On the list of things I missed the most while I was in India, Sydney's brunch is definitely in the top 10. Having spicy rice for breakfast is alright and all, but boy did I miss my morning cappuccino, smashed avo and sourdough bread. Aussies just know how to brunch, am I right? The cool thing in Sydney is that their brunch scene doesn't equate to big boozy escapades with all-you-eat-buffets (reminds me of Dubai times, #foodcoma).
It's quite the contrary actually - my favoite way to brunch here is to wake up early for a morning workout to up my appetite and then head straight from the studio to my favorite brunch spot. I admit it. I am one of those people who are brunching in their active wear. Thank the lord for barre to brunch athleisure wear. So if you see me out, I may or may not have come from yoga, but I can guarantee you I’ve at least walked to the cafe - so that’s something.
And Sydney has lots of beautiful walks to offer. Since I moved to Bondi in April, my favorite walk is the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, duh. But I haven't found that many great brekky spots in that direction yet...If you have any good recommendations, please do share.The other direction, however, has some great post-walk brunch spots to offer.
My favorite so far is the Watson's Bay Boutique Hotel, mainly for it's yummy menu, beach luxe vibes, beautiful scenery and of course the mandatory Bondi to Watsons Bay coastal walk to get there. Of course you could drive or get there via ferry which is scenic in its own right, but in my opinion, nothing beats working up a good appetite before cozying up with a waterfront view at their Beach club to enjoy a healthy brunch with friends. It's just so much more satisfying when you've worked for it.
Last time I went, I enjoyed their massive Breakfast bowl – a mix of hummus, heirloom tomato, dukkah egg, quinoa, raw carrot, sprouts and kale. Yum! They have some awesome healthy sides as well, like Portobello mushrooms, smashed avo and sautéed kale, so I found it quite easy to choose a healthy option.
When I first moved to Australia, my parents didn't get quite understand what attracted me to this country. "It's so far away, why there, what's so special, yadayadayada...." I can guarantee you that one of the first things I'll do with them when they come visit is go on a nice long coastal walk and then grab brunch in Watson's Bay, and I'm sure they will understand the spell Sydney has had on me. To me, this is quintessentially Sydney lifestyle. The view from there is so palm-tree perfect that you cannot not fall in love with it. I might even show them the Hornby Lighthouse, which is at the very tip of Watson's Bay and is a must-see according to most Sydney tour guides.
The Federation Coastal Walk
The Bondi to Watsons Bay coastal Federation Walk will reel you in - the majecstic views of the harbour and stunning cliffs are absolutely breath taking. Compared to the Bondi to Coogee walk, there's big open spaces and it's not nearly as crowded on weekends. Start at Bondi Beach, coffee in hand if you fancy, and head towards North Bondi past Ben Buckler. This walk isn't as well-marked and includes sections through neighborhoods (we got a bit lost the first time we did it), so I'd recommend the non-locals to bookmark some kind of walking guide beforehand (locals please don't laugh at me for saying this). Dudley Page is one of the best resting spots along the way in my opinion; the Harbour views from here are impressive, especially when it's a clear day and you can see the entire skyline.
After brunch at Watson's Bay Boutique Hotel, you can grab the ferry back into the city via Circular key or jump on a bus to Dover Heights or Bondi Beach.
Another little insider tip if you're into your health and all: check out Boundless Organic while you're in the area, an eco beauty shop on Old South Head Road in Vaucluse.
Let's quickly talk eating out + some tips on how to stay healthy while brunching...
I’m a big believer that if you really want something, you should order the highest quality version, enjoy the #$%& out of it, no guilt attached, and move on. But here are a couple of my tips, tricks and strategies for eating consciously and without throwing your healthy intentions out the window when enjoying brunch with friends:
- Start your morning with 1/2 - 1 liter of water, or 2 glasses of water 20 minutes before your meal. This helps to keep you fuller and prevent you from overeating. Oftentimes, we confuse hunger with dehydration. Also, drinking actually disrupts and slows down your digestive process, so don't drink too much during meal time.
- Fresh is best - check out the menu, and try to find fresh food like salads, fruit bowls, lots of veggies etc. If you can't find a main that suits you...
- Go for the sides - sometimes the best parts of a menu are the sides. Don't be afraid to order 2-3 sides instead of one main meal, if you think those will be better options for you.
- Keep dressings and sauces on the side - If your meal is in need of a dressing, go for olive oil, balsamic and lemon-based dressing, but ask for it to be served on the side. I often simply drizzle lemon on my meal to jazz it up!
- Avoid unhealthy extras - keep it basic. Don’t get Eggs Benedict, when you can get eggs and toast without all the extra calories.
- Now, for the ultimate question...Sweet or savoury? I used to gasp at the thought of having a savoury meal for breakfast, but I've learnt to love it and now I go for savoury 90% of the time simply because I prefer it. But I know sometimes it's hard to resist those pancakes or waffes, I get it. If you really crave the sweet option, GO FOR IT. And enjoy it without feeling guilty. Even better, go halfsies with a friend.