There’s something a little bit lovely about domestic holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about overseas travels if the option is there, but since travelling domestically can be as expensive (or more) than going over to Asia, in recent years it hasn’t been a priority to me as it has been in the past.
Recently the boy and I flew over to Sydney a four day quick getaway so we could attend B&T magazine’s 30 Under 30 awards. I didn’t win, but I was really feeling amazing to be one of the finalists chosen, plus the only WA finalist. And while some might consider flying over to Sydney and not winning a bit of a waste – I was glad to get some time away with the man before second semester uni commenced for him. And even better, he had never been to Sydney before!
Looking on Urbanspoon at the different restaurants and cafes in Sydney I knew it was going to be hard to fit them all in. So we decided to be clever. Knowing we had scheduled catch ups and activities, we decided to pick a few places as must tries during our time there. One of those, was the funky Surry Hills destination – Reuben Hills.
With every intention to arrive at Reuben Hills for breakfast, our morning stroll turned into quite a long sight seeing self managed tour (we love exploring cities by foot) so we didn’t end up there until lunchtime. Walking past Surry Hills hotspot Chur Burger a few doors down (which had a line out the door!) I was nervous that there might be a wait – and we were hungry.
Luckily for us, we managed to snag the last two stools along the side wall, beating a line of diners who soon entered after.
The style of this restaurant is funky and chilled. The staff look great in their leather strapped aprons, all with a friendly and casual air to them as they move efficiently around the place. We’re quickly provided with tap water (in cute vintage labelled milk bottles) and menus to peruse.
The menu looks incredible, inspired by the team’s exposure to South America and Mexico when on coffee buying trips. If I lived nearby I would definitely make it my mission to eat my way through the menu. Especially since I spied brioche with with dulce de leche! Yum!
To start things off we each order a drink. Jeremy’s recently been converted to drinking coffee so he chooses a flat white ($4.00). I’m glad that one of us is ordering coffee (and I don’t drink it so it couldn’t be me!) since they’re well known for this here. He declares it smooth, easy to drink and delicious.
While I’m really drawn to their different shake flavours (iced vovo, aero and salted caramel) I know milk will ruin my appetite and fill me up. So I choose the pomegranate and orange soda ($5.00). Tart, strong and bubbly this was really delightful. Too often soft drinks are too sweet, but this one was more sour and really easy to drink. I loved it – and sharing it with the boy, he was even more impressed than I. I love pomegranate!
Choosing our lunch items was a breeze for Jeremy, while I had some moments of indecision as I always do when everything sounds damn good (and I’m hungry too!). He picks one of Reuben Hill’s signature dishes – the NOT reuben ($18.00).
Sandwiched between two golden slices of toasted rye bread sits wagyu salt brisket, pickled slaw, manchego and horseradish cream. It might not photo that well (I forgot my camera on this day so excuse the dodgy iPhone photos – I didn’t want to not blog about this great spot), but my god it tasted incredible. He definitely won the dish off.
Tender, moorish brisket that holds it’s shape but falls apart in your mouth. The rye bread is flavoursome and a lovely contrast to the sweet but sour slaw, and the punchy horseradish cream. I can definitely see why this is one of the go to dishes here.
For my lunch I found myself completely thrown between a couple different menu options. I mean, when a restaurant has a lunch item called ‘Really fucking great fried chicken’ you can’t blame yourself for being torn. But ultimately I go for the soft shell crab tostada ($18.00) because it just sounds so different to anything I’ve seen in Perth. I’m excited once I make my choice!
It comes out to the table as a giant tostada rather than the small bite sized ones you find in restaurants usually. Stacked high with beautifully crisp soft shell crab, it also has pineapple and jalapeno slaw, queso fresco and ‘return to life sauce’ (aka yummy hot sauce). It’s messy and definitely a knife and fork job, but I love the flavours and textures. The queso fresco is light and creamy, a great nod to the traditional side of Mexico whereas the soft shell crab brings a fusion angle to the dish. Very clever and very yummy.
I can see why Reuben Hills is such a hotspot in Sydney. Well priced, clever cooking definitely had us impressed with every bite.