There are few places that truly cater to all crowds, but Belgrave Cartel hits the mark. Inside this quirky cafe, bar and restaurant you’ll find bearded surfers sipping macchiatos next to a table of elderly grandmas enjoying flat whites.
The unusual yet comfortable eatery is the brainchild of brothers Joe, Mick and Andrew Bruzzese and good friend Pete Mill. The Cartel boys had all been in hospitality for years and with Italian blood running through three brothers’ veins, food has always been an important part of their lives.
Together they decided to open a little cafe, just down the road from the Manly police station. With a name like Belgrave Cartel, they quickly gained attention from their neighbours and transformed a few curious visitors into their first loyal customers.
Belgrave Cartel started with just a few jaffles, specialty coffee and a bit of help from their mum’s famous recipes. Soon the trio were joined by Pete, and a dream to expand started to become a reality. Together they knocked down a few walls, creating a more open space that could transform from a cafe by day into a buzzing bar and restaurant by night.
But the bar isn’t the only thing that’s buzzing. While plenty of cafes grow their own herbs, there are only a handful that produce their own honey. With the help of a local apiarist, Belgrave Cartel’s rooftop is home to a series of beehives that help increase Sydney’s bee population and provide golden nectar for their seasonal menus.
Try some of the naturally sweet honey smothered upon toast or banana bread from Luxe Bakery, or opt for a hearty, Italian inspired breakfast of scrambled eggs, salami, roast peppers, mushrooms and basil.
For your caffeine kick, there’s Belgrave Cartel’s Escobar coffee blend, made from predominately Colombian beans with a nutty and warm spiciness that leads to a subtle sweet orange and chocolate flavour.
When the sun is high in the sky there are plenty of sandwiches and a rotating array of salads. Staying close to their Italian roots, the boys also serve a daily pasta special, as well as Mumma’s lasagne, made from a secret family recipe. Eildon Mahilaj, who was classically trained in some of Milan’s best kitchens, looks after the kitchen as Belgrave Cartel’s Head Chef.
After sundown you’ll find authentic Italian fare with a modern twist, including plenty of antipasti options, risottos, pastas and salads. In the colder months, settle in inside the cosy restaurant, and during summer head out into the lush courtyard for a few vinos and maybe even a cocktail. Pete is the self-appointed sommelier – the wine list is full of his favourite drops from all around Australia and a few special bottles from Italy and Europe.
With so much on offer it’s easy to see why Manly has fallen in love with Belgrave Cartel.