Semi-regular readers of my diary (or blog) will know that a few months back I relocated from Melbourne to Sydney, deciding to set up home in the beguiling beachside suburb of Bronte. (Apologies, I just wanted to write the word beguiling. BEGUILING. Ok, moving on…)
The only problem with this was that vacating Chapel Street – where brunch spots are as common as blackheads on a teenager’s face – left a big breakfast bowl-sized hole in my life.
Where do you go in Bronte to spend your house deposit on avocado?
So I set off on a mission to find the beach suburb’s best egg and bacon heroes. These are my new-found favourites:
1. Three Blue Ducks
Bronte is perhaps best known for two things: its beach and Three Blue Ducks.
The brainchild of three Bronte surfers (one with Tetsuya’s street cred nonetheless), this brunch, lunch and dinner triple threat has built a cult following in the six years it’s been tucked into Bronte’s ‘Top Shops’ on Macpherson Street. Three Blue Ducks is so hyped about that unless you’re dining upon sunrise or can swangle a booking, it’s near impossible to get a table, but completely worth the attempt.
Why so popular? Maybe it’s the food philosophy that centres around locally and ethically-sourced produce. Maybe it’s the graffiti-adorned space that’s split down the middle by an alley overgrown with fruit trees. Maybe it’s the intimate, friendly Bronte village feel. Or maybe it’s just the #majorbrunchgoals you can tick off here.
Flowing from the open kitchen expect to see the likes of corn fritters with guacamole (ahhh-mazing!), crispy squid salad, house smoked salmon and other yumalicious Modern Australia eats. If you’re seriously game go for the black sausage. You can also expect a Sydney tax of course – brunch for two with coffees will set you back somewhere in the vicinity of $60.
Three Blue Ducks | 141 Macpherson Street, Bronte, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9389 0010
Just down the road from Three Blue Ducks, in the opposite direction of the beach, is a lesser-known, hidden gem. Eugene’s still has the same focus on high quality, seasonal produce that Three Blue Ducks does, yet you won’t require a highly strategic game plan to get a table, nor the same amount of cashola.
Eugene’s breakfast game is strong. I’ve had the hipster fritters, which means I now vote Greens, wear plaid and am growing a beard. LOLs aside, the patties of quinoa, feta and zucchini, served with la boqueria chorizo, poached eggs, guacamole, kale and chamoy, were quite delicious. The Double Roasters coffee is also on point.
With a ceiling rose, marble tables and sconce lights, the place is a study in Art Deco style. It’s also incredibly small, meaning it’s cosy and you sit intimately close to strangers. If you intend on discussing over breakfast the details for a jewellery heist or Tim Worner-style affair, probably best you find somewhere else. On a hot summer’s day, you’re going to want to hope you’ve worn Rexona. Although the breeze coming through the front bi-fold doors might save you.
Don’t leave before raiding the cabinet of take-home salads, cakes, lasagne, quiches and pies. All very gourmet. Oh and if you’re wondering, like I was, Eugene is a real life person.
Eugene’s | 69 Macpherson Street, Bronte, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9369 1110
3. Bellagio Cafe
Perched on the corner of Bronte Road and Leichardt Street, Bellagio Cafe (not to be confused with Vegas’s Bellagio Hotel) is always reliable. If it took a circa 2001 Dolly quiz it would be more like Colin Firth than Hugh Grant. Its reliability is verified by how popular it is seven days a week. Despite occupying a huge space, with lots of different eating zones, there’s always people spilling out onto the pavement and crowding the back courtyard.
This consistency is complemented by coffee reminiscent of Melbourne; a mean bacon and egg roll (that you can enjoy dine-in or take-away); and plate after plate of beautiful, brightly-coloured brunch art.
Plus, you’ll find some of the best avocado smash in the land here. I can say that because I have my graduate certificate in avocado smash appreciation. A pile up of avocado, goat’s fetta, smoked tomato relish, heirloom tomatoes, coriander, harissa salad and poached eggs on seeded sourdough – Bernard Salt would even love it.
Bellagio Cafe | 285 Bronte Road, Bronte, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9387 1562
4. Ruby’s Diner
Alright, so technically Ruby’s Diner isn’t in Bronte. But given it’s a quality spot and on BRONTE Road I’m going to let this one in.
