Twelve days in Sydney (Part 1): Brunch & cafe

I wanted an adventure, and I wanted something different. Not those dressed-up-to-the-nines fancy dinners in the best restaurants – those are not really my type. There are other factors that will make a great meal, and I was determined to have a memorable time there.

In the twelve days that I was in Australia, you’d not believe the amount of food that went into my stomach; I refused to stand on the weighing scale now – I probably gained an additional five kilos, everyday it was food, more food, and even more food. Besides stuffing myself full with everything that I can grab, and enjoying the magnificent scenaries there, I got to talk with  a lot of backpackers while staying in hostels, and also met up with the amazing Sydney food bloggers – they are definitely the highlights of my trip.

Sydneysiders love Bills, and I love the Sydneysiders for the way they enjoy their breakfast. Bills is a cafe opened by the famous chef Bill Granger, the concept is easy – serve the most gorgeous scrambled eggs and tasty ricotta pancakes in a simple cafe, and voila, you get all the people coming in for breakfast.

‘You have to try the eggs while you are in Australia’, gushed one of my friend a while ago when I told her I’m going to Sydney. Sydneysiders really love their breakfast, on a normal weekday there’s so many places serving brunch. Because of the differences in culture, you can hardly find much places in Singapore that do that but here, you’d thought that the people do not need to work and it seems like they do not have to work when I saw so many of them slowly enjoying a laid-back & causal breakfast at 10am where most people are supposed to be in the office, working.

There was however, no Eggs Benedict at Bills, so I had their popular Scrambled eggs on sour dough ($16) – and it was good! The one sprig of leave in the middle somehow seemed to make the eggs glowed with radiance, and there’s the just-right consistency in the texture and taste of the eggs. The butter slides off the toasted golden-brown sour dough easily, and the scrambled eggs just goes so well with the toast. The portion would probably deceive your mind that you need to order something else as add-ons, but by the time I was done, my stomach was so full that I couldn’t possibly eat anything else, well, maybe except for the delicious-looking ricotta pancakes that everybody is craving about.

‘Come to Sydney for fine restaurants and go to Melbourne to experience the cafe culture.’ I’m not entirely sure on that statement, since there’s dozens of wonderful cafes just in the surry hill/balmain area. One of them is Cafe Nookie at Cleveland street. Technically speaking it is not a cafe since there’s no seats for dining in, customers take away the self-brew coffee from the good hands of owner Ben. Cafe Nookie is more like a coffee-in-the-hole kind of place, and it’s definitely the smallest cafe in Sydney, pretty cool eh?

I walk through the streets of Surry Hills and my heart fluttered with a sort of feeling that I couldn’t quite describe – I’m so in love with this place. There’s plenty of trendy fashionable boutiques, and chic cafes just around every corner. The whole place is so quaint and dainty that it doesn’t seem to be in the city area.

Cafe Ish is exactly like how I will like a cafe to be, white walls with sunlight coming through the windows, serving nice coffee and comfort food. Howard & Teresa brought me here for lunch, and we took some time glancing through the menu before deciding to order Eggs Benedict, Emu damper, & Soft shell crab omelette.

I think the reason why we can embrace cafes freely rather than fine dining restaurants is because deep down inside everyone of us, most people have a dream to open a cafe, someday. A small-ish, causal chic cafe which serves comfort food, a place where people return and chill out all day, a place almost like their own home. It is not difficult to see why Cafe Giulia is immensely popular with the locals, they serve a wide array of food that includes eggs, salad, pasta, sandwich, burgers; comfort food with a reasonable price range. Coffee is another hallmark of a good cafe. Here, they keep it simple to mocha, and ice coffee, with an impressive selection of fresh fruit juices.

This is the first part of my Twelve days in Sydney series, to be continued . . .

Bills
359 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9360 4762

Cafe Giulia
92 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9698 4424
Tuesday to Friday 6.30am – 4.00pm
Saturday and Sunday 8.00am – 3.00pm

Cafe Ish
83 Campbell Street
Surry Hills

Cafe Nookie
268B Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
Tel: 04 0135 6072
Monday – Friday: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

34 COMMENTS

Yay I can finally be the first to comment on my fave food blog :)

Eh why you get to take photos in Bills? I thought they have a no photog rule? Or is it bec you can make their food look so good that more people will go crowd into the already super crowed bills?

Oh wow. Didn’t know about cafe Nookie at all. It’s interesting when you learn something about your area from an International visitor :)

Glad to liked Bills but you certainly missed out with the ricotta cakes. Next time :)

Can’t wait for your perspective with the other posts!

I like the international fare from the blog! I spend a lot of time in Sydney for work… so I’m sure I will hit up some of these places sometime next year.

Any other future international additions planned? Maybe Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila – my other frequent destinations :)

i can’t wait for your other updates! ( :
this post makes me miss my days at Melbourne. I want to go Sydney too. ( :

So interesting to see a visitor’s perspective and introduction on Sydney food places..Bill’s is quite an institution but i went 2x and never really liked the pancakes..call me weird but i thought it was unappetising and like everything else at Bill’s highly overpriced..but that’s just me:) Also, one little note, we call Sydney residents, Sydneysiders, and not Sydneyers:-)

I love sydney and the food places in sydney – I used to study in sydney. cant wait for more reviews to appear on your blog.

