Which is precisely what you may do when you walk down Abercrombie Street on a stroll through Chippendale. But of course, if you’re in the area and you don’t live there, chances are you’re trying to find the place. Located in an inconspicuous corner, I almost did miss it. In fact, there was another cafe to across the road corner which we thought was Cafe Giulia…and yet despite this inconspicuousness we were almost unable to find a table! And this is just for two people…
I had wanted to go here ever since it was mentioned on smh. I figure that even if the result doesn’t match the hype, it may still be well above average. Thus, Cafe Giulia became my next brunch target (at that time in September anyway…).
Name: Cafe Giulia
Date Visited: 23/09/2012
Address: 92 Abercrombie St Chippendale, NSW 2008
Good for: that classic cafe brunch feel
Not good for: anyone’s sure to find something to like here.
Go-to dish: the burger – add egg & bacon if you feel your jaw is big enough
I have a thing for chalkboard menus. Takes me back to the good old days in China (yes China!) where chalk and blackboard were the staple for so many applications. And besides, that rustic feel. It’s awesome. Good thing the menu doesn’t change much though otherwise they’d be trotting out a ladder (or a 2m+ person) to update it.
Unfortunately I couldn’t really get any other photos – surprisingly a waitress informed me that photos are not allowed. What? So strange! The first place I’ve been to that actually expressly forbids photography. Come to think of it, it’s actually the only place I’ve been to that’s been like that. But, thanks to my awesome skills, I still managed to take photos of the food. Yeah, take that *defiant*
So, what made the cafe so special as to be featured on smh? It’s this:
The Cafe Giulia burger is supposedly one of Sydney’s best 10 burgers. Take that whichever way you will, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a damn good burger.
We have a rustic bun that is bereft of the seedy embellishments found on many other burgers. Fine by me – the less is detracted from the innards! Speaking of the innards…we have a full slice of half-melted cheddar which is cleverly stuck onto the bun’s top half (unfortunately not pictured – I had to take these snaps quick!), a thick slice of tomato (might be too thick for some), lettuce, beetroot (shredded – a nice touch) and topped with super crispy bacon and a fried egg. The meat patty itself is classic Australian beef. The fried egg and bacon comes as an extra (costing an extra $1 – well worth it), but of course I would have the extras and if your jaw can contain the added size, by all means you should get it.
Boy, what a burger it is. One thing though – it’s BIG, especially with the toppings. But like the Burger Italiano, it is manageable as the burger has minimal leakage. There is a bit (due to the marinade on the beetroot), but it is very impressively controlled considering the size of the burger. Ladies, you may want to brandish your knife and fork. Actually heck, I don’t even know how I managed to eat it straight out considering I’ve a smaller mouth than most. Oh well, testament to the burger’s construction.
The beef is succulent, though not the best I’ve had. That said, the pairing with the cheese is quite exceptional. The lettuce doesn’t overpower with cold and crispness, rather adds to the texture. The beetroot makes its presence more known but doesn’t fight with the beef. It’s as close to a hearty burger as you could get. Oh yum.
Okay okay enough burger talk. I was thinking “hmm maybe something healthy to accompany the burger” (never mind the people who think “you’re eating MORE?”). But in true Shen style I ignored my conscience almost immediately and grabbed a (well, still semi…demi…hemi healthy) panzanella salad!
Instead of normal soaked bread (a hallmark of a panzanella salad) Giulia used croutons which I reckon are a NICE touch. I’d prefer croutons due to their lovely texture. You know what they say (they probably don’t say it), anything is better when it’s made crispy/crunchy.
This was a very good salad, though the olive oil vinaigrette may be leaning a bit too much on the sour side. Just a little though.
There’s plenty of prawns and cheese which make you feel both good and guilty at the same time. Prawns and cheese go very well together and this salad was no exception.
Oddly enough, I found the herbs to be a source of contention – I’m fairly sensitive to herbs (and yet I can take on a ton of chilli/pepper…weird) and there was too much of a basil flavour. I think that was meant for the tomatoes. Eeep, oh well. Great salad nonetheless. Still can’t help but feel fat after eating it due to the massive amount of oil present in it (sure, it’s olive but fat is fat whether it’s good fat or not).
We finish off with something sweet. This dish turned out to be surprisingly good. I usually don’t think much of toast, but when I do, it’s because it tastes like so much more.
Soggy is not usually a good way to describe food in general. But in this case it’s perfect. The rich ricotta honey soaks its way into the toast, turning into something that’s almost like buttery French toast, or – forgive me - hotcakes. The texture totally works in this context and is marvelous. The fact that the honey is actually really delicious only furthers it. Eat it with small dollops of the lightly-flavoured mascarpone cream, cut up a small slice of the grilled banana and you’ve got a steaming hot dessert that is very difficult to top.
I need to go back soon. I’m making myself hungry as I type this.
The Good: the food (yeah, pretty much all of it)
The Bad: only the smallest niggles with the food, photography forbidden, tough to find seating especially for larger groups
I give Cafe Giulia a grand total of seven and a half Caesars out of ten – 7.5/10