I have to admit, what drew me to check out this place was mostly my instant love for the name. Boots – one of the best things about winter, and darling – one of my favourite terms of endearment. Word on the street is that the name comes from a childhood imaginary friend, and there is a relaxed and quaint atmosphere about the place; situated in the quiet, leafy side of South Dowling Street in Darlinghurst. It’s all warm wood panelling, sunlight streaming in through the expansive windows and thrown-open door, vintage fans, pots of ferns and succulents spilling from the ceiling or onto the table, and of course – bags of coffee beans stacked to the ceiling. Coffee is sourced from Melbourne’s Joshua Bailey of Bailey Coffee, and my lunch date Night Owl and myself begin our meal with a latte and skim cappuccino. I’ve switched over to caps from lattes recently to cut back on so much milk froth, and if you get a barista skilled with coffee art, the swirls and patterns always turn out much nicer and defined on caps with that extra lush lashing of chocolate powder. We make our food orders, with me changing mine at the last minute. I usually like to narrow down my choices to two and then ask the waitstaff what they would personally recommend. I had been deliberating between the Spanakopita ($16): an egg, spinach and seasonal herb bake with smokey cauliflower cream, topped with crispy kale chips, served with side of toast, or The Green Duk ($17): barley toast topped with ricotta, wilted kale, cremini mushrooms, watercress, and dukkah crusted poached eggs. The waitress recommended the latter, so The Green Duk it was. So much green! It looked healthy, delicious and hearty. The barley toast was wonderfully nutty in flavour but still soft; meaning there wasn’t much vain sawing to-and-fro with the butter knife. I’m always terrified of a piece of my toast ricocheting away from me and hitting someone..that or my plate breaking in two. The slight bitterness of the kale and watercress is soothed by the lush creaminess of the ricotta and the wonderfully sweet, juicy mushrooms. The eggs of course are perfectly poached, and the dukkah is a lovely touch. Night Owl selected the Slow-cooked Pulled Pork Burger ($14) with apple gravy, pickled red onion and rocket. I would call this sandwich; a burger for me has to have a bun. But Night Owl devoured it with relish, loving the sweet, soft texture of the well-cooked shredded pork. The apple gravy was a little on the thin side, but this meant that it would have lightened the taste of the burger. A cute, charming little place. Menu-wise I don’t believe there is anything greatly defining Bootsdarling from the cafes around Surry Hills and Glebe, but because of its location in Darlinghurst you’re away from much of the hype and clamour of those establishments. The items on the modestly-sized menu are well-executed, the coffee smooth and service is with a smile.
Bootsdarling 333 South Dowling Street Darlinghurst NSW 2010 0421 181 534 www.facebook.com/Bootsdarling