Reuben Hills

Reuben Hills and THAT fried chicken

 

Weekend mornings in Sydney are synonymous cafes. Whether it’s an early morning coffee run or a lazy brunch where you linger with the newspaper, cafes are part of Sydney’s lifeblood.

The inner city suburb of Surry Hills is spoilt for choice when it comes to weekend brunching establishments, and one of these is Reuben Hills. The White Russian and I arrived with our two dogs to meet with our mate Mr S. The staff were very accommodating, allowing us to walk around to sit out the back in the sunshine, without having to traipse through the cafe and therefore preventing the dogs causing havoc, sniffing every diner’s table.

When I looked at the menu, my eyes were instantly drawn to the hard sell that is the fried chicken ($18). Who could refuse?

Reuben Hills menu

Reuben Hills really great fried chicken

The chicken was served with a chilli salsa and chipotle mayo, with whole pickled chillies and a wedge of lime. While each piece had lovely golden crisp skin and was juicy, the expectations were super high and we couldn’t help but think that it had nothing on the Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices.

The torta ahogada, or Mexican drowned sandwich ($18), was filled with smoky, tender lamb, pickled strips of cucumber, and topped with a sweet beetroot mole. It’s obviously very saucy, making it a very messy meal. Make sure you have lots of serviettes handy.

Reuben Hills drowned sandwich

The bruschetta ($16) is a pile of juicy cherry tomatoes, peppery rocket, kalamata olives and roasted capsicum on a slice of sourdough spread with labne.

Bruschetta

I’m a sucker for trying weird things on menus. It backfired on me spectacularly once when I ordered a squid ink rice pudding. Who on earth thought that a fishy dessert was a good idea? Anyway, I couldn’t go past the vegemite and butterscotch shake ($8.50). I was a little hesitant at first, since it had the potential to go the way of the rice pudding and be completely inedible. I shouldn’t have worried. The vegemite was quite subtle, and the shake was not unlike a salted caramel variety. The lemon, mint and orange soda ($5.50) was light and refreshing.

Reuben Hills is a great destination for coffee, with a great selection of house and special roasts. The food is good but not cheap, and the fried chicken is not really that fucking great, however it’s a relaxed and fun place to welcome the weekend.

Reuben Hills really great fried chicken

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon

Cronuts – the new pastry craze

Sydney is a long way from New York, where Dominique Ansel started the cronut craze. His bakery in Soho has pastry fiends queuing at dawn for a sample of the half-croissant, half-donut creation.

A few high profile outlets here in Australia have brought out their own interpretations, including Adriano Zumbo’s zonut and Movida’s dossant. Although I’ve been curious about the hype, I clearly wasn’t curious enough to make a special effort to try either of these.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I stumbled across cronuts at Pierre’s Patisserie & Cafe in Turramurra.

I first tried their cronut a few weeks back and, in an instant, I was in bliss. Layers of light, flaky, crisp, golden pastry, with a creamy, vanilla custard sandwiched in the middle, dusted with icing sugar – as soon as the White Russian arrived at the cafe, I demanded he get one straight away because, damn, he didn’t know what he was missing!

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Today, on our way up the coast, we made a pit stop at the cafe to satisfy our cronut urges. The memory of our first cronut experience had been relived many times over during the last few weeks and we could not wait to indulge in another.

Perhaps that first experience will forever remain hard to beat, kind of like your first ever kiss, but today’s cronut was not as good. The pastry was still golden and flaky, but there was a heavier, greasier taste this time.

Despite this slight disappointment, it’s still a worthwhile trip to get a taste of this latest craze.