I got to hang with some of my oldest and closest pals yesterday, and we found the perfect lunching spot at Cowbell 808, a cafe located on Bourke Street in Surry Hills. And when I say "perfect lunching spot", I mean that it was perfect in every sense of the word. Not only was the food and service excellent, the table we chose was situated right next to a ginormous open window, and we were caressed by gentle gusts of cool air the whole time we were there. I don't think you can appreciate how welcome a phenomenon that is unless you've experienced summer (or the lead-up to it) in Sydney.
Despite the warm weather, I ordered a long black. Having just spent the past few weeks subsisting on watery instant coffee, this freshly made long black sent my brain's pleasure centre into overdrive. I enjoyed the full-bodied smokiness of the black coffee with a few more sips before I asked for a small glass of milk to add to my beverage.
The window we were seated next too. Natural air-conditioning.
For lunch, I ordered the roasted beetroot salad with orange cous cous and mint. Whoever plated the dish did a totally awesome job. It came out on a wooden board, looking like an artwork and oh-so-fresh. The cous cous was generously drizzled with olive oil and was still warm, which went nicely with the cool, sweet beetroot and mandarin slices.
Roasted beetroot salad with orange cous cous and mint ($10). Pretty as a picture!
My friend L. went straight for the Cowbell 808 burger, which came with a side of onion rings. L. was totally awed by the size and height of the burger, and we spent some time debating the best way to eat it (she eventually settled on using a knife and fork, the dainty creature she is). The patty looked so juicy, and when she cut into it, we saw that it was nicely pink (my favourite way to eat meat!) I tried some of the patty and it was very tender, though perhaps slightly under-seasoned. I didn't try the onion rings, but L. seemed to like it very much.
Cowbell 808 burger, with fried onion rings ($18)
My other friend H. chose the poached chicken sambo. A 'sambo', H. explained upon our quizzical looks, is simply the Aussie slang for 'sandwich'. L., who has always lacked the propensity to let things go (I love you dear, but you know it's true), asked why you would replace a two-syllable word with a two-syllable slang. Just...eat your burger, L. ;P
Poached chicken sambo (didn't note down the price)
H.'s sambo came piled high with alfalfa sprouts and chicken pieces mixed with mayonnaise. H. said she liked it a lot.
We enjoyed our meals at a leisurely pace, then spent some time chatting about nothing in particular, and admiring the deco. I thought the basketball hoop in the middle of the room was very cool, and H. wanted to shoot some goals with our used napkins (I talked her out of it).
I can see Cowbell becoming 'our special place'; somewhere to return to again and again for the ever-changing specials, the calming atmosphere, and the attentive and welcoming staff.
616 Bourke Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9698 5044