By any chance, did you go to the chat thai and the fish market?

I think that there’re too many GOOD food places in sydney.

wow. wow wow wow. this makes me wish that i had spent my entire holiday in sydney instead of jetting around aussie & nz.

glad you had fun! don’t worry about the weight, you’re skinny (well, the last time i saw you, you were)! haha.

Was great to meet up with you again. You are right about the cafes, everyone wants to open up one. Plus the cafe culture here in Sydney is big, we all love a good coffee and quick hearty meal while just chatting with good friends or reading the paper in the Sun!

Ah, glad to see you made it home safe and sound. It was an absolute pleasure meeting you and hope you had a good taste of Sydney!

Can’t wait to read more and see more photos!

Hi Brad! This is SO GREAT! I may be spending a little bit of time in Sydney next year so these recommendations are definitely going to come in handy =) Thanks, and keep ‘em coming…

oh wow. aussie! i do miss sydney :D looks like u’re having a blast eating great food. Brad u simply take amazing food pics. i come here everytime i need a pick me up or a break from work – wonderful! x

Puff: I heard about their no-photography rule too, so i quickly snapped a few photos and tucked in. hee

Simon: well you always learn something new everyday! there’s so many photos to edit man

The Merry Traveller: How can you bear to come to my blog just three times a day? Stop resisting and succumb to temptation! come, take my hands and join me on the dark side, you know you are hungry

LFB: HAHA in tat case u need to stop over in Singapore when u are flying back

Mike: KL is easy enough, i will love to go manila too, heard a lot of good things. For now, i hope to go Vietnam next year!

Shayna: Too bad i din have the chance to go Mel, next time!

chinesechic: yeah bills is kind of pricey, i’m sure there are other places that serve cheaper, and as good breakfast, but bills is bills, so i couldn’t resist not going when I was in Sydney : )

Stef: OH yes I did, both chat thai and the fish market, they will appear in the later post

Simon: What are you waiting for? it’s in your city! haha

wentong: I gained a lot of weight (even though i din measure it, i know)! haha you had fun flying to so many cities too, so there’s pros and cons

Howard: I think that theory applies not just in Sydney, but any parts of the world, here in Singapore there’s so many ppl who dreams of opening a cafe too. See u in Singapore soon!

Karen: The pleasure is all mine too, i certainly did, and it’s a lot more than just a little taste of sydney

Clare: Wow when are u flying over? you have to get prepared and go there with an empty stomach, there’s jus so much to eat there

Diva: Are u back in Singapore already? oh wow, it’s a comfort to me to know that my pictures can give u a pick-you-up : )

Hmmm your reply flashed up a song in my mind instantaneously …

“Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling
Do you feel my tummy growling, do you understand?
Do you feel the same, am I only dreaming?
Is he hungry, lady iron chef?”
(to be sung in tune with ‘Eternal Flame’ by The Bangles)

I know! Random right?!

if only i could do what you do, and get paid. that’d be heaven.

btw, thanks, you have re-ignited my love for eggs :) can’t wait for the other posts to be ready!!

The Merry Traveller: it’s been a while since someone last play words with me:
Come here my sweetheart, here, hold my hands.
Shall we feast? Yes we will, yes we will.
We eat, and eat, and eat.
Is there anything more in this world? : )

jacelyn: but i don’t drink coffee! pity right

keropokman: I did! thanks for the guide book

emily: oh no, i don’t get paid, at least not enough to cover my meals.

danghl: wow i din know i’m so influential. so when are you going? :p

Beautiful shots – Charming cafes are evergreen, all over the world. One can eat light, a full meal, or even watch the world goes by sipping on a cup of coffee.

gorgeous food pics! ah, another good reason to head to Sydney other than Bondi beach. did u go? so you brought your 60mm along for the ride? was the weight manageable? haha..

j2kfm: thank you! oh yes they are, everybody love cafes don’t we? i like the part about watching the world goes by, and i bet it’s especially true when u are a cafe in Paris

Sarah: thanks! nope i din go to Bondi beach cos i went to the one at Central coast, not really a beach person so yeah. 60mm is pretty heavy, but how can you not bring it along?

Amazing photography as always :) Yeah, Bill’s is a place I’ve yet to try but many birdies have told me the scrumptious meals that they serve. Having grown up in Australia, I love my breakfast too so I’m saddened to hear that when I make my trip to Singapore next year there won’t be any! :(

Like Simon said, it’s amazing what you learn from international visitors – I haven’t heard of this Nookie Cafe so I must go have a look! I await your other Sydney posts! :D

i simply adore cafe ish and bills! their eggs are heavenly and fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth kind! love to come here during the weekend!

AY: you haven go to bills? how can? no no, Singapore has brunch too, but most places serve it on weekends, only a few have it during weekdays. Prive, riders, epicurious are some of my fav place for breakfast.

Helena: oh yes, the eggs are real good : )

I went back for the soft shell crab eggs benedict the week after. so yummy. Might go again this week!

Hit us up again next time you’re in Sydney!

brad! why need email add?! anyway their eggs are really a healthy bright yellow colour! no burnt-yellowish colourr

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