[THIS VENUE IS CLOSED] A Surry Hills café that specialises in treating hunger and thirst, results guaranteed
[THIS VENUE IS CLOSED] Dr Faustus sold his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. On a force-five hangover we’ll hand ours over for a good coffee and something salty for breakfast. Luckily, we have our very own Dr Faustus filling those exact prescriptions at a new café on Cleveland Street.
Owner Adam Kane skipped over the room's most recent history as a whimsy emporium and stripped it right back to the original fixtures of the pharmacy that operated here in 1908. The walls are lined in glass-fronted timber cabinets but the shelves are stacked with sweet little posies in glass bottles rather than eye of newt and organs in formaldehyde.
We may not have Momofuku Milk Bar in Sydney, but thanks to Faustus, we now have cereal milk, which is a damn good start. It’s exactly what it sounds like: milk gets poured over breakfast cereal to capture the sugar and gentle, nutty grain flavour before being strained into a tall enamel cup with heaps of ice. On our visit it’s Coco Pops flavour – the result is less chocolate milkshake and more malted milk. They are building up their cereal collection to include Cheerios, Milo cereal, Just Right, Rice Bubbles and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.
They also offer an egg cream, which contains neither of the titular ingredients. Instead it’s a mix of milk, soda water and chocolate syrup that sits somewhere between a milkshake and a spider. If this is all way too much dairy for you, order a coffee instead. They do good work with a special blend of beans from Bills Beans out in Orange.
On the food front there’s no clear breakfast and lunch divide. Yes, there's a BLT on the menu, but here your bacon gets dolled up with onion, gruyere and a swipe of foie gras on a French bread roll. Or you can get a German sausage on a milk bun with mustard and pickled cabbage.
The menu describes the ‘Eggs 5 Ways’ as pickled hen egg, soft-boiled duck egg, quail egg, red eye aioli and caviar, which sounds alarming. But the sweet little plate of three carefully balanced peeled eggs wearing little fish roe caps looks intriguing. We’ll give it a whirl next time. For now we are extremely pleased with our Welsh rarebit made with a malty Guinness béchamel and aged cheddar. It arrives with a super soft fried egg on top and Worcestershire sauce on the side. For some retro American lunchtime fun, order the taco salad. You get a big glass jar packed with chopped lettuce, diced tomato, corn kernels, avocado and chicken mince with slices of black olive for a briny kick and a bowl of corn chips on the side. Give the jar a strenuous shake to mix everything together with the mild, creamy dressing and then crumble the chips on top for crunch.
And yes, you also want a side of the lightly battered okra, which comes with a salty, house-made French onion dip.
Word is well and truly out about this new hot spot so weekends get crowded, but midweek the good Doctor will see you in a timely fashion. We’ll be scheduling a check-up soon as there’re plans to add a liquor licence, charcuterie and clams on the half shell. But for now, a regular course of coffee, cereal milk and crunchy salads is a the cure for our morning malady.
|Venue name:||Dr Faustus|
380 Cleveland St
|Opening hours:||Tue-Thu 5-10pm; Fri 11.30am-10pm; Sat 9am-10pm; Sun 9am-4pm|