Eighteen months old and going from strength to strength, Reuben Hills is a café and coffee roastery on Albion Street in Surry Hills. Owners Nathan Borg and Russell Beard travelled to a number of Central and South American countries in search of unique coffees. The menu is a nod to the food the guys have eaten on their travels.
Now if there’s one thing I wouldn’t recommend it would be going to Reuben Hills as a group of six. We made this mistake for my brother’s birthday brunch and ended up waiting over an hour for a table (they don’t accept bookings). Thankfully it was a pleasant autumn morning to sit in the sun and wait and the staff were happy to bring us coffees while we waited.
I’m unsure where the coffee that I had came from (Colombia, maybe?) but it was quite unusual and really enjoyable. Dylan’s coffee never arrived (but they quickly took it off the bill once they realised) and Mum found the coffee too strong for her liking.
Salted Caramel Shake ($8.50).
I had low expectations for the salted caramel shake but I simply had to order it. Salted caramel is being done by absolutely everyone at the moment, though I would argue poorly. A good salted caramel needs the right amount of salt. Too little and what’s the point? Too much and you’ll cringe. With an $8.50 price tag I hoped Reuben Hills would surprise me. They did. This was everything you could want in a salted caramel shake – salty, sweet, rich caramel, creamy shake. Not to Dylan’s liking (he hasn’t jumped on the salted caramel bandwagon) but if you enjoy salted caramel then this is definitely for you.
Crab Tacos w avocado, sweet corn, smoked tomato & rocket ($18.00).
I’m one of those people who read the menu before arriving at the venue as I (a) am impatient, (b) hate surprises, and (c) am a terrible decision maker. I had decided on the baked eggs and was really looking forward to them. It was only when it took some time for us to get a table that I decided it was lunch time and the crab tacos were calling my name.
Two soft taco shells were adorned with a mountain of filling. I found a nice balance between the fresh crab and avocado with hints of sweet corn and a light smokiness of the tomato. A touch of lime and that’s all that was needed to finish off these ultra-light, fresh and zingy tacos.
Pulled Pork Tacos w queso fresco & pickled okra ($16.00).
Dylan was on a similar wavelength to me and had his eye on the pork and okra tacos. In the name of research we decided to go halves. I was interested in trying okra. The verdict? Sticky and sap-like but I couldn’t enjoy it due to the pickling process. I’ll have to give it another go when it hasn’t been pickled, though I can see how the acidic okra would have gone well with the rich pulled pork and cheese. Once I’d picked the okra off I was able to enjoy the taco with creamy avocado, black beans and tender pork. The pork was richer and heavier in flavour than the crab, suiting Dylan to a tee while I preferred the lightness of the crab.
Doggs Breakfast ice cream sandwich w salted caramel ($9.00).
Because I don’t dine out often and didn’t know when I’d be returning to Reuben Hills I decided I had to have the Doggs Breakfast. We ordered three between the six of us but oddly one arrived about five minutes ahead of the other two and the portion sizes varied considerably between the three plates.
Unlike the salted caramel shake I had high expectations for the dessert, having read rave reviews about it all over the blogosphere. Unfortunately it didn’t kick the goals that the shake did. Here I found there was too much salted caramel, not enough cake and the vanilla ice cream was neither here nor there. Perhaps I made the mistake of holding high expectations but I felt rather ill afterwards and wished I had finished on the high of the tacos.
Reuben Hills is a nice change from the cafes dishing up the same old fare. I thoroughly enjoyed my shake and tacos and will have to head back (with perhaps just one other person) to try the baked eggs and avocado on rye.
61 Albion Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Reuben Hills Website