The unassuming facade of The Falconer has kept me out of the establishment for as long as I can remember. Perhaps unassuming is a little too subtle. From outside it looks tacky and cheap, the use of tri-coloured neon signs combining perfectly with a rusted background that screams “stay away” to any self-respecting (read: self-obsessed) Sydney foodie. This trickery works well for the regulars of this excellent cafe who come back week after week for the fabulous food and convivial atmosphere.
We were there for breakfast and first thing’s first: the coffee was exceptional. We had skim, soy and straight versions and each punter came out on top. For once, I picked the best dish in the shashouka and had no food envy whatsoever. Shashouka is basically baked eggs that has been sexed up with capsicum, chorizo and tomato. Best of all though it was served with za’atar toast to continue with the Middle Eastern theme and was superbly scrumptious. The rich flavours soaked up the alcohol from the evening before and I watched, guilt-free, as competitors from the Sydney half-marathon came in to order the Falconer toasted muesli with nuts, dried apricots, banana and vanilla bean yoghurt. Each to their own I guess and a breakfast for everyone, yes?
The first thing you notice about The Falconer are the booths and it immediately becomes your highest priority to secure one. Next you take in the art deco chandelier and the cracklings in the background music which leads you to conclude that the music is being played off records. And it is - from the owner’s own collection apparently. The LP player sits at one end of a long wooden bar (it’s licensed) contrasting with the black and white checkered flooring and highlighted by large steel animal ornaments, classic ceiling fans and wall lamps. It’s sounds overdone but it’s perfect; a slice of Manhattan in Surry Hills.
I couldn’t help but taste the Croque Madame, which is essentially a ham (kurobuta - yes!) and cheese (gruyere - oh my!) toastie with a fried egg plonked on top and some rocket and chilli jam for zest. Comfort food with a French slant is the most comfortable of all. And that can be said for The Falconer generally. It’s comfortable, homely, a kitchen table from your very own home on one of Sydney’s busiest streets. Special mention must also go to the use of puns on their big breakfasts with Breakfast of Champions for the carnivores and Breakfast of Champignons for the vegetarians. Who doesn’t love a play on words? I’ll be coming back to The Falconer whenever I get an opportunity but let’s keep this one mum, okay?
31 Oxford Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9267 8434