Opened in 1993, the Bogey Hole Cafe is located in Bronte, and it is owned by the More family, which has a history in the area dating back to 1925.
The cafe serves breakfast and lunch daily (it is also open for dinner seasonally), and almost everything is made in-house, from the cakes and biscuits down to the pastas, sauces, jams, muesli, and granola – even the marshmallows for the babycinos.
The cafe takes its name from Bronte’s famous rock pool, known as Bogey Hole, where vacationers and locals alike love to swim. Bogey Hole Cafe is also a favourite spot for surfers, sunbathers, families, and travellers, and, accordingly, a beach vibe comes with the old-time hospitality inside. From the classic dining room, surrounded by the sounds of cappuccinos frothing and bacon sizzling, you can catch excellent views of the beach, too.
The story behind the cafe is a slice of local history. Hannah More owns and operates Bogey Hole Cafe, and, back in the 1950s, her great grandmother, Nanna “Missy” Lowe, owned Bronte’s Hoy Gee Cafe. Missy had immigrated to Australia with her father from China, and her father owned what was at the time the only Chinese newspaper in Haymarket. Missy loved Bronte, and the locals, especially surfers, loved her and her cafe.
As picnicking grew in popularity, Missy specialised in the unusual combination of fish and chips and fried rice, and she served her fried rice in a large paper cup. Surfers loved it as it provided the carbohydrate burst needed after hours on the water. “Old surfers still ask for fried rice to be put on the menu to this day,” said Hannah.
Eventually, Missy handed over the reigns to her oldest daughter, Molly Lowe, and the Hoy Gee cafe continued to make its way. The Delltones and Australian rock pioneer, Col Joye, became regulars, as the cafe was the ideal spot for relaxing after playing sets at the local surf club. At this time, Molly also began hosting Chinese events, including large Sunday-night family dinners, which often included 40 people or more; Chinese New Year celebrations for 200; and 20-course Chinese dinners for the Sydney City Roosters.
Then Molly married Bill Moyes, who had an Italian heritage, and the union helped to make the Bogey Hole Cafe into what it is today. “Everything in those two large families – one Chinese, one Italian – was celebrated with food,” said Hannah, and the family has enjoyed combining the vibrant culinary traditions of Chinese and Italian cultures ever since.
Ultimately, Hoy Gee closed, but Debra Gray, the granddaughter of Missy, went on to re-establish the family’s presence in Bronte in the 1990s. After leaving a career in education, she surveyed the quiet shops in Bronte, which only included one cafe, and decided that the town could use a second option. She opened the Bogey Hole Cafe in 1993.
Today, the cafe has won numerous awards and holds a place in the Courvoisier Book of the Best. “Together with my father, Richard Gray, Debra operated and managed the Bogey Hole Cafe for 19 years,” said Hannah. “And now it’s my turn!”
Hannah and her husband and four children live in Maroubra, where Hannah also operates The North End cafe. “My combined Chinese and Italian heritage influences my menus,” she said. “I love to cook and be around food, and I want my children to grow up sharing the same passion and joy that food brings to a family.”