Cowbell 808, Surry Hills

Too young to remember the 80’s? Take a step back in time when you visit Cowbell 808 – think giant graffiti mural, orange vinyl chairs, khaki cushions and shelves packed with vinyl records. 

A new café has popped up a stone’s throw away from Bourke St Bakery; having only opened up  in early August, Cowbell 808 is drawing in the crowds already. After a short wait outside and a bit of table shuffling (we were given a small table but the staff were friendly and accommodating, offering us a larger one when it became available), I noted that the mixed crowd consisted of a hipster couple having porridge, girls catching up over coffee, a young family with face-painted children and pet-owners with their two dogs; an eclectic crowd indeed.

 Café latte $3.50

We ordered coffees to start. Although the foam in my coffee could have been a bit glossier, you’ll like the coffee if you like yours strong and aromatic. 

The all-day menu consists of 13 items and ranges from traditional breakfast items such as the bacon and egg roll, to dishes with Middle Eastern influences like eggplant and hummus. Our food takes a while to arrive but that’s understandable as we see that the kitchen is in full swing. It also gives us time to take in the décor and I spy the specials like banana sundae with dark caramel, peanuts and cherry cleverly listed on a roll of butcher’s paper attached to the wall.

Raki cured ocean trout on celeriac remoulade, pickled beets and rye – $16.00

The 80’s theme continues as our food arrives on blue and white retro-print plates. The celeriac remoulade and pickled beetroot in my dish gave the ocean trout a punch and the rye bread was also very fresh. I think that this would’ve paired really well with something like pulled pork as it would’ve been a lot more flavoursome.  Overall I think that the dish is a hit as it’s fresh, clean and colourful.

Egg n Bacon Sambo (thick cut house smoked bacon, scrambled eggs, smokey BBQ and onions) – $9.00

 My friend had the egg and bacon sandwich with the thick cut house-smoked bacon. Sneaking a bite, the bacon is wonderfully chewy and smoky; a hangover cure for sure.


Sucuk baked eggs with braised cherry tomato, spicy beef sausage, flatbread and labneh – $17.00

The baked eggs with flat bread were served in an earthen bowl. Although I didn’t try this, it looked full of hearty tomato flavour!

I heard that the must-try item was the stacked ricotta hotcakes with mascarpone, espresso syrup and bacon ice cream (!!) but we were too full to fit it in. There’s also home-made coconut yoghurt with grilled bananas and lime. Definitely on the list for next time.

There was an elderly man who greeted us at the door, and he sits with an elderly woman picking mint leaves on a table as we leave. “The things you do for your children” he says to us as we walk outside. We learn that his son has just opened Cowbell. Well his childhood must have inspired him to bring it back and we think it’s going pretty great!

Cowbell 808
616 Bourke St, Surry Hills, NSW
Ph:  (02) 9698 5044

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