Now, I admit to being guilty of one thing - I am a total location snob when it comes to morning eats. Well, lets face it (and allow me to justify). Most of the trending Sydney brunch spots happen to be popping up somewhere either in the Inner West or in the Eastern Suburbs. That's where all the cool kids are, right? And yes, admittedly I do habitually flock to these oh-so-hot-right-now spots - my motive usually influenced by the influx of instagrams coming from said spot. There's just something about an amaro filter on Eggs Benedict that makes me come running.
The irony in my brunch-behaviour is despite my usual brunching postcodes, I actually live on the lower north shore. I consistently travel to get a good dose of poached eggs, rarely exploring what my own side of the bridge has to offer. This however all changed one particular Sunday morning. My more north-shore-savvy friends suggested hitting up Sotto on West, a cafe in North Sydney that they themselves frequent. In an urge to get hot food and coffee into my body sooner rather than later (crossing the bridge), I accepted the foreign notion of brunching locally, and off we went.
Taking a seat at one of the tables on the footpath outside, I was impressed by the variety of seating. To me, the right table is near as crucial to my cafe experience as the quality of coffee (Sotto uses Allpress $3.50, for my fellow coffee lovers). With thrice a choice to sit either inside; outside on the footpath, or to pop out the back to the tree-shaded deck (swoon) they have their seating sorted. Once handed a menu, I was instantly loving their approach. A concise offering; not too many items, not too few, and the perfect amount of breakfast menu staples. Their dishes boast enough of a fresh twist to spark my interest – but aren't so re-done and pretentious that I can't quite relate. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for trying new things on the food front - but I like some sense of tradition on my breakfast plate.
We all opted for “Please stop being so Corny” - Corn and Zucchini Fritters, with Avocado Salsa, Harissa, Haloumi, Two Free Range Poached Eggs and Toasted Bread of choice ($18.50) - with the option to add Wood Smoked Bacon ($21.50). Don't even ask if I opted for bacon, hello – is the pope catholic?! In all honesty I actually despise all ordering the same thing when brunching with friends. It gives me no opportunity to scope out the potential in other menu items. I like to preview other options for my hopeful return. I must say though, that in this case our mimicked decision was indeed the golden ticket to content town. No remorse in my order whatsoever. There was the perfect amount of cheesy, frittery, leafy goodness in each avocado topped fork-full. But most importantly, the free-range eggs were poached to gooey perfection (egg poaching standards are a deal breaker for any food lover).
All in all, we were there for well over an hour (not due to slow service - our meals were prompt from the kitchen), but because it's such a comfy and feel-good space. Ordering extra coffees to sit around and continue chatting post brunch just felt right. The Sotto staff are that great amount of helpful and friendly without smothering you. The ultimate atmosphere for Sunday morning de-briefs with your friends or family gatherings.
It's such a delight to now know a great latte sipping, brunch grazing escape just around the corner from where I call home. My regular Sunday morning missions across the bridge and through the city now don't seem so compulsory. Thank-you Sotto On West for birthing my faith in the Lower North Shore brunch scene, I really appreciate it.
Where: 67 West St, North Sydney NSW
Why: Fabulous fritters and sunshine dining
Cost: $15 - $30
When: Mon - Sat (6:30am-4:30pm) Sun (7:30am-2:30pm)