It’s nearly 11am and I am most definitely ready for some breakfast. The previously unnamed café now has a name. New awnings that arrived this week apparently, proclaim it to be Chill. And who are we to argue with that claim? Strop and I have been up early and dashed off for a swim at Wylie Baths in Coogee before dashing back to Newtown for a breakfast date with Jim and Matt. Pretty hectic for a Sunday. For the last few summers we’ve been trying to fit in a Sunday morning swim, but this is our first time swimming at Wylie Baths. We are usually found on the sands, looking into the distance at the far off cliff-straddling verandas and wondering what it’s like over there. Up until now that vague curiosity has never overcome our innate inertia so we have remained interested but ignorant. Well not anymore. Thanks to young newlyweds Tom and Chloe, who held their most excellent wedding on the Wylie veranda with the ocean and the rocks and the sky as a backdrop. It was a very, very nice wedding, and a welcome relief to arrive at such a beautiful venue at the end of a long day.
Strop and the Stropolina, together with Wendy and her sister Sue, had spent the morning doing the flowers (who knew that orchids would need so much wire to keep them all pert and paying attention?). In the afternoon there was a zig-zagging drive up and down the eastern suburbs, delivering them to everyone in need of floral adornment. By the time we got to the baths and had deployed little and big floral arrangements to most of the horizontal surfaces we were ready for a drink. Unfortunately we had to wait for the ceremony. Typical. So that’s why we went straight back the next morning, we knew how beautiful the baths were, but what were their swimming attributes like? Pretty good as it turns out, apart from the risk of urchin spines in the foot. The coffee is pretty good too. So by the time we got to Chill Café we were pretty hungry. Strop and I arrived first, and had a long and mostly amicable discussion about who should be the one to order the big breakfast. In the end I decided that if I didn’t have it I would spend the rest of the day full of regret and possibly resentment, (yes, I am that person) thinking that I had missed out on something. The menu has plenty of intriguing options. Pancakes with Bacon Jam? Yes, that is correct bacon jam, I can hear Homer Simpson now. Eggs Benedict with poached duck eggs? I’ve had duck eggs before but I don’t think I’ve ever had them poached. I looked at my watch, “Come on Matt and Jim, I want to order.” There has been a café here for a number of years but it came under new ownership last year, according to a very informative French-accented waiter who gave up the information only when Strop put the heat on him. It took a moment to establish that when she asked “How long have you been here?”, she wasn’t checking if he had over-stayed his visa, but was referring to the business. When Jim and Matt arrived we went straight into ordering mode. Matt and I went for the big breakfast (it was nearly lunchtime after all), Strop went for the bacon jam (we had to know) and the accompanying pancakes and eggs. She also went for a fruity melon salad, using the flimsy excuse that she was having breakfast and lunch. Jim went for simple poached eggs on toast, due to a funny tummy that was raising questions no one really wanted to know the answer to. Our orange juices came in trendy new I’m-over-it-already-sub-ironic-hipster-jam-jars-with-handles. I suppose the catering supply companies have to move their current stock of faux-retro drinkware, but I certainly hope they aren’t buying any more. The juice didn’t seem to be freshly squeezed but it did come with lots of ice and was definitely chilled.
There ensued a long and winding conversation that included a discussion on the popularity of egg and bacon rolls, and in particular those at Orange Grove markets. I’m happy to call these the best e&b rolls in Sydney, and possibly the universe, especially with a sprinkling of Tabasco and a squirt of bbq sauce. Apparently the queues are getting so long now that the gozleme and Japanese pancake stalls have included bacon and egg options in their menus to try and cash in on those not prepared to wait half an hour. When our breakfasts arrived Strop had to negotiate with a neighbouring party to lease an under-used part of their table to put her pancakes on, while she ate her fruit salad. Matt’s and my big breakfasts lived up to their names. The plates were enormous, nearly as wide as the table. Luckily, that meant there was plenty of room to array and arrange our food so that we could try out all the possible combinations. Egg + toast = the obvious starting point – lovely yellow yokes soaking into light vienna toast, cut to a reasonable thickness (no need for a steak knife to cut your toast here). Bacon + tomato + mushroom = excellent. Hashbrown + egg + bacon = yes! Egg + bacon + tomato = mmm… Wait a minute, what about these sausages, hiding behind the bacon? Well yes, they go very nicely with everything too.
In a worryingly short time my plate was empty. Strop’s bacon jam turned out to be just that, jam that was oniony, maple-syrupy and bacony. It came in a little pot and there was plenty for us all to have a try. She was a bit disappointed in the pancakes, which were thicker than she likes (very much a crepe girl, our Strop). All in all Chill is an excellent breakfast option and the coffee is pretty good too. Next week we cross the road and back-track a bit (due to the odd and even street numbers getting out of sync in this part of King Street) to Yenikoy to continue our Turkish interlude.