Welcome to the first in a wee series I am calling ‘Best Sydney Breakfast Spots’. I LOVE breakfast. Honestly, it’s probably my favourite meal of the day. So, having a few favourite spots for a good brekky in Sydney up my sleeve is kind of important to me…
We had some friends visiting Sydney over Easter. We wanted to take them somewhere nice for breakfast. And, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the massive cultural phenomenon that is ‘brunch*’ in Australasia, let me tell you it is huge.
Brunch in Sydney is a potential minefield for the uninitiated – especially if a) you want to take advantage of the super harbour views; b) you don’t want to queue for hours; and c) you want good food.
This time, we decided on the ever reliable Bathers’ Pavilion Cafe.
The Bathers’ Pavillion is owned by well-known chef, Serge Dansereau. Frankly, it’s a Sydney institution and offers a number of ways to enjoy eating or drinking within the old beach changing shed pavilion. And, for my money, the café offers one of the better spots in Sydney for a breakfast that ticks all my boxes.
We arrived early – for a Public Holiday, anyway. The café doesn’t take reservations, which is frustratingly common for breakfast service in Sydney. Our party of 6 were all present and correct at just before 9am and we were pleasantly surprised that a table was waiting for us.
We had a lovely time – the food and the service were spot on. The ‘Three egg omelette with goats curd and herbs’ ($23) was apparently “superb”. The ‘Balmoral breakfast of Eggs – your choice – on toast with bacon, sausage, mushroom, potato and roast sea salt tomato’ ($25) was declared “just what you want from a traditional breakfast, and the sausage was excellent”. The ‘Basque style baked eggs with cured ham and chorizo’ ($22.50) were a big hit with the remainder of our party (including yours truly) – if just a smidge light on chorizo.
To be honest, I have had mediterranean-style baked eggs on the foodie part of my brain for some time now. All those onions, capsicums (peppers) and tomatoes sautéed with herbs and spices, then topped with a perfectly baked egg (or two) is my idea of breakfast heaven. Or, at least it is until my next ‘must try’ dish comes along.
I did a wee bit of digging, and as a result, this coming post-farmers market Saturday morning, LM and I will be dining on Yotam Ottolenghi‘s Shakshuka recipe from his cookbook ‘Plenty’, made by me. (Seriously fab’ cookbook, by the way!)
I may have to bastardise it just the tiniest bit with some Eumundi chorizo, but here is the recipe I will be using…
Shakshuka from Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’
Recipe serves 8
½ tsp cumin seeds
190ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cored and cut into 2cm strips
4 tsp muscovado sugar
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ tsp saffron strands
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Up to 250ml water
8 free-range eggs
In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
Place four saucepans on medium heat and divide the mixture between them. Break two eggs into each pan, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with coriander and serve. YUM!
Hopefully the sun will still be shining and we can sit outside in the garden…
The Bathers’ Pavilion Cafe at Balmoral Beach on Sydney’s lower north shore is open for breakfast Monday – Sunday from 7am to midday.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook ‘Plenty’, and his more recent and equally fabulous cookbook ‘Jerusalem’ are available through Amazon.
*BRUNCH:A late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch.