Ul­ti­mate break­fast

Start­ing your day with a meal at Bills Surry Hills is an ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self, writes Alan Teh Leam Seng

New Straits Times - - Bots -

THE Sun­day morn­ing traf­fic in Syd­ney is sur­pris­ingly heavy and the talk­a­tive Sil­ver Cab driver of South In­dian de­scent de­cides to kill time by filling me in with sto­ries as we head to 359 Crown St, Surry Hills.

Fi­nally, he stops at the top of an in­clined road and, be­fore leav­ing me at my des­ti­na­tion, re­minds me to try the scram­bled eggs. I am taken aback. The food here must be very good, for even cab drivers know so much about it.

I find my friend Jim en­joy­ing his cof­fee and the view from his seat by the win­dow. Ac­knowl­edg­ing my ar­rival, he says I must sam­ple break­fast at Bills be­fore I leave Aus­tralia. In fact, he’s taken the lib­erty to or­der pop­u­lar break­fast favourites for me to try. The de­li­cious smell of newly baked toast and freshly brewed cof­fee is start­ing to sharpen my hunger pangs.

Jim in­sists that I sam­ple the brew here which, ac­cord­ing to him, is out of the or­di­nary. I re­lent and let Jim, a Syd­neysider and a fre­quent cus­tomer at Bills, or­der for me.

HERE, THEY COME

The food fi­nally ar­rives af­ter an hour. By then, my hunger level is nearly ap­proach­ing the point of des­per­a­tion. I dive straight into the food. My first choice is the scram­bled eggs.

The yel­low­ish mass is creamy and soft yet firm enough to bal­ance on my small piece of sour­dough toast. Af­ter the first mouth­ful, I am con­vinced that Bill Granger, self-taught cook and restau­ra­teur, has man­aged to come up with some­thing amaz­ing. This is def­i­nitely THE best scram­bled eggs I have ever tasted.

Cu­rios­ity gets the bet­ter of me and I try to find out the other in­gre­di­ents used be­sides the eggs, in sub­se­quent mouth­fuls. I am frus­trated. I fail to dis­tin­guish the in­gre­di­ents used to make this dish even with my taste­buds work­ing at max­i­mum ca­pac­ity.

Fi­nally, I ask one of the serv­ing staff. All I man­age to find out is that this sim­ple yet amaz­ingly de­li­cious cre­ation is made us­ing one third cup of cream to two fresh eggs. I doubt I will be able to recre­ate it at home.

The ri­cotta hot­cakes are served with fresh banana, maple syrup and hon­ey­comb but­ter. I like the thick, fluffy pan­cakes which have soft creamy cen­tres. I cut a piece from the edges as I want to try the pan­cake plain first, mi­nus the syrup and but­ter. Sur­pris­ingly, they are not sweet at all and I end up adding quite a lot of golden brown maple syrup to en­joy my pan­cakes the way I like them.

Be­ing at Bills is an ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self. Ev­ery­thing is so clean and or­derly. Even the air is so fresh and crisp. The restau­rant is sur­pris­ingly vi­brant and lively for a lazy Sun­day morn­ing. Jim tells me that din­ers are known to wait for three hours be­fore get­ting their food. That is how pop­u­lar Bills is.

My spe­cial cof­fee ar­rives while I am en­joy­ing my fried rice. The in-house blend of sin­gle ori­gin roast­ers looks or­di­nary enough. I guess what makes it spe­cial is the gen­er­ous dol­lop of vanilla ice cream ac­com­pa­ny­ing it. I smile. I am glad Jim re­mem­bers how I en­joyed this com­bi­na­tion when we were at the Blue Moun­tains just two days ear­lier.

I gen­tly add the pre­cious ice cream into the cof­fee. Then, I sit back and watch the white and brown liq­uids swirl around each other, spurred by the tus­sling hot and cold con­vec­tion cur­rents. It takes sev­eral min­utes

for the mix­ture to fi­nally even out. By then, the fried rice on my shar­ing plate with Jim has al­ready van­ished.

The cof­fee here is far bet­ter than the one I had ear­lier at the ho­tel. I thank Jim for in­tro­duc­ing me to this pop­u­lar Syd­ney break­fast out­fit. I will surely re­mem­ber the scram­bled eggs and ri­cotta hot­cakes for a very long time.

The open kitchen con­cept at Bills.

Clock­wise from top: The scram­bled eggs go well with the sour­dough bread, The crisp fried rice is served with raw veg­eta­bles, brown rice and chilli fried egg with sprout­ing seeds. The ri­cotta hot­cakes are very pop­u­lar at Bills.

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