Tucked away just behind Wynyard and Circular Quay, Kansas City Shuffle is a new city eatery, jazzing up the once dull and uninteresting Sydney CBD cafe scene. Reinvigorated with many innovative offerings, this is one new venue rapidly transforming lunches from the mundane sandwich or classic meat pie they once were into delicious lunch boxes and great coffee or the perfect casual brunch meeting venue.
As his seventh venture owner Ben Sweeten knows what he’s doing having recruited chef Kayne Mordini, the brains behind popular Melbourne eateries Proud Mary and Dr Morse. Together, Mordini and Sweeten are bringing a taste of Melbourne’s favorite cafes for Sydneysiders to enjoy, whilst adding new twists along the way.
Located in an unassuming factory, two windows on Gloucester St mark the entrance.
Previously a Cadbury chocolate factory, the café offers a welcoming sanctuary to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and enjoy really great food. The café has two parts, both opening into huge rooms with a sweeping roof and interior filled with wood, stone and greenery. The industrial feel of the space combines perfectly with the light, airy surroundings.
Walking in, one is welcomed to the beautiful recycled oak table designed for communal dining or more intimate booths with cute circular layout and skylights shining down natural light.
The menu boasts offerings such as fried chicken on donut bun with slaw, pickles and jalapeno aioli; KCS beef brisket and waffles with smoked chilli butter and poached egg; and toasted pumpkin bread with avocado, whipped feta, heirloom tomatoes and toasted seeds, just to name a few.
We start with the Spring lamb and black barley salad, smoked eggplant, yoghurt and dukkah. The dish is the perfect mix of light whilst still sustaining and filling. The meat served on top, embodies a hugely tasty lamb flavor. It is paired perfectly with the other elements of the dish- the smoked eggplant puree and yoghurt, reminding me of really yummy tzatziki enriched with fresh mint flavor. Little cherry tomatoes decorate the dish and the black barley provides added texture to complement the dish and leave you feeling satisfied.
Next up, is the KCS Style Beef Brisket & waffles, with smoked chili butter and poached egg. The dish like all others looks mouthwatering. One normally expects a waffle to be dense, but this completely subverts expectations. It is amazingly light and fluffy with the chef explaining how he whips the egg whites to create this airy quality. The brisket zings up the dish with some spiciness, whilst the chilli butter really adds that extra needed flavor that is lacking. Everything is finished nicely with a perfectly poached egg on top.
My favorite dish that we sample arrives shortly after and I’m sure this is set to become one of Sydney’s new best sandwiches. The KCS Cuban Sandwich with Berkshire pork belly, ham off the bone, cheese, pickles and mustard- absolutely makes my day. Everything about the sandwich is on point, from the ham to the pork to the cheese and mustard. It all pairs perfectly together, giving you a delicious sandwich fried in copious amounts of butter and placed on a griddle- its sickeningly good. The cheese is ever so gooey- oozing out- its like the pork lover’s ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
Something a little lighter and healthier comes out next, the Chia Pudding, Seasonal Berries, Puffed grains and Hazelnuts. My counterpart loves this dish, as the chia pudding doesn’t have that typical chia glug-giness, with Chef Kayne telling us how he uses a mixture of coconut cream and honey as the key ingredients. Above the pudding sits puffed grains and hazelnuts, which provide great crunchy texture along with some fresh strawberries, blueberries and banana. My favorite part of the dish, is the shaved apple and mint on top, the mint really freshening up the dish and adding that extra component to the flavor combination.
Finally, we have the Pancake with Lemon Curd, Blueberries, Vanilla Cream Cheese Parfait and Smoked Almonds. As a dessert lover, I was dying to try this dish and it did not disappoint. The pancake is ‘little naughty’ as Kayne describes with added sweetness in the mixture it too, is light and fluffy like the waffle was. The tartness of lemon curd and cream cheese is a little overpowering for my liking, and I enjoy eating the pancake by itself!
For those with a sweet tooth, in-house made donuts are on trend, created by Sweeten’s friend Simon about to launch his new donut company Simon Says Donuts. The flavor range boasts choices as caramel twix, vanilla bean custard, coffee cream patissiere, cherry ripe as well as homemade pastries and cakes. These babies will leave you salivating as you order your morning coffee and provide the perfect excuse to beat the afternoon slump with a delectable sugar rush.
Beans are sourced from and provided by Single Origin Roasters creating smooth rich taste. Their extensive coffee menu boasts cold drip coffee and filter brew for those enthusiasts looking for a sophisticated take. Or if you’re headed the other way toward a boozier lunch- their short yet sweet wine list provides an overview of the essentials.
To add, they provide a catering menu for offices, and offer the opportunity to use the space for hosting dinners and private events. On the day we visit, a huge chipboard wall, set to be dismantled the following day divides the room from a construction site of what is to become a bar named Dead Man Walking. Ben tells us about his plans for a huge cellar, and wine menu to transform the space come nighttime.
Judging by how the café space already looks amazing, I can’t wait to come back when they open and check out how the space progresses. If Kansas City Shuffle is anything to go by so far, it is sure to become a new go-to café destination in Sydney, and I’m sure this bar too, will be a hot new watering hole to frequent.
Kansas City Shuffle
195 Gloucester St, The Rocks, Sydney NSW
Web: Kansas City Shuffle.
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 7am – 4pm
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Kansas City Shuffle