Glider KS is a pointer to the changing landscape of breakfast and brunch dining in Sydney. It’s an exciting metamorphosis, with cafe classics being tweaked with an infusion of Asian ingredients and techniques, that challenge your taste buds to experience dishes in a whole new light. Nearly as exciting, is to see Chippendale’s food scene really ramp up with Kensington Street now becoming a food precinct. Glider KS joins Kensington Street Social, Bar Chinois and a range of south-east Asian eateries that form Spice Alley – good times!
Glider KS is the second cafe by Mark Verhoeven (after Glider in Potts Point) and he’s created a cool space from a terrace-styled home that points to the past, yet is very contemporary styled. There’s white everywhere, but nicely accented with copper piping. The coffee making area is in an alcove and the dining area is to the back. It’s a neat touch, which ensures take away coffee drinkers and diners are neatly segmented. When it’s crowded, Glider KS diners can spill out into Spice Alley and dine there was well.
By the time we’re seated, and had a quick peek onto Spice Alley to peruse the offerings, our drinks have arrived. The first facet of our coffee experience that struck us was the amazing cups our coffees came in. They are by Liquorice Moon Studios. Cool design, rustic stoneware clay that have been shaped by a pottery wheel. My cappuccino is a Single Origin Roasters Yeehaw blend which is a medium roast coffee, which yields robust flavours of subtle cocoa and nutty flavours that permeates the coffee. There’s a nice thick texture to the coffee, yet it’s still smooth.
For cold brew lovers, Glider’s version of this coffee type (like the other coffees) is served in the cool Milky Dribble Mug . The cold brew itself is a cold brew drink done really well, with no bitter after taste, just a lingering smoothness of coffee. I get a hint of lychees when I taste it, surprisingly sweet yet guilt free without any sugar. It’s the perfect summer brew!
So on the coffee front Glider KS is a winner already.
While Glider KS does not really have an open kitchen, in the traditional sense, we can still see the team working away quietly and efficiently and we can see our lunches being assembled. And from our vantage point, we feel the anticipation increasing as we started eating with our eyes. For a perfect starter that’s easy to share among two people, its the Duck Burger. They are two sliders of tender and moist duck with the Asian flavours coming to the fore. Accompanying the duck is sesame seeds, basil, chives and soy sauce. There’s a spice and sweetness to the sauce and the ingredients are neatly, and cutely, sandwiched between soft buns.
Continuing with the burger theme is a Glider’s Ginger Chicken Burger, which is described on the menu as handmade free-range chicken patty, with smashed free-range egg, iceberg lettuce, in-house tomato sauce on a New York style brioche bun. Firstly, the brioche bun was one of the softest burger buns I have ever tried. It was light and fluffy – like eating puffs of cloud! The good thing, for me at least, unlike most bread that fills you up, Glider KS’ bun actually allows you to enjoy the buttery goodness and leaves you with room in your stomach to enjoy the other elements of the burger. Now where can we get some of these buns?!
The other highlight to the burger is the ginger chicken patty. You can definitely tell that it’s made in-house based on the freshness of the ingredients and uniqueness in taste. Ginger and chicken are typically a match made in heaven in most Asian dishes. Glider has fashioned a chicken burger patty, so bursting with ginger, green onion and Asian marinade flavours, eating it is like a Thai mince chicken stir fry rounded up in a burger patty.
The burger also has all the other usual burger suspects – lettuce, eggs and a couple of surprises like the tomato sauce. The menu described it as just in-house tomato sauce, but there is the surprise heat element of chilli in it. This is a Thai fusion café afterall, so it wouldn’t be complete without a bit of heat! Overall this burger definitely hit the spot and did not disappoint.
Speaking of hitting the spot, if you are a noodle addict, you have to try the Glider KS Duck Brekkie Noodle, described on their menu as vermicelli noodles, with duck breast, 2 free range eggs, onion, and fried shallots. While most traditional Asian breakfast noodles usually have a soupy base, Glider’s take is a stir fry noodle and is surprisingly very moist. The first twisted fork of noodles delivers an explosion of flavours, ranging from sweet from the sweet sauce, to crunchy from the fried shallot, to savoury from the duck. All of this blended together with the eggs, and garnished with coriander leaves. Think Asian Char Kway Teow flavours but with vermicelli noodles and duck meat.
This noodle takes me back to Singapore and a dried noodle that is popular for breakfast. But Glider’s version is definitely a step up in terms of sophistication of flavours – I so wanted more!
When you see the dessert Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango featured in Glider’s menu, it leaves you with no doubt of the owner and the chef’s cuisine influence. If you have never tried coconut sticky rice with mango before, it is sweet mango pieces, paired with coconut-flavoured glutinous rice. This is a simple dish that is served exactly as it is described. But precisely because it’s so simple, it has to be done well. If not, there would be no place to hide the flaws.
To begin with, the rice has to cooked perfectly otherwise you will taste uncooked rice granules. The balance of sweet and salty flavours from the coconut cream and salt, also has to be done with the right balance so that one flavour doesn’t overpower the other. Needless to say, Glider nailed this dish to perfection. It is definitely a classic done well and a homage to its Thai heritage.
Glider KS is another breath of fresh air on the Sydney cafe scene. With a Thai inspired menu that does not have you reaching for water or breaking out in sweats, it’s delicate touches of Asian flavours differentiates itself from the norm. So get out to Chippendale and spice up your morning!