In Short: 5th Earl Rosebery is like a home away from home with great service, comfortable seating, and rustic dishes like the king crab omelette. Coffee is excellent, and housed in a food hub means you can do your food shopping afterwards.
The magical ten kilometre radius around Sydney is one that’s undergoing transformation. I was just having a conversation with fellow Coco and Viner Sonia about how the back end of Surry Hills was, 20 years ago, a decrepit, undesirable part of Sydney. If only we’d bought one of those Victorian houses back then! Hindsight is a thing of fantasy as we admire those long-hall houses with beautiful, polished planks of timber. We admire the immaculate hedges out front and it’s accessibility to the CBD, cafes and well…everything! That same transformation that occurred in Surry Hills has now extended past Alexandria and into Rosebery, just five kilometres down the Eastern Distributor. Apartment blocks are reaching into the sky, and for those owning a house, have seen themselves become almost instant millionaires. To feed those flooding into the area, there is a new food hub that has been fashioned out of an old heritage-listed poker machine factory. One of the first eating establishments to open in this hub was 5th Earl. An indoor/outdoor venue, it has a country home vibe, with French pendant lights, dark brown floorboards, the most comfortable leather-bound chairs, cute little tables, and an exciting buzz as families and couples tuck into brunch.
If you do choose to dine on the weekends, it can be a few minutes wait for a table, but what’s great about 5th Earl being housed in Saporium is that you can peruse the site; buying fresh fruit, bread and wine from neighbouring shops in preparation for your next meal. For example, we sneaked into Wholefoods House and came across fresh saffron milk cap mushrooms and we stocked up on this rarely commercially available shroom. To think we drove 200km last year to pick them in the forests around Oberon, when they have it in the shops here now! These mushrooms from the old growth pine forests are usually snapped up by restaurants when they are available, so a round of applause to Wholefoods for satisfying our mushroom craving, and saving us a tank of petrol in the process. Not satisfied with just the shrooms, we then sauntered across to The Drink Hive and picked up a couple of bottles of French apple cider.
After our walk around the Saporium, my caffeine level was so low that I was glad to see my flat white hit the table in a handsome grey cup with with black saucer that highlighed the dark roast of the coffee. A beautiful rosetta with clean whites and a sip revealed bold flavours from the Toby’s Estate blend. I love the acidity, but it didn’t overwhelm the palate, and is ultimately a well-balanced coffee. There was a nice lightness to the milk; creamy nevertheless.
Like a husband and wife would do, both our choices are the two items on the menu featuring crab. I went for the soft shell crab burger with Asian slaw, horseradish cream, on a toasted bun with fries. It’s a tower of crab goodness. The batter is crispy and a savoury delight, that is until you get to the crab meat, which is sweet and salty at the same time. Horseradish cream adds a little tingly contrast and the Asian slaw features texture of the red cabbage, celery, and carrot which also freshens up every mouthful. Toasted brioche style buns tops it all off. A spectacular looking burger which also delivers on taste as well!
Continuing on our crab odyssey, Mavis ordered a 5th Earl omelette. At 5th Earl you have three choices of primary ingredient to go with your omelette, which includes Alaskan king crab, grilled chorizo or poached chicken. There was no doubt in Mavis’ mind when she saw king crab on the menu, that was what she would choose. The omelette is definitely generous and you may want to consider sharing, as the omelette was nearly as big in diameter as the plate it came in! The egg is expertly pan fried to a light fluffy golden brown colour, the way a good omelette should be, not too greasy, nor oily. The addition of the slivers of red onion, shallots and green capsicum in the omelette, and mix of salad greens on top of the dish adds colour and texture. However the highlight has to be the Alaskan crab meat, which is sweet and salty, and elevated the omelette to levels of opulence with each bite. If you thought that the lemon wedge provided with the dish is just an afterthought garnish, think again, as the injection of citrus adds a dimension of freshness and cuts through the richness of the egg. Two slices of sourdough allow you to carve up a section of the omelette and it makes for a delicious sandwich; the kind of which I would love before a morning ride.
Filled to the brim, we decided that another adventure through Saporium was required to expend some energy before heading out of Rosebery. It was an enjoyable brunch at 5th Earl. Its location is super convenient, being close to the airport and just 10 minutes from the city. Knowing that you can do your weekly shopping, as well as enjoying fine food, is added motivation. The service is warm and friendly, and we were amazed at how quickly our food arrived. Definitely one of the best cafes in the area.