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359 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW
T: (02) 9360 4762
Rating: ♦♦♦ Worth a Bang
The moment our plane touched down on Australian soil, I received a text from my friend Dan that read: “Eat the banana ricotta pancakes at Bill’s in Surrey Hill…life changing”. A little background on Dan. He and I had lived together decades ago in NYC and were like a real-life version of Larry and Balki meets Laverene and Shirley.
Our tastes were vastly different. If Dan hated a movie, I loved it. If he said black, I”d say white. If he”d say “I’m reading the most amazing book, you have to read it”- I”d immediately attempt to contract a case of conjunctivitis just to avoid his recommedation. (The last book he made me read was called The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon, a folk story about a transvestite drunken Indian who prostitutes himself to town locals and ends up amputating his mother”s leg all the while searching for his crazy father.) Enough said.
Thankfully though, we did have a few things in common. 1.) An appreciation for show tunes, which is how we met. We were both cast in the pre-Broadway out of town tryout of a new musical called High Society, based on the 1956 movie musical, not the porn magazine. Subsequently, we both got fired when it finally made its way to the Great White Way, and thank goodness cause the show was pretty bleak. Perhaps some adult nudity and raunch was just what that show needed. 2.) A brilliantly fast-paced sense of humor. Dan is one of the funniest men I know. 3.) And finally, an amazing palate for food and booze. So when the text chimed through at 8:30am while duty-free shopping for alcohol at the airport, (don”t judge) I knew where our first stop had to be.
We eventually cleared customs like Patsy and Edina, bottles of booze clinking at our side, and were met by our two Aussie hosts, Darryn and Deb at curbside pickup. I immediately asked if either of them had ever heard of a restaurant called Bill”s. Turns out that Bill’s is one of several restaurants by Australian celebrity chef Bill Granger, whom I suppose is like the American Tyler Florence, minus the culinary training and terrible Applebees partnership. (BTW- what clown came up with the sentence “Tyler Florence is teaming up with Applebees to inject a youthful flare into an already outstanding menu?) Outstanding menu? Really? That might be pushing it just a wee bit. That”s like me saying- “Paula Deen is teaming with up Kentucky Fried Chicken to inject sensibility into an already health-friendly menu.”
After dropping our bags and hooch at our temporary home in Sydney, our friends took us on a short walk from the apartment and we found ourselves face to face with one of super chef Bill Granger”s restaurants. The space itself was very charming with an open airy quality to it with clean lines and an exposed kitchen. The restaurant was fully going off at 9:15 am and we waited about fifteen minutes to score a lovely table outside.
It took several minutes to be greeted and handed menus and when it finally came time to explore Bill’s menu, I was a little taken back at the prices. I thought for a moment that we were dining at The Four Seasons. $24.50 for scrambled eggs, bacon and some veggies? But my fears were calmed when I realized tax and gratuity were built into the menu price, freeing myself of having to do the math game in my head of what to leave the server. We quickly began to explore the menu, as mouth-watering dishes passed our table. Everything buy real viagra online without prescription looked amazing and fresh. My eyes
finally caught sight of what Dan had said changed his life, ricotta hotcakes with fresh banana and honeycomb butter. THANK YOU!
It looked amazing, but I feared Jackie Warner
would pop out of a kangaroo’s pouch at any moment explaining how long it would take to burn off the calories of two small bites, and I quickly struggled with an internal monologue. The fact that this woman still haunts my every waking moment is terrifying. Finally the four of us hatched a plan and decided to go at breakfast like we were contestants on the Wheel of Fortune. We would order four separate dishes, take a bite of the dish placed in front of us, then spin the wheel and hope the next dish being passed was not the bankrupt wedge of the wheel. Thankfully everything we ordered was spot on. I am not sure what the hell they do to their scrambled eggs, but they are the fluffiest, airiest, creamiest eggs I have ever tasted. We also had the sweet corn fritters with roast tomato, spinach and bacon. When I read the menu description of the fritter I imagined wearing a tube top and short shorts with cellulite covering my legs like we were at the State Fair, but what arrived at our table was so transcendent and decadent I almost wished the wheel had a technical breakdown or Vanna White accidentally pooped her evening gown as to distract my friends at the table so I could have licked the plate clean. The fritter was not your typical dough filled with a fleck or two of corn, but instead dozens of fresh corn kernels straight off the cob held together by light airy batter, sitting on a bed of steamed spinach with bacon and accompanied by a roasted tomato jam underneath. Pure perfection.
After all the savory, I craved a bite or two of the ricotta pancakes, and Dan was right. They were life changing. Within those two bites, I found God, married a beautiful Geisha named Kamekichi, learned Farsi and followed my dreams of becoming an international hand model. Who knew? Being our first meal in a foreign country, I was excited to see what the rest of our trip had to offer, however I was not looking forward to watching my waistline expand or my wallet shrink. The service at Bill’s was fine, nothing amazing yet nothing horrific. But again, the servers over seas are not there to charm you into helping put them through school. So with all that being said, Pat I’d like to solve the puzzle. I”D-BANG-BILL”S-FOOD. (Cue music and studio audience applause.) Yay, I win!!! Now if only I could figure out what to spend my prize money on: the white sweetheart canopy day bed or the Spotted Cheetah on canvas?? Decisions, decisions.
FOOD: Scrambled eggs, Sweet Corn Fritters, Ricotta Hotcakes.