Coffee enthusiasts tend to have varying opinions about what makes a good brew. But they would usually agree that instant coffee is usually only pulled out in times of desperation. Over the last two years Soul Deli, a contemporary Korean cafe in Surry Hills, has helped improve instant coffee’s cred, with its signature twist on Maxim coffee (a well-known Korean instant coffee brand) that’s become one of its best-sellers. When owners Daero Lee and Illa Kim announced the cafe would be moving to a new location, locals worried what this meant for their now-regular instant coffee order. Luckily, it hasn’t gone too far.
Find Soul Deli’s new home – and the coffee special – just down the road in the new Adge Hotel. When the vacancy popped up a few months ago, Lee and Kim were looking for a site for their latest project, Bar Soul. But the couple decided the hotel space was a better fit for a cafe. They’ve moved Bar Soul into Soul Deli’s former digs.
“The hotel’s look and feel is very on-brand for Soul Deli, but we’ve put our own spin on [the space],” Kim tells Broadsheet. “It’s very fun and funky – and very K-Pop-ish.”
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You won’t find the white walls and timber furnishings that were at the old digs. Instead, slide into cushy mustard-coloured booths with pink-tiled tabletops in a room splashed with abstract markings and lit up with pendant lights. The walls are adorned with large playful paintings, including a giant blue tiger, all by Korean artists.
“The pop art aligns with the vision we had for the cafe,” Kim says. “When we hung the paintings in there it was as if they were made for the space.”
Soul Deli 2.0 also offers more space, with room for up to 60 punters inside. It’ll soon expand to outdoor seating, too.
Former head chef Sunny Ryu’s (who is now running the kitchen at Bar Soul) menu remains largely unchanged. Go for sandwiches inspired by Ryu’s childhood memories (think fried kimchi with pulled pork and cheese, and mushroom bulgogi); the cafe’s signature Korean fried chicken hotcakes; and Korean cinnamon doughnuts made fresh daily. Plus, there are new dishes like K-street toast (a Korean breakfast classic served with omelette, ham, cheese, jam and mayo) and yukhoe bibimbap.
When the hotel opens, the team will look at adding more menu items – and with truffle season around the corner, a few ideas are already percolating.
“We are really looking forward to the opening of the Adge and hope it increases foot traffic, because some people are still unsure if we are open or not,” says Kim. “But last weekend we had lines out the door for the first time since the move, so that was very exciting.”
Shop 1/212 Riley St, Surry Hills NSW 2010