The name alone trumpets that breakfast is its game, and one that it aces like a star athlete. It covers all the dependable, set-in-stone standards that no one wants to give up – eggs, toast, and sides aplenty. But more importantly, if you like the unexpected and new, the cafe has clever, breakfast-redefining dishes too: from Chilled Banana Coconut and Buttermilk Porridge ($12) to Pear and Raisin Toast Breakfast Pudding Served With European Yogurt ($13.50) to Home-made Veal Sausage With Caramelised Onion, Rocket and Rosemary Oil. There’s a bit of zing in the drinks menu too, with a range of breakfast mocktails, such as the Summer Spice, an exotic blitz of blood orange, lemon, bitters, nutmeg and cinnamon ($6). Overall, the menu is both old-school and totally daring – so it’s bound to suit any breakfast mood you wake up with.
Another reason I felt pro-Two Good Eggs before I’d even actually ordered was because its mix of dishes was so good to read that it totally encouraged extreme menu-swinging. You know, when you’re split between three equally delicious-sounding choices, and every time you come in favour of one, you’re seduced again by the other two? Your meal-allegiances keep swivelling between the options, like an indecisive voter being waved lots of glamourous incentives by a politician. It seemed wrong to forego the signature Two Good Eggs Breakfast with Toast ($15), and stack up on towering sides. Especially when our dining neighbours had ordered exactly that, with the eggs and toast serving as “base camp” and tomatoes and mushrooms and other mountains of extra flourishes building up like the peak of Mount Fuji.
In the end, Will ticked off the Sensible Breakfast Option once more, picking the Natural Hand-Mixed Muesli With Spiced Fruit ($10) and Toast With Organic Peanut Paste ($4.50) (which you can also get with Home-Made Preserves or Vegemite, if you want a rosy cheek fix). Dan had the Chilled Banana Coconut and Buttermilk Porridge, while I skipped ahead and jumped right into the lunch menu, and asked for the Open Ravioli With Wild Mushrooms, Pine Nuts and Roast Tomatoes and Burnt Sage Butter and a side of Herb-roasted Potatoes, ‘cos I’m a tragic when it comes to ‘taters. (I was, I admit, very curious about the Goat’s Cheese, Onion and Red Wine Pie, Served With Herb and Watercress Salad and an Eggplant Chutney, $13.50, but I guess it was a dish that had to settle for being honoured just to be nominated.)
The food definitely lived up to my initial menu-glance expectations, especially the ‘taters, which I kept cramming in even when it looked pretty unwise to keep doing so. As the waitress pointed out when clearing our plates – even when you claim you’re dangerously full, you still can keep eating a limitless number of roasted potatoes (especially if they come in crispy wedges, which is the golden mean of mouthful-friendly sizes).
Around the table, everyone was pretty happy with what they had (although Will did think the muesli a bit “Sahara-dry” and ranked the peanut butter’n’ toast at Deus as better – he’s still a Two Good Eggs convert, despite that).
I liked the cafe’s emphasis on home-made and natural, fresh ingredients, and how they do it in a way that’s inviting rather than uppity and sanctimonious. The atmosphere is breezy and friendly. For a popular and edgy Surry Hills cafe, there’s a refreshing lack of pretension: the staff were more likely to crack warm jokes than serve you a major dose of attitude.
So I’m glad my menu intuition was right – this place really did click with me. And like someone you sense you’ll be good friends with, the only problem is working out when to visit again. The enthusiasm’s definitely there.
Two Good Eggs, 2/148 Goulburn St, Surry Hills NSW (02) 9283 9694