If you have a sweet tooth like me, then you might be similarly always on the hunt for the best dessert in Sydney.
I’ve been loving the Tella Ball shakes at Foodcraft Espresso & Bakery in Erskineville pretty hard since the Nutella-injected donuts perched on top of Nutella-flavoured milkshakes almost broke Instagram last year, so it was with great excitement that I heard the original creators of this delicious extravagance, Aki Daikos and Simon Kappatos, were opening a Tella Balls Dessert Bar in Dulwich Hill.
A photo posted by Tellaballsdessertbar (@tellaballsdessertbar) on
The Instagram pictures for the cafe have been killing me – particularly this gelato donut on a stick, which sells for $7. Sadly when I visited they didn’t have any for sale, but I guess that means there is a reason to go back next time?
There are no savoury dishes on the menu at the dessert bar – just sugar, sugar and more sugar. It is 100% a pure dessert bar.
As well as their signature Tell Balls and milkshakes, the dessert bar serves house-made gelato, Nutella layered lasagne, waffles, pancakes, and amazing sweets that feature Nutella heavily as a signature ingredient.
I visited on a week day before school let out to ensure we had a quiet dining experience. Even at midday on a Friday it was pretty busy, so I can imagine the cafe is a bit of a zoo on weekends.
My dining companion Jayne from Girl Tweets World and I ordered a few dishes to share between us. The Vanilla Tella Ball Shake with a Boston Custard Tella Ball on top ($10), the Ferraro Bowl (a smooth Ferraro Rocher mousse in a chocolate bowl served with vanilla bean gelato, $13), and the Ricotta and Blueberry Pancakes (2 stack buttermilk ricotta & blueberry pancakes topped with Canadian maple syrup and mascarpone, $16).
The vanilla shake was excellent, and the donut on top fluffy with a very tart custard inside. We were a bit regretful not to have ordered the Nutella one seeing as it’s the signature shake, but sometimes it’s good to brand out and try new things, right?
The Ferraro Bowl looked incredibly sweet, but surprisingly wasn’t. I really appreciated this, as even though I love all things chocolate, I can’t handle feeling ill after injecting myself full of dessert these days. I really particularly enjoyed the crisp chocolate shell with nut shards on it, and its pairing with the refreshing vanilla bean gelato.
I deliberately ordered the pancakes that did not have Nutella as I thought I couldn’t handle more chocolate after the Ferraro Bowl, and it was a good move when they were all on the table in front of us, with our dining companions looking on in … horror? awe? Who can tell!
The pancakes were excellent. Not super-fluffy, but a good size, and nicely soaked with maple syrup. I found the double serve of cheese a bit too much for me – I didn’t love the ricotta with this dish, and could have just done very nicely with the mascarpone and blueberries. I love fruit with my pancakes, so the huge amount of blueberries it was served with did me very nicely.
I would love to go back on another day to try more dishes from the menu. Tell me if you go and what you try.
A kid-friendly restaurant in Sydney’s CBD is quite a find. We end up spending a lot of time around Circular Quay at the Sydney Opera House, the AGNSW and the MCA, so are always in search of Sydney’s best kid-friendly cafes in these areas.
On our recent visit to the MCA we tried their rooftop cafe, which I previously didn’t even know existed. To get to the cafe, enter through any of their regular entrances, then take the elevator to the 4th floor. Entrance to the general exhibitions at the MCA is free, so you won’t need to pay if you stop along the way to check out some art.
When you reach the top floor of the MCA, turn right to enter the cafe and sculpture terrace. Dining is casual, so grab menus at the front, choose a table, then order and pay at the counter.
The cafe currently has a British Grayson Perry-inspired menu, running at the same time as the gallery has the Grayson Perry exhibition on downstairs. I love themed menus, so this was a fun, unexpected bonus. The menu was a celebration of all things British, such as Devonshire tea & scones, crumpets, fish & chips, bangers and mash, or their Little Pretty Eton Mess.
I chose the Honeyed Oats, Summer Berries, Elderflower, Yoghurt & Pistachio ($12),
Alec had the Roasted Salmon (with green beans, roast potatoes & lemon, $28), and Cheese selected the Battered Fish & Chips ($14) from the kids’ menu.
While we were waiting for our meals, Cheese amused herself by checking out the giant sculpture on the terrace, while we admired the view. Not too shabby, eh?
