Monday, January 20, 2014

The hills are alive: Reuben Hills

The hype about Surry Hills café, coffee roastery and all-round hipster haunt, Reuben Hills, is alive and well more than one year into the business.

The 20-minute Saturday morning wait for a table for two is not nearly as bad as the wait for larger tables, but gave us the opportunity to walk around this less commercial and infinitely more interesting and character-filled area of Surry Hills.

Salted caramel milkshake (top) and piccolo latte (bottom)
from Reuben Hills, Albion Street, Surry Hills
On return from our walkabout, we were seated in the middle of the long space, right near the kitchen and espresso machine where baristas knock out dine-in and takeaway coffees with as much care as a master artist. From the way they pour hot, frothed milk to the way they place a teacup on a saucer just so, you can tell that they care about their coffee – and so should you.

That said, their salted caramel milkshake absolutely blows their piccolo latte out of the water. It's sweet but not too sweet with deep, almost burnt caramel notes, and the salt level is just right. I don't care if salted caramel is the latest, greatest, overused ingredient – it was milkshake perfection.

Back lane entrance
As we waited for food (which doesn't take long at all), we sat admiring Reuben Hills' patrons, staff and impressive fitout, while enjoying the old school RnB songs that dominate the play list.

The space is way-too-cool-for-school chic, with industrial touches like the back laneway roller door contrasting with a huge bunch of fresh flowers on the end communal table.

The upstairs, visible through all the exposed brickwork and wooden ceiling beams, is home to the roastery, Friday morning cupping classes and other coffee nerd-ery that's beyond me.

Really  fxxxxxg great fried chicken with chilli in a basket
The all-day menu allowed us the luxury, and guilt, of fried chicken for breakfast; served atop a plain tortilla with pale green guindilla-style pickled chillies and dipping sauces of salsa and flavoured mayonnaise.

The fried chicken is really quite good, but I'm not sure it reaches the levels of "fxxxxxg great". The juicy, boneless chicken thigh comes in a lightly spiced batter, not unlike a certain fast food joint though more crisp, and while I loved the pickled chillies, the salsa sauce lacked any kick.

Short rib burger with garlic ranch dressing and potato salad
The sandwich offerings are particularly tempting but I was sold on the prospect of a short rib burger, although it no longer appears on the menu now.

I’m a bit over seeing brioche burger buns, but here it was with fatty, grilled strips of beef short rib with a shredded potato salad and creamy, garlic-spiked ranch dressing. Flavour-wise it was a pretty good combination of fat, carbs and protein, though a heavy one for breakfast.

Doggs breakfast - ice cream sandwich with salted caramel
We went the whole way with the guilt-laden breakfast, finishing with the Doggs breakfast dessert of an ice cream sandwich, featuring vanilla ice cream bookended with a rather dry, unexciting chocolate brownie/cake.

On lovable enamel plates with matching chipped enamel cutlery, the dessert relied completely on the generous quenelle of gooey salted caramel, which becomes pleasurably too much about half way through, but you just keep going anyway.

Reuben Hills is undoubtedly livening up a quieter end of Surry Hills, with its coffee and decent eats coming in just under the hype, queues and fitout.

Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Their salted caramel milkshake is ridiculously tasty!

Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said...

You sure splurged on breakfast :P I still haven't tried their salted caramel milkshake - I was sold by the coconut and lime last time I went!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I always see huge queues outside Reuben Hills! The short rib bun sounds delicious.

Annie said...

that short rib burger looks epic!

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

enjoyed my visit here - that salted caramel milkshake and the not so Reuben sandwiches still remains a great memory!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

oh man that short rib burger sounds divine

ChopinandMysaucepan said...

Dear Tina,

I agree the RFG fried chicken is good but not sure if it's RFG level.

Tina said...

Hi Helen - Yep, pretty awesome first thing in the morning :)

Hi Sherrie - Absolutely! Didn't feel the best afterwards, but did skip lunch.

Hi Lorraine - Yes, they've managed to maintain the hype and the queues!

Hi Annie - Shame it's no longer on the menu...

Hi Tina - Yeah, I would try some of their sandos next time.

Hi Vivian - It was good, but clearly not popular enough to stay on the menu...

Hi ChopinandMysaucepan - Definitely not

MelBrandle said...

Well, from the pictures you've got posted there, it looks like they've got more than delicious food in their kitchen storage hey? I suppose a 20 minute wait would prove that in itself anyway! Haha!


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