Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cafe Sydney, Sydney

Cafe Sydney has been on me and my partner's Bucket Food List for as long as I can remember. Since we were pondering for a restaurant to celebrate my birthday, we thought, "Why not Cafe Sydney!?" There was no hesitation nor deliberation. It just made sense!

The view on the ferry to Circular Quay was spectacular and we could see the restaurant from afar. My partner made the reservation for 6.30pm, but the ferries weren't running on time so we got there around 7.00pm. We were told in advance we had to give back the table at 8.15, so they could have another sitting. We were pressed for time so we decided to just have two courses, so we wouldn't be rushed and perhaps go elsewhere for dessert. Our friendly waiter showed us to the best seat in the house. I love that it was still light so we saw the panoramic view of Sydney and also the grey clouds that floated graciously.   

We ordered the spiced caramelised onion naan ($3.00) which can only be slightly seen in this photo because I forgot to take one on its own. It's freshly made and the caramelised onion makes it sweet but the spices adds great flavour and makes it very addictive. 
Grilled South Australian squid, chorizo, baby zucchini, kipfler potato, chilli aioli, lemon, $26.00
When we saw the squid on the menu we knew we had to get it! The squid itself is soft and tender, perfectly cooked. The chorizo works so well with it, giving it a salty and smokey hit. They were grilled so all its spices and chilli oil emerged and flavoured the entire dish. The baby zucchini ribbons give freshness and another textural component. The aioli had the perfect amount of chilli to give it spice but also garlic aroma to the taste. We regret we didn't save some of the naan to soak up all the aioli and juices left! The kipfler potato is cooked so they have a good bite. The tomato salsa and lemon lifted the dish and gave it the zing. The only problem with this dish was there wasn't enough of it! 
Tandoori roasted Tasmanian ocean trout, spinach bhaji, spiced beans, raita, coconut, $39.00
Every mouthful of this dish was heavenly. I spent my entire time consuming this in silence as I needed to give the fish my full and undivided attention. The ocean trout is cooked to perfection; soft and melting in the mouth. The sweetness of the fish sings just as the tandoori cooking method does, giving it warmth and spice. The more I explore, the more elements I discover that show the chef's attention to detail and their understanding of the palette. The spinach bhaji are crunchy and empowered with Indian herbs and spices which compliments the fish so well. The raita gives it a nice tang to the velvety fish. The coconut salad is there for textural purposes as the coconut is subtle. The spiced beans are a nice surprise under the ocean trout and are soft and flavoursome. The best dish I've had so far in 2013! 
Crispy pressed Berkshire pork, crusted pork loin, morcilla sausage, butternut pumpkin, jus, $39.00
I spent most of the time during our mains, devouring my ocean trout that I didn't pay much attention to the pork. But my partner assures me that it's delicious. He manages to stop me when I'm between mouthfuls and I try some of the crispy pressed Berkshire pork. It is love, cooked till it's soft and the crackling makes a great crunch sound when I bite into it! He enjoys every component immensely! 
Mashed potato, $9.50
The mashed potato is beautifully silky and retains potato flavour. So often mash is drowned with butter and oil that all you can taste is that, but this makes sure the potato is still the hero! Mash is always great to have when there is sauces and jus left and cannot possibly be unfinished! But it's also necessary to have mash, because everyone loves mash.
Tomato, buffalo mozzarella, pesto, aged balsamic, extra virgin oil, $26.00
We also order the salad as a side since we only had one appetizer. The tomatoes are sweet and are just ripe enough. I prefer the green tomatoes as they are more rich in tomato flavour (if that even is possible). The aged balsamic and extra virgin oil make the perfect vinaigrette. The buffalo mozzarella is soft and creamy which compliment the tomatoes and pesto well.  

When 8.15pm creeps around, our waiter informs us of the time and happily suggests we can finish our night at the bar lounge to have our dessert and drinks. As a relief to hear we are not going to be rushed out we politely decline as we are very very full and cannot (yet) eat another thing. We decide an evening stroll along the quay would be perfect, before we set off and find somewhere for dessert (stay tuned!).

I applaud the creativity that is put in to make the dishes unique. The menu may sound ordinary and predictable, but when it comes to life before our eyes, the taste is impeccable and the presentation is flawless. It is a bit pricey, but the location, view, service and food explain why Cafe Sydney is the best of the best and it becomes justifiable. (Cafe Sydney is listed in the Entertainment Book with a discount of 25% off up to $50.00 value for those who have it or are considering to buy the 2013/2014 issue). I cannot wait to return to this place, to definitely try their desserts, enjoy the other appetisers and mains, and possibly eat the ocean trout again! I am so happy I had the pleasure to spend my actual birthday experiencing such a delight! 

Cafe Sydney
Level 5, Customs House
31 Alfred St

9251 8683

Café Sydney on Urbanspoon

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