Bianca: So here we are….. the culmination of almost a year and a half’s work. My mission to find some of the best pancakes in Sydney took me far and wide. I’m an equal opportunity pancake eater, pancakes, hotcakes, pikelets… all fair game. Some of these became firm favourites, making a recurring appearance.
Let me know your thoughts. AND in no particular order, away we go!
Indigo Double, Bay – Guaranteed most people that come to Indigo are NOT ordering the pancakes. Everyone is thin, blonde, in active-wear and mostly very beautiful. Pancakes- w/ caramelised banana, maple syrup & vanilla whipped mascarpone $22. Despite the hefty price tag, these were texturally great, light and fluffy. Good combination of flavours and the people watching, an added bonus.
Sonoma Bakery, Alexandria – I was initially pretty hesitant when this was placed before us. Never to fear, despite its thickness the Ricotta loaded hotcakes served up with honeycomb butter, berry compote, caramelised banana and maple syrup($24) were wonderfully light with a delightful outer crust. Butter on pancakes makes me weak at the knees but honeycomb butter? Drown me in it! I’ve found a good key for successful pancakes is balancing all elements, the sour berry compote is key here. Available at Sonoma Rose Bay & weekends at Alexandria.
Left of Field, Rhodes– The OG Hotcakes with caramelised banana, earl grey custard and maple popcorn $16 were LIFE! But after being a mainstay on the menu since they opened, LOF have had 3 successful Hotcake offerings.. Despite my UN-Australian aversion to Pavlova, the Pavlova Pancakes – vanilla custard cream, seasonal fruits, caramelised banana and meringue with passionfruit coulis $20 was a winner. Texture is the name of the game and the chewy meringue with fresh berries was a real highlight. Their latest offering, the Sticky Date & Cinnamon Apple Hotcakes $20 are equally delicious but I do hope the OG pancakes make a re-appearance one day!
Kansas City Shuffle, The Rocks– KSS would be one of my regular go-to’s if I worked in the city. This pancake dish has been on the menu since they opened in 2015, why change a good thing? The Pancake -w/lemon curd, cream cheese parfait, seasonal berries & smoked almonds $19. Lemon curd and pancakes? Heaven does exist.
The Rusty Rabbit, Burwood – So, these pancakes had some flaws BUT offer some of the best in the area and I’d go back for them. Pancakes -w/Ricotta, strawberries, berry compote, passion fruit, maple syrup & crushed pistachios $17 were very tasty, loved the sharpness of the berries and the acidic notes from the ricotta. Light and fluffy pancakes. I did pass on some feedback about layering ingredients between the stacks to add some moisture and flavour. I found this a critical point along my pancake eating quest.
Bills, Surry Hills – These aren’t winning any beauty contests but they have a direct line to my heart… and my stomach. If somebody was to ask a pancake recommendation in Sydney I’m likely to give two responses. This is one suggestion. The Ricotta hotcakes -w/banana and honeycomb butter $22.50 are FLAWLESS. Cloud-like, the thick pats of butter, the thick slices of banana, maple syrup and a dusting of icing sugar. Worth the price tag!
Baby Coffee, Waterloo – Everything is pink and FABULOUS! Drake is blasting and you’ll feel like a rockstar dining at Baby Coffee (ignore the traffic noise if you can). Cinnamon Hotcake -w/ fresh fruit, berry mascarpone & almond praline $22.50 is pretty as a picture, with a prominent cinnamon flavour and fluffy texture. They do provide syrup to pour but IMO it wasn’t enough.
Le Monde, Surry Hills – Matcha can be a dicey game, too much and it’s a one-way ticket to grass clipping land. But the Matcha Hot Cakes -w/ mascarpone cream, fresh fruit, toasted grains & coconut espresso syrup $16 were wonderfully balanced, perfectly light and airy, the crunchy grains adding some texture. The coconut espresso syrup was an interesting alternative to the usual maple syrup.
Cafe Bella Dee, Sans Souci – I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pancakes at Bella Dee. Not really knowing much about the family-run business meant that I was blown away by the Berry Delight Buttermilk Pancakes -w/ sweet ricotta & mixed berries $15.50. Firstly the price, steal! The pancakes were super fluffy, the compote, tart but balanced with the sweetness of the maple and ricotta. There were also some delicious candied walnuts that were extremely moreish
Pancakes on the Rocks, North Strathfield – DON’T JUDGE! They’re good and you know it! I had put off visiting the popular Australian chain purely out of principle. But I caved. The OG store opened in the Rocks in 1975 and have been drawing crowds ever since, including a semi-inebriated Bianca post year 12 formal. Moving along… I sampled 4 varieties of pancakes on my most recent visit and adored the Long Stack – Four pancakes w/ whipped butter & maple syrup $9.95. Cheap and cheerful, huge pats of whipped salted butter and maple syrup on the side to control your desired ratio’s. I believe the pancakes are made from a ‘pre-mix’ so you could say they are formulaic, they’re not your gourmet cafe pancakes but they do the trick.
