A Sydney institution that never gets old.
July 13, 2011
It seems almost ridiculous to introduce bills: these cafes are an institution. The first, in Darlinghurst, introduced the concept of communal dining to our nation, reputedly as a way to get around council restrictions. Bill Granger, namesake and chef, is well-known in his own right, with more than one signature dish under his belt and a plethora of cookbooks in stores worldwide.
So it's with more than a touch of guilt that I admit this is my first visit. Thankfully, the casual reputation of bills lives up to expectations, and my shyness quickly gives way to enthusiasm.
It's Saturday morning in the Darlinghurst edition, and I'm glad we've decided to come early. Within five minutes of our arrival, the entire room is buzzing with breakfasters. The small room, sparsely decorated, is filled with warm sunlight. We sit at a large table in the centre of the room (the famous communal table), and begin our meal with Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice ($6.50) and a Flat White ($3.90).
Choosing our meals is slightly more difficult. After deliberating, we decide that signature dishes are in order for our virgin visit. We pick Sweet Corn Fritters with Roast Tomato, Spinach and Bacon ($18.50) and the Ricotta Hotcakes with Fresh Banana and Honeycomb Butter ($17.50) to share. Our waiter recommends sides of Avocado Salsa ($4.50) and Bacon ($5) to match each dish respectively, and we don't need much persuasion to agree. The serves arrive quickly and are fresh, enormous and delicious. That said, I suspect that this menu would be hard to go wrong with - definitely worth a repeat visit or two.
Breakfast (or any other meal) at bills isn't cheap, but the relaxed luxury of the food and atmosphere makes this a treat worth partaking in. Any wait will be well worthwhile, but if time is scarce, opt for some Daily-Baked Bran Muffins ($4.50) to take with you.