OK Surry Hills, when is it gonna stop? Does a single month pass without a new eatery opening? Isn’t your cup full already? As soon as a new place opens, even before anyone can step foot on the polished concrete in that new conversion, the urbanites swoop without fail. This town has constant cravings for something new. And why would you not when the menu offers things that are a bit different from the norm as it does at Reuben Hills. It’s Surry Hills with a Central American flavour, a little bit Yankee as well and when it roasts java upstairs and has its own cupping room, it means serious with the bean.
Seven days into business and the chatter about this fresh new joint has echoed through them thar 2010 hills and into inner suburbia. It really doesn’t take long for word to get out, more importantly for me when there’s a Reuben involved. Arriving at the peak of brunch hour met us with a bit of a wait. Not too long. Maybe half an hour? My name was taken, we sat around in the nearby gutter like true addicts and awaited a phone-call from the lady with the clip-board.
A much needed java hit sets the wheels of brunch in motion. The flat white (5) is a winner and my macchiato (5) is made short and packs a real punch, making me lunge for the brown sugar to tone it down a tad. Only brown sugar here folks, none of that white or artificial stuff, unless of course it’s hidden behind the counter somewhere. Five dollars for a coffee in Sydney? The most I’ve ever paid in this town. A Honduran baleada (9) lands in no time; thick and generous with no silly garnish of mixed leaves and tomato wedge in sight. It’s all about what lays between that soft wheat flour tortilla. Two varieties are on offer at this hipster hang-out – eggs, queso fresco & black beans or in our case the Pimentón pork, chimol and onion. The meat, in its blackened glory, is (probably) rubbed with paprika (pimentón) and other spices, slowly cooked and shredded for this beautiful snack. The chimol is a simple salsa of tomato, onion, coriander, lime and a little seasoning.
The Reuben (15) does away with traditions and comes filled with slow-cooked Wagyu brisket and a slaw of cabbage, carrot and cucumbers which, to be honest, makes it more of a Rachel than a Reuben. The meat in this sambo is impressive stuff and packs just enough fatty flavour without making it OTT and the well-toasted bread keeps it all together.
The Costa Rican ceviche (14) is a generous pile of citrus-cured snapper, roast corn, radish matchsticks, diced sweet potato, chilli, coriander and lime. The sharp flavour instantly perks up the palate and the fresh crunch from the witlof leaves add a layer of bitterness. Loved this one. Aside from the great coffee it looked like the salted caramel shake (6.5) was the thing to have on this particular day. It’s quite sweet, quite salty and quite something. Black sesame was another flavour option but the espresso & wattleseed was ordered due to someones liking of this native seed. Sadly not one grain made it into the shake so it was just about the espresso. Oops.
The Doggs breakfast (8) simply had to be ordered. Basically an ice cream sandwich with a good splodge of salted caramel on the side. Man that caramel packs a wallop. Next time I’ll be trying the baked eggs with jamon and the beef empanadas.