Category Archives: Sydney – Inner East

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Robocog, Surry Hills – Rating 21.5/25

This gallery contains 7 photos.

On Riley Street, near the corner of Campbell Street is a fairly new café that will hopefully be open for a long, long time.  It has gotten to the point where you’re either extremely brave or extremely foolish to open … Continue reading

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Caffé Sicilia, Surry Hills – Rating 21/25

This gallery contains 9 photos.

‘Another new café on Crown Street?’ we hear you ask.  Yes and this one’s a charm.  We decide to sit inside on this rainy April day and it’s a great decision.  There is a type of theatrics to the place.  … Continue reading

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Gnome Café, Surry Hills – Rating: 18/25

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Driving along Crown Street, Surry Hills, you can tell instantly which are the popular cafés by how many people are queuing outside.  This morning we thought we would buck this trend and initially stopped at a quieter establishment.  After not … Continue reading

Toast Cafe, Surry Hills – Rating: 19/25

Toast Cafe

Toast Cafe is housed in a converted warehouse a few blocks from central station.  This part of town is usually deserted on the weekends but as the sun came up, the sleepy inner city dwellers rolled out of bed and made their way down to the corner of Reservoir and Mary Streets.  The outside seating was attractive but the warm and inviting interior soon won us over.

Skim Cappuccino

The wait staff were very friendly and took our drink orders quickly.  We ordered two skim cappuccinos ($3.50) which were hot and delicious.  We were told that the barista could draw impressive designs on a flat white or latte but we were content with our coffees.

Sweet corn & kaffir lime fritters

Arriving early we couldn’t spy on our neighbours meals for inspiration, so instead we ordered from the descriptions on the menu.  Our guest ordered the Sweet corn & kaffir lime fritters ($16.50) and was impressed.  They were light, flavoursome and beautifully presented. The dish included a poached egg, grilled halloumi, salsa, avocado and chilli jam.  It was innovative for a breakfast dish and wasn’t oily or starchy- a common drawback of corn fritters.

Moroccan breakfast

We also ordered the Moroccan breakfast ($16.50) which consisted of poached eggs, hommus, dukkah, spinach & garlic, coriander potatoes and served with grilled flat bread.  It was a departure from the standard breakfast dished and was very filling.  The juicy spinach went well with the salty potatoes and dukkah.  The hummus hidden underneath was slightly bland but added a good texture to the other ingredients.

Toast Cafe Interior

Toast is hidden away from the main roads but still conveniently located.  If you have time to spare before catching a train or bus from central station we recommend dropping into this cosy cafe.  As we left it was bustling with life and some amazing dishes were coming out of the kitchen.  On our next visit we plan to try the French toast, Eggs benedict and a Frappe (all which looked divine).  They also had some interesting cast iron teapots being whisked around to patrons.  The menu quotes ‘a selection of teapots available’.  We’ll be back to sample the teapots!

Taste: StarStarStarStar
PresentationStarStarStarStar
Service: StarStarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStarStar
Value: StarStarStarStar

Overall Rating: 19/25

Website: http://www.toastcafe.com.au/
Phone: 9280 2615
Address: 45 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Payment Options: Cash, Cards

Café Mint, Surry Hills – Rating: 20/25

Café Mint

Café Mint

Do you see that crowd forming?  They’ve obviously been to Café Mint before and know what to expect in terms of a great breakfast experience.  Located on Crown Street in Surry Hills very close to the corner of Cleveland Street, we were very lucky to get there before the late morning public holiday rush.  There are only two tables outside – very small, simple tables with even smaller stools that tuck inside them.  There are maybe twelve more tables inside.  It’s a small, busy café with quick, professional and attentive staff.  As you take a seat you too may notice the touch of mint in the air.  Funky trip hop and 80’s-style tunes bump in the background as we settle in.

Orange, banana and mango frappe

Orange, banana and mango frappe

April: The Orange, banana and mango frappe ($5) was thick, cool and delicious.  So thick in fact that I had to get half of it to take away at the end of the meal.  I enjoyed this after I digested my yummy breakfast.