My honeyed oats were really delicious, but I did find them to be a tad dry and would have liked more yogurt. I thought the dish was colourful and beautiful, and really tasty. Alec’s salmon was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, and Cheese’s fish and chips were also a winner. The portion was so big it would have done an adult who wanted a smallish-sized lunch.
After our brunch we strolled downstairs to take part in the free drop in craft session for kids. The MCA usually has a kid-friendly component to their major exhibitions where little ones can experiment with different materials in the spirit of the big show, which, in this case, was Grayson Perry’s “My Pretty Little Art Career”.
With the stunning view, free admission to the MCA plus the also-free art-making session, this was one extremely good value restaurant, perfect for kids, right in the heart of Sydney.
Is it possible to ever have too much gelato? I thought not. La Mama del Gelato Anita, also known colloquially as “Anita’s” began in a small Mediterranean kitchen, almost 20 years ago, by Mama Anita. From selling ice cream out of her home with the help of her son, Anita progressed to an ice cream cart, local market, and then her first store. What started out as a little home run business is now an international chain, with stores from New York to Australia.
Mama Anita still gives every new flavour her stamp of approval before it’s sold in stores.
In Australia, Anita’s serves gelato and frozen yogurt. They have a range of classic flavours like pistachio, chocolate and strawberry, but the most popular are imaginative blends like pavlova and Cookieman, a mash up of chocolate, hazelnuts, meringue and biscuit.
If you like fruity gelato, you’ll be happy to hear they are all fat-free and made with 70% fruit with no added sugar or fructose. There is also sugar-free gelato available.
All of the gelato is churned daily on the premise, where they produce around 250 litres a day.
Past the gelato is the unlimited frozen yogurt section. There is one flavour of frozen yogurt available – plain – to which you can add as many of the 54 toppings as you like. You can eat all the toppings off and then go back for more. Options include house made jams, lollies and fresh fruit.
I ordered the Cookieman and Marscarpone with Blueberry (regular size, $8). The serve was pretty big so great value. I loved the Cookieman best. It was actually all of our favourite, which was surprising for Alec, who doesn’t like chocolate ice cream. All the flavours were light and fluffy, and not too sweet (even the chocolate one).
High Tea, or afternoon tea, is an elegant affair that we have our British ancestors to thank for. In Sydney, high teas are thriving – and I’ve been on a mission to try each and every one on offer. After careful testing, I present to you a selection of the best high teas in Sydney.
Enjoy delicious square sandwiches, fluffy scones with plenty of jam and cream, with delectable sweet treats such as the salted caramel and chocolate tart at this Mosman, North Shore, cafe. The balcony wrapping around Burnt Orange offers stunning harbour views, so request a prime spot when making your booking. Burnt Orange, 1109 Middle Head Rd, Mosman
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney
You’ll find fluffy fresh scones with vanilla bean cream, delicious sandwiches and savoury pastries, plus delectable sweets at the Radisson Blu high tea. The tea is topped with a pair of salted caramel swans that you’ll be torn between eating and taking home as a souvenir. The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel also offers gluten-free, kids and vegan high tea. Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney, 27 O’Connell St, Sydney
The Cortile, InterContinental Sydney
A classic high tea served with a modern twist. High tea at the InterContinental is served inside the restored 1851 Treasury building, making it the most visually stunning building of all high tea locations. The sweets are tea-themed, such as the Jasmine Gold tea crème brulée. InterContinental Sydney, 117 Macquarie St, Sydney
Sheraton on the Park
Choose from a classic tea stand or the buffet high tea. Their high tea stands are often themed, such as the Fashion High Tea, or Christmas. The buffet is excellent quality and value at $49pp, and includes an ice cream station, fresh creme brulee, sandwiches, savouries, scones, crepes and platter after platter of sweet treats. Sheraton on the Park, 161 Elizabeth St, Sydney
A classic high tea with the best view in Sydney. Ask for a seat on the balcony and watch out for kookaburras who like to swoop down and steal sandwiches. The scones are served fresh and warm, and the staff are outstanding. It’s hard to top this high tea, which is why you’ll need to book well in advance. Gunners Barracks, Suakin Dr, Mosman
Westin Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Fall down the rabbit hole into a whimsical high tea land where all of the dishes are inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Enjoy delicacies such as the The Mad Hatter’s Hat (rich dark chocolate mud cake encased in chocolate icing) and The White Rabbit’s Pocket Watch (purple macaroon with a blueberry cream filling). Westin,Lobby Level, 1 Martin Place Sydney
Dining at the newly renovated Langham is an elegant affair. I enjoyed their Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood for Mother’s day last year, where a sophisticated high tea is served in Wedgwood china specifically designed for The Langham hotel. The environment is opulent and serene, the high tea full of tarts, tasty sandwiches and savouries. Do yourself a favour and book into the excellent Langham spa downstairs for a treatment after your tea is finished. The Langham Hotel, 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
