Monday, July 04, 2011

June 25, 2011: Badde Manors Cafe

In late June Michael and I found ourselves in Sydney for the weekend! We caught up with a few friends but spent Saturday as a twosome - strolling the city, greedily soaking up the sun and eating where we pleased. We started out in Glebe for breakfast. The market stalls didn't appeal as much as we'd hoped so we crossed the street to Badde Manors Cafe.

Badde Manors clearly has some history - this vegetarian cafe was established in 1982. It's easy to imagine several generations of students and artists adopting it as their second home. The crowd this Saturday morning was quite eclectic, ranging from teens to young families, recovering ravers and a few geriatric punks.

The menu is solid, if not innovative, vegetarian fare. Breakfast offers eggs several ways, mushrooms or beans on toast, fruit and muesli and yoghurt, pancakes and French toast, open grills and bagels. Vegan options (23% of the brekkies) are marked and they apparently offer gluten-free toast.

Michael went for the scrambled tofu and tamari ($9.50) with a side of mushrooms ($3.50). Though he'd ordered soy coffees and a vegan-ticked plate it arrived with a butter sachet - a sign that vegans should definitely specify their needs and not assume that staff will notice. Michael was disappointed that this was more a stir-fry than a scramble, and a little too sweet for his taste. Still, it was a very generous serve for the price with Michael not even managing to finish it all.

I was after something that'd sustain me reliably for a few hours, not my usual sugar rush, so I picked the open grill with mushrooms, avocado, shallots and fresh tomato ($9.50) with a side of chat potatoes ($2.50). The mushrooms were delicious but the plate was otherwise a bit bland - I found myself repeatedly reaching for the salt and pepper for a boost. Just a lemon wedge could've saved it, I reckon. The fresh bread was excellent, but so crusty that it was near-impossible to cut with the butter knife I was equipped with. I left the last quarter in defeat.

Props, though, for a pitch-perfect raspberry and apple juice ($5) - sweet and sour and free of that scummy fresh-juice froth that creeps me out. I found out about Badde Manors' famous chai too late, but still don't regret choosing the juice instead. The desserts they display have a good reputation, and Michael said the pancakes that someone behind me ordered looked amazing. Maybe this cafe's forte is the sweet stuff.

While we weren't totally wowed by our breakfasts, they were solid value for money. I enjoyed the old school vibe of Badde Manors and gather that it's a venue that fills many a Sydney-sider with nostalgia.


Badde Manors is clearly considered a local institution, captured on film at In Sydney with an old Leica, and in paint by Eloise O'Hare.

Badde Manors Cafe
1/37 Glebe Point Road, Glebe Sydney NSW
9660 3797
veg breakfasts $3.50-$13.50

Accessibility: This cafe has a flat entry and average-width door, though it is quite cluttered inside. Outdoor tables offer a bit more space. Service is at the table, payment at a high counter. We didn't visit the toilets.


  1. Badde Manors, I remember it well from my undergraduate student days in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I'm glad it's still there despite all the changes Glebe's been through.

  2. I LOVE avocado! I just got a huge craving for it after seeing this post :) They taste their best right now too.

  3. Happy memories of eating here in the second half of the '80s. Then in the '90s I fell in love with Iku and the affair was over.

  4. Bit of a shame that the food wasn't spectacular but oh! those prices! You're lucky to get a serve of raisin toast in Canberra for $9.50 :S

  5. EssEmDot - yeah, nice to see some older businesses persevering!

    Marine - I've noticed that avos are tasting pretty great now too. Yum. :-)

    AOF - I imagined that if you'd spent much time in Sydney you'd know this place. :-D We've passed a couple of Iku outlets when in Sydney but not tried them yet!

    Ah, Hannah, that's a bit sad. The prices certainly befit the stereotypical starving student/artist clientèle. ;-)

  6. I've never been there but I'd really like to after seeing your brekky. I wonder if the gfree toast is vegan because I'd love the open grill, it looks great.

  7. Mandee, I'd be interested to see what you think if you make it there!