PIMP MY PLATE is my weekly series of reviews of cafés and restaurants in city and regional areas – I pop up all over over the place. My foodie challenge to find a good meal – lunch or brunch – with a limited budget of $18 or less for the main plate.
Pablo & Rusty’s 161
A great find in CBD heartland – which explains why this space is always buzzing when I walk by.
Décor is industrial chic – a marriage of metal and wood – exposed brick walls, and hanging high on a wall above, circa 1970-something, macramé hanging potted plants. But below them, planted firmly in 2016, this space is buzzing with chat.
The conversation buzzing enthusiastically at the table next to mine was punctuated with words like strategy, CEO, and Whole of Organization which can almost sound sexy when animated by the sassy 20-somethings next to me. Don’t let that corporate speak demographic put you off, because the food is great and the staff are hip and friendly, and that positive energy radiates from your plate.
I arrived at brunch time, and was too early for the lunch menu. Scanning the menu, I noticed one of my favourite feel good meals was on the Lunch menu: Jerk chicken! Served with salad, pineapple and coconut, and … Sigh! I came very close to blowing my time and at $22 my PMP budget, so brunch it was.
From the items on the breakfast menu at $18, I chose the Broccolini, asparagus and eggs mimosa with Jamon (dry-cured ham from Spain), shaved grana (a hard Italian cheese similar to parmesan), and herbed mascarpone with chilli oil, on sourdough toast.
It was pretty on the plate, and delicious to eat. I love eggs, and I could easily rename this dish Eggy Cheesy Cloud of Ecstasy!
Between mouthfuls of delight I realized I had no memory of ever eating Eggs Mimosa, and if I did, it wasn’t like this! The recipe itself is a French twist on hard boiled devilled eggs – the egg whites stuffed with a filling, the egg yolks grated over everything. Maybe it was a sentimental French cook who likened these grated yellow egg yolks to the yellow mimosa flowers that grow in Provence? If you know, please let me know.
In this version, the egg white was chopped up and mixed through the cheese, so there were no football shaped egg halves rolling around my plate to manoeuvre. I’m always happy to see green on the plate – the broccolini was crisp and textured, and the asparagus spears were wrapped in a wafer thin sliced of jamon – delicious.
Confidence radiates from the wait staff, the kitchen, and the plating, to deliver flavour and fresh quality ingredients onto your plate.
Pablo & Rusty’s 161 are single origin coffee roasters so you can buy your coffee in a cup or as a bag of beans to take home.
Entry is from Castlereagh Street, but if you walk through the ANZ Tower via 242 Pitt Street, you’ll walk up the amazing staircase in my photo and into Liberty Place.
RATED: Pimped-Real-Good FOOD: 5/5 Value: 5/5
ATMOS: High energy buzz VIBE: Young professional + hipster
Pablo & Rusty’s 161 – 161 Castlereagh St, Sydney, NSW
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All images © Awia Markey