In Short: Sir Allen Taylor & Co is a café by day and bar by night that showcases all the best parts of Ben Sweeten and Shirin Topaloglu’s success with Kansas City Shuffle and Tuxedo, with some added unique flare of its own that allows it to stand out in this eclectic iconic location.
The food scene at King’s Cross may never be the same again! Ben Sweeten, owner of Kansas City Shuffle, Tuxedo and alumni of Melbourne institution Proud Mary, and his fiancée co-owner Shirin Topaloglu have opened up a new eatery at the corner of Oxford and Flinders Street, overlooking Taylor Square in Sydney.
Sir Allen Taylor & Co is a diner by day and a bar by night. Named after a famous mayor of Sydney in the early 20th century who was famous for beautifying the Darlinghurst area, the location of the place is strategically iconic and perfect for people watching. On a lovely balmy spring day, you can sit back, enjoy your meal, and observe the diverse and vibrant Darlinghurst/Kings Cross community going about its day.
For their outdoor seating, there is the classic Parisian-style cane furniture with chequered seats and round café tables. The open concept of the layout allows natural light to bounce off the the whites of the subway tiles and the white painted doors.
Inside, with chilled jazz music playing in the background, the wait staff is milling around serving customers in their co-ordinated black Sir Allen Taylor & Co t-shirts and floral head bands. On the walls is a mix of white subway tiles with olive painted walls. To give the place warmth and a soft touch, there is a lot of use of wood in the deco, like the wooden countertop that sits on top of a striking blue tile short wall, the wooden table flanked by different types of Brentwood chairs and even wooden booth seats. For me, I was tickled pink by the most prominent wooden feature in the diner, their Fameg chairs, as they reminded me of the kind of wooden chairs used in old school Kopi Tiam cafés that you find in Singapore and Malaysia, right down to the subtle floral prints on the seats, but with a modern look and finish.
But enough raving about the stellar deco of the diner. Let’s talk coffee and food!
On opening morning we put Sir Allen Taylor’s barista to task to see what he can do with Single O Paradox blend, with a cappuccino. It’s a medium strength coffee, that’s smooth with notes of chocolate and berry. The temperature of the coffee warms me through, and exquisite milk work reveals a silky texture. Very easy drinking and a perfect start to our experience.
Sir Allen Taylor & Co serves up a range of flavoured lattes, like chai, matcha, or turmeric (golden). The one that jumped out of the drinks menu for me was their Red Velvet Latte, but even I was not expecting how lovely the drink would be! Pink coloured latte with love heart latte art, it was like having a red velvet cupcake in liquid form. Flavour-wise, it was just the right level of milkiness, without being overly sweet.
Coco and Viner Sacha chose the Medley of Mushroom option from the Funky Beats section of the menu. To be honest, when the dish arrived, I had a couple minutes of food envy. Imagine, if you will, plump and fat brown buttons with golden strands of enoki mushrooms, brushed with glistening sauce that causes light to bounce off the shiny mushrooms in a way that was positively begging to be eaten. The dish also had whipped feta cheese in it to break up the richness of the two poached eggs and the earthiness of the mushroom. To mop up the sauce, you are given chunks of rye bread. As a testimony to the level of deliciousness of this dish, Sacha cleaned up the dish in record speed as well!
Me, I am very much either a meat or dessert person. Hence, it made sense that I would choose their Smoked Beef Brisket and Waffles from their Gangsta Eats section of the menu. As I took my first bite, I realised with a sense of déjà vu that I had eaten it before, almost a year ago at their Kansas City Shuffle digs in The Rocks. I remember when I first tried it there, I went weak at the knees. Although its been a year since I last had it, the dish still had the same effect on me! Rich and tender beef with a smoky flavour sits on top of a light and fluffy square waffle. Not wanting to ruin a good thing that worked so well at KCS, the same great recipe has been brought over to seduce the inner eastern suburbs crowd. The use of chilli butter leaves you with a slightly warm, lingering heat in your mouth with each mouthful that is not overpowering yet so enticing, you can’t wait for your next mouthful. Paired with two perfectly poached eggs, that yields the essential oozy centre when you cut into it, it is a dish that is sublimely delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If you are wondering how they manage to make all the food taste so yummy, you should know that all of the produce used in Sir Allen Taylor & Co’s food is locally sourced and they are proud supporters of small producers. For example, their bread is supplied by my favourite Crows Nest bakery, St. Malo, who make the most amazing brioche milk buns.
While Sir Allen Taylor & Co offerings change as the sun goes down, their cocktail menu starts from 10am, which is great news for those who would like a delicious cocktail like an Espresso Martini to go with their lunch or dinner meal. With Ben Sweeten and Shirin Topaloglu’s extensive hospitality experience on showcase, you can be assured of good food and a good time at this iconic location.