It’s over to Cafe Sydney for Ms G’s birthday. After searching high and low, I wanted to get the right venue that had the right mix of atmosphere, great food and that also took advantage of what was left of the good weather. Cafe Sydney seemed like just the spot.
We ordered the goats cheese and spinach ($3.50) to kick things off. The naan bread was easily the best I have ever had, next to the one at Blu Ginger. It was beautifully buttery, so much so it was even dripping with the stuff, spots of charred naan skin and hot dollops of creamy goats cheese. It was so good, we had to make like pigs and order another round.
The wagyu beef tartare ($29) was simply gorgeous. I took great pleasure in watching the egg pierce open, spill out and absorb into the beef and sides. The bread discs were extremely thin and hard in texture. It also had this staleness to it which emphasised the ear-piercing shatter with each bite, contrasting nicely with the tender