Do you know what frustrates me the most about the CBD of Sydney? That there is virtually no where to eat breakfast early in the morning on a weekend! Yes you can obviously go to a swanky hotel and have a buffet breakfast, but they normally cost an arm and a leg and their coffee can be quite blah. We had to be in the city bright and early last Sunday and I searched my friend Google for ages trying to find a cafe that would open before 9am. Maccas kept popping up but I thought that would make for quite a dull review! Just as I was about to give up hope I discovered that Jones the Grocer opened at 8am and as it is located in the swanky Westfield I could also do some window shopping en-route.
Jones the Grocer, as the name suggests is actually a grocery store - not the sort of place you buy your Vegemite from, it's more the place where you buy gourmet grocery products such as smelly cheeses, truffle oil and pink Himalayan salt for example. Their logo is "Gourmet Food For Everyday Living." It's a perfect spot to pick up a giftie for your foodie friends, especially at this time of year. JTG have been around for years, I remember when one of their first stores opened in Woollahra many moons ago. Since that time stores have come and gone and they have also branched out and opened in quite a few spots around the world (if you find yourself in Singapore make sure you check out their store in Dempsey Hill, it does a really good coffee which can sometimes be hard to find up there). All of the stores are split into a grocer and a cafe, so you can eat than shop or shop than eat, totally up to you, or should I say your kids and how well behaved they are!!
The interior of the Westfield Jones the Grocer is quite industrial, dark and moody and I don't really like it to be honest. You walk in from the bright glamour of Westfield into something that is akin to an underground nightclub which is not the ambience you are after at breakfast time, unless I suppose you had been out clubbing all night and bright lights add grief to your hang over. The dark ambience also makes it very tricky to take decent photographs! What I did like however was the space - there is plenty of room to manoeuvre prams around the tables and also to easily park one at the end of the table where you sit. There are high chairs available and a baby change table is very close by in the family room that is just around the corner from the store. And if you are like me and are a bit of a sucker for a fancy hand wash, you will love the L'occitane Verbena hand wash that they use in the family room.
When we arrived at 8am we were the first customers of the day and the member of staff who looked after us was excellent. She took special interest in the boys, making sure that they had a menu each and she asked them directly what they wanted to drink when she took our coffee orders. They both asked for hot chocolates and then she looked at me and said "don't worry I'll make sure that they are only warm and not too hot." So customer service receives the big thumbs up from me.
My darling big boy was very excited to see that there was also a wine list (see above) and asked if I was going to order anything off it! Clearly I'm not going to be up for any Mother of the Year awards this year. I decided against wine at such an early hour and of course went for coffee and I'm happy to report that it is damn fine.
Kidlets have their very own menu and it gets a big tick for not having any nuggets on it! Our boys had a hankering for chocolate croissants but we had arrived a tad early and that hadn't come out of the oven yet, so they settled with a plain croissant and jam ($6). Toast, fruit salad and other baked goodies are also available for kids to eat at breakfast time.
The adults menu is very tempting and for breakfast you can have everything from Granola through to a Breakfast Risotto (smoked ham, shallots & tarragon risotto with creme fraiche and a poached egg). The menu costs between $6 - $24 depending on how extravagant you want to be. Mr Munch of course went for the bacon and egg burger which was served on a brioche bun and oozed with caramelised onions, aioli, BBQ sauce and cheese. The hash brown on the side was a welcome touch as well. I went for the more lady like Mushroom Omelette which had field mushies, sheep's fetta, spinach and black truffle oil in it and it was superb.
JTG is open for lunch and dinner as well and they serve lots of share plates such as charcuterie and antipasti boards. If you aren't a sharer they have gourmet burgers, fancy fish and chips, steak sandwiches, schnitzels and pork belly - basically typical cafe fare down with flare. If you find yourself in town in the evening this would be an ideal spot to go for an early dinner as they are open until late Mon - Saturday and until 7pm on Sundays.
As you leave make sure you check out the front cake counter as it stocked with loads of delicious looking morsels and grab a takeaway to enjoy whilst you go window shopping in Westfield, actually who am I kidding, those kidlets of yours probably won't let you do that will they!?
So tell me Little Munchers, do you know of any other other cafes that open early in the city on a weekend?
Shop 5018, Level 5 Westfield
Cnr Market & Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000
02 8072 7755