Kusuka Cafe, Sydney CBD – Known for their innovative pan-Asian brunches, Kusuka’s Kopi Susu Pancake -w/vanilla ice-cream, oreo crumbs, peanut butter, banana and palm sugar syrup $15 is a real treat! Quite a lot of nice little ‘treaties’ to be found here. The Oreo soil, the biscuit pieces, the muted coffee flavouring of the pancakes BUT best of all, little dollops of peanut butter between each layer!
Concrete Jungle, Central Park – Chef Bryan O’Callaghan is responsible for creating two of Sydney’s most Instagrammed Hotcake dishes. The first at Harry’s Bondi and when he left, Concrete Jungle in Chippendale. The Blueberry & Lemon Hotcake -w/Ricotta Creme, maple syrup, coconut flakes and mixed berries $18.50 had been reworked since my first visit. The hotcake, light and fluffy, with noticeable chunks of fresh berries & ricotta through the pancake batter. The lemon adding a subtle fresh element. I don’t get edible flowers? So expensive, so pretty…so useless.
Dessertoya, Peakhurst Heights – Dessertoya was one of our favourite finds of 2018. Ness was tasked with finding a cafe with pancakes for an FFS sleepover. A google search saw us stumbling on this humble cafe in its former location in Padstow and we’ve never looked back. Chef and owner Sonia is a wizard, churning out fantastic cafe food, next level pancakes. As well as cakes and chocolates. It’s a crime if you don’t visit!
Cucina Espresso, Concord – Whilst it doesn’t look like anything fantastical, Cucina churns out reliable tasty food. The Ricotta Pancakes –w/ricotta, maple syrup, fresh strawberries & mint $15 were thick and fluffy (the way I like em) sandwiched by a delicious sweet cinnamon and Ricotta cream.
Auvers, Rhodes – And one of my absolute favourites is the Auvers Pancake – Green tea matcha pancakes, green tea glaze, sponge, red bean paste & raspberry sorbet $18. The pancake incredibly light and airy, the white chocolate glaze giving just a hint of sweetness. Accented finally by the tartness of the raspberry sorbet. All for someone that doesn’t like matcha! Generally, if someone asks for the best pancakes in Sydney I tend to always recommend Auvers.
Two Sis, Pyrmont – Another matcha pancake sneaks into the list. Matcha Pancake –w/whipped mascarpone, nuts, banana brulee, fresh berries, chocolate pearls, cacao nibs and dark chocolate sauce $18.50. An excellent balance of matcha powder and sweetness, alleviating that ‘grassiness’ of a potent matcha overdose. The whipped mascarpone was placed between each layer of the pancake ensuring there was enough sauce for the entire dish. The brulee banana was pure genius!
Local Mbassy, Ultimo – I distinctly remember when these pancakes first hit Sydney. I’d constantly see them on our Instagram feeds. I was maybe 2 years late to the party… The Red Velvet Pancakes -w/ Fresh strawberries, mascarpone & white chocolate $19. Texturally these were a little lacking but the combo of fresh strawberries, mascarpone and white chocolate was a winner.
Aviary Coffee, Wentworth Point – Since they opened in late 2017 the food at Aviary has been impressive but I love them even more now they’ve introduced The Pancakes – fluffy buttermilk & vanilla pancakes w/chocolate sauce, banana maple syrup & honeycomb $20 (these were a double stack). Some of the fluffiest pancakes we’ve had in Sydney, thick rich dark chocolate and chewy pieces of honeycomb & meringue making this a textural delight. The only thing it needed was a bit more maple syrup. Will definitely be back for these!
Paddock on Crown, Surry Hills – It’s impossible to trawl social media these days without seeing these pancakes all over the place. Fluffy Pancakes -w/ vanilla mascarpone, raspberry coulis, whipped maple butter $17.50 + Ube Ice-cream $3 + extra pancake $4 are quite the impressive sight. I’d say they’re slightly more on par with a delicate sponge cake, as they lacked the finesse of a light airy pancake. BUT the flavour was unquestionable, wonderfully moreish, with a buttery/ vanilla flavouring, LOVED the dollops of maple butter! The ube ice-cream visually striking but similar to a vanilla ice-cream.
Flat White Cafe, Paddington – This was a suggestion from fellow foodie @itd_be_rude_not_to who shares my love of pancakes! He rated these as some of the best in Sydney and despite my initial hesitation when they were first set before me. How right he was… The Ricotta hotcakes with fresh berries, rhubarb, banana mousse, shaved Nutella & maple syrup $19 + bacon $6.5 are life-changing. Dramatic? Yes, oh well. They kind of look like fritters but once you cut through the crispy outer exterior, you’ll be greeted by a warm fluffy interior. I loved everything about this dish EXCEPT the price of the bacon!
Have I tempted you to search out your Sydney favourites? Any tips? Shoot them my way!