Kansas City Shuffle is Sydney’s latest American- inspired cafe offering. This is the seventh cafe venture by Ben Sweetens and by now he’s got the routine down-pat. The kitchen is open, the lightbulbs are exposed, the concrete is polished and the coffee is strong. Housed in an old Cadbury’s Chocolate warehouse in The Rocks, Sweeten has maximised the building’s historical charm with a street-facing Little City Window. Busy workers in the towering offices close-by can order coffee to go and choose from a selection of fresh muffins, pastizzi, and doughnuts.
Although the venue’s namesake was a jazz tune originally performed in 1920s Chicago, the term has since become used to describe any kind of misdirection. And as it turns out, this new cafe (and soon-to-be bar and restaurant) is true to it’s misdirecting, distracting form. When we paid a visit for a quick lunch last weekend, time was quickly forgotten in what turned out to be an afternoon long affair.
The great distraction began with a Spring lamb and black barley salad, served with smoked eggplant, yoghurt and dukkah ($20). Seated at one of the large wooden, Scandinavian inspired tables, we dug into the salad and quickly found that it was better suited for one person, not sharing!
Head Chef Kayne Papworth (previously of Melbourne’s Proud Mary and Dr Morse) is responsible for the menu’s mix of healthy salads and indulgent American-diner fusion dishes. On the healthier side, the chia pudding with puffed grains, hazelnuts and a tonne of berries ($15.50) came served in a generous sized jar and would make for a light breakfast dine-in or takeaway.
But onto the fun stuff… The US influence really came through with KCS’s take on the classic American chicken and waffles combo, served here with tender beef brisket, crispy waffles with smoked chilli butter and a gooey poached egg ($20).
KCS’s version of a classic Cuban served on toasted rye with pork belly, ham, melted cheese, pickles and mustard ($17) was another US dish with a twist. As was dessert, which really took the “cake” in “pancake” one step further. KCS’s famous Pancake dish comes served with lemon curd, blueberries, cream cheese parfait and smoked almonds ($17.50)
Kansas City Shuffle has set a new standard in a neighbourhood flooded with takeaway franchises and shopping mall eateries. Its lively atmosphere and creative but concise menu will surely serve as a distraction for many more customers to come.
195 Gloucester Street, The Rocks (Between Circular Quay and Wynyard Station)
Monday to Friday, 7am – 4pm & Saturday, 8am – 3pm