, pastas, soups, salads and treats. Danieli also stocks their own blends of beans — original, fair trade organic and decaf — sourced by owner Ron Danieli, who comes from a family of Roman roasters.
Located at the gateway to the Rocks and occupying the Old Bushells Tea Factory, Brew combines the old and the new, harnessing the vibe of its historic surrounds but serving up a positively modern coffee experience. The coffee is quick, the food is Greek and Mediterranean inspired, and the venue also hosts events and offers catering services.