Wednesday, September 1, 2010

If it fits the bill

Subjectivity makes life funny and surprising – if not at times shocking. What one believes and values can be worlds away from another’s beliefs and values; what one finds to be enjoyable, another can find petrifying; what one finds acceptable may be unacceptable to another.

For example, I don’t think $20/kg for beef mince is acceptable; but then I guess I don’t really appreciate the cow’s heritage and upbringing as much as some others might – especially if it’s just for a quick bolognaise. But there must be a market for it, otherwise it wouldn’t be around.

The market for Bills can be somewhat mind-blowing too. With set-ups in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Woollahra and even cities in Japan, it seems the addictive nature of a Bills breakfast has a global appeal and acceptance – especially if the Sunday morning queues at Woollahra are anything to go by.

This particular Sunday morning sees the courtyard bright and airy, with sunshine in one covetable corner. It’s outdoor heaters for the others and for those in the queue, it’s no more than being warmed by the notion that you’re a step closer as tables slowly clear to be filled by the masses in front of you in queue.

Hot chocolate made with Callebaut chocolate from Bills, Queen Street, Woollahra
Bills hot chocolate is a sight to behold. Callebaut chocolate drops climb up the side of the glass, melted in place by hot, frothy milk. It’s such a pretty sight that I was hesitant to destroy it, but for warm mouthfuls of intensely chocolatey, creaminess flowing through my insides.

Sweet corn fritters, roast tomato, spinach and bacon
I don’t know who ever manages to go past “Bills classics” – that’s just the point of going really. We spread the offerings among our table of four, with the corn fritters proving the popular double-up. And why not, with corn-packed within the crunchy, golden exterior; the savoury flavours pushed a notch further with the rashers of part-blackened bacon. A healthy medium is kind of reached with the roasted tomatoes which also add a touch of needed juiciness to the dish, along with wilted spinach leaves.

Scrambled organic eggs and mushrooms with sourdough toast
It took a little willpower for me to go the eggs instead of the corn fritters, spruced up with a side of button mushrooms. After a few stolen mouthfuls of the corn fritters, it’s clear how the decision-making should work. If you’re after a big, impactful flavour to wake you up from the night before – corn fritters. If you’re feeling a little fragile after the night before – it should be the subtlety of the scrambled eggs sans a meat side.

The pillowy soft, creamy eggs are still wet on top, perfect for sliding down or almost spreading on the thick slices of toasted sourdough bread. With a bit of salt and pepper, and the dark earthiness of the mushrooms, it’s an unexpectedly large meal and not even a ‘big breakfast’.

Ricotta hotcakes, fresh strawberries and honeycomb butter
So not quite the original classic, but it’s nice that they can be flexible with their menu and substitute the banana. These thick and fluffy, ricotta-filled hotcakes have the signature round pat of honeycomb butter with fresh sliced strawberries, which are probably less filling than the banana original. Drizzled with maple syrup, it’s a naughty dessert that has somehow convinced the world that it’s a breakfast. But I suppose it fits the bill – and what can you say to that?

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