Other flavours were mixed berry/pineapple, lemon & mint/grapefruit & almond.  So nice to see a few variations to the common offerings.

Fruit salad whip

Fruit salad whip

If you can’t decide which frappe you want and would rather have an entire fruit salad in a glass then may we suggest the fruit salad whip ($5.50). The menu doesn’t say what’s in it but we could detect overtones of lychee or rabutan as well as watermelon.  It does taste fantastic and we’ll be having it again when we return.

Skim cappuccino

Skim cappuccino

Allpress coffee – the flavour was superb and can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Spicy lamb mince on hommus

Spicy lamb mince on hommus

Dane: I wanted to experience something different to the usual café fare and being in a Turkish-inspired establishment, I thought the spicy lamb mince on hommus ($11.90) was the way to go.  The serving looked insufficient on arrival but it was more than filling enough.  The hommus was wonderfully spiced and I had to constantly fight away inbound forks of others who had already snuck a taste.  The lamb was spiced as promised but not spicy so chilli fearers can order this without feat.  The blend of spices reminded me of North African dishes I have tasted in the past.  There was a generous helping of pinenuts that suited the dish well and you’ll also be wishing there was more of the pomegranate roast onions on top.  The za’atar toast provided my taste buds with even more flavours and I found myself stealing it from the other plates at the table to scoop more mince onto!

 

Turkish breakfast

Turkish breakfast

Turkish breakfast with spicy baked beans side

Turkish breakfast with spicy baked beans side

April: Being a mostly reformed vegetarian, I shied away from the lamb and chose The Turkish Breakfast ($14.50).  I was in heaven.  The olives were succulent, the za’atar salty and the haloumi to die for.  I loved the small proportions in different dishes and their combined flavours.  Can you spot the difference in the pictures above?  Our guest ordered the Turkish Breakfast with spicy baked beans ($3.50) on the side which was a great decision.  I ended up stealing a few mouthfuls when she wasn’t looking which made me squeal with delight.  I can’t wait to come back and try some more of the dishes on their breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menus.

We recommend leaving some time aside afterwards to digest these delicious meals.  Once this has been done, we propose a light game of barefoot Frisbee on the well manicured grass in front of the quadrangle of Sydney University.  What a great way to start a Sunday!

Taste: StarStarStarStar
PresentationStarStarStarStar
Service: StarStarStarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStarStar
Value: StarStarStar

Overall Rating: 20/25

Website:  http://www.cafemint.com.au
Phone:  9361 6640
Address: 579 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 2010

Payment Options: Cash only – there’s an ATM two doors down, $2.50 surcharge on public holidays

Fouratefive, Surry Hills – Rating 20/25

Fouratefive

Fouratefive

Nestled inbetween boutique clothing stores and other trendy cafés, Fouratefive has seating to please all.  From the outdoor tables on Crown Street to stools at the window, benches inside and a large table that would suit a big group.  The staff at Fouratfive were fantastic.  They were attentive, friendly and fast.  Chilled glasses and cold water were brought out to us soon after sitting down.  Pets are welcome – our waitress even brought two sausages and a bowl of water out for our dog!

Carrot, apple & ginger juice

Carrot, apple & ginger juice

There are a variety of freshly squeezed juices on offer such as apple, pineapple, orange, passionfruit, watermelon, apple, lemon and ginger.  One of our party treated themselves to a carrot, apple & ginger juice ($5) and was very happy with the fresh, cold and flavoursome drink.  The ginger added a great flavour boost.

Skim Cappuccino

Skim Cappuccino

The skim cappuccino ($3.50) was fantastic and was served by the very friendly barista.

Free range eggs with roasted truss tomatoes & haloumi

Free range eggs with roasted truss tomatoes & haloumi

The free range eggs ($8.50) are served either scrambled, poached or fried with a choice of toast: organic sourdough, soy & linseed, ciabatta or rye spelt.  We chose rye spelt for our dish.  The price of $8.50 is reasonable but it’s once you add ingredients to the dish that the price rises too quickly.  We added haloumi ($4) and roasted truss tomatoes ($3).  You can see from the photo that we received two small strips of haloumi and a tomato – not what a hungry patron would have expected.  Despite our concern over the price of these additions, we were very impressed with this dish.  Despite it’s simplicity, it was well cooked and presented.  The lemon with the haloumi was a nice touch and the eggs were poached perfectly.

