For good food, the best advertising is through word of mouth; that is how I've come to know this little gem. A friend worked near Surry Hills and she raved about a little sandwich shop, and no, not that Sandwich Shop . Another one with ridiculously long queues. I thought she was exaggerating until I tried it....
City Edge Cafe is an unassuming cafe located on Reservoir Street in Surry Hills. The name - City Edge Cafe is very ordinary and hard to remember but their sandwiches and juices are so memorable you will always see a queue at lunch time.
Look at the long queue. Patience is required for a good lunch...
With a bit of patience, you will eventually reach the ordering counter. The menu is extensive. Look to the right and work your way through the blackboard menu for your selections. Any of the sandwich choices from their large menu board comes with a good handful of meat and super fresh vegetables.
The staff are friendly and super efficient during the busy lunch hour. It's like watching a well-orchestrated production line. Fresh deep fried chicken schnitzels come out the batch every 5 minutes.
They make the sandwiches right in front of you and they don't skimp on the quality or quantity of ingredients, ensuring you value for money. They stuff as much as they can in every single roll - that is the sight I love to see.
On the face value, the food sounds typical - a range of rolls, salads, sandwiches and juices. All rolls are freshly prepared at your request with a wide range of filling selections.
Their specialty is the French-Vietnamese style crusty baguette and the chicken schnitzel. Always check the Special of the Day at the front - these are the limited editions, once they sold out, you miss out.
We got the Friday's Special which was a Vietnamese -style Chicken Schnitzel Roll ($10). I frowned at the roll at first. I had several unpleasant experiences with 'crusty' rolls where they taste rock-hard and hurt my jaw. After that, I steered away from all the so-called 'crusty Vietnamese rolls'. My friend persuaded me to at least take a bite, if I still didn't like it, she was eager to take the roll from me.
Let me tell you, this was one explosive bread roll. It was too good and delicious. Yes, the roll was crusty on the outside, almost brittle when you bite into it; but it was mellow chewy soft on the side. Together with the golden crunchy chicken schnitzel, tangy Asian-slaw, spicy mayo, fresh cucumber, coriander, shallot and soy sauce, the flavours were packed with impact. I would not stop eating in the middle of the street.
We decided to try the Hot and Tender Chicken Schnitzel wrap ($9.50) this time. Again this wrap was solidly packed with Ceasar Salad which contained crispy bacon, egg, parmesan cheese & cos lettuce and delicious thick crunchy golden schnitzel, all drizzled with mayonnaise & caesar dressing. It was a delicious roll from start to finish.
Rolls and wraps aside, City Edge Cafe's range of salad cannot be dismissed. I eyed them for a while and wanted to try everything. The staff were happy to do a half and half salad combo for me.
So I ordered 1/2 Grilled Haloumi Garden Salad w Grilled Chicken and 1/2 Quinoa, Fetta & Sweet Potato Salad w Grilled Chicken ($9.50)
These salads were filling and hearty without being heavy. The flavours were not compromised, the creamy haloumi cheese was too perfect with the grilled chicken which was tender and moist. The fresh crisp lettuce added a nice crunch to the meal.
The quinoa salad was prepared beautifully and I felt quite healthy with the salad. But watching my friend bite-into the crispy schnitzel wrap with a big smile... I got food envy and wanted that instead.
We also got a freshly-squeezed juice - Kale Cleanser ($5) and it contained kale, cucumber, ginger, celery & apple. I loved this pale green juice concoction. A great juice to make you feel lighter, revitalized and healthy.
Since discovering this little gem, City Edge Cafe has become my regular lunch venue.
The prices they charged were reasonable, some would be considered cheap. All three dishes cost $10 each or under and they were decent serving sizes. The selection may sound simple but the flavour was impactful, memorable and delicious; something that many Sydney cafes lack.
Overall, City Edge Cafe offers a quick and tasty meal for anyone who wants to save without compromising on the taste or serving size.
Bear in mind, this is a not a posh and trendy cafe. There is no fancy website and the decor is not modern - but who cares. It is a place to get value for money and as long as the food is consistently good, affordable, we will keep on going back.
Some good advice is to pop in before 12.30pm or you will expect a long eager queue.
Who knew the humble chicken schnitzel roll could be so fulfilling?
A little treasure to keep.