The Tea Room QVB
Set in the historic Queen Victoria Building, afternoon tea at the QVB is a popular outing. The Tea Room is owned by the same company as the Gunners Barracks, which ensures that both teas are of a high standard. Be sure to arrive hungry as the extremely efficient staff offer extra sandwiches once yours have run out. For something different, try the Oriental High Tea which features Peking duck pancakes and and scallop and ginger dumplings. The Tea Room QVB, 3, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George St, Sydney
The Tea Salon
Tucked away inside a quiet nook of Westfield Sydney, from the inside it’s easy to forget you’re dining inside a shopping centre. They have an extensive tea selection (try the “Creme Brulee”) and a choice of scone flavour (their speciality). On the day we visited we tried a limited edition Katherine Sabbath high tea, which was developed in conjunction with the amazing baker, featuring a fancy donut, and a special blueberry, white chocolate scone. The Tea Salon, Westfield Sydney, Lvl 4, Cnr Pitt Street Mall and Market Street, Sydney
The Tea Cosy
A family owned and operated cafe tucked into the historic Rocks district of Sydney, The Tea Cosy boasts “Scones and tea like Nana used to make”. Choose from a wide variety of teas and scones, which will likely be the best you’ve ever tasted. Scones are served warm and fresh with house-made jams (that are available for purchase). The high tea option comes with delicious finger sandwiches such as egg and cucumber and cream cheese, plus old English style pastries on top such as a lemon meringue tart and friand muffin. The tea pot cosies are so cute you’ll be tempted to buy one of them, too. The Tea Cosy, 33 George St, The Rocks NSW
Parliament House of New South Wales
The most exclusive high tea in Sydney, served only on the last Friday of each month, this is also the only high tea in Sydney that you’ll have to pass through a metal detector to gain admission. Dine in the Strangers’ Dining Room that is usually off-limits to the public, overlooking Hyde Park. The bocconcini tartlet with chive coulis was a fave, as were the sandwiches – with a second plate being delivered after the first was finished. Parliament House of New South Wales, Parliament of New South Wales, 6 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth High Tea with Christina Re
The Wentworth hotel has partnered with High Tea and Lifestyle designer Cristina Re to create beautiful high teas presented on the designer’s vintage-inspired Signature High Tea collection, adorned in 24 carat gold finishes. The high teas are often themed in collaboration with Sydney’s art and culture scene – for example, when we dined on previous occasions, we enjoyed their limited edition Sleeping Beauty and Archibald high teas, which were in conjunction with the Australian Ballet and AGNSW. The Wentworth has the best value kids’ high teas around – at $40 they might sound a bit steep, but they are virtually identical to the adult ones so two or three kids could easily share one. Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, 61-101 Phillip Street, Sydney
Try the Traditional or Chocolate High Tea at the Shangri-La Sydney, created by their amazing Executive Pastry Chef, Anna Polyviou. As you’d expect from an innovative pastry chef, the pastries on this high tea stand are the most innovative and delicious you will find anywhere, including her famous carrot cake. Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, 176 Cumberland St, Sydney
Hard core chocolate lovers will enjoy this sweet-heavy high tea at Coco Chocolate’s studio and school location in Mosman. Sit outdoors and enjoy an informal high tea with a stunning view of the Sydney harbour. As befits a chocolate high tea, treats include a shot of hot chocolate, chocolate pistachio shortbread, florentines, scones with jam & cream, melting moments, flourless orange cakes, chocolate cakes, and, the star of the high tea, a selection of house-made chocolate. Bookings are essential as each tea is made to order. Coco Chocolate, Sydney Chocolate School and Coco Chocolate Studio, Past Burnt Orange and HMAS Penguin at Chowder Bay Rd turnoff, Building 21, 1110 Middle Head Road, Mosman
Vaucluse House Tea Rooms
Take a trip back in time and dine at historic Vaucluse House. The sandstone mansion was built in the 1830s and is set in 10 hectares of picture perfect gardens stretching down to the harbour. The high tea features a delicious array of savoury tarts and sandwiches, fresh scones, and sweets that include a sugar-covered donut and delicate fairy-floss. After your tea, wander through the building or meet the farm animals out the back. There is plenty of space to roam in solitude and enjoy the serenity. Bookings essential. Vaucluse House Tea Rooms, Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse
Park Hyatt Sydney
Located on the waterfront and delivering a perfect view of Sydney Harbour, high tea at the Park Hyatt is the popular location for a groups such as a bridal showers. The high tea features finger sandwiches, warm scones with jam and cream, and mini cakes, tartlets and macarons. For larger groups, a private room is available. Park Hyatt Sydney, 7 Hickson Road The Rocks Sydney
Are there any high teas I’ve missed? I’d love to know where to try next!