Ruby’s Diner has a sort of pirate hideaway feel to it. A bright, coastal pirate hideaway that is. Or maybe it’s just the treasure map mural on the back wall that’s sent me all Captain Jack Sparrow. It’s a narrow space, opening out onto the footpath, but the atmosphere is undeniably buzzy.
Be prepared for some serious queue navigation and best avoided entirely if you’re prone to hanger blackouts. Arriving at 11:30am on Sunday we weren’t eating until 12:45pm.
But the Ruby’s BLA-Taco was worth the wait – an ultra fresh concoction of scrambled eggs with tomato, bacon, avocado, coriander sauce and baby spinach in a soft blue corn taco. Overall, the all-day breakfast and lunch from 11:30am menus definitely have a health angle to them. Think sugar-free, gluten-free and plenty of appearances of kale, chia and quinoa.
The coffee is also on-point. If the big boys coffee machine dominating the counter doesn’t spell that out, coffee beans sourced from local Sydney posterchild Single Origin Roasters does. And the local love doesn’t stop there, with Bronte’s Iggy’s Bread, Egganic eggs, Penny Fours pastries and Pic’s peanut butter also all in rotation.
Ruby’s Diner | 173 Bronte Road, Waverley, New South Wales
5. Huxton’s at Bronte
“More of the wanky quinoa you get everywhere around here,” reads a review on Facebook, which is exactly how the husband first described this place, that’s only been open a couple of months, to me. Although, since seeing what all this quinoa nonsense was about, I have different views. Huxton’s brunch game is strong, everything on your plate is ultra fresh and the place is entirely at home in the health-obsessed city that is Sydney.
Huxton’s menu is made up of the likes of vegan yoghurt, egg-white omelettes and calamari hot dogs. My favourite is the tartine of ora salmon, with avocado, poached eggs, lemon and charred sourdough. Then there’s the cabinet of quiches, loaded croissants, healthy-ish cakes and vats of homemade-looking coconut chia pudding, coconut yoghurt and Huxton’s bircher. Plus, you can order take-home hampers and barbecue packs for lazy beach days.
It’s laid-back, the staff are ultra-friendly and all very Bronte. Just up the road from Three Blue Ducks, this time in the direction of the beach, Huxton’s is right at home emanating a bright and airy beach feel. And diners seem to lap it up, hanging out the bi-fold windows that open out onto Macpherson and St Thomas streets, madly trying to drink up the beach vibes and peak a small glimpse of the ocean.
The dining space is small and half the tables are outside (and exposed to any north-easterly beach winds, warning). So it’s another game of roulette as to whether you can actually get a table. But that’s okay, grab something to take-away, walk down the hill and eat it on Bronte Beach.
And, if you’re still not sold, owner Justin Bull was once the personal chef for Russell Crowe and James Packer.
Huxton’s at Bronte | 145A Macpherson Street, Bronte, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9389 0335
6. Bogey Hole Café
With Bronte Beach a runny sneeze away, beachside brunching doesn’t get much better than this. Named after the kiddie rock pool at Bronte Beach (that, yes, I prefer to swim in than the beach), the Bogey Hole Café has been pleasing the palates of Bronteans for nearly 25 years. It was one of the first cafes to pop up on the now heavily populated strip facing off with the beach (other good brunch spots here include Café La Plage, Bronte Belo and The Ex Lounge).
The Bogey Hole Café is small, with European-style café chairs and tables spilling out onto the street. While it has plenty of character it’s not trying to be on-trend or anything it’s not. The take-away coffee cups are Plain Jane and there’s no wanky quinoa or kale smoothies in sight. “Thank tomatoes,” sighs the husband. It’s all an ode to Bronte’s age-old village feel.
The café fare is authentic. I had the full-flavoured BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato), which was served on super fresh sourdough from Iggy’s Bread. While the coffee and tea comes courtesy of Toby’s Estate.
Overall, it’s a cute spot for eggs and coffee pre-beach with frands.
Bogey Hole Café | 473 Bronte Road, Bronte, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9389 8829
My favourite of the favourite Bronte brunch spots?
Bellagio Café or Huxton’s at Bronte. There would be a bowl of bircher between them.