After 25 years working behind the scenes in the hospitality industry in financial advisory roles and a lifetime of travelling the world for good food and coffee, Roupinah Simonian jumped at the opportunity to open a café of her own with friend, experienced restaurateur Lisa Dolores.Read more
Located in Botany Bay with a waterside view, Son of a Baker’s Co-owners watch the sunrise every day as they craft delicious handmade pastries.
Marcus Gorge, former Owner of Local MBassy in Ultimo and Chimichurri in Chatswood, partnered with an actual baker’s son, Roman Urosevski, to launch Son of a Baker earlier this year.
“People are constantly looking to try something new,” Marcus says. “I like to use ingredients everyone is familiar with but with a twist of my own.” Read more
Opening day of Ona Coffee Marrickville was a celebration of the Canberra-based roaster’s foray into the Sydney market, or any market outside of the Australian Capital Territory for that matter.
The doors to the newly developed space were wide open and guests flooding through the door were a combination of the industry’s top influences, baristas, roasters, locals who had heard about ‘the new kid on the block’, and some four-legged friends bathing in the morning sun while eyeing off a tray of donuts on the bench. Read more
Opened in June 2016, Little Giant Roasters is owned and run by husband and wife duo, Michael and Vivian Chen.
Previously, they had owned a café in Melbourne for five years and spent time living in Hobart. Ready for a new challenge, they made the decision to move to Sydney and came across their next business venture, taking over Little Giant Roasters in December 2017. Read more
Lobby cafés can have a reputation for being basement fillers, but not Batch 383 – it’s the foundation to adjoining businesses and the one retreat customers can rely on for a quality coffee and an escape among the concrete jungle.
Co-owners Jayden Rommeni and Mouhamad “Mo” Elbadar joined forces in October 2017 to create the office retreat and give office workers a reason to come down the elevators and take a seat at their ground-floor café.
“Generally, everyone in the building goes across the road to get a coffee, and everyone across the road comes to us. Most people want to get out of their building for a break, but we’re trying to keep them in,” Mo says.
Mo is no stranger to hospitality. For years he worked as a fruit and vegetable supplier and Jayden spent the past six years helping set up 54 Soul Origin stores in New South Wales.
Their focus now is on producing a memorable café experience for their customers. To create a point of difference, the pair have done a great job pumping out consistent coffee, and presenting Instagram-worthy food at a great price point. After all, Mo says, “everyone eats with their eyes”.
“Who we are is how we stand out,” he says. “We give extra service and form relationships with our regular customers. We have their coffee ready before they come to the counter.”
The menu is a twist on cultures – Middle Eastern and Australian influences thanks to Jayden and Mo’s heritages. An on-site baker fills the café with the fresh aroma of homemade gluten-free sourdough, while an all-day breakfast means breakfast bagels are a favourite all day long. Come lunch time and salads are a crowd favourite. Try the duck salad, crispy chicken salad, or an eye fillet steak sandwich.
Coffee is the café’s biggest seller. It serves Campos Coffee’s Superior blend and runs a rotating list of single origins on the shop’s two Sp9 Marco filters built into the counter top. Memorable favourites include beans from Peru and Tanzania, Campos’ Blade Runner Blend, and the 2017 Burundi Cup of Excellence winner.
“We’ve put a lot of attention into our coffee range because this part of town was lacking in a good coffee experience,” Mo says. “The response we’ve had has been incredible. We have customers lining up at the door before we’re even open.”
Mo says the previous café owner sold between 50 to 55 kilograms of coffee a week, and since taking over the site, Batch 383 has upped the volume to 80 kilograms per week.
“Where the café was to where it is now is a total 360-degree change,” Mo says.
“Campos has been there every step of the way. They talked us through the initial start-up process and helped us with our machines (two La Marzocco three groups, an FB0 two group, Mahlkonig EK grinder). They’ve just been amazing. We have a great relationship,” Jayden says.
