Three Williams | Redfern

Assuredly, there are (at least) three guys who work at Three Williams. But no, their names are not “William”, fore or patronymic. Glen is the name of the owner (ex Grounds of Alexandria) and the head chef’s name is Tim (ex Aria/Chiswick).

Ok, so the cafe isn’t named after the head honchos. What’s up? Did you know that the Chippendale and Redfern suburbs are so-named after – you guessed it – Williams? William Chippendale & William Redfern, to be exact. The third – William Hutchinson, didn’t get a suburb of his own, but at least he got included as part of Three Williams.

That’s still pretty cool, given the great rap that the cafe has been receiving since its opening late last year. There’s a number of boxes this place ticks, and ticks well. Read on to see why the William trio would have been proud.

Date Last Visited: 12/4/14
Address: 613a Elizabeth St RedfernNSW 2016
Recommended Dish(es): grab a narnie

The rule of three is a common literary device where things that are expressed as a trio are inherently more appealing. The oft-used line “good things come in threes” comes to fore here. The name – Three Williams – itself is a great start.

Three Williams

Good things come in threes

The sign is totally chic, and you just know this is Three Williams without thinking too much – there’s no other banner that lets you know, so this sign has to do its job, and do it well.

Three Williams

It’s a bigger cafe than most, yet you will still queue for it. A good sign.

We arrived at a decently-timed 8:30am, and yet the cafe is already this packed. Looks like things are going quite well with the triplet cafe here. Luckily, there are more than three tables.

If you arrive later, say at 9am, you will be subjected to a waiting period. You have been warned.

Thanks to being seated in the darkest part of the cafe imaginable, enjoy my ISO 5000+ pictures 😀

Three Williams chai latte

Chai w/latte in the background ($3.5)

Because it’s a cardinal sin to be up so early on a Saturday morning (waking up at 6:30am thanks to the weekday’s body clock is no fun), a warm beverage must be had. I didn’t get my usual latte, but a chai latte will do this time around. I generally prefer chai much stronger (spicier) than usual (otherwise, why drink it); the chai at Three Williams didn’t really do it for me. It’s the perfect cup for someone out there though!

Three Williams smashed beans with avocado on charred toast

Smashed beans w/avocado on charred toast w/two poached eggs ($14)

Being an avid supporter of avocado on toast, The Lady’s choice to get the smashed beans w/avocado on charred toast w/two poached eggs is a no-brainer. Avo on toast probably has a longer history than that of Australia. You can’t really go wrong with it.

Personally, smashed beans on avo does work, but only for awhile – the dish admittedly gets boring after awhile, which is a downside of a dish where the toast and what’s on it becomes the sole focus. Solution? Share!

Three Williams coconut & lime chicken narnie

Narnie – coconut & lime marinated chicken, carrot & daikon salad, nam jim dressing ($15)

Three Williams is known for its naan bread “sandwiches” called “narnies”. These are actually quite similar to Chinese flatbread sandwiches (e.g. Rou Jia Mo). Surprisingly, Three Williams is the first cafe I’ve been to that serves anything like this. I feel like such a simple concept should have been explored sooner, but alas, there is always a first.

A newer narnie addition on the menu, the coconut & lime marinated chicken narnie comprises a huge circle of naan (I should say, these narnies are a lot bitter than the pictures make them out to be), enclosing a “no-regrets” amount of fragrant coconut chicken. The filling doesn’t hold back – the juices will flow no matter how you dig into this one. It’s delicious, and good luck finishing this plus much more.

While the narnie is great, I have to note that its major structural failing is at best inconvenient, and at best, a disaster. As naan isn’t an absorbent bread type (unless you slice horizontally through it – narnies aren’t), any sauces/juices/ingredients sandwiched in the naan’s folds doesn’t seep into the bread, and thus is free to flow about. Let’s just say we had a pool of sauce on the plate, and I had to go wash my hands after demolishing these.

Be prepared for a messy eat.

Three Williams bibimbap pulled pork narnie

Bibimbap pulled pork, chilli kimchi, bean sprouts, julienne carrots ($15)

The newest addition to the narnie menu is the bibimbap pulled pork & chilli kimchi narnie. The Korean influence makes its mark here alright. This narnie tasted great to me, mainly because there was just so much gosh-darned pork in there. In fact, probably a bit too much. If you eat too much of the pulled pork at once without eating much else it’s going to start tasting a bit off. Eat evenly.

Mmmmm, pulled pork….

…in any case, the narnie was quite spicy as well, which is great for my palate. Wouldn’t have it any other way, except maybe even hotter. Heh.

Crunchy veggies add in the texture, for a package that’s just as messy as the coconut chicken narnie, but one that tastes just as good. Nay, better.

Three Williams The Merchant

The Merchant – chilli fried egg, crispy bacon, pickled slaw, ranch dressing on a warm brioche bun ($13)

The Merchant is a well-presented puzzle that I can’t quite make sense of. Is it a glorified bacon & egg muffin? A large slider? A small burger (and one without a patty of meat)? Buns that happen to have ingredients on top/in between?

I’m not sure. Being an avid burger monster, I unconsciously expected The Merchant to deliver that sensation that only a thick, juicy patty of meat can give. The Merchant couldn’t give me that, and instead I got bits of bacon here and there, an admittedly great egg, and some zingy slaw to try and pick up the slack.

It’s not for me, but I can see its appeal.

Three Williams fish croquettes with lemon & aioli

The Lot, featuring fish croquettes w/lemon & aioli

Last on the list is the fish croquettes. These are absolutely delicious. Seriously, loved these. The buttery fish within a perfectly fried exterior…didn’t even need the aioli that came with it. Of course, I still made prodigious use of it, because it’s aioli. That’s a good enough reason, right?

Order the croquettes if you’re here.

I can see myself going to Three Williams again. I can’t imagine when that would happen, but the William boys should be proud that Redfern has added a cafe of this calibre to the area. It should only go up from here.

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀


  • Narnies are wicked cool
  • Food is overall very high quality

Not so Awesome:

  • Narnie construction issues
  • Some breakfast dishes get stale quick

7.5/10 Caesars

Three Williams on Urbanspoon

18 comments on “Three Williams | Redfern”

  1. Chris @ MAB vs Food Reply

    Haha I must be one of the few bloggers to have not visited 3 Williams. With so much talk about narnies, beer battered chips and brioche French toasts, I think I need to drag my butt to Redfern real soon.

    • Michael Shen Reply

      And I must be the only blogger who’s yet to visit Hot Star 😛
      Dw, you’ll get your chance soon! Three Williams isn’t going anywhere soon, at this rate.

  2. mr.C Reply

    Y’know I got that exact same amount of aioli for just one fish croquette. More aioli than fish actually. And you didn’t give their crunchy brioche a go! Perhaps another time.

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