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Friday, January 13, 2012

Gnome Espresso and Wine Bar, Surry Hills

gnome cafe surry hills

You don't really notice the gnome flipping the bird at you in the corner, but even when you do, it's hard not to laugh. It's an irreverent cheekiness that sums up this tiny cafe, perched on the corner of Crown and Davies Street in coffee-loving Surry Hills.

bloody mary cocktail gnome cafe surry hills
Bloody Mary $11

Sure it's barely midday but it's easy to justify a cocktail when we're talking about a Bloody Mary. Gnome boasts an impressive selection of wines given its size (six whites, three reds and one sticky available by the glass), as well as three beers and the Napoleon and Co pear cider ($8).

The Bloody Mary is their signature drink, however, and with good reason. It's spicy, sweet and salty, accented with a sprinkling of black pepper and the tang of a freshly squeezed lime. It's ridiculously good.

Ocean trout, mascarpone and watercress sandwich $10

Despite the tiny kitchen, the menu covers a broad range of offerings. The breakfast board (ricotta, boiled egg, avocado, fresh tomato and toast for $10.50) is always popular, as are the lunch boards ($20) that include a mix of cold meats, smoked trout and/or cheeses served with a baguette and crostini.

We stick with sandwiches and salads today, perching on the narrow banquette that lines one wall of the cafe. The ocean trout sandwich arrives on thick slices of soy linseed bread, slathered with dill-speckled mascarpone and piled generously with buttery slices of ocean trout, capers and crisp leaves of watercress and radicchio.

chicken salad gnome cafe surry hills
Poached chicken salad $12

The poached chicken salad is a blackboard special, a wide but shallow bowl heaped with succulent slices of chicken, boiled egg quarters, rocket leaves, radicchio and sprinkled with crunchy pistachio nuts.

grilled cheese sandwich gnome cafe surry hills
The super grilled cheese sandwich $12

As for me, the super grilled cheese sandwich has my name all over it. The soy linseed bread, grilled to a crunch, holds a warm and stretchy goo of cheddar, gruyere and buffalo mozzarella cheeses. Hidden within the oozing goodness are paper-thin slices of prosciutto. Hello happy place!

The richness of the sandwich is countered by a side salad of rocket and radicchio leaves. It's enough to make you feel virtuous again, and ready to tackle dessert.

white chocolate pannacotta gnome cafe surry hills
Cake display

gnome cafe surry hills
White chocolate pannacotta with mixed berries and vanilla bean ice cream $10

We skip the counter cakes and choose the white chocolate pannacotta. It's the only disappointment of the day, the pannacotta overset with too much gelatin to a rubbery firmness. The coffee, thankfully, is reliably good, made using their custom-roasted house blend Casablanca.

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Gnome Cafe on Urbanspoon

Gnome Espresso and Wine Bar
536 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9332 3191

Opening hours:
Mon 7am-5pm, Tues to Fri 7am-9.30pm,
Sat 8am-9.30pm, Sun 8am-5pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Surry Hills cafe - Single Origin Roasters
Surry Hills cafe - Le Monde
Surry Hills - Carrington
Surry Hills - El Capo
Surry Hills - El Loco
Surry Hills - Izakaya Fujiyama
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/13/2012 02:28:00 am


  • At 1/13/2012 6:24 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I guess they want to be cheeky but not too obviosuly so; why else would they put the bird-flipping white gnome against a white wall? :-) The grilled cheese sambo looks deadly.

  • At 1/13/2012 8:39 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    That bloody mary and cheese sandwich both look amazing. The perfect cafe for a hangover I think!

  • At 1/13/2012 8:49 am, Anonymous Sandra @TheFrenchWench said…

    Same, I love Bloody Mary, never tried it that early in the day but I'm tempted, gotta say! And that cheese sandwich... wow!

  • At 1/13/2012 9:01 am, Anonymous Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Oh my.... That grilled cheese sandwich is to die for!

  • At 1/13/2012 9:09 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice selection of cheeses in the sandwiches. Overcooked boiled eggs (I can see the gray rim around the yolks) and overset panna cotta are two strikes IMO.

  • At 1/13/2012 9:13 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Food looks great - and I know the coffee is good. Strange, I think that sando has my name on it too!

  • At 1/13/2012 9:34 am, Anonymous Anna @ the shady pine said…

    That ocean trout sandwich looks scrumptious!!! I will have to get myself here!

  • At 1/13/2012 9:39 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Heheh, the rude Mr Gnome makes me chuckle and that grilled cheese sandwich is huuuge!

  • At 1/13/2012 9:50 am, Blogger Mel said…

    Cheeky gnome! That cheese sandwich looks too good to be true.

  • At 1/13/2012 1:21 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Ocean trout sandwich looks so good!! and healthy!

  • At 1/13/2012 5:19 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    That Bloody Mary appeals to the little ten-year-old Hannah inside me who used to always order tomato juice instead of soft drink because I felt so unique doing so :D

    Also, I'm totally going to go against form here and say the ocean trout sandwich appeals to me more than the salad or too-firm dessert. See? Sometimes I DO choose bread. ;)

  • At 1/13/2012 11:17 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    I saw the bird flipping before I read your comment. I was actually wondering what was giving me the bird, thought it was a fat cowboy, sigh.

  • At 1/14/2012 11:12 pm, Anonymous Dee @ foodinhand said…

    Just had sashimi for dinner but somehow I'm literally salivating over that ocean trout sandwich...worrying.

  • At 1/15/2012 9:00 am, Blogger Kerancia said…

    Heart the Poached Chicken Salad! Looks just divine. Topped with the Pannacotta for dessert, makes for a perfect lunch! Yum, I'm getting hungry...

  • At 1/15/2012 9:37 am, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    It's lucky there was a side salad to make you feel virtuous enough to tackle dessert, but a shame that the dessert itself wasn't a highlight.

  • At 1/15/2012 5:24 pm, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    Wish i'd read this post first thing this morning - a bloody mary would have gone down very well. Your food shots are really enticing. They should have you on the pay-roll.
    Ocean trout sandwich, here i come!!

  • At 1/17/2012 5:00 pm, Anonymous Vivian - vxdollface said…

    oh hello~ super grilled cheese sandwich indeed <3

  • At 1/17/2012 7:30 pm, Anonymous Lau@Corridor Kitchen said…

    Another espresso bar to add to my list. How will I ever get to them all?!


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