Let’s begin by saying that Sydney’s ice cream game is strong. Aqua S burst into an already saturated market with its now famous aqua blue Sea Salt Soft Serve. It was an Instagram sensation, sending countless food bloggers to the tiny ice cream store to try their unusual flavoured soft served, and photograph it against the cloud-painted wall inside the shop. A new dessert sensation was born, and Aqua S has been holding its own as a solid dessert spot in Sydney ever since.
Aqua S has weekly flavours such as Pandan, Lychee and Green Apple. Mix them up with the basic Sea Salt for the gorgeoyus coloured twist, and add fairy floss, caramel popcorn or a toasted mashmallow for a truly Instagrammable dessert.
I found the soft serve to be very creamy and rich, and the sea salt flavour to taste more like salted caramel than anything else. There is plenty of seating inside and the store is easily accessible for strollers/wheelchairs.
The once industrial inner east of Sydney has come a long way. It’s now full of cute little dining spots, including The Sweet Spot, a kid-friendly cafe in Waterloo that is famous for its delicious desserts.
We stumbled upon the patisserie in search of a sweet hit, and continued to return for its savoury dishes.
A regular order for us would be Corn Fritters (roast tomato, avocado, bacon, balsamic reduction, poached eggs & a slice of sourdough, $15) where I swap the bacon for haloumi, kids’ chocolate milkshake, Pancakes ($12) and the Big Breakfast (chorizo, spinach, mushrooms, bacon, roast tomato and 2 eggs, $18).
We found the food very reasonably priced, big portions, and absolutely delicious. We could easily very happily share two meals, but it’s all so delicious we would end up ordering one dish each, then stuffing ourselves to the brim.
While there is nothing particularly kid-friendly about the cafe, we found the open air seating, spaciousness and attitude of the staff to make the patisserie very family-friendly. There is plenty of room for strollers to fit next to tables, and if little ones need to be strolled, there is a long ramp that leads down out of the cafe where babies can be calmed down or walked around until they’re able to return to the cafe. It’s an easy place to escape from other diners if your kids aren’t having a good day out.
This tiny little place, tucked away from busy Darling street, is one of the most kid-friendly cafes in Balmain. While their main game is coffee (check out their website, The Little Marionette for more details about their roasting business), they also have fantastic food and friendly, accomodating staff.
We noticed on our visit that most families were getting their coffee and food to go, and enjoying it in Gladstone Park across the road. We chose to dine in and enjoyed the surprisingly quiet dining area inside.
It’s pretty obvious that families are among the prime visitors to this little cafe from the outside. They have set up a challkboard wall and at any time of day you’ll see either kids creating a masterpiece on the wall and pavement, or evidence of the mini Picasso who had dined there perviously. It’s a genius move really, as parents can order their coffee or food to go while kids are happily occupied.
We ordered an In House Bircher Museli (with yoghurt and honey, small $7), pot of English Breakfast organic tea ($4), Breakfast Sandwich (fried eggs, bacon, spinach, fresh tomato and avocado topped with relish on Turkish toast, $12), a kid’s toasted Cheese Sandwich ($4), Babyccino ($1), flat white ($4).
