Beyond the Parramatta CBD, the City’s myriad of neighbourhoods is peppered with independent cafes, run by expert baristas and passionate chefs. From The Bells Road Social, known for its Instagram worthiness to Epping’s Alpha Espresso, where Pablo & Rusty’s coffee brews among artworks, there’s a hideaway for every appetite. The five cafes listed here make an excellent starting point for caffeine-fuelled adventures.
Cafe Centro, Eastwood
Among Eastwood’s cornucopia of eateries, competition is fierce. One of the top-performing cafes is Centro, whose red concertina doors open onto tiled floors and timber furniture, including church pews. The menu focuses on generous, hearty dishes, such as The Dukkah Dish – a feast of poached eggs, feta, beetroot relish, rocket, lemon yoghurt and house-made pistachio dukkah on sourdough – and 12-hour slow-cooked beef ribs with chef’s special BBQ sauce, red cabbage slaw and chips.
139 Rowe Street Eastwood 2122; (02) 9874 9624; Monday - Friday 6:30am - 5:00pm, Saturday 7:00am - 4:00pm and Sunday 8:00am - 3:00pm. Visit Cafe Centro Facebook page.
The Bells Road Social, Oatlands
A hidden gem nestled in the suburb of Oatlands, The Bells Road Social is popular with locals for a very good reason. Breakfast, brunch or lunch, the team has is guided by seasonal produce and inspiration creating delicious bites that will satisfy your appetite and your Instagram game on point. Get there before midday and enjoy the beetroot and hummus eggs and level up from your standard 'smashed avo'. Kids get their own choices too! Classic toasty or pancakes with ice-cream just to name a few.
1 Bells Road Oatlands 2117; (02) 9684 6221; Open Tuesday - Friday 7:00pm - 3:00pm and Saturday - Sunday 8:00am - 3pm. Visit The Bells Road Social website.
Caffe Cherry Beans, Rydalmere
Hidden away in an industrial estate, yet just five minutes’ walk from Rydalmere Wharf, this cafe serves classic brekkies, burgers, sandwiches and salads among high ceilings, exposed beams and pendant lighting. The roast master selects Arabica beans from all over the world, before roasting them onsite. This is one of many Caffe Cherry Beans dotted around New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Day-trippers should consider travelling by ferry, leaving themselves enough time to take a stroll along the riverfront.
62 South Street Rydalmere 2116; 0413 245 919; Open Monday - Friday 7:00am - 4:00pm and Saturday 7:00am - 3:00pm; Visit Caffe Cherry Beans website.
Cafe Els, Winston Hills
Matt Elbayeh, who co-owns Cafe El’s with his mother, Ezmerelda, trained as a chef at El Phoenician, his father’s Lebanese restaurant in Parramatta. Now, he puts his years of experience into creating cafe fare driven by bold flavours and fresh produce. Corn fritters come as a towering stack, with avocado, bacon, tomato chutney, fetta, zataar, chilli labne and poached eggs, while the American brekkie is a double waffle topped with bacon, hash brown, fried eggs and maple syrup. Cafe El’s occupies a porch at the entrance of Winston Hills Shopping Centre, with expansive sliding windows that overlook Caroline Chisholm Park.
180-192 Caroline Chisholm Drive Winston Hills 2153; (02) 9624 7595; Open Monday - Friday 7:00am - 5:00pm and Saturday-Sunday 7:00am - 4:00pm. Visit Cafe El's Facebook page.
Alpha Espresso Bar, Epping
Alpha Espresso isn’t just a cafe, but an art gallery, too. Diners can tuck into French toast with grilled banana, poached fruits, cinnamon crumble and yoghurt or a homemade beef burger on brioche while admiring artworks painted by local artists – and if one should take their fancy, make a purchase. The coffee is Pablo & Rusty’s, which is sourced from ethical, sustainable farms and roasted in North Ryde.
42 Langston Place Epping 2121; (02) 9368 4828; Open Monday - Friday 6:00am - 4:00pm and Saturday - Sunday 7:00am - 2 :00pm. Visit Alpha Espresso Bar Facebook page.