Saturday, 31 December 2011

Ampersand Cafe Bookstore, Surry Hills

It is New Years Eve (is it that important that it needs capital letters?) and I am in Sydney. Instead of sitting in the sun at the harbour (behind some fat sweaty guy with an afro hair cut which will block any view at all) waiting in anticipation for some fireworks, I am instead happily sitting at the computer at my friend Alan's house. Alan is currently on a boat in Sydney harbour and I chose to stay home because I do not like parties and parties do not like me. Instead, I choose to blog!

For the last few days I have been walking around Sydney. I walked a lot; the muscle burn in my ankles, calves and thighs, the non existance of cellulite on my thighs as well as the horrible sunburn/tan I have on my face proves it. Never fear, I now am the proud owner a Cancer Council approved sun hat which shall protect me from the evil sun rays of cancer and death.

On Thursday I met with Miss A from Sweden and we walked to the Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills. Unfortunately it was closed. Fortunately no one could attend the food bloggers meet up I organised there on the very same day. Embarassment avoided. Disappointed, we found our hungry selves on Crown Street and decided the Ampersand Cafe Bookstore looked like a good place to have some lunch.

I admired the pretty terrace houses that a graduate accountant such as myself cannot afford

The cafe is quite welcoming and clean. The books in the shelves downstairs as well as the library-like upstairs give the cafe a homely feel.

Miss A and myself throught everything on the menu sounded good. An all day breakfast is available which includes such items as muesli and good old fry ups. I wanted the gluten free fry up but thought it would be too filling... After some time we both decided to order the crumbed cauliflower with apple and witlof salad for $15.

Crumbed cauliflower? I do not know what I was thinking...I do not do crumbed. I pulled off the crumbed outer and ended up with a big mess on my plate

The dish looked very pretty; the colours complemented each other and there were different shapes and textures on the plate. On the bottom was a witlof salad, on top of that were the crumbed pieces of cauliflower, room temperature quartered apple pieces, oval shapes of some sort of creamy dressing and the whole dish was finished with some sort of sprouts. Yes, I am bad with names of nouns.

This dish seemed confused to me. Or, perhaps it was just me. First, the apples were cold. I think warm apples would have worked better. The dressing paired with the apples made me think I was eating a dessert...with the savoury cauliflower. I would not have this dish again as I found it boring; there was nothing interesting happening taste-wise on my plate and the taste combinations were confusing.

Service wise, there were no problems. The waitress seemed quite concerned about the amount of crumbing I had left on my plate and the amount of food Miss A left on hers. I explained that I do not do crumbs and that Miss A had arrived from Sweden that day and therefore was more tired than hungry.

The position of this cafe is very pleasant. It faces a small quare of grass next to the Surry Hills library. Quite a few people were sitting there in the sun/shade, drinking a coffee from the cafe and talking with their friends. To conclude, we left full but slightly disappointed that the cauliflower dish did not taste as good as it looked.

What you need to know:
Where: 213 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW
When:  Monday to Wednesday 08:00 - 17:30, Thursday to Saturday 08:00 - 22:00, Sunday 09:00 - 17:00
Other: Go upstairs - there is what seems to be a whole library.bookshop up there! There is also another Ampersand Cafe Boookstore at 78 Oxford Street, Paddington
Website <- click me

Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore on Urbanspoon


  1. I've walked past this but never gone in. I do like crumbs (unfortunate as they are not too healthy!) but the dish does sound a little confusing.

  2. wonderful place.. i like to spend my time there too. nice shot.

  3. I've been to Sydney so many times but I've never ventured into the Surry Hills area, this looks like an amazing cafe bookstore where you can sit and relax and enjoy your book :)

    I do the exact same thing pull off the crumbs of everything LOL Mr Bao asks me why I still get fried and crumbed items on the menu HAHAHA

  4. ****Lorraine****
    If you do visit, do not order the cauliflower. There was a pork chop or something that some other people ordered and it looked very nice.

    Do you read the many books there?

    Surry Hills is not far from the city centre (if you like to walk a bit), so it is nice to walk there on a sunny day.
    Hehe I am happy I am not the only one who pulls off the crumbs!