The babyccino was a hit, with the takeaway cup and marshmallow perched on the straw. My bircher was delicious – very generous serve for a “small” size. Alec said repeatedly how delicious his sandwich was, so I think we have found our new regular cafe in Balmain.
Across the road from Marionette on Booth is Gladstone Park, where you will find large grassed areas under cover of trees, a large playground with climbing structures for kids of a wide age range, basketball courts and bathrooms.
Grandma’s Little Bakery is a kid-friendly cafe in Alexandria, serving up home-style cooking and baking in a cosy, friendly environment. Their concept is “bringing together flavours & loved recipes from real Grandmas & Grandpas from all over the world”, which I found very sweet.
As a result, their menu features dishes like their famous Shakshuka (2 eggs served on a hot pan, olive oil with added ingredients like feta or spinach, served w/ Bread), soups, salads, sandwiches, and an all-day breakfast menu.
This little cafe is a favourite with families because of its little play area inside. While it is really best suitable for toddlers, older kids were having a blast in there too.
We ordered the Unique Ricotta Pancakes (served with yogurt, strawberry & dressing with honey blossom sauce with a touch of nuts & seeds, $12.50), an iced chocolate, $5.50, and a kids’ fresh juice, $4.90.
The food wasn’t the fastest, but we were there on a busy day. We also found the staff to be a bit harried, but again, probably because it was a busy day.
The store part of the cafe features rows upon rows of jams, cookies and baked goods if you feel like taking something home for later.
Eden Coffee used to be our local brekkie joint when we lived nearby. While their focus is on providing the best coffee possible to diners, they also have fantastic food, friendly staff and a very welcome vibe. If you’re after a kid-friendly cafe in Zetland with great coffee and delicious food, Eden is your best bet.
Despite there being nothing particularly kid-friendly at this cafe, like a kid’s menu or play equipment, it’s still really family-friendly, as evidenced by the many families who brunch here every weekend. Mums regularly park their strollers at the tables both outside and indoors, as the cafe is big and roomy, with an upbeat atmosphere that welcomes tiny and perhaps noisy guests.
We dined at Eden on many, many, many occasions. My regular dish was the Avocado Smash plus Haloumi (smashed avocado on sourdough with roasted tomatoes), or the Eve’s Breakfast (eggs your way, house-made baked beans, sauteed mushrooms and kale, roasted tomatoes on sourdough), while Alec loved the Adam’s Breakfast (eggs your way, spinach, bacon, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, baked beans, on sourdough).
We would regularly order a babyccino, kid’s milkshake or smoothie for Cheese, plus either banana bread or toast.
The staff at Eden are fantastic. There’s nothing like your regular cafe knowing you and your order when you walk in (or perhaps it’s a sign that we are boring and should branch out into other menu items?).
Highly recommend our old local. If you’re in the ‘hood, drop by!
We were wandering around Annandale recently and came across the adorable Lemonia Cafe right on Booth Road. The cafe has heavy Greek influence, from it’s name (inspired by the greek word Zesty (Ζέστη) which translates in English to “marked by spirited enjoyment”) to the menu. A chalk board inside the cafe proclaims that fresh Greek cakes will be available on Monday afternoons and we are sad that it’s Saturday and not Monday so we could try them.
The menu has lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. No specific kid menu, but there are plenty of things that kids will eat.
The charming waitress taking our order noticed our preschooler was getting antsy and we had neglected to bring anything to entertain her, and very thoughtfully took her to the back of the cafe to select some toys and a colouring in sheet from a cabinet. On closer inspection, the toys could do with a bit of a bath, but the colouring in sheets and pencils were very welcome!
Our food came quickly and was all spot on. Alec had the Megalo Brekky (your choice of eggs, grilled tomato, confit mushrooms, chorizo, roasted chats, bacon & sourdough $21). His mushrooms in particular were fab, but his whole dish was fresh and full of flavour. I ordered Luxe Artisan Toast (sourdough $6) plus a side of Avocado ($4.5) for Cheese, and the Museli Bowl (natural yogurt with a choice of mixed berry, poached pear confit or fresh strawberries with toasted museli $11) for me.
My muesli dish was just how I like it – mostly natural yogurt and fruit with a small amount of museli.
Next to the cafe is a small shady park that is perfect for kids to run around in, or you can walk to the nearby Orphan School Creek playground a few streets away in Forest Lodge (entry via Wood st).