At the arse-end of Oxford Street, a neon sign dating back to a former era brightly proclaims ‘Coffee Lounge – Restaurant – Continental Cakes’. The Falconer is tucked in behind this old-fashioned signage, which belies this place’s inner style and might throw you off the scent of one of Sydney’s coolest licensed cafes. The Falconer’s owners say they set out to create the perfect local and we say they’ve succeeded, and then some.
If you were lucky enough to have this hip-yet-unpretentious place as your local, you could dine here happily for every meal – as indeed we have – from a relaxed solo breakfast over the newspaper, to tasty sandwiches, burgers and pasta for lunch, to afternoon coffee and cake with mates, to a seductive dinner date accompanied by good wine and great music. There’s nothing not to love: the food is fantastic, yet the prices are reasonable; the staff are sexy, yet super friendly; the American diner-style decor is comfy, yet cool; and the kicking tunes are always on vinyl.
Normally I would baulk at shelling out around $20 for pasta, as it’s so frequently something I could, and would, knock together at home, but paying $18 for the Falconer’s exquisite fresh pappardelle with slow-cooked duck ragu and lemon gremolata feels like an absolute steal. Likewise, the deliciously different desserts – don’t go past the Tom Waits, a crazy confection of dark-chocolate mousse, whisky ice cream and tobacco-infused syrup (this shouldn’t work, but it does), of which Waits himself would surely approve.
31 Oxford St, Surry Hills
(02) 9267 8434
Open Mon 7.30am–5pm, Tues–Fri 7.30am–12am, Sat 9am–12am, Sun 9am–4pm