Baked eggs

Baked eggs

Fouratefive’s Facebook page asks the question: Why did 4 eat 5? The answer: Cos it tasted like morrocan baked eggs! After eating this dish you will be enlightened enought o understand this pearl of wisdom.  Or not.  Either way, you will be amazed at the flavours baked into this dish.  The baked eggs ($15) contains two eggs and is surrounded by a spiced tomato and capsicum based sauce.  It is similar to the oven baked eggs from Bar Sirocco but definitely unique.  The sauce contains an amazing blend of spices and the paprika gives the dish a nice kick.  The eggs are topped with some labna and almonds and the result must be experienced to be believed.  What a fantastic combination.

French toast

French toast

Not your everyday-looking French toast but another dish that shows how inspired the chefs at Fouratefive are.  The french toast ($12) contained almost whole bananas slice in half through the middle of it.  The flavour of the toast was similar to banana bread.  It was slightly crisp on the outside but moist and soft inside.  The toast is served with maple syrup marscapone and rhubarb.  All-in-all a dish that we could not leave until it was all gone!

Fouratefive interior

Fouratefive interior

Taste: StarStarStarStar
PresentationStarStarStarStar
Service: StarStarStarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStarStar
Value: StarStarStar

Overall Rating: 20/25

Website:  http://www.fouratefive.com/
Phone: 9698 6485
Address: 485 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 2010

Payment Options: CC, EFTPOS, cash

Bird Cow Fish, Surry Hills – Rating: 17.5/25

Bird Cow Fish

Bird Cow Fish

Disappearing from Balmain only to grace the streets of Surry Hills with its presence, we were enticed to Bird Cow Fish based on the positive reputation of its dinner menu.  On the corner of Crown and Rainford streets away from the other busy cafés we soon realised the stillness of the Bird Cow Fish may have been for a reason.  We experienced lacklustre service which was disappointing for such an established name.  Compared to our previous reviews, the relevantly premium prices at first seemed unreasonable however our tune quickly changed once we took our first bites.

Piccolo Latte

Piccolo Latte

An expert barista obviously resides here.  The piccolo latte ($4.50) was esquisitely brewed and packed the punch one would expect from a short coffee.  Perfectly brewed.

Cloudy apple & pineapple juice

Cloudy apple & pineapple juice

It was out fault for not seeing that on the menu it didn’t say fresh juice.  We ordered half cloudy apple, half pineapple juice ($4) expecting it to be squeezed.  Unfortunately it was a small glass of carton juice.

Ricotta pancake with grilled doughnut peaches & custard

Ricotta pancake with grilled doughnut peaches & custard

This is where the fun started.  The food blew us away.  The ricotta pancake ($15.50)  (yes just one) was soft, light and featured a touch of vanilla.  The grilled peaches were a heavenly touch and the custard fresh.  It took all of our will power not to cry out for more!

Three egg omelette

Three egg omelette

Looks can be deceiving.  Awaiting on the inside of the three egg omelette ($16.50) was a mouthwatering combination.  Gruyere cheese and basil throughout with generous highlights of prosciutto and gorgeous sweet caramelised onion.  The eggs were fluffy and hid a delicious layer of gruyere just below.

With dishes like we experienced this morning, we will definitely be returning to Bird Cow Fish.  One-off poor service experiences and carton juice can be overlooked for such great flavours.

Taste: StarStarStarStar
PresentationStarStarStarStar
Service: StarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStarStar
Value: StarStarStar

Overall Rating: 17.5/25

Website: http://www.birdcowfish.com.au
Phone: 9380 4090
Address: Shops 4 & 5, 500 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 2010

Payment Options: CC, EFTPOS, cash