I love the constant pulse of Sydney’s heartbeat. You can feel it as soon as you arrive. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way complaining about the laid back lifestyle and beautiful sunny days we get to enjoy in Perth but Sydney is most definitely a city that feels like she is alive. I could happily see myself living here if it wasn’t for all our strong ties back in the Wild West. We both have our careers which we love and also as a direct result of living in London, the Boy has a complete dislike for residing in big cities. He needs space around him to grow all his delicious fresh produce, loves open spaces and craves peace and quiet. I’m easy either way as long as we are both happy, like I said, Perth is a beautiful and relaxing place to live and despite my yearning for bright lights and the big smoke I still love Perth with a passion.
Not keen on subjecting myself to an overpriced and tasteless hotel breakfast, I consulted my fellow Foodspotters’ from Sydney for advice on local gluten free breakfast options. I was advised to avoid the CBD area directly surrounding my hotel and take a short stroll over to Surry Hills where I was given a range of venues. One of those venues was Bills which I have since learnt seems to be an essential item on most foodies bucket lists when coming to Sydney. I am quite familiar with Bill Granger’s story, he is a self-taught chef who has now gone on to become something of a global phenomenon owning restaurants around the world, he has published best-selling cookbooks and has had his own TV shows on BBC.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the luxury of being able to walk everywhere here. Not an easily accomplished task back in my home town. As I strolled past the colourful costume shops on Oxford St which were stocked all ready for the Mardi Gras, I stopped to peer into a couple of windows to see an abundance of multi-coloured fairy wings, feather boas and a variety of tightly clad male mannequins.
Upon arriving to Bills I was greeted in a very warm and friendly manner and was supplied with my short Mac before I could even think about how much I needed it! I noticed around me a number of regulars were on a first name basis with the wait staff. Return customers are a sure sign you are doing something right.
Bills uses their own organic coffee from Single Origin Roaster. My short Mac was served at the perfect temperature and had my preferred balance of slight bitterness with a creamy aftertaste. I must confess though I still prefer my Nespresso Arpeggio. I had their famous scrambled eggs on gluten free toast with a serve of button mushrooms and cumin roasted tomatoes. I apologise for the poor photos due to an unintentional misty effect on my lens, it was a little rainy on the walk there and the lens fogged up! For those more talented photographers out there any recommendations for remedying this?
The gluten free bread was of a very high standard. Some of you may be familiar with the problems that result from the omission of gluten in bread. It can often be crumbly and dry and can taste more like a savory cake than bread. Alternatively on the other side of the extreme, it can be hideously stodgy and heavy like a rock. This bread was crisply toasted on the outside with a soft and fluffy bread texture in the centre. There was no bitter or gluggy aftertaste. Positively one of the best gluten free breads I’ve eaten in a long time. The only downside was the butter served with the bread was very hard and impossible to spread.
I was happy to overlook the hard butter because piled upon my plate was fold upon fold of light fluffy scrambled eggs. They almost tasted aerated! The button mushrooms were meaty and firm, with generous lashing of EVOO and fresh thyme. The cumin roast tomatoes had caramelised into intense sweet deliciousness.
I enjoyed my breakfast so much I decided to get up half an hour earlier for the next two mornings so I could work my way through their menu prior to my return to Perth. The next morning I decided to step out of my predictable choice of anything eggie and ordered the cured ocean trout with fresh curd on gluten free with fresh avocado and tomato. Fortunately my camera was back in action this time to capture the brilliant colours that were arranged on my plate. Once again the toast wowed me and I savoured the enjoyment of trying to get a small amount of each ingredient with every mouthful. The trout was delicately soft and the tangy curd lightened the whole dish. As opposed to yesterday I didn’t feel overly full this time round which was an added bonus as Sydney Uni (where the Conference was held) was another good 40 minutes’ walk from Bills!
My final breakfast at Bills came a day late due to a minor accidental sleep on the following day. It’s surprising how just a three hour time difference can throw your sleeping rhythm quite out of whack! I’ve been remaining bright eyed and bushy tailed until far too late each evening. In order to have enough time to walk to Bills, have breakfast and then walk to Sydney Uni I need to get up by 6am – very difficult when you’re wide awake until all hours!
For my final breakfast I chose the soft boiled eggs with “toy solder” bread, fresh tomato and aged cheddar. This was my favourite and made me so chuffed I made the effort to return one more time. The thinly sliced strips of scrumptious gluten free toast were cut to the perfect size to dip into the gooey eggs and I was definitely in seventh heaven. I’m really looking forward to my next excuse to visit Sydney for a number of reasons and breakfast at Bills is one of them!
Check out my other Sydney posts hereBills 359 Crown Street, Surry Hills 2010 | (02) 9360 4762 | bills.com.au Price: $$ ($12-18.50 breakfast, $10.50-23 lunch)
Food: 4.5/5 (awesome GF toast, fresh produce)
Service: 4.5/5 (very efficient with a bit of funky)
Ambience: 4/5 (buzzing brilliant breakfast vibe)
Drinks: 4/5 (good eco-friendly coffee) Total: 17/20