‘This hill is really testing my fitness.’
I was too puffed to give a coherent reply, so when at last we reached the top Albion Street, I leaned as nonchalantly as I could against the traffic light (when what I really wanted to do was collapse against it) and after a few breaths, replied ‘At least we’ve worked up an appetite now.’
Ain’t nothing gonna break our stride! I had been planning a little Surry Hills brunch foodie trek for some time, and a good fellow foodie friend of mine, Kulinary Adventures of Kath, was more than enthusiastic to join me on my quest. Unfortunately we hadn’t bargained on the steep hill on the way to our first stop, Bill’s, which Google Maps had failed to indicate.
I’ve made a couple of Bill Granger’s recipes on the blog so far, the Ricotta Hotcakes for one and also his Zucchini Fritters, both of which were delicious. I quite like his breakfast and brunch recipes, which have a fairly no-nonsense, straight-forward approach to food and are quite easy and quick. I also swear by his recipe for spicy meatballs, which I’ve edited somewhat and turned into my very own I Hate Mondays Burger – the recipe for which you folks shall have later this week.
We found Bill Granger’s cafe very easily on Crown Street – just go to where the line is. Being about 11.00 am in the morning, we probably had about seven people in front of us, so we thought we were in a good position. It was a slight surprise though, to see Adriano Zumbo walking out of the cafe with a group of friends, and both of us girls were a little starstruck as he walked down the street. No one else seemed to have noticed him.
We were seated inside after an approximately half an hour wait. The interior decor is very white with splashes of blue and grey stainless steel – it’s all very much in the style of Bill’s cookbooks.
Furniture inside is all pale wooden chairs and tables, with a long communal table in the centre of the room for larger groups or individuals dining alone. There was a big bowl of brown eggs in the centre of it, which I snapped a picture of, as how often do you see that many eggs together?
Service was brisk but friendly, and we consulted the menu un-necessarily, as with the both of us being foodies, of course we had already looked up the menu online and deduced what we wanted. We were right at 11.30, and while the menu changes over to brunch at 12.00 noon on the dot, we both had dishes we would order from either so were happy with the breakfast menu.
Kath ordered a Chai tea ($4) and the Coconut Bread with Ricotta & Honey ($7.50), while I went for the infamous Ricotta Hotcakes which came with fresh banana and honeycomb butter ($17.50). I had previously made the Ricotta Hotcakes myself from his exact recipe and while they were pretty good (if I do say so myself), I wanted to see how they compared to the authentic ones!
Her Chai arrived first with a little shot glass of honey. We had asked about how the Chai was made when we ordered, and the waiter told us that it was made with some lovely frothed milk.
Her coconut bread arrived, and she was surprised to have two slices, instead of her expected single slice.
Each slice was beautifully toasted, and it lacked the usual oiliness that these sweet breads usually have, which was a delight. It was deliciously crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, incredibly fragrant and the ricotta went with it beautifully.Kath actually couldn’t finish it all, even with my assistance (which is always available).
My ricotta hotcakes I must say, were absolutely beautiful.
You get a mini beaker of maple syrup which you can pour over the incredibly generous stack of hotcakes. The hotcakes were fluffy and light, faintly buttery, and the honeycomb butter on top was absolutely delicious. I demolished the whole lot, which from memory was about four hotcakes, with a little difficulty nearing the end. I have to say, mine do not compare to the real deal in the slightest!
As we had another stop to make, we finished up and left the cafe with some difficulty because we were so full. There was still a line outside, and by now it was about quarter past 12.00.
Quite beautiful and delicious breakfast, I will definitely be visiting again… I might find another route though, so I can avoid the Albion Street hill.
359 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9360 4762