Striking ... The Renegades interior oozes personality. Photo: Fiona Morris
Even if you haven't heard of the Renegades, chances are you may have driven past it, depending on the route you take into Sydney from the airport.
A cafe by day, wine bar by night (surely the Sydney cafe motto of 2013), the Mascot venue is close to Kingsford Smith – so close that ground crew pop in for takeaway coffees and sandwiches, as do locals from the nearby apartment buildings.
Two large street art-style murals dominate the slick, bright fitout with its concrete floors and wooden furnishings. The work of local artist Alex Lehour, the murals are a blend of pop art meets Raymond Chandler with a side serve of self-help, courtesy of slogans such as ''Don't Die Wondering'' and ''Dream a Little Bigger''. Even when the place is quiet, the art injects a vibrant, upbeat personality.
Hearty treat ...Renegade's smoked-salmon stack. Photo: Fiona Morris
We arrive for breakfast after a pit stop at the neighbouring convenience store to pick up the weekend papers. Seems we didn't need to. There's free Wi-Fi at the cafe plus magazines and newspapers.
It's a chilly morning so we find a table away from the open door. On a warmer day, the balcony could be a nice place to perch. Getting the morning started, we gulp down flat whites of Di Gabriel coffee. The teas are from Tea Drop and there are freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.
The house-made bircher muesli is hearty and wholesome. As well as the traditional apple juice-soaked oats, we find slivered almonds and dried apricots, cranberries and coconut. Topped with a serving of yoghurt, fresh strawberries and a berry coulis, it's the kind of breakfast that fills you up and makes you feel worthy. Best of all, it's delicious.
The smoked-salmon stack is another hearty treat. Two pieces of sourdough toast are topped with smoked salmon, fresh baby spinach and a duo of poached eggs. A sweet and subtly spicy tomato relish plus a crumble of creamy goat's cheese cap it off. More goat's cheese would be good, and perhaps a squeeze of lemon.
A good one for the takeaway crowd (we overhear a few orders) is the bacon-and-egg roll. It is in fact a sandwich, filled with fried eggs, baby spinach, tomato relish and lots of bacon. Two slabs of sourdough hold it all together, making it easy to eat with your hands.
Breakfast is served all day on Saturday, but there are lunch options, too. At wine o'clock on Thursdays and Fridays, the menu switches to nibbles and share plates including fries and dips, with wines by the bottle and glass, cocktails and beers. The surrounding businesses are pretty quiet on our weekend visit, but it's easy to imagine the place bustling with work crowds during the week, as one of the few places to grab a drink nearby.
For a leisurely Saturday breakfast, the Renegades is a relaxed place to visit with good food and drink options. The only let-down is the service, which, while friendly, is a little inattentive and haphazard, despite the cafe not being busy.
We make the most of our visit to Mascot and go for a wander before heading home. There's no denying the lure of an overseas adventure, but sometimes it's nice to be a tourist in your own city, too.
Bircher muesli, smoked-salmon stack, coffee
Three and a half stars (out of five)
- 02 8338 8884
- Cuisine - Contemporary
- Prices - Bircher muesli $9, bacon-and-egg roll $8.50, smoked-salmon stack $15.50, coffee $3-$3.80, juices and smoothies $6-$6.50.
- Features - Cheap and cheerful
- Opening Hours - Mon-Wed, 6am-5pm; Thu-Fri, 6am-late; Sat, 7.30am-3pm
- Author - Sarah McInerney