bill's sydney food

The original and classic recipes of Bill Granger

By Robyn Lewis
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Bills Sydney Food by Bill Granger

Bills Sydney Food by Bill Granger [©Murdoch Books]


Good morning Sydney! They say you can tell a lot about a place and its culture by what its people eat for breakfast, and where. Think cheese and cured meats in a German kitchen, fireside porridge and smokies in Scotland, Malaysian murtabak at a roadside stall – it’s rare to find fusion before 8 am, although now there are plenty of cultural imports.

So what do modern Sydneysiders eat to start their day?

Bill’s sydney food is an updated, boxed collector’s edition of his best-selling first cookbook first published ten years ago. Born at Bill Granger’s original bill’s café in Darlinghurst – which reputedly launched Sydney’s breakfast culture way back in 1993 – bill’s sydney food is all about ‘waking the palate after the first coffee kick starts the brain’ and setting you up for an active, healthy day ahead.

Now there are three bill’s restaurants, seven cookbooks and three TV series. Bill Granger and his food have become a phenomenon. But in his own words ‘this book combines the favourite recipes from our menus over the years, with ideas to simplify them and hopefully, the inspiration for how you might assemble them. It has in it the essence of my love for Sydney’s adventurous food culture. I really hope it brings you to the table in a relaxed and enthusiastic way’.

Even weekday breakfasts look relaxed – they might be five-grain porridges, fresh bircher muesli with fruit, French toast stuffed with peaches in season, a classic omelette, or your personally customised muesli recipe. (Relaxation hint: get up earlier if you also have kids to get to school on time).

For weekends try the more leisurely and iconic ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter, lemon soufflé cakes, home-made crumpets or chocolate waffles with cherry compote. Now if you wish – and especially if you don’t life near a bill’s café – you can make them all yourself. Bring on brunch.

Bill’s scrambled eggs – made with cream – have even made it onto the list of ‘definitive Sydney flavours’ complied by the Sydney Morning Herald, who should know a thing or two about breakfast reading accompaniments. I’d be adding toasted coconut waffles with fresh mango and palm syrup to the list, personally – the recipe really captures warm, humid Sydney mornings with the promise of a hot day to follow in a way that say a croissant cannot.

And so through avocado toast with lime, pepper and coriander, and potato and feta pancakes, to lunch. There are lunches to pack and take to work or enjoy with the view over Circular Quay, lunches for picnics, lunches for easy entertaining and of course for the pool or beach. Spicy prawn nibbles, tuna salad with soy-mirin dressing …. ah, bill’s. Sydney.

Lunch can of course extend through the afternoon, with mulberry (or blueberry) butter cake evocative of childhood feasts, nectarine and plum or mango tarts, even some slices and biscuits given a new twist from CWA days.

And after work, Sydney meets for drinks. Bill’s sydney food suggests a couple of nibbles –   spring onion bread, duck spring rolls – and then it’s to dinner. If you’re not meeting friends at a bar or restaurant there are some great options here, from dining alone to a casual get together. Someone coming over soon? No problems, with bill’s Sydney food – this is easy cooking but with a flair. Plenty of fish and seafood, new ways with chicken… all great recipes for the (hopefully) tail end of the GFC that we didn’t have to have.

Many are recipes that children will also enjoy – my six-year-old has been salivating over the sumptuous photos and wondering when we can make at least ten of them. Like all Murdoch Press cookbooks the recipes have been tested, and with this sort of easy simplicity even the relatively inexperienced cook will be assured of success. For the time-poor, bill’s sydney food will become a kitchen staple – no matter in which city or region you live.

bill’s Sydney food
by Bill Granger (hb, Murdoch Books Sydney, 2009) is available at all good bookstores at RRP A$49.95. Winepros Archive and subscribers and Members can purchase bill’s Sydney food at 12.5% discount off RRP from our book partners, Seekbooks (postage extra).


  • Sydney (NSW)

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