In Short: Explore the backstreets of Surry Hills and you will not be disappointed with Kwila Cafe. Go definitely for the coffee, but don’t leave without trying their Sunrise Bowl.
There’s just something about big cities. No matter where you are in the world, be it London, New York, or Sydney, the density of the landscape weaves you in and out of its hives, the rabbit warrens, the underground, the alleyways. Its alluring, drawing you in with a promise of something undiscovered, new, different. The backstreets of Surry Hills are just that, and with a wave of rejuvenating it’s old industrial roots, but maintaining the façade, we find ourselves on a Thursday morning taken in by Kwila.
We weren’t quite prepared mid-morning for the line up out on to the street, but in a well-timed lull, I make a dash for the last 3 seats by the window looking out on to the alleyway and a crowd of business types waiting for their morning fix. Kwila, named after a native tree to Papua New Guinea, feels like it’s almost been carved out of the space with it’s exposed, distressed walls, and wooden furnishings and floors. The opening at the front with bench and stools, spills natural light into the café and we just know we are in for a treat.
I’m with fellow Coco & Viners Steven and Sacha, and as the boys whip out the cameras and set up, I take the orders and look to get the goods out ASAP. Its one of those warm spring mornings, so I break away from my usual milky cap order, and decide on the Costa Rican cold drip coffee and was definitely not disappointed with my deviation! It was refreshing, yet bold and full of flavour lingering on the palate with each sip.
Sacha opts for tradition, and orders up a flat white. The seasonal blend expertly combines beans from PNG, Costa Rica and Colombia, and he remarks immediately on the boldness of the cup, with rich and smooth notes of dark chocolate, and each mouthful hits the tongue with an acidity and sharpness that is good to the very last drop.
Steven, our resident Chai connoisseur can’t go past the Daintree Chai with almond milk. It yields distinct notes of strong spices and complexity of flavours that marry well with the smoothness of the almond milk. His silence speaks volumes!
The menu at Kwila is focused on simple, clean and quality ingredients and dishes that match perfectly with the coffee, and we can see exactly why this place is packed even after the supposed morning ‘rush’ is over. The sunrise bowl is a definite must and while it looks small, this bowl is packed with flavour and is surprisingly light, yet filling. Toasted muesli, macadamias, thinly sliced apple, blueberries and strawberries lay atop a chia jelly-like pudding. Add the tartness and freshness of natural Greek yoghurt, and Sacha was scrapping every last morsel from the bottom of the bowl!
Avocado smash has been the calling of a generation, and the version at Kwila does not disappoint. The art is in its simplicity, that lets the avocado speak for itself. The secret? Chimmichurri is layered between the toast and avocado, that adds the hints of parsley, oregano, garlic and red pepper. This was perfect with my cold drip!
Last up was the fruit toast. Sounds simple enough, but keeping with its other menu items, this again is full of flavour. With generous chunks of figs and raisins, there certainly wasn’t a lot being said from Steven’s corner of the bench as he swtiched between his chai and toast.
Our adventure into the unknown was complete, our curiosity satisfied and our palates invigourated. For you fellow urban explorers, do yourself a favour follow the trail to Kwila, and you will not be disappointed.