We’ve been lucky enough to visit some of Sydney’s best restaurants here at DMARGE: from the country’s best surf n’ turf to its first-ever ‘mezcologist’, we do our very best to stay across all the exciting new eateries the city has to offer… and this past weekend was no exception.
The famous Oh Boy Café is back and making quite the splash on Sydney’s harbourside scene. Situated at the iconic Andrew “Boy” Charlton Pool, the café claims to offer not just a meal but an experience that combines vibrant Sydney café culture with the timeless draw of poolside dining.
After a long-overdue makeover and menu revamp, Oh Boy Café has introduced its new star attraction: the Bottomless Brunch. Naturally, we had to put it to the test…
WATCH: Here’s what we ate at this incredible spot.
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Oh Boy Café’s location is nothing short of spectacular. Nestled in the heart of the Domain precinct, the café’s name, inspired by the legendary Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton, pays homage to the historic world record set on the very same ground in 1924. However, it also gently puns on the restaurant’s jaw-dropping location…
On the Eastern side of the domain, looking out across the harbour, it boasts breathtaking views of Woolloomooloo Bay and the Royal Botanical Garden. As you step into Oh Boy Café and catch sight of this panorama, you’ll find yourself exclaiming, “Oh Boy, that view!”. Good marketing, eh?
Before we get into the ins and outs of the culinary delights offered at Oh Boy, it’s worth taking a moment to talk about the pool itself from which the cafe takes its name: the Olympic-length saltwater pool is a thing of beauty, as are the on-site changing facilities that have also been recently overhauled.
I took a dip before my brunch in the hope of building up an appetite. Not only did the pool serve me perfectly in this regard, but it also provided a welcome moment of relaxation and stillness set among the rolling blue hues. Not only did I head up to the cafe hungry but in a rather serene state of mind too…
A Refreshed Culinary Experience
The reopening of Oh Boy Café brings a fresh start to its culinary journey. Carefully curated menus span breakfast, brunch, and lunch, promising something delicious at every time of day.
Breakfast offerings include a nutritious Chickpea Breakfast Bowl, the hearty Bear Breakfast featuring grill-up favourites, and the infamous Bird & Bear Egg and Bacon Roll which I have since returned to devour. Lunch options, on the other hand, include the Crumbed Chicken Schnitzel and the mouth-watering Angus Steak Sandwich that, I hope, will constitute the reason for my third and far-from-final visit…
Now, however, it’s time we turn our attention to the main event: the Bottomless Brunch. Available every Friday to Sunday for just $78 AUD per person, this brunch is the perfect way to capitalise on a calming swim and embrace the joys of a lazy long afternoon in the warm embrace of the harbour.
Diving Into Bottomless Brunch
The Bottomless Brunch at Oh Boy Café promises — and, quite frankly, delivers — a sensory feast like no other. Your experience begins with a shared selection of assorted pastries, including Banana Bread, Danish, and Croissants. Paired with the creamiest natural yogurt I’ve ever eaten alongside a seasonal fruit salad.
Though hard to believe that this is only the first course of four, if enjoyed in moderation (note: this is not a strong suit of mine) these can make for a perfect pallet cleanser when enjoyed alongside a post-swim coffee. Importantly, this course and all those to follow were served to us by Acting Head Chef Kelly who was kind enough to talk us through each dish, detailing the team’s commitment to making everything fresh on-site and working with the best ingredients they can find.
Next up are the “starters”. I put this in inverted commas simply because this, like all the courses presented to us, was incredibly generous in size. In this sense, Oh Boy doesn’t just represent great value for money, it represents immaculate food at a near-unbeatable price point.
To the matter in hand: we enjoyed Hand Stretched Burrata served with ox-heart tomato, aged balsamic, and grilled sourdough alongside a Sliced Meats & Dip Plate, featuring shaved mortadella, salami, smoked labne, crudites, and pickled peppers. The burrata had a similar effect on me to the guacamole I enjoyed at Nu’u last month: it’s one of those dishes that has become so ubiquitous — and often so poorly prepared — that I rarely choose it on restaurant menus these days.
This one, however, turned out to be the exception that proved the rule: it was one of if not the greatest I’ve ever had. Alongside the fresh tomatoes and a very generous serving of olive oil, this was a delight. The smoked labne that was served alongside the meats was similarly revelatory; good enough to swear a man off supermarket hummus for life…
You’ll be unsurprised that the main courses live up to the high bar set by the remainder of the meal. For those craving a lighter option — which given the hugely generous portions enjoyed thus far, you may do well to consider — the Roasted Pumpkin Plate with poached chicken, rocket, marinated chickpeas, fetta, and Salsa Verde is a perfect choice. It’s not all that easy to make a hunk of pumpkin look good, but the presentation on this one is a big winner.
If you’ve still got room for something a little heavier, the Spaghetti & Cuttlefish Ragu with cherry tomatoes, herbs, and EVOO will transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean in one rich, fresh, tomatoey mouthful; given the beautiful views, this isn’t a massive stretch of the imagination.
No good brunch is complete without some sides, and Oh Boy doesn’t disappoint: the seasoned fries with Aioli were flawless — piping hot, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, perfectly seasoned. If you’re the kind of person who can’t leave without a sweet treat, then for an additional $8 per person you can indulge in a heavenly Brownie with Chantilly cream and berries. When I say ‘heavenly’, I’m not exaggerating.
Beverages & Beyond
The eagle-eyed will note that I’m yet to discuss the final but crucial element of any good bottomless brunch: the booze. To complement your meal, Oh Boy Café offers a selection of bottomless beverages to choose from: Mimosas, Rosé, or Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. I went for the latter, but Venue Manager Brad told us he swears by the Rosé which I can imagine hitting the spot just as well…
If you’re looking to kickstart your brunch experience with a little extra flair, Oh Boy also has you covered with some starter cocktails: an Aperol or Rosé Spritz. While I didn’t try these, I’m sure they’re great. I’d also like to shout out their coffee at this juncture, however, as this too made for a wonderful starting pistol on the experience.
Beyond what’s on the menu, Oh Boy has a great deal to offer by way of it’s interiors too: as you embark on your culinary journey, take a moment to appreciate the interiors which have been thoughtfully designed to complement the stunning location: bright whites and warm terracotta hues frame the vivid blue of the pool and the ocean vista, while native flora elements from the neighbouring Royal Botanic Gardens seamlessly integrate with the space, bringing a touch of nature indoors.
For those who came for the latter phrase in my headline, you might be wondering when the relationship drama begins. I’d come along to Oh Boy with my longtime partner in the hope of a romantic start to our weekend… but by the end of my meal, I’d felt my affections shifting elsewhere.
While I wondered initially if they may have been diverted towards our star chef and host Kelly — the famous saying about the route to a man’s heart doesn’t need repeating — I realised that what I’d actually fallen in love with was the setting in which I’d been lucky enough to enjoy her incredible food.
As the first hints of summer sun shone down and glittered off the bright blue harbour waters, I couldn’t help but feel that I had stumbled across something very special. Suffice to say that Oh Boy’s philosophy rings perfectly true: “good food, good stories, good times, by the water”.
Bottomless Brunch is available at the Oh Boy Cafe from 11:30am to 3:00pm every Friday to Sunday and can accommodate groups ranging from 4 to 30 people.