Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sydney Restaurant Review: Cafe Sopra, Walsh Bay: 7 December 2010

This is one of my favourite restaurants, full stop.  I love everything about Cafe Sopra.  I love the big blackboard, the seemingly endless menu and the range of choices, including salads.  I love that unless you're seated right near it you need to stand up and move closer just to see what's in store for that day and by necessity, to give a polite smile to the diners near the blackboard.  I love the small deli-come-fresh-food grocer on the other side of the restaurant which provides much of the fresh produce for the restaurant (or is that the other way around?).  I love that occasionally you can indulge in some celeb-spotting. And I love the food and wine.

We sat down, pre-theatre, and ordered caprioskas.  They were sweet, limey and not at all alcoholic tasting, which is just about perfect (and dangerous) in the mild weather that day.  Like drinking summer.

Quite often I have trouble choosing something from the blackboard, as there are so many delicious-sounding dishes. Tried and true or new?  Talk about first world problems!

In order to achieve a win-win situation with my other two dining companions (who are large, fit men with decent appetites) we decided to order a few entrees and share.  First cab off the rank was the parma ham with fresh figs to celebrate summer.  The figs were sweet and honey-like, the ham deliciously soft, salty and creamy.  We were off to a perfect start.

Then came the stuffed zucchini flowers with Italian cheeses.  OMG!  I failed to ask what cheeses those babies were stuffed with but I suspect one of Sopra's current faves, gorgonzola, was invited to the cheese-stuffing party.

We also opted to share the salad of shaved baby cabbage with reggiano & aged balsamic on the recommendation of our very charming waiter.  And he was right, despite its lacklustre look.  It was simple but oh-so-good.  The crunch of the baby cabbage was a perfect marriage with the salty reggiano & sweet balsamic.  When my dinner guests weren't looking I reckon I scoffed half of this salad.

As were were sharing starters (and some were high in cals), the dish I chose for my main was an old fave: the white anchovy salad with asparagus, tomato & vino cotto.  It was, as always, perfect.  The salty but comparatively creamy white anchovies, the fresh slightly acidic, but ripe tomatoes and the sweetness of the vino cotto and the asparagus, capers and touch of basil all combined into the perfect summer salad (okay, okay, I exorcised the raw onion).  I felt like I was eating summer.

My companions ordered the smoked chicken & sweet corn risotto with pecorino.  It tasted fantastic, its just a pity the presentation was a little lacking.  Cafe Sopra do food so well I was surprised by the look of this dish, especially since we eat with not only our mouths, but our eyes:

My mate did polish off the whole dish however so I guess that the proof is in the eating.

My other companion ordered the whole baked trout with mint and marjoram.  It was declared to be one of the best fish he has ever tasted.  I loved my salad but had immediate dish-envy.

After all that food we were, to coin a phrase, as full as a fat lady's shoe.  However, I'm so glad we ordered the dessert of lemon sorbet with strawberry puree and prosecco.  It was like heaven in a glass and would also make an entirely wicked cocktail.  All those bubbles. All that pink!  Frothy strawberry-lemony perfection. How could you not be happy with this to finish the meal? 

I thought our night couldn't get much better, but as we said a fond farewell to one of my favourite Sydney restaurants and waddled over to the Sydney Theatre, a limo passed us and the occupants emerged just as we entered Sydney Theatre.  Jake, next time I recommend you skip room service and dine at Cafe Sopra at Walsh Bay instead.......

Cafe Sopra @ Fratelli Fresh
16 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay 
ph. 8243 2777 (no bookings, so we recommend getting there early to avoid queuing)

Monday - Friday 11am - 7pm
Saturday, Sunday 10am - 7pm


  1. Damn you and your evil food porn!

    ;) love it

  2. Thanks lovely! Broadbeach tonight I think ;-)


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