IT’S long lines to dine at Surry Hill’s best brekkie spots that inspires the discovery of a hidden gem – and delicious pancake dish – in one of the hip Sydney suburb’s side streets.
The Book Kitchen is perched across the asphalt from Bourke Street Bakery and a few blocks from Bill’s dining room in Surry Hills but, unlike the neighbourhoods more famous addresses, this bustling café is sans a line when we wander past and ready for us to order from a menu offering breakfast between 8am to 3pm every day of the week.
The eatery occupies a nondescript building on Devonshire Street near the Crown Street intersection and while the destination looks a little uninspiring from the footpath the interior is all about an industrial-chic vibe, smart copper accents, high ceilings and shelves packed with cook books.
The Book Kitchen, which has been in business for more than 10 years, is run by Amelia and David Birch with the pair toiling in hospitality for more than three decades and using only fresh seasonal ingredients to create the thoughtful dishes on offer.
The breakfast menu is broken into three categories – there’s eggggs, not eggs and sweeties – with lots of additions like house-made spreads to load onto a slice of sourdough or gluten-free toast.
There is also ample cold beverages including creative juice combinations, smoothies, frappes and shakes with the coffee machine gurgling constantly to supply the procession of local walk-in customers seeking a morning java hit.
I order sourdough pancakes from the sweeties menu with the traditional breakfast fare tweaked by a topping of banana mouse, nuggets of honeycomb, almond flakes and banana- bread crumbs.
My breakfast companion orders the banana on sourdough – served with tahini, banana, honey and poppy seeds – while drinks are coffees after a round of juice blends including the cool concoction of carrot, apple and ginger.
And the next time I’m in Sydney, and seeking a Surry Hills breakfast, The Book Kitchen will be my first choice rather than a back-up when Bill’s is busy.