Home > Breakfast, Cafe, Coffee, Syd: Surry Hills, Sydney > Ampersand Cafe and Bookstore, Surry Hills

Ampersand Cafe and Bookstore, Surry Hills

Ampersand has recently opened a second bookstore / cafe in Surry Hills. This cafe is flashier, offers tapas-style plates and larger dishes for dinner and better yet, it has a cocktail bar!


Located on the busy street of Crown Street and right next to the library, the place was busy by the time we got there at about 12.30 – ish. Breakfast and lunch is served until 3pm, and the breakfast menu ranges from muesli, to breakfast crumple, to hotcakes, to eggs, cornfritters and many more. You can even order a ‘Morning-after Breakfast’ – bacon, eggs, mushroom, gourmet pork sausage, slow roasted tomato and sourdough toast with a Berocca! Perfect for a huge night of drinking and dancing!

It was my weekly catch up with B, and she suggested this place – she knew how much I really liked the Paddington cafe.

B started with her usual, bircher muesli served with fresh fruit salad and dessert yogurt ($11). Generous serving of muesli which has been soaked in juice and topped with a dollop of dessert yogurt and bite size fruit pieces – it certainly was a healthy brunch!


I couldn’t decide between the Ampersandian ($15) – crispy potato hash brown with thyme roasted field mushroom, semi dried roasted tomato, poached eggs and asparagus with a dash of béarnaise sauce and the wagyu beef burger ($17) with tomato, roquette, and pickles and tempura onion rings served with french fries. Unfortunately, I opt for the healthier option, the Ampersandian and when I saw one of the diners eating the wagyu beef burger, I had SERIOUS FOOD ENVY!!!! The burger would have been a better option.

Now the Ampersandian – looked a little ‘bare’ I thought! I asked for one egg instead of two and was given a side of bacon. Perfectly poached egg, overall, the dish was good but a little unappealing I thought.

The bacon was overly cooked and burnt to a crisp – the burger would definitely have been better!


The cafe is fancier, price slightly more expensive but I quite like the old rustic vibe of the old cafe. I do love the open windows, the nice breeze. Unfortunately I didn’t go upstairs to have a look at the books, think we were both exhausted and ready for an afternoon nap!


Unfortunately this place didn’t blow me away, I still do prefer the Paddington branch!

GA’s rating: 6 / 10

Ampersand Cafe and Bookstore

413 Crown Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9318 1116

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  1. September 6, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I’m a sucker for novelty so I’d go here just because of the name! I like formatting and lettering =p

  2. September 6, 2011 at 8:59 am

    That bacon looks exactly the way I like to eat it – super cooked & crunchy.

  3. September 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    ooh this place is definitely my scene! lol i would’ve had a hard time deciding between those dishes as well

  4. Robbie
    September 14, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Nice atmosphere but a bit too exxy for what you get. Also a little unimpressed with who I assumed to be the boss lady being a bit snarky at the barista in a not so discrete manner.

    • September 14, 2011 at 8:10 am

      hey robbie, agree – unfortunately, it didnt wow me at all! i think i prefer the paddington location still!

  5. bob
    September 18, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I ate there on Tuesday and it didn’t wow me at all. Food was overcooked and expensive. Staff were not at all comfortable or relaxed. I went to the paddo store today because its always been nice but the last few times ive been, the food has changed. It is not at all as polished and cooked with the love and attention that it used to be. Dont know if its the greed of expansion taking its toll or change of chef (the last chef at paddo was the beez knees, his work was almost flawless – reason i think he has gone is that i no longer see him there any more 😦 he was cute!), that is ruining a nice little bustling business but i certainly wont be back to either place. Its sad I liked the paddo store. Oh well there are other places for food out there and now its off to find another sunday breaky spot for me.

    • September 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      thats a shame about the paddington branch! i really liked that place… havent been for a while though. thats right, there are heaps of places to eat in Sydney!

  6. Jack beau
    May 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I have been a regular customer of both Ampersands for a long time. They have had chefs come and go, but with such big kitchens, who doesn’t. The owner ,Katherine, only known to me by name works bloody hard. As far as I’m concerned, the business strives for excellence. Prices are very affordable and service is exceptional. I just wonder about who pits up those negative comments? Disgruntled staff? Jealous local business operators who are unable to compete? People should celebrate individuals who work hard and businesses like Ampersand. I really am tired of visiting venues that r rated highly and end up being expensive and crap. Ampersand is great cos it’s wholesome and fresh. Yes, it has ups and downs, but come on, they are one of the best and long lasting in Sydney.

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