Two Skinny Pickles is one of the smallest cafes in Sydney. There are no seats, stools, milk crates or even much room to stand, really. It’s simply a window. Crazily, though, it manages to serve homemade kombucha (anyone who’s made this at home knows how much space it takes up), its own nitro-coffee (coffee infused with nitrogen), cakes, pickles and a range of hot sauces.

“One of our big ideas was to do everything homemade. That's a big focus for us,” says co-owner Jerome Jalibat (he’s joined by another ex-Nomad man, Daniel Thaine). “We didn't want any products like Coca-Cola, Fanta or ice tea. If they want that they can go to 7/11, we don’t even sell water.” Instead they’re dealing with flavoured kombuchas on tap (right now there’s dill and beetroot, and blood orange and cinnamon), healthy smoothies, Somage teas, Five Senses coffee and a home-brewed nitro-coffee blend.

The secret to making it all is the venue’s hideaway basement, which is stocked with batches of experimental hot sauce; vats of kombucha each with a different name (there’s Louise, Trish, Cindy, Sonia and Mike Meyers); and a production line for fresh sandwiches, salads and cakes. Just simple, accessible, quick and healthy, says Jalibat.

There are three sandwiches plus an nduja croque monsieur. Of the three, Jalibat says the house speciality is the prawn bagnat with puffed rice, spicy mayonnaise, green beans and shallots. “It’s our take on the pan-bagnat … [it] has potatoes, so we use a potato bread,” he says. The other sandwiches, salads and the house tart will change most days.

It’s a small range and certainly not anything revolutionary, but it suits the station-side, hole-in-the-wall brief – a genre without a great reputation or track record. “This has been such a dodgy strip but it's the last bit of Surry Hills to be cleaned up,” Thaine says of the noisy, Central Station-facing street. Despite the small space, though, the duo has plans to take over the rooftop with a beehive and an aquaponics garden. “The rooftop is quite big, so we'd like to grow all our own produce and make urban honey,” Jalibat says.

Two Skinny Pickles
302–306 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills
0403 223 622

Mon to Fri 7am–3pm