Little Jean

New arrival: Little Jean adds a sleek breeziness to the blue chip backstreets of the east.
New arrival: Little Jean adds a sleek breeziness to the blue chip backstreets of the east. Photo: Christopher Pearce

1 Kiaora Road Double Bay, New South Wales 2028

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Opening hours Mon 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tue-Sat 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM 6:00 – 9:30 PM, Sun 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Features Accepts bookings, Licensed, Breakfast-brunch, Bar, Gluten-free options, Vegetarian friendly
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Christopher Stockdale
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 02 9328 0201

Copper light fittings glint off pristine pale walls, autumnal branches rest in massive vases on the communal table as a reminder that summer's breathed its last sigh. This cafe/diner is a new one for Double Bay, adding a sleek breeziness to the blue chip backstreets of the east.

They're playing Florence and the Machine, there are plenty of outdoor tables out in the pale sunshine and there's a still life of sweet treats lolling about waiting to be ordered with a (very good) Single Origin ristretto.

Over the yowl of the espresso machine, the steady hum of chat between diners and friendly staff ("no, they don't serve diet Coke, yes they do make their pastries in-house, and yes you can order your lunch to go") is joined by the buzzing and screeching of angle grinders from the building site across the path.

Lemon meringue tart.
Lemon meringue tart. Photo: Christopher Pearce

It's a fairly convivial mess of sounds. And on the plate it's a fairly convivial mess of deliciousness. Christopher Stockdale is at the pass here, serving this 80-seater the sort of food he could never have done in his days as head chef at the Golden Sheaf.

Today that translates as loose tongues of house-smoked salmon hidden under lightly pickled ribbons of cucumber, shaved raw fennel, parsley leaves and a scattering of tiny capers. Add a side of char-grilled bread and you have the makings of a DIY bruschetta. There's a nice balance between the fat and acid, the ping of the capers, the char in the toast.

Eating it is a different story, meanwhile. The pieces of fish are king-size, which is fine in a bagel or sandwich, not so easy on a single-sided toast. It's sort of a double act of making sure the fish and salad don't fall off their carb raft, while keeping the fork poised below to catch all the bits that don't quite make it to your mouth.

Pork Milanese.
Pork Milanese. Photo: Christopher Pearce

It's a pretty, Sydneyfied bistro-y menu and not at all your typical Modern Sydney Cafe (sorry, no cold pressed juices or cacao nibs here). If you want that, head next door to About Life for a kombucha.

Forget about paleo, forget about raw, and order the pork milanese. It's exactly what you think it is: a massive three-inch-thick pork cutlet that's been crumbed, deep fried on the bone and served pink and juicy and balanced with a heavily dressed salad of julienned apple, baby rocket leaves and thin slices of raw red onion.

Back to those pastries, which are baked in house every day, from lemon meringue mini tarts, chocolate slices to sweet seasonal buns. Our pick's a shiny and buttery snail, pregnant with sultanas.

Salmon gravalax, pickled radish, cucumber, fennel, soft herbs and lemon.
Salmon gravalax, pickled radish, cucumber, fennel, soft herbs and lemon. Photo: Christopher Pearce

A quick glance at the dinner menu tells us to expect a similar bistro classic vibe with some smart touches (oh hey, house-made haloumi). Double Bay just doubled in awesomeness.

THE LOW-DOWN
Pro tip Swing by first thing in the morning for their breakfast rice pudding 
Try this The illegally juicy pork cutlet 
Like this?
Check out West Juliett for breakfast plates and early morning salads