Furnished like a schoolroom with a ticking, analogue clock on the wall, Basket Brothers, feels like it's all about us CBD worker drones who have a strict time limit for lunch. The four-storey heritage building was built in 1915, in the Inter-War period, as hotel accommodation near the rail line.
It occupies a triangular slice of land between Wentworth Avenue and Elizabeth Street, with glass windows on the apex and both sides, allowing for 270-degree views from your table.
The building still retains some of the early Art Deco detailing, which makes it feel grand, despite the spartan interior. The schoolroom motif is continued into chalkboard menus and bright blue pails of cutlery on the tables. Even the charcoal logo wall has a hint of classroom about it. It sits behind a tiled counter decorated with a splash of yellow.
Despite the chalkboards grabbing our attention, they were devoid of specials on the day I dined. We order instead from the simple, regular menu of burgers, salads and steak sangas. The Grilled Chicken Salad ($17) goes the extra mile in presentation with edible flowers and eye-catching dried cranberries.
There’s plenty of protein, in the form of blanched cashews and grilled chicken, though not much in the way of dressing – purported to be both aioli and lemon.
The Smoke House ($15.50) is a messy mountain of stringy smoked beef brisket, dripping with barbeque sauce. Along with sweet onions, cheese, 'slaw and pickles, it's barely contained within a soft milk bun.
You can take your meaty sanga with fries or a side salad. I opted for the latter, which was another pretty affair, and in this dish, it's slightly better dressed.
Being later in the day, we skipped over coffees (roasted by Pablo & Rusty's) in favour of Pineapple & Mint Crushes ($7.50/each), garnished with fresh mint.
Basket Brothers is an entirely serviceable café that caters to the tastes and time pressures of those working in the surrounding offices.
NOTE: You can see a previous review for this venue HERE.
Shop 1 / 184-196 Elizabeth Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9281 5198