As the founding chef at influential Melbourne eatery Proud Mary, fine-dining-trained Kayne Mordini raised the bar for cafe food in the Victorian capital.
Now, he says, it's Sydney's turn, with Kansas City Shuffle swinging open the saloon doors early this week at 195 Gloucester Street in The Rocks.
"If you'd asked me three years ago where Sydney cafe food stood compared to Melbourne I would've said flat out it had Sydney covered. But some really interesting stuff is happening up here," says Mordini. "When I started at Proud Mary in 2009, chefs used to look down at cafe food. It was a step down, but I've set out to create food like [complete] restaurant dishes, where you can't just interchange components like you do with bacon and eggs."
Kansas City Shuffle, of which Mordini is a co-owner, is tucked away in a hidden corner of The Rocks. The cafe is just the first stage. Next month a neighbouring restaurant and a bar, named Dead Man Walking, will open.
The interior mixes new furnishings with vintage accessories, including a door from an old chocolate factory. An elevator shaft is also in the process of being transformed into a wine cellar.
But bad news for fans of the pork belly sandwich he made at Proud Mary – which Jamie Oliver championed. It won't be on the menu at Kansas City.
195 Gloucester Street, The Rocks, facebook.com/kansas-city-shuffle