359 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Although I’ve come to Australia to live for a few years, I still feel like a tourist. And being from the UK, one of the places on the obligatory list is Bills. It’s owned by Bill Granger of the cookbook and TV show fame. He’s all over food cookery TV in England. He’s come to represent how modern Australian food is sold to us foreigners – relaxed, weekend dining with the sound of the ocean in earshot.

He looks like somebody who’s stumbled into this celebrity chefing world. He doesn’t exactly seem to bubble with ambition and does have a friendly awkwardness on TV, which makes him kind of endearing, compared to likes of Gordon Ramsay….

So I had to try Bills, just to strike it off the list. I managed to find myself mid-morning in Surry Hills with an hour or so to kill. I should have gone to the far more interesting Fifi Foveaux’s down the road, but I told myself I had no choice.

 sydney week 3 003

It’s a very unassuming place, but no sign of the celebrities promised on the website….It was 10.30am on a weekday. I parked myself outside and made my choice. The normal flat white & the sweet corn fritters with bacon, spinach and tomato.

 sydney week 3 002

What followed was ‘death by sweet corn’ – 2 huge discus-like slabs with a pokey ‘filling’ of a single piece of bacon, one half of a tiny tomato and some random spinach leaves. The fritters were alright in that they had a good crust and a sweet, doughy interior, but it was a pretty full-on sweet-corn fest, which left me feeling a little queasy and considering giving up the yellow kernels for the next month. I guess it’s the inherent sweetness, but you don’t get the same feeling with steak. Also a little moisture would have helped, but the little tomato was never in a position to contribute.

I believe every dish, brunch or otherwise should be able to stand on its own and this was just not a balanced dish. More bacon could have saved the day (as always). It has a power all of its own to take away flaws…

The coffee was good (I’ve yet to have a bad one in Australia) and the service was genial. Just the food didn’t totally deliver on the Aussie dining lifestyle Bill has sold me. I’d rather stick to Bathers Pavilion.

It’s not totally fare to judge a café/restaurant on the strength of one dish, but every plate should ‘sell’ the restaurant. I know I will have to give Bill’s another go, but the jury is out.



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