Three Williams

Is it possible to feel like an establishment was designed, just for you? Maybe.

Three Williams may have been named for three strapping fellows in the history of this part of Sydney; William Redfern, William Chippendale and William Hutchinson- but last Saturday, it could/should have been Four Williams, as our own little Will took a very large shine to this sterling new cafe.

Here are some things to love about Three Williams.

1) It sits in a part of town aching for a decent brunch and lunch spot. That section of Elizabeth St, just north of Redfern park and south of Cleveland St is a leafy stretch of street best known for hosting the annual Dinosaur Designs warehouse sale and the Great Dane design showroom. It’s a stretch of road I would walk past every day on my way to work just a few years ago. Just how much brighter my mornings would have been if I could have stopped in for a take away date, walnut and banana smoothie, or a latte, I won’t know.

2) It almost goes without saying that the coffee is excellent. This is not hard to expect. Three William’s is helmed by Glen Bowditch; ex Sonoma and The Grounds- Glen is a man who knows his caffeine. With him, your hangover/morning jitters/ afternoon wobbles are in very safe hands.

The roast is custom from Single Origin Roasters and is rounded and mellow when melded with milk.

3) The space is elegant. This is not a small and cosy nook of a cafe . It’s a cavernous bunker of polished concrete and blonde wood , set down from the street, that can seat up to 100. Yet the tables are well spaced and the high ceilings gift it a cool and spacious atmosphere.

4) This is a place that is child friendly. God help me, I never thought I’d be extolling the virtues of baby friendly venues, but here we are. There’s a ramp down the side of the room for easy access for strollers. In the far right corner there’s a dedicated child play space ‘Willy’s Corner’ – with blackboard wall and chalk for scrawling.

In the disabled toilet there are baby changing facilities. And the food is exactly what exhausted parents want to eat first thing on a Saturday morning.

5) If you can judge a place in Sydney by the standard of their avocado on toast, then Three Williams is already wearing a crown. The bread is Sonoma’s Mission sourdough- made in the same fashion to their famed Miche, but blonde. I’m yet to think of another place bar Sonoma itself which stocks the Mission. It’s a coup. Avocado toast here comes in a medley with spicy smashed beans (poached eggs on the side optional). It’s sterling- with the wedge of lime nudging it into truly shining territory.

6) For my partner in crime- The Hungry One; a bacon and egg roll is what a good weekend is built upon. While modest in size for someone with an appetite like his, Three Williams’ ‘The Merchant’ is a careful construction of a brioche bun, fried egg, crisp bacon, ranch dressing and the canny inclusion of a pickled slaw for cut through.

7) There is such a great spirit of hospitality here; from the bubbly welcome from the staff, the Saturday papers on offer, free wifi (if you ask) and mooted plans for place for cyclists to park their bikes out back.

The sweet bakery section (muffins/cakes/ pastries) is evolving (give any harried mother in Sydney a rustic berry and ricotta muffin with a coffee at 10.30 am and she’ll love you for life)- though there are just-warm madelines which sit pretty on the menu. And in time there will be a license for booze if you need a beer or glass of something cool to get you through the day. If there was a bircher muesli on the menu, I’d probably move in for life.

And what most people seem to be raving about are the lunch time ‘Narnies’- sandwiches of beef brisket, prawns or tempeh on house made naan bread and salads of caramelised cauliflower with quinoa.

As if we needed any other reason to return. It seems Three Williams is destined to be Four again; and soon.

Three Williams
613a Elizabeth St, Redfern
Mon-Sun, 7am-3pm (coffee until 4pm)
9698 1111, Facebook

  1. Tors, this place looks great, but something has to be said about “Willy’s Corner”, which looks like something Foucault left out of his panopticon. I pity the child that has to play there. It’s not even a real corner. N x

    • You wouldn’t pity the child so much if you were here to wreak havoc along with it. Enough already. Come home. We miss you. And I owe you a drink. xx

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