Food La La: bills Sydney opens in Waikiki
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Popular Australian restaurant bills Sydney made its grand debut in the United States with its first location in Waikiki last week. Owner Bill Granger is like the Bobby Flay of Australia, with his own TV show and restaurants all around the world. He opened his first restaurant in Sydney over 20 years ago.
I attended the grand opening on Friday, which drew tons of Japanese media due to the restaurant chain being very popular in Japan (there are four locations in Japan). The restaurant in Waikiki occupies two floors, with a cafe downstairs and restaurant dining upstairs. There is a different menu served at the cafe (sandwiches, pastries, salads) compared to the restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The second floor is beautiful with high ceilings, natural wood paneling, skylights and an open-air concept.
This is the refreshing and light rose hips punch, one of their signature non-alcoholic drinks.
We got to try a sampling of dishes at the party. This is the smoked pork and watermelon salad. I like the contrasting sweet and salty flavors.
The sweet corn fritters with roasted tomatoes, spinach, bacon and avocado salsa is one of bills’ signature dishes and is featured on the menu all day.
There are six different types of thin crust pizza on the menu. This one has potato, stracchino (Italian cheese) and rosemary.
The ricotta cheese hot cakes are what bills is best known for. They are extremely light and fluffy. I couldn’t stop thinking about them! This is the reason why I came back the next day for breakfast.
I went back downstairs to check out the baked goods and desserts at the cafe.
An assortment of cookies made from scratch.
I tried the chocolate brownie and flourless chocolate macadamia fudge cake. Both were very good because they weren’t overly sweet. I especially like the flourless cake because it was so decadent, yet light at the same time.
I really enjoyed the food a lot at the party so I decided to go again on their first day of business to get an actual dining experience. Usually I don’t eat a big breakfast, let alone wake up early enough to go out to eat breakfast, but I made an exception for bills because I couldn’t wait to eat those fluffy hotcakes again! Thankfully, I learned you can order them during breakfast, lunch and dinner! The hotcakes are the best thing I’ve eaten in a while. They melt in your mouth like soft pillowy clouds with every savory bite. The honeycomb butter is the perfect complement.
Seriously, I could write an entire blog post dedicated to these beautiful hotcakes. But I will stop here and just say that you must try them!
bills Sydney is also known for its scrambled organic eggs that come with spinach and sourdough toast. The eggs, like the pancakes, were also delicate and fluffy! The toast was a bit too buttery for my taste though; next time I will ask for butter on the side.
This is the crisp cassava chips with a tangy and spicy romesco sauce. They are addicting, like French fries but with a starchier texture. The sauce reminds me of a fancier version of the spicy garlic chili sauce served at pho restaurants.
One of the main dishes is the parmesan crusted chicken schnitzel with creamed corn and fennel slaw. The chicken is crispy, yet really juicy and tender. The sweet creamed corn is a nice complement and I loved the cilantro on top!
Overall, the food was impressive at bills and I can’t wait to go back and order ricotta hotcakes for dinner!
bills Sydney is located at 280 Beachwalk and is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays), with breakfast served until 11 a.m. and lunch until 5 p.m. Reservations can be made after 5 p.m. for seating upstairs; call (808) 922-1500. The downstairs cafe is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays).
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.