10 Llankelly Place, Potts Point, NSW
Occupying around 25 squares in a pedestrian laneway behind Kings Cross, this teeny site proves the greatness of any venue is inevitably determined by what’s on offer to fill a customers heart, as much as their plate.
Room 10 emanates effortless, honest soul and has nothing – and nowhere – to hide. Such a small footprint necessitates simplicity, but shouldn’t prohibit imagination. The team’s innovative rethinking of traditional brunch fare features simple variations on a selection of salads, sourdoughs and other sandwich-y staples. Their “sarnie” with smashed poached egg, ham and tarragon hollandaise is the stuff of breakfast brilliance. Unfussy and refreshingly coherent, the menu boasts a solid selection; other standouts include a prosciutto, ricotta, rocket and balsamic open bread configuration and something intriguingly called “breakfast rice” in place of the clichéd bircher. It’s always hard to go past homemade banana bread, so I would recommend in the case of Room 10’s, don’t. Service hums along at an equally impressive level, with everything prepared sharpishly and fresh-to-order in a space no larger than the average townhouse kitchen.
Room 10’s cosy configuration fosters an unexpected sense of intimacy, feeling closer to cohabitation than a traditional server-and-served arrangement. Patrons cluster and share stools-cum-tables indoors or loiter beneath the awning in the outdoor / overflow area. And not just students and Sydney hipsters – I saw happy nanas too. A perpetual queue for takeaways exists throughout the day, but the baristas crack on at a great pace. Their La Marzocco is put through its paces with the house blend pouring well alongside several weekly singles; all masterfully prepared. Coffee is provided by Sydney roasting institution Mecca whose blend is full and familiar; milky ones are smooth and sweet with a good kick of chocolate / cocoa and great length. My double ristretto (made using a seasonal single origin (Keyan maybe?)) was bright and jammy without being overly acidic.
I’ve read a handful of other write-ups that are quick to summarize Room 10 along the lines of “a little slice of Melbourne café culture in Sydney”, yet I feel this undersells the great work done by the crew here. Sure it’s snug and snappy, but for me, Room 10 feels totally unique: intelligent, welcoming and blissfully unostentatious. They’re not a chip off anyone’s block. In fact, as far as Potts Point is concerned, they run it.
Thanks for stopping by. Be well, TV.