Nina Milanova and Jordan Jordanov have been a part of the Surry Hills community for many years and four years ago decided on launching a café.

It’s been a long time coming but as the old adage goes, good things come to those who wait and Jazzy Café Bar is now open for business. 

Locals and out of towners are already making a beeline for its speciality coffee which chronicles the migration of jazz from its Ethiopian origins and decadent homemade pastries. 

The building itself which Jazzy Café Bar now calls home at 212 Devonshire Street has quite a significant history of its own. In the 1930s and 1940s it was home to and headquarters of “Queen of the underground” – Kate Leigh.

The introduction of six o’clock closing of hotels during the depression and war era lead Kate Leigh to use this situation to her advantage. 

Kate Leigh provided illegal liquor, known as ‘sly grog’, to many Sydney siders who knew the password upon entering in the hours after 6pm. To many locals this establishment was affectionately known as Mum’s.

This historic house is now adding a fresh chapter thanks to Nina and her partner Jordan whose love for simple pleasures like coffee, food and jazz, lead them to the idea of a complete lifestyle change – starting their own café and bar serving alcohol, legally this time.

Image by James Ervine.

Nina, who has come from coaching the National Team in Rhythmic Gymnastics says the food will always be fresh, healthy and of course a little bit fun like all good things in life. 

Jordan’s natural creativity for interior design helped them to create a unique atmosphere unlike any we have seen before; a real jazz playground with details including handmade lights forged by giving new life to used musical instruments. 

One of Jazzy’s customers is Caesar the parrot.  If you pass by, you will see Jordan’s latest creation – Caesar’s perch made of trumpet.

At last year’s Surry Hills Festival Jazzy opened its doors for the first time, hosting performances by actor Vashi Hughes in her compelling Kate Leigh recreation. “It was a big success and great way to introduce our venue. Word spread quickly and the crowd was doubling each night. We can’t wait to do more performances alike” says Nina.

Although light-rail construction is continuing, the couple have opted for a soft launch for Jazzy Café, opening from 7.00 am – 12.00pm on Monday to Friday.

Jazzy is fully licenced and the plan is to open in full swing with two or three evenings out of the week offering a music, food and wine venue for locals when the light rail project is finally completed.

Head chef Vinicius Oliveira is dedicated to bringing simple and unpretentious cuisine. He previously worked with well repute chefs as Francis Mallamann in Brazil, Ignacio Mattos and Negro Piattoni in New York, Vini – the sympathiser of slow food, has the magic power to transform the simple seasonal products into beautiful, flavoursome dishes. 

Jazzy has developed their own coffee blend – “Midnight Jasmine” which was hand-picked by barista Alex and roasted by coffee gurus Grace & Taylor – big body, vibrant and smooth which starts in the heart of Ethiopia then crosses the ocean to Guatemala and ends in Colombia 

“We’re getting great feedback for our coffee, and more and more people are coming in to try it. We are mainly happy to be here and being a part of this great village and its community rich in diversity and culture. We are so thankful for all the support and look forward to adding our own identity to the collage of stories which makes Surry Hills and Sydney so eclectic” says Nina and Jordan. 

P.S. The password?  “Is mum in?”