Review: Paramount Coffee Project (Sydney, NSW)

80 Commonwealth Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
+61 2 9211 1122

Paramount Coffee Project (PCP) has been on my Sydney list for quite some time. Although I’m not a fan of paying $18 for boring brunches (smashed avocados bore me and I don’t believe in paying for bircher muesli), I do like brunch places that push boundaries and come up with all sorts of outrageous dishes.

PCP is one of those places so I made sure that we got a chance to visit during my Sydney weekend trip with fellow Melburnians, Nee and Sam. Sam is also a coffee connoisseur so he, too, was keen to see if PCP’s rotating list of guest coffee roasters were able to pull in the goods. Given that PCP happens to be an alliance between Mark Dundon of Seven Seeds (Melbourne represent!) and Russell Beard of Reuben Hills, we knew we were in capable hands.

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Housed in Surry Hill’s Paramount House, PCP was surprisingly quiet for a 10AM Sunday morning session. I wasn’t sure whether it was because Sydneysiders don’t go crazy over brunch like Melburnians or whether 10 is considered too late for breakfast (I know it is on the Gold Coast where 7AM breakfast dates are the norm). Either way, we were happy to score a table facing the window.

As mentioned, PCP has an ever-changing list of guest coffee roasters so rarely would you expect to see the same beans over and over. That morning, the Shakiso blend by Reuben Hills made an appearance. Unfortunately, the brew’s berry and black tea notes meant that it didn’t mix well with milk so my latte wasn’t the best – my fault though, not theirs.

Elvis in Cuba ($19)
Elvis in Cuba ($19)

Sam was interested to see what PCP’s infamous ‘diabetes’ dish was like. But when the waiter told him exactly what was in it (‘jam cronut with peanut butter ice cream and dulce de leche, all drenched in espresso’), Sam was like, ‘yeah, nah.’ After all, I think he’d rather not shave 10 years off his life.

Instead, he chose the curiously named Elvis in Cuba, an equally heart attack-inducing combination of pork, kimchi, bacon, Kewpie mayo, Swiss cheese and onion rings that was half-Kong BBQ and half-Dan Hong. I’m not exactly sure how the ‘Cuba’ bit came into play but it was certainly an indulgent breakfast.

Smoked trout buckwheat porridge ($15)
Smoked trout buckwheat porridge ($15)

Nee went for a more refined but nevertheless still filling breakfast. The buckwheat was accompanied with a generous handful of smoked trout, kombu and quail egg, all tied neatly together with a lovely court-bouillon and micro herbs for prettiness. It was nourishing and delicious, something I’d happily eat at home during the cooler months – that is, if I knew how to make it.

Coca cola ox cheek waffle ($19)
Coca cola ox cheek waffle ($19)

I don’t drink cola but I do love waffles and ox cheek/tongue/most likely butt so I ordered the waffles topped with ox cheek braised in coca cola. It also came with a lovely horseradish mayo along with corn and tomato salsa and coriander to balance things out.

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I’m not one to normally eat such decadent things for breakfast but this was amazing. The soft drink tenderised the cheeks to the point where they easily fell apart with the slightest prod. I also loved the kick that that the horseradish mayo gave, preventing the dish from being too one-dimensionally sweet.

Caramel popcorn milkshake ($8)
Caramel popcorn milkshake ($8)

I’m a sucker for punishment so there was no way I could leave without trying the caramel popcorn milkshake for dessert – because, you know, short term pleasure for long term pain, right? Regardless, the milkshake was delicious – so thick, so creamy and full of lovely butteriness and nuttiness (yeah okay, I went there). It was beautiful but I was also glad that I had two others to help me finish it off.

PCP is now up there on my list of favourite Sydney cafés. Sure, there are still heaps more for me to try but in terms of great service, excellent coffees (notwithstanding that I was a chump for asking for a latte when I should have just gone short black) and delicious envelope-pushing food, they have it covered.

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