The last time I visited Reuben Hills cafe was before I started blogging.
Wow. Now, I do have fond memories of the awesome, if somewhat odd, inclusion of an ice cream sandwich on the menu for breakfast, but that was part of this place’s charm. A talking point, a conversation starter amongst cafe explorers, if you will. In the end though, it wasn’t good enough to warrant a return visit, but that’s also just as much due to Sydney’s hyperactive cafe turnover and the eternal desire to try something new.
So when a long-overdue catchup between two friends was on the cards, so is this Surry Hills eatery. Sure, there were a million and one other choices, but it would a most interesting experiment to see just how much a cafe could change in two years.
Date Last Visited: 7/9/14
Address: 61 Albion St Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Recommended Dish(es): broken omelette roll w/bacon jam
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The decor is the same as ever, and I saw no need for reinvention.
Besides, any cafe that puts out helpful messages regarding dental care is doing something right 😉
Before I started blogging, I could probably count the number of coffees I’ve willingly drunk on my fingers…maybe I need to include the toes. Still, not many.
How things change. Reuben Hills coffee is supposedly very well-regarded by coffee connoisseurs. Indeed, many cafes source their beans from here. While I can’t vouch for the intricacies of quality, I can still say with a straight face that you’re not likely to get a bad brew here. There’s a certain, tarty acidity that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it keeps you on the edge with each sip.
Here’s where things get shaken up. While oldies like the dogg’s breakfast (the aforementioned ice cream sandwich) and the really f*cking good fried chicken (decent, but not “f*cking great”) still remain on the menu, we spy some newcomers.
Reuben Hills really shows off its Mexican side with the new menu, starting with the Salmon Moqueca. It’s a savoury brew, ideal for the cold and rainy morning we were experiencing. The stew itself is on the runnier side rather than thick, do note that if you prefer your stew gravy-like. Flavour-wise, almost like a hearty salsa.
There is one decently-sized piece of salmon in the stew, and plenty of potatoes to boot. I felt they could have been cooked more thoroughly (I could taste hardness near their centres).
Overally, it’s worth a try if fish and spuds is your poison.
Continuing the loco train, we ordered the charquican, and yes, we’ve had to get the waitress to help us with the pronounciation, as we did with the previous dish.
I preferred this dish to the Moqueca, as it was overall thicker, and packed a bit more flavour. A beef stew is a classic for a reason, after all. Pickled tang from the chillis complement the rice quite well, and it makes for a pretty feasty eat. I may have had one too many spoonfuls.
My eyebrow picked up at the “return to life” sauce in the soft shell crab tostada, but I never did quite figure out what it was. I’m tempted to say a spin on “Mexican BBQ” sauce, but I wouldn’t even have half an idea of what I’m talking about.
What I can say, is that the tostada is really hard. Think of Doritos, and maybe triple the hardness, and you’ve got something like the tostada. I wasn’t a fan of that, especially as it was difficult to eat with the crab, given the breakage.
The soft shell crab was done well, but more soggy than crispy. Too much of that secret sauce.
What’s a broken omelette roll? I have no idea, but I know that this is my favourite out of everything I’ve tried here.
It’s that bacon jam, people. Yes, it works, and to beautiful, tear-jerking effect. At first, it sounds like an idea that doesn’t work, but then you give it some thought, and before you could come to a conclusion, you’re already eating spoonful after spoonful with that egg and shrimp and thinking “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE”.
Yeah, it’s tasty, to say the least.
I really underestimated the capacity of my companions – five dishes between three people…it’s been awhile since I’ve done that. You can’t have everything, but you sure as heck can try.
I’ve had the jamon baked eggs before, and Reuben Hills does a better job than most cafes. That said, I still haven’t really found a place in Sydney that does baked eggs on the same level as The Hardware Societe in Melbourne. I hate to keep coming back to it, but it’s the truth, as far as I’ve tasted so far.
Still, in Sydney, it’s difficult to do better than Reuben Hills, and that’s a biggie.
Reuben Hills, looks like you’re still keeping things alive and kicking. Hopefully it won’t be another two years before I return.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀
- Keeping things fresh with Mexican
- Oh man that bacon jam
- One of Sydney’s better baked eggs
Not so Awesome:
- The Mexican is somewhat hit and miss