Obey the Rumble Weekend 29 August-1st September
I’ve been insanely busy this past week. So busy that I even had to skip breakfast, my favourite meal, several times. There have been no lingering bowls of porridge, no scrambled eggs, no crusty brioche smeared with ginger marmalade, just a swig of water and if I was lucky, a few frugal bites of an apple as I ran out the door (trying not to choke). Now that’s behind me I’m thoroughly looking forward to starting the day right with an amazing breakfast at some of my favourite spots. It’s the most important meal of the day, after all.
Grab a table at St Malo Bakery and settle in for breakfast. It’s a good place to bring the laptop and get some writing done whilst you chew. Nurture yourself with the quinoa porridge accompanied by crushed pistachios and tangy raspberry compote. Or you could tuck into the croissant stuffed with smoked salmon, buttery scrambled eggs and crème fraiche. To die for. The spicy corn fritters and the savoury, pesto-based mushroom bruschetta are also worth trying. For pastry fans, I especially recommend the danishes and any of the muffins – whether it’s caramel pecan, fig and mascarpone or the incredible gluten-free chocolate coconut concoction I chose that was so filling I was able to save a little hunk to get me through the 3pm sugar-craving. If you’re rushed and don’t have time to eat in then just grab a takeaway pastry and a coffee (it’s excellent here) while you run to your morning train/bus/hovercraft.
St Malo Bakery, 83 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest
It’s Friday so you deserve a sugary splurge to celebrate the impending weekend. Head to the tiny but magnificent Black Star Pastry in Newtown and get a big selection of treats to bring into the office. You’ll earn some major brownie points. Maybe you’ve heard some tall tales about this place? I certainly had before my first visit. I can report they were nearly all true. Try to control the giddy urge to consume everything in sight and calmly select from the freshly baked croissants, chunky pain au chocolats, perfumed pear tarts, glossy danishes, hypnotic cinnamon scrolls or (my favourite buttery indulgence) a sweetly shaped palmier. Definitely snaffle up a few ginger ninjas to bestow upon your favourite colleagues, partly because they taste good, partly because they just look cool. The line shouldn’t be too long on a Friday and they’re open from 7 so you can get there early and snatch up all the best stuff. God speed.
Black Star Pastry, 277 Australia St, Newtown
Have a chilled Saturday morning with the papers at Salvage Specialty Coffee. I’d been meaning to try this place for ages and I wasn’t disappointed. Good coffee, as you’d expect. A small menu that extends on the weekends, full of interesting options. The offerings change weekly so I can’t predict what will be on offer this weekend, but the black forest gypsey ham croque madame with béchamel and gruyere seems to be a fairly regular staple – and the people tucking into them around us looked very happy. We loved the triple cream brie, served with a perfect pear and toasted olive bread. Also divine was the gorgeous crusty rectangle of sourdough graced with clouds of delicately shaved fennel, flavoursome cured salmon and a flawless poached egg. The staff are lovely – to the point where upon paying they want to know what you had and what you thought about it. Bonus part: when you’re done you can head to the Japanese market across the courtyard and stock up on silken tofu and soba noodles. That’s lunch covered.
Salvage Specialty Coffee, 5 Wilkes Avenue, Artarmon
If you’re looking for a good Father’s Day brunch spot, you should consider the Bather’s Pavilion café (and I mean the café, not the restaurant). You may need to stroll along the front while you wait for a table, but patience will be rewarded. Hopefully you’ll score a window seat so you can gaze out at the crystal blue water and people-watch to your heart’s content. Now for the food: the blueberry pancakes with maple syrup are heaven, so light and fluffy, as is the cinnamon ricotta French toast with caramelised banana jam. If like me you’ll find any excuse to have cheese for breakfast, get stuck into the manchego soufflé with Swiss brown mushrooms. Diners looking for a healthier option (or worried about the impending bathing suit bloat) can get the Bircher muesli, or to be really offensively saintly, the fruit plate. Note: it’s weirdly expensive but it’s the most beautiful platter of fruit I’ve ever seen. Quench your thirst with the refreshing cranberry and pineapple juice cocktail and linger over a few coffees. If you eat too much you can take a long walk along to the opposite end of the beach and back... by the time you’re done it will probably be time for fish and chips.
Bather’s Pavilion, 4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
- Lucy McNabb