Situated on the lower part of Albion Street is a popular cafe and brunch spot known as Reuben Hills. Open daily from around 7am to 4pm, this cafe is always buzzing with people, providing a vibrant atmosphere in the heart of Surry Hills. Reuben Hills is conveniently located within walking distance from Central Station, and is built within a renovated terrace house. On every occasion I've been, the place is full to the brim, and there's a waiting time, but it's always worth it. Upon entering the premises, a host greets me and puts my name down for the wait-list, and tells me that it will be around 20 minutes.
Street view of Reuben Hills
A little while later, she shows my significant other and I to a counter top seating. Menus are placed on the counter in front of us, and a waitress takes our orders shortly after we're seated. Since my previous visit half a year ago, I've noticed that the menu at Reuben Hills has changed to feature more cuisine featuring a South American influence. The specialty coffees and elaborately flavoured milkshakes are still a staple on the menu. In addition to our food, we also ordered an Affogato ($6), and a Salted Caramel shake ($8.50).
Affogato - a shot of espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
The drinks arrived at the same time, before the food. The affogato was served in an espresso glass with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that was already half submerged into the shot of espresso. The contrast between the hot and cold temperatures of the ice cream and coffee was nice, and I enjoyed stirring the ice cream into the coffee as it slowly melted.
Salted Caramel shake - definitely worth the exorbitant price tag
The salted caramel shake at Reuben Hills is one of the reasons why I first fell in love with this place. I have it every time I come here. It's served in a tall stainless steel canister, and is frothy, creamy and deliciously rich. It's a little difficult to finish as it's so rich, however it is hands down the best milkshake I've had in my life.
Water served in quirky containers
The Achiote Pork'n'Beans ($19) topped with a fried egg was my meal option of choice. The achiote pork'n'beans consisted of pulled pork and black beans on top of pieces of tortilla chips and cherry tomatoes with chimi churri. The dish tasted like it had been strongly influenced by Mexican cuisine, and it was quite heavy due to the sauce that the pork and beans had been slathered in; although I did enjoy the cherry tomatoes with the chimi churri.
My significant other ordered the Soft Baked Eggs with Chorizo ($18). I'd had the baked eggs on a previous visit to Reuben Hills, and thought that these baked eggs were a little overcooked in comparison with the ones I'd previously had, but it wasn't a big deal. The yolks weren't runny anymore, but were still soft enough. The tomato salsa was tangy and slightly spicy, providing much of the flavour in this dish, while the chorizo was a nice addition to the egg.
Soft Baked Eggs with Chorizo
Reuben Hills doesn't take bookings and is generally always quite busy, so I'd recommend coming early (they open at 7am) unless you don't mind waiting for a table. In my experience, I've never had to wait very long for a table, and I think the food is well worth it. We paid $50.50 for two meals and drinks, so it's not really the cheapest cafe around, but we left feeling full and satisfied. The service is prompt and friendly, and there are always an abundance of waitresses walking around. Therefore it's not difficult to get service.
In general, it's a nice place to have a quick brunch. The food is simple with hints of South American flavours, sure to satisfy anyone.
Where: 61 Albion Street Surry Hills NSW
Why: Hearty brunch style fare, great milkshakes and specialty coffees.
Cost: Medium range
When: 7am to 4pm daily