SurBourke Espresso Bar Darlinghurst

Living half a world away, the prospect of finding a little piece of France in Sydney is often met with excitement. SurBourke Espresso Bar in Darlinghurst is the latest find to evoke a sense of nostalgia for travel. The name means On Bourke (street) which is where the café is located and plays on the way French towns add “sur” to their names to denote their location, such as Dompierre-sur-Mer (Dompierre by the Sea) near La Rochelle.

From the outdoor seating on makeshift milk crate tables, SurBourke displays a more Australian flavour. Inside, the French tunes of Michel Sardou singing a classic, En Chantant and the melody of French accents and kisses exchanged on both cheeks take me back to la belle France.

SurBourke Espresso Bar Darlinghurst

The café is abuzz on Saturday morning with patrons seated around the communal table and the comfortable banquettes against the wall. The scent of coffee permeates the modern space with its dark walls, wood panelling and industrial lighting. Look up and you’ll see bicycles for sale hanging against one wall.

SurBourke Espresso Bar Darlinghurst

The menu is presented on a clipboard and includes breakfast and lunch dishes with French favourites such as croissant a la francaise, quiche vegetarienne, salade au chèvre chaud and the quintessential favourite, croque-monsieur. Flick one page, and you’ll see the menu for the bikes, which come with a free coffee.

SurBourke Espresso Bar Darlinghurst

The four of us order the croque-monsieur traditionnel which is served on vintage plates that seem more at home in an English tea house.

SurBourke Espresso Bar Darlinghurst
Croque-Monsieur traditionnel

The cheese oozing from the croque is tempting for that first taste and we all slip into silence as we enjoy every bite.

SurBourke Espresso Bar Darlinghurst
Café et Tintin

Coffee is from Toby’s Estate and comes served in bowls, à la française, while the sugar sachets are presented in vintage tea cups. I can’t resist flicking through Tintin’s Objectif Lune, a book I have in my collection at home.

I briefly meet Yan, the charming owner who comes from Bordeaux. After un acceuil chaleureux/a warm welcome, we slip into French for a quick chat and I learn that the busy café is barely 6 weeks old.

SurBourke Espresso Bar Darlinghurst

SurBourke is a little corner of France in Darlo that is already proving to be popular with locals. It’s a welcoming spot to drop in for breakfast, lunch and coffee, or enjoy brunch with good friends on the weekend as we did. My only gripe is that SurBourke is not within walking distance from my home or work. Or I would be making like this monsieur and dropping in like an habituée for my daily fix of caffeine, conversation and slice of nostalgia for France.

SurBourke Espresso Bar
266 Bourke Street
Darlinghurst 2010


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.