This is a post dedicated to one of my most favourite people in the world, Nicky, who I miss terribly, since she left for London about a year ago. Nicky used to always go to The Falconer cafe on Oxford Street and would rave about its great food, excellent music and the three very friendly men who run it.
Nicky is a young bean. I didn't tell her that I remembered the cafe at 31 Oxford Street in its previous incarnation, when it was called Aristotles, had a round, glass cake cabinet in the window and would sell cocktails to under-age teenagers such as myself and my friends, way back in the dark ages. My friends and I especially liked it for its very cool American-style booth seating and its location right on Oxford Street, close to the nightclubs we would frequent. But I hadn't been there for years.
So while pining for Nicky's safe and hopefully imminent return, I decided to check out The Falconer and see if my little doll-face - for that is what I call her - was raving about the place with good reason.
The booths are still there, the cake cabinet is gone and I wouldn't dare suggest that the three men who run The Falconer would sell booze to under-age teenagers. But they do serve wine, beer and ''hard liquor'' from midday, according to their menu, which is never a bad thing.
The Falconer serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open until midnight from Tuesday to Saturday, and offers breakfast and lunch on Sundays and Mondays. The lunch menu starts at about $9 for the Soup of the Day and goes up to $20 for the Pasta of the Day, which is served with a glass of wine, beer or soft drink.
There are also other items such as toasted gourmet sandwiches ($8.50), Grilled Wagyu Beef Burger with Celeriac Remoulade, Salsa Ross and ''One Big Mean Pickle'' ($18), as well as Orecchiette with Braised Hillside Lamb Ragu, Sicilian Olives, Eschallots and Tomatoes ($19). And they also do shoestring fries ($6).
The first time I went to The Falconer, I had the sandwich (above), which I think was filled with poached chicken, celery, walnuts and mayonnaise. It was delicious and didn't take long to arrive, which was good because I was in a hurry and had already pre-ordered my coffee to go. The second time I went, I ordered the Caesar Salad with Shredded Organic Chicken Breast ($15):
The salad was a bit rich for my liking, as it was dressed in that sort of mayonnaisey dressing and it came with a boiled egg, which always creeps me out a bit when combined with chicken. It's like a weird family reunion on the plate.
I should say that I am very fussy when it comes to Caesar Salads as I have been making my own dressing for years, from a recipe given to me by a chef at a cafe I used to waitress at. And so far, I have never eaten a salad as good as my own.
But I am still looking forward to going back and trying their pastas and soups. A woman on the table next to me ordered the Barley and White Bean Soup and when it arrived the aroma hit me and I was jealous and wanted to swap plates, but of course I kept quiet.
Nicky was right about the three young men who run the place. They are awfully friendly and eager to please. I also suspect she likes them because they are rather good looking too. And then there's the music, which is selected from this healthy and well-organised record collection (above right).
I also like the pared back design of the place: the old booths, the white walls and wooden furnishings. Decoration is minimal, in fact it's almost like a set, where the customers are fascinating characters in an obscure David Lynch-style film. And the customers really are a bunch of diverse characters, ranging from office workers to hip girls in pretty dresses, old eccentrics and swarthy, young, male tourists.
I would highly recommend becoming part of the cast.
31 Oxford Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
02 9267 8434