Perched on the corner of South Dowling street and Taylor street, in upper-east Darlinghurst is a quaint little café trading by the name Bootsdarling.
A tender new addition to Darlinghurst’s café scene, Bootsdarling has already figured out what kind of an establishment it wants to be.
Its unofficial mission, as I see it from my experience is to serve great coffee and hearty food (at least, for now in winter), backed up by some smooth tunes in the ambiance. Easily the next hotspot for café explorers.
Date Last Visited: 13/7/14
Address: 333 South Dowling St Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Recommended Dish(es): Slow cooked pork & pea hash w/kale, poached egg & dijon
The name! I understood the “Darling” part, given the location, but the boots confounded me. Turns out, it’s the imaginary friend of the owners – Justin Iddles and Dano Clucas – when they were young. An odd curio to Christian your café with, but one that rolls off the tongue nicely. A name to remember.
In terms of aesthetics, with overt seams of dark wood and stool-lined walls, Bootsdarling’s resemblence to a pub does not go unnoticed.
While I didn’t perceive at first, The Lady remarked that the music is of significantly higher calibre than that found in any other café, if indeed they feature music at all. While I couldn’t identify the tracks, their unhurried yet catchy tunes make for a warming experience, even if it is 8:15am and it’s 7 degrees at that time. Brrrr.
Naturally, to warm up, a coffee is the go-to beverage order. I usually gloss over this point by simply remarking whether it was good enough for me or not, but I have to take pause here.
Bootsdarling’s coffee is something else – in a literal sense. Before lips even touch the cup, one can take in the rich, oaky scent that’s reminiscent of a lightly exposed cedar wood, chocolate notes, and of course, the coffee itself. This is depth of aroma that I’ve not experienced anywhere else, Melbourne cafés included. I personally love it.
I ordered a double shot, so flavours were quite strong, but they carried forward with the scents I initially took in – this is some damn good coffee. I have no hesitation in calling it my favourite coffee in Sydney. It’s up there alright.
A good coffee is however, only half the story. When it comes to food, things are less clear-cut.
That said, one aspect where there’s no contention in my eyes is the presentation – homely and woodsy come to mind. Unlacquared wooden boards, pans straight from the cook, Bootsdarling really knows how to impress with a winter’s menu.
Of the two dishes ordered, the slow cooked pork & pea hash is the better of the two. It’s got a great mouthfeel, helped by the dish’s warmth, heaviness all around abundance of flavour.
It’s a classic, hearty dish that can’t really go wrong. I particularly liked the crunchy kale that was in the dish – the vegetable element is quite important, and adds fresh greenery to an otherwise boorish colour palate.
And yes, there is eggporn:
The Boots baked eggs don’t include salmon by default, but I highly recommend it be added – it delivers on that meaty element I sorely crave. It also happens to add an extra, vibrant splash of red which is always welcome on my plate…err…pan. Other nice touches inherent to the dish itself are the use of roasted almonds, and a good amount of feta to keep the salty kick alive.
Unfortunately, the baked eggs were a tad too watery for me, especially as you eat more and more of it. By about halfway, it’s really hitting you. A real struggle to finish it all by yourself – sharing this is highly recommended, otherwise it does get a bit dull.
By this point, we were positively stuffed. I swear my appetite has gone down over the years, which is a real shame – I’d have loved to try their zucchini fritters, their unoffocial signature dish.
Plenty of time to do that – they’re not going anywhere.
While I didn’t have them, I have to remark on just how big these babies are. Temptations were high, so someone try one of these and let me know, yeah?
Bootsdarling is an enjoyable café project, with strengths in plating to the season, as well as the best coffee this blogger has had. Service is quick too, which is a nice boon.
While the place is quite cramped (seriously, it is small and that’s not “cosy”, it’s “protuberant”), and some dishes are not quite to palate, I can wholeheartedly recommend Bootsdarling if you’re craving your next coffee + café fix. Sydney keeps it coming.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀
- Sensational coffee
- A menu that suits the season in heartiness
- Quick and efficient service, nice ambiance
Not so Awesome:
- Try sitting during even slightly busy periods. Feel the cramps
- Baked eggs were not my cup of tea