Cafe Sydney has a really misleading name. If you were a tourist, you’d think that it’s simply a local cafe that’s got the gall to name itself after this wonderful city. Perhaps you’d think you can grab a cuppa on the go, and be off on your merry way.
Not even close. This is a fine dining restaurant through and through, with the quality, service, and of course, prices to match.
Besides, when was the last time you had to take an elevator to visit a cafe?
Date Visited: 18-2-2013
Address: 31 Alfred St Sydney, NSW 2000
Go-to dish: Tandoori roasted Tasmanian ocean trout
First thing’s first: alfresco. Situated on the roof of Customs House which overlooks Circular Quay, it’s got quite the view, especially if you’re sitting closer to the edge. The Lady and I were seated just one table shy of the edge however, so our view wasn’t quite perfect, but that’s small fry.
There is an indoors section as well. This restaurant actually seats a LOT of people. Easily hundreds.
The outside have these tables with a polished marble finish which I really like.
As for the food, we ended up ordering 6 dishes between the two of us. I know, that sounds like a lot, but it’s really the standard entrée, main and dessert combo.
Raw seafood is almost always on the agenda for me, but unfortunately not The Lady. I know, how can anyone dislike raw seafood *gasps*. Luckily, common ground is found in carpaccio, where the fish is often sliced thinly enough, and there’s enough seasoning to mask it all.
- The tuna is on par with decent Japanese restaurants – texturally great, and a good taste when paired with…
- That creme fraiche – it’s not the most common condiment for raw seafood, but I guess I learn something new every day. This is just so refreshingly tasty I can’t help but think it’s a great complement to the tuna. So unfortunate that it’s so high in fat…
- Love the avruga roe – those little bursts of flavour are delectable.
- Grissini sides were quite nice and were there to provide that great crunchy texture to match
Chorizo is not your usual pairing with squid, though I can see the logic in the chorizo delivering some of its strong flavour to the comparatively flavourless squid. That combo is pretty effective.
- I didn’t like the squid very much – there was a very charcoal-burn taste to it that was very strange, since texturally it still tasted like squid and it didn’t look very burnt. Was it deliberate? Not really to my palate, that.
- The chorizo was expectedly chock-full of flavour, and the result is awesomeness.
- Its quirk was that its texture was so crispy it’s almost like they’re making chorizo chips. That’s unusual, but not in a bad way – only different.
- The inclusion of octopus tentacles in the dish is actually quite nice methinks
This trout, it is the bomb. Ahhh pretty sure you can win your way to my heart with a well-prepared trout.
- It has a GREAT texture. We actually had the option of cooking it well, or rare (like steak!). Naturally, I chose rare and it was a great decision. Soft, buttery-smooth flesh that’s melt in your mouth. Done and done.
- Flavour-wise, it’s the spices and tang that come into their own. This dish was not lacking for flavour at all, it’s sublime.
- Only odd thing about it would be the coconut – I couldn’t really end up telling where that fit into the scheme of things.
- The spinach bhaji (a type of Indian vegetable fritter – shown in the picture below) was a delicious mushy mess. Somewhat oily, but quite yummy all by itself.
As usual, one of the traps that plague the cooking of duck is that it ends up being way too dry. The twice-cooked duck leg suffered from this.
- So yeah, as said up there – kinda dry. It wasn’t too dry though and the usual rule of “use the sauce until it doesn’t taste dry anymore” applies.
- Speaking of that sauce, it’s really, really good. I gotta say it made this dish work. Simple as that.
- Oh and so then there was also a sausage that went with it. It’s pretty good – better than of the cheap beef snags you’ll get off a barbie, but I still think for the price we pay, should it really be fine dining-grub?
It’s time for desserts!
Cafe Sydney is known to have some pretty awesome desserts. That’s why we had to get two.
Great presentation of this plate, and it does taste as good as it looks.
- The chocolate was immensely rich and flavoursome. Unless you really like your chocolate, or have really tolerant taste buds, you will either love or hate the overpowering. I love it. Of course I love it.
- Both The Lady and I really dug the fried banana. Sure, it’s a mass of sugar and fat encasing a slightly healthier mass of sugar, but boy, isn’t that the recipe to great taste? It sure is.
- My my, you really didn’t need to give us the peanut butter parfait. EXTREMELY guilty eat, but the deliciousness is to match!
- Candied nuts…keep the guilt piling on!
Sure, it may not be the most original dessert, but meh, as long as some restaurant is out there experimenting and pushing the envelope, I’ll have my fried banana chocolate.
Already feeling primed for the next dessert. The sweet tooth has only just awoken!
This is something you’d expect to see from a good bakery, and I’m pretty sure many bakeries offer it.
- The tart is really something – sweet and filling, it leaves me wanting nothing more, yet so, so much more of it.
- As for the ice cream, it was OK. Almost sorbet-like, not really my flavour, but it did its job of being refreshing and cleansing the palate of all that came before.
- Raspberries were a non-event, especially with my slightly biased opinion of them.
Café Sydney is a great place to visit if you’ve either loads of money, a tourist, or an occasion. Is it worth the visit? Of course, worth revisits too. Just not too often if you don’t want to burn your wallet.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
The Good: incredible views, good food and better dessert
What could be improved: duck was not to taste, that burnt-tasting squid/chorizo dish is something I can’t quite get over
I give a grand total of seven and a half Caesars out of ten – 7.5/10