Thursday, 27 December 2012

Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

I've been champing at the bit to visit Reuben Hills ever since I saw a mention of it in an SMH article regarding good cafes/ coffee. Sadly, I never quite got round to it until recently, even though I commute via Albion Street on the way to uni. My moment finally arrived one fine (and sweltering) Sunday afternoon. The roads around the area weren't overly busy, so it was a surprise to find that Reuben Hills was buzzing (quite loudly) inside. Reuben Hills doesn't take bookings, so we had a (thankfully short) wait in order to obtain a table for the four of us.

Exterior
Reuben Hills takes rusticity to a whole new level, using a variety of glass milk bottles for water flasks, some sort of metal industrial machinery on the second level (not sure if that's part of the premises, but it fits), and tin mugs with spots of rust inside. The menu consists of traditional brunch items, Mexican food, as well as assorted desserts and drinks, exacerbating the usual ordering dilemma.

I figured that since I was there, I might as well be adventurous with the coffee, so I selected the Kenya Nyeri filter, which was described on the menu to have blackcurrant notes. The filters arrive in beaker-like containers that appear to be made out of the same material as mortar and pestle sets. Like steeped tea, the coffee is watery and is imbibed without milk. The coffee is bitter and, in the case of the Kenya Nyeri, it tasted like tart berries (which corresponds with the blackcurrant description). It was interesting giving it a go, but as I'm not partial to sour flavours, I will not be ordering it again.

Kenya Nyeri ($5)
Kenya Nyeri
I took my coffee with a brioche bun and a dulce de leche spread. The brioche was buttery and warm - very much like a soft croissant without the flakes and crunch. Combined with the caramelised and sugary dulce de leche, it whet my appetite and made me want to spoon the remainder of the confection into my mouth.

Brioche with dulce de leche ($6.00)
Alas, there was no time for dilly-dallying because my baleada (tortilla) had arrived and it was necessary to make progress on that before it got cold. It didn't really look like much, presentation-wise, but once I had a bite of it, I was glad that I'd decided to order it. The egg turned out to be an omelette, which, with the cheese, added a bit of salt to bring out the black bean and tortilla. When I read black beans on the menu, I was intrigued, as my only understanding of black beans are of the really salty beans used in Chinese cooking. These black beans tasted like chilli con carne without the chilli - very yummy!

Baleada with eggs, queso fresco (cheese) and black bean ($11.00)
After all these, I felt comfortably full. However, I was in a gluttonous mood and decided that there was plenty of room for dessert.

And so I ordered a strawberry, rose and vanilla milkshake. It was summary, milky and refreshing, with the rosewater being the strongest flavour of the three. Choosing it to accompany my cake was definitely a wise choice, as it was light and didn't result in sugar overload.

Strawberry, rose and vanilla milkshake ($7.50)
My passion fruit coconut teacake was dense, almost like a friand, and contained dessicated coconut, which had me chewing a lot at times. The only passion fruit that could be detected was in the white icing spread over the top. Despite its size, it was quite filling, so I halved it with one of my friends. The tiny three-pronged fork that came with it was also quite cute...

Passion fruit coconut teacake ($4.00)
And here is what the others consumed:

King prawn with avocado, corn salad, endive, chipotle aioli and lime ($18.00)

"Dirty bird" ($15.00)
The ice cream sandwich below had raspberry ice cream and liquid marshmallow. Had a bit. Wasn't bad.


Give a Dogg a Bone Ice Cream Sandwich ($9.00)


Reuben Hills on Urbanspoon

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