The Book Kitchen is a wonderful little restaurant located in the trendy village of Surry Hills. It’s a popular cafe by day that does well to exist on the same block that stands the Bourke street bakery. In a paradox, its proximity to that baked goods giant may actually do TBK a favour; the al fresco setting is the perfect place to watch the loyal patrons squabble in line to retrieve their fancy chive bagel and organic chocolate milk. I mock the bakery only because I haven’t actually been there; by all accounts the wank factor only adds to it’s excellence. Anyway, all that is utterly irrelevant because we attended TBK at night! It describes itself as a unique café by day, restaurant by night, less intriguing then the incredible Hulk it manages this incredible transformation by moving the tables indoors and swapping menus.
The menu was small but had something for everyone. It was particularly good to see multiple vegetarian options all of which were considered by Mel, who in her selfishness partakes in this paradigm. As our tradition each member of the group ordered a unique main, not for a selection to share, but so all the menu options can be seen, envied, and our own choices regretted.
We were civil enough to spit the entrées for which the boudin noir, handcut chips and bread plates were chosen. If you don’t know what boudin noir is, don’t worry! My friends were also clueless which gave me the perfect opportunity to show off my French, impress the waiter and fuel my ego. It translates literally to black sausage, is what we call a blood sausage and was violently delicious. They were served with walnuts and spiced quince which worked surprisingly well with the boudin. I should also mention the chips which were excellent, hand cut with a really light batter. Most importantly they were served with a trio of dips which catered to my love of condiments.
In the mains department, I firmly believe myself to be the winner. I went with the pan fried mulloway fillet with sweet miso eggplant, sugar snaps, edamame beans and wasabi mayo. The fish had a crispy skin which perfectly complimented the delicate flesh. The eggplant was particularly sweet and was an excellent accompaniment when paired with the crunchy sugar snaps.
We all decided we were too full for dessert by the coffee was lovely and matched their websites claim “It packs a punch and has been described by many as the best in Surry Hills”.
The service was really good, the waiter had a great sense of humour and even catered to the lie that Chris propagated in which he claimed he would eat the hand cut chips for lunch on a daily basis. It is a very atmospheric setting, and whilst there isn’t enough books in my opinion to give the place it’s tittle, they certainly add to its charm. My only complaint was the lack of conventional coke. The choice to sell organic cola instead might seem like a great idea when catering to the cool Surry Hills crowd, it just annoys the rest of us normal folk who don’t know what that word means, drive 4WDs and generally hate the environment. I made sure I littered on the way home.