For Sydneysiders, brunch is a social institution. While those in the café trade rarely get to take mornings off, they have a knack for knowing the best spots to grab a sunrise snack or enjoy a leisurely breakfast spread. One café owner speaks to Culture Trip about her favourite brunch spots in Sydney.
Diana Chirilas first came to Sydney from her native Stockholm as a backpacker in 2006 and was quickly swept up in the city’s lively food scene. After starting her career in design, she opened Fika Swedish Kitchen – a slice of Stockholm in Manly – with two fellow Swedes in 2013. On how getting into the brunch business has changed her perspective, she says, “Before, I loved trying out the latest and greatest. After opening Fika, though I’m still a foodie, I have a new-found respect for how tough this industry really is whenever I visit a café or restaurant.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Here are Chirilas’s top tips for the best breakfasts Sydney has to offer.
Spilling out into a Potts Point sidestreet is Room 10, a hole-in-the-wall café that serves up big flavours and the best coffee in the area. Room 10 is “tiny but seriously packs a lot of punch. Its menu blows me away every time, and watching everyone work makes me think of a symphony,” says Chirilas. Here, it’s all about elevated breakfast options, such as the breakfast rice with red rice, quinoa, seeds and stewed rhubarb. Other highlights include ocean trout-topped eggs, savoury wraps and hearty salads.
Tucked away in Manly’s revitalised Rialto Lane, Rollers Bakehouse is an on-trend brunch spot a few steps from the bustling Corso. The signature item here is its “next level” twice-baked croissants with tasty toppings and delectable fillings. The coffee is worth queueing up for and comes from Okay Coffee, a roastery project set up by the owners. Decked out in polished concrete and pastel hues, Rollers is a relaxed spot to refuel before heading to the beach. Don’t forget your phone either – “the fit-out is probably the most Instagram-friendly, ever,” says Chirilas.
“There’s literally nothing like it. It’s the first Swedish eatery in Sydney, and it’s packed with brunch options on its all-day menu. Yep, you can have meatballs at 7am (and people do),” says Chirilas. Next to the Manly Library, the café is brimming with Scandinavian touches, with the floor pattern referencing a popular meeting place in Stockholm and the bathroom styled as a Swedish outhouse. Swedish brewed coffee with free refills called påtår is served alongside Aussie espresso classics – and look out for Fika’s Name Days, a Swedish tradition where the name of the day gets a free coffee.
This Marrickville gem is a from-scratch café and bakery with a focus on organic produce. Chirilas says, “You can’t go past this one – the fact that it serves everything on Mud plates and bowls gets me every time.” The menu is Mediterranean-inspired with peperonata breakfast bruschetta and meze plates, along with healthy alternatives to a standard weekend fry-up. The beverage selection is thoughtfully crafted, with coffee sourced from nearby Microlot Coffee Roasters and house-made sticky chai, a raw honey-soaked spiced chai tea.
This neighbourhood spot nestled in a Balgowlah backstreet is a magnet for residents from the Northern Beaches area. Sun-drenched timber floors and furnishings make the space “such a sweet little corner of the world with the friendliest staff”, according to Chirilas. The menu includes imaginative takes on comforting breakfast staples, such as banana toast, avocado smash and a selection of toasties topped with unexpected gin or tequila relishes. The community feel of the place filters down to the suppliers, with bread and baked goods from nearby Berkelo in Brookvale. Chirilas’s tip? Give the nacho bowl a try.
One Another is a “small but sweet place” on a leafy corner in Newtown. This café is all about local charm, having established itself as a neighbourhood hang-out and “great healthy brunch option”. The simple, stripped-back brunch menu only has 10 items and no dishes over 20 Australian dollars (£10.70), including nostalgic orders like ‘choccy’ malted milkshakes made with house-made syrups. Food options range from no-nonsense bacon and egg rolls to wholesome smoked salmon salads. It’s a sure-fire winner for breakfast that delivers on budget and taste.
For a light breakfast option north of the Spit Bridge, head to Staple Bread and Necessities. For Chirilas, “It’s perfect if you’re pressed for time organising a brunch at home – just pop down and get all the freshly baked goods you need.” The sourdough here is award-winning, and the pastries are the perfect complement to your morning brew. The baker behind Staple is one of Sydney’s new wave set, pioneering a return to traditional baking with long fermentations and heritage grains. Stop by Seaforth and try one of Staple’s famed Balgowlah buns for yourself.
A new addition to the Surry Hills food scene, Shwarmama is, according to Chirilas, “the perfect hangover brunch place. No sitting down – just go in, get the tastiest wrap in the world and get out!” The menu is pared back, focussing on a few classic options done right, including the sabich (a breakfast sandwich with fried eggplant and boiled egg), succulent lamb or chicken shawarma (depending on the day) or herby falafel pita. To drink, get your caffeine fix from Shwarmama’s revamped instant coffee machine. With minimal seating available, it’s the perfect grab-and-go feed before wandering up to Crown Street’s shopping strip.
Perched along Balmoral’s glistening Esplanade, Kazzi Beach Greek is a casual eatery that has “probably the best and most understated Greek food in Sydney”, says Chirilas. Sample Mediterranean breakfast options such as a poached pear with traditional Greek yoghurt, or savoury zucchini and feta fritters. Daytime diners can opt for slow-roasted meats from the spit, generous sharing plates or even souvlaki wrap picnics to take to the beach. Chirilas’s “personal favourite is to go there with a few friends and get the platter for two to share”.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.