Excelsior Jones

139A Queen Street, Ashfield, NSW

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Excelsior Jones in Ashfield, Sydney.
Converted convenience store ... Excelsior Jones in Ashfield. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Jill Dupleix

SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR Surry Hills hipster-barista days start to segue into your dude-dad era? You move west, young man, to a place that has houses with child-friendly backyards - and you start taking as much care with the babycino as with the single-origin ristretto.

Case in point: Anthony Svilicich and business partner James Naylor, who used to run the buzzy Le Monde in Foveaux Street, have moved 10 clicks west and converted an old convenience store into a cool, white, big-windowed, tall-ceilinged cafe.

Svilicich is now a local (although still quietly amazed at seeing a Shetland pony in the street instead of the usual fixed-gear bicycle) and has been overwhelmed by the number of people welcoming the cafe with open arms. ''It's a beautiful, heritage-listed area with a far greater sense of community,'' he says.

Pork hock with poached egg at Excelsior Jones in Ashfield, Sydney.
Hot order ... pork hock hash with poached egg. Photo: Edwina Pickles

In response to the new demographic, the menu is kid-friendly enough to have pikelets and a simple ham-and-cheese toasty as well as that milk bar classic of yesteryear, the fluorescent lime spider. There's also a good-looking cheeseburger that comes with a pile of unequivocally deep-fried chunky spuds on the side that gets every head turning each time it goes to a table.

Chef Adrian Borg bustles about the large professional kitchen dishing up snappy breakfast/brunch plates of smoky salmon rillettes and poached egg on toast and lunches of serious slow-roasted lamb sandwiches; the kind you have to sit down and eat from a plate. On weekends, breakfast luckily extends all day, so you don't have to get up early for what is rapidly turning into the hot order: a rich, shreddy, pork hock and potato hash tossed with nutty fried buckwheat and topped with a perfectly poached egg. Sleeping in is probably a distant, pre-kids memory anyway.

There are a few cakey things upfront - anzac biscuits, choc-chip muffins - but I'm thinking they'll need a few more as they go along.

The Lime Spider at Excelsior Jones Cafe in Ashfield, Sydney.
Milk bar classic ... keep the kids happy with a fluorescent green spider. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Excelsior Jones is new, noisy, and still a bit gawky - no matter where you sit, you think you're in someone's way - but the coffee side of things couldn't be more adult. Barista Julian Beresford runs a Five Senses custom blend through the powder-coated, matt black Synesso that's smooth, rich, and milk-friendly. Makes you feel sorry for all those hipsters stuck back there in poor, isolated Surry Hills.

Do … have the lime spider.

Don't … drive straight past, there's very little signage.

Dish … pork hock hash with poached egg, $16.

Vibe … cornershop cool.

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139A Queen Street, Ashfield, NSW

  • Cuisine - Contemporary
  • Prices - Breakfast $5-$16, lunch $10-$16, coffee $3.50
  • Features - Cheap and cheerful, Family friendly
  • Chef(s) - Adrian Borg
  • Owners - James Naylor, Anthony Svilicich
  • Opening Hours - Tues-Fri, 7.30am-4pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-4pm
  • Author - Jill Dupleix
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1 comment so far

  • Great coffee, marvellous food and lovely staff, what more could you want really. I've been twice now and am going again on Friday. My kids love the bacon and egg sandwich and the pikelets with strawberries and creme englaise. I love the hash. Must make it there for lunch one of these days.

    Commenter
    Merrie
    Location
    Croydon
    Date and time
    March 05, 2013, 7:53AM

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