Since moving over to Sydney’s inner East, I have found myself spending far more time in the city. Whether it’s to buy a cookbook, look for homewares for my new little place, or most importantly to meet a friend or my mum for a catch up over coffee and a bite to eat. Located along Martin Place, a stroll from the Quay or Wynyard or one stop on the train for me, Hills Bros has become the perfect, central place to meet.
Sydney’s city has always lacked in good quality cafes, but gradually things are improving. I think the best addition to the cafe scene is Hills Bros, not only because of it’s wonderful location along the enormous pedestrian thoroughfare of Martin Place (a rare luxury in the city!) but because of it’s exceptional food in both style and taste. The food features some amazing flavours from Asian and Latin American cuisine, with dished like Brown Rice Congee, Miso Braised Pork Bowl, Avocado Toast (with a variety of toppings e.g. confit salmon), Beef Rendang Curry with Turmeric Rice, Fish Pie and Achiote Chicken Tacos. There is also a vegetarian seasonal salad that changes regularly, and like many of the dishes on the menu you can add all sorts of toppings like the Achiote Chicken or Confit Salmon to it. I have thoroughly enjoyed every meal I’ve had here, mainly because every dish has a huge punch of flavour and always incorporates multiple textures, such as the tacos, which have a corn tortilla, smoked jalapeno jam, slaw, chipotle aioli and salsa, not to mention the charred juicy chicken with the incredibly fragrant and spicy achiote giving it an amazing depth of flavour. This is not your average quick lunch you would expect to find in the city, and with such reasonable prices, all meals between $14-$18, it is pretty hard to beat.
If it’s just coffee you’re after, then you’ve still come to the right place. Hills Bros, being Reuben Hills’ little sidekick, shares the same beautiful blends of coffee as well as an espresso of the day. I love my macchiato, but they also have fresh almond milk, pots of tea, turmeric lattes and a variety of cold drinks. Need something with it? You’re in luck, Hills Bros has one of the best dessert cabinets, filled with Sarah Glover’s famous Bondi Bikkies, Penny Fours crispy croissants, and house made muffins.
So sit down at one of the stools or hang out at the communal table and take in the sights and smells that starkly contrast with the cool grey, concrete atmosphere. Enjoy people watching from inside, at the business men and women, shoppers, tourists, skateboarders, flower sellers, and law interns lugging trolleys of files from building to building. The service is so attentive and fast, so you can be in and out in no time if you’re in a rush.
5 Martin Place, Sydney