Each shot is weighed and customers are encouraged to try new things, such as coffee of the month, a different single origin or a retail bag to try at home. If that’s not enticing, Batch 383’s word of the week is: coffeegasm (noun) – that little rush you feel after that first sip of good strong coffee.
To try that rush, Batch 383 is ready and waiting with open arms.
383 Kent St, Sydney,
New South Wales, 2000
Open Monday to Friday 6am to 4.30pm
(02) 9262 1717
333 George St, Sydney,
New South Wales, 2000
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm
If anyone puts a challenge to Zach Hiotis, be prepared for him to tackle it head-on and succeed. Read more
On the corner of The Corso, a pedestrian thoroughfare lined with surf shops, bars, and ice-creameries in Sydney’s Manly, is Bacino Bar. The little hole-in-the-wall café or “little Italy,” as its owners Marcelo Vieira and Lido Russo call it, is a popular drop in for both beach-dwellers and those on their way to work.
If there’s one thing you do upon a visit to The Lion and the Buffalo – besides indulge in the food and coffee menu – it’s stare at the huge mural of a woman holding a rabbit, painted by world-famous street artist Fintan Magee.
“We were so lucky he came into our little café to paint this incredible mural. He gets flown all over the world to paint. After ours he was going to Dunedin, New Zealand to paint a seven-storey building,” Owner Anna Allison says.
As for the inspiration behind the rabbits, Anna says it’s all to do with her love for Alice in Wonderland.
“In the film the rabbit watched the clock all the time, wondering if he was going to be late. It’s a metaphor for how we want our customers to enjoy the space. If you worry about the little things you’ll miss out on life itself. We want people to come enjoy themselves here, sit, and relax,” she says.
To help them do that, an extensive menu is served for breakfast and lunch.
“We hold a strong focus on quality of ingredients, which is evident in the beautiful Ora King salmon on the menu, mayura station full blood wagyu steak sandwich, and bacon and egg roll with a house-made espresso BBQ sauce,” Anna says. “We don’t want to follow trends so we’ve taken our contemporary approach to the food we serve, and our customers love it. It’s all about creating an experience on the plate.”
A La Marzocco GB 5 pumps out Single O’s Killer Bee blend, which Anna says is great for milk-based coffees but extremely popular in blacks. It’s a sweet blend with flavours of dark honey, toffee, and tropical fruit sweetness, with mild acidity, creamy texture, and a long milk chocolate finish.
“Customers really know our coffee. We spoil our customers with our quality and if it’s ever not up to scratch they’ll tell us out of courtesy,” Anna says. “People comment all the time we’re a Melbourne-quality café in Coogee. We take it as a compliment.”
Located in South Coogee, Anna says there’s a real community vibe in the residential area. Everybody knows each other’s name, neighbours who have lived in the area for 20 years without talking now unite frequently at the café, and elderly citizens use the facility as a place to catch up with loved ones. A 90-year-old woman across the road won’t leave the house except to walk over to the café.
“We love our strong sense of community. Customers are part of our community and we’re proud to operate a place for them to interact,” Anna says. “We have a strong connection with our customers. I came from Poland 12 years ago not speaking a word of English. I’ve worked in pubs and hospitality jobs, but always had a dream of opening my own café. Now I have.”
As for the café name, the big boss – that’s Anna – is the Lion, and Dean is the Buffalo. To begin, Anna says people thought the venue was a Brazilian BBQ place or an old English pub.
“We’re a dedicated coffee house and extremely passionate,” she says. “Come and say hi.”
There are three things busy city workers want from their daily coffee, according to Margot Espresso Director Marius Beullens – speed, consistency, and a delicious coffee.
“It’s surprisingly how many city cafés don’t accommodate these basic needs, but it’s what we do really well,” Marius says. “City customers are time poor. They don’t want to wait 10 minutes for a coffee. They only want to wait two to three.”
Located in the lobby of a Sydney high rise building in the city’s financial district, Marius runs Margot Espresso, and a separate coffee cart out the front of building called Margot Cartel, to cater for strong takeaway demand.
At Margot Espresso, Marius serves Piazza D’Oro Forza, a dark-roasted blend with notes of praline and dark chocolate, hints of citrus acidity and backgrounds of spice. “You definitely don’t need to serve a double shot with this blend; it’s strong enough,” Marius says.
Two Seasons Origins Blend is used for Margot Cartel, a lighter-roasted coffee with milder tones. “When selecting the right coffee to use I knew I had a good relationship with Piazza D’Oro and a good knowledge of their product. I knew I needed a coffee that could be delicious and made consistently well,” Marius says.
A three-group La Marzocco Linea Classic is responsible for the high volume of coffees Marius and his team serve each day. He’s also had a lot of practice. Marius was crowned Piazza D’Oro’s Barista of the Year in 2014. While the prizes were generous and the experience special, Marius says he’s happy to sideline his competition days and focus on using his skills to serve top-notch coffee daily.
After Marius took over the lobby café, he transformed the venue from top to bottom, changing suppliers and redecorating the interior to abolish the “white hospital space” and create an inviting and warm environment for customer to hold meetings, relax, and escape work – even for a little while.
“Now we’re going from strength to strength. Last year BeanHunter recognised us in the top 100 list of Sydney cafés, and we’ll keep striving for the best,” Marius says.
Margot Espresso offers a menu with vegetarian, gluten-free, and sugar-free options. With three trays of avocado used each week, it’s no wonder the Smashed Avo is a firm favourite, followed by the Salt Water Tessy paleo caramel slice for something a bit more indulgent.
Most people come to Phoodle for its coffee and diverse Vietnamese cuisine. But since its opening in late June, Owner Allan Thai has learnt that’s not only the reason people walk through the door. “The other day a customer told me he came in because he saw our array of coffee equipment,” Allan says. “I thought that was pretty cool.
Allan has all the necessary gadgets for a dedicated espresso bar with two Mythos grinders and a Mahlkonig EK43 sitting on the bench. Phoodle is the new kid on the block in Kingsford. Located next to the University of New South Wales, students may have been on mid-semester break when Phoodle opened in late June, but Allan wasn’t worried.
“We’re ready to go. I can’t wait for the students to return and discover this welcome surprise to the street,” he says. “We’re offering something really different to the area – lots of exotic Vietnamese food, delicious coffee, and a look and feel that’s different to anything else on the street. We serve our signature beef soup Pho, but we also want to show customers Vietnamese food is more than just soup, so we’ve got Vietnamese tapas on the menu.”
Inside, Allan has let his former construction skills shine, and used his interior designer flair to create a warm and cosy feel with unique lights, wooden furnishings, a pergola, and pot plants hang from the ceiling. “I wanted to achieve an outdoors look, but inside,” Allan says. “Actually, it’s better than I expected.”
What is expected however, is quality coffee, thanks to Zest Specialty Coffee Roasters. “The Zest team has been great in training our baristas and raising the consistency of our product,” Allan says. “They helped build our coffee reputation.”
Allan and his baristas serve Zest’s Libertango blend through its three-group Synesso machine, for something “a little sweeter” to suit its largely Asian demographic. The Corcavado blend is served at Phoodle’s other venue in St Leonards, for customers who like “a bit of strength in their cup”.
For filter roasts, Allan says the Suke Quto microlot from Ethiopia has been great for drip coffee, cold press and pour over, but the options rotate frequently.
With no hospitality experience, Allan started the first Phoodle concept store two and a half years ago in St Leonards. Now, with a little help from his grandmother, the new Kingsford location is off to a great start.
“Without my grandma the quality of our food wouldn’t be what it is today. She’s passed down Vietnamese recipes that are 30 to 40 years old, and guided us from the very beginning,” Allan says. “To think we started Phoodle as a little café selling bowls of soup – we’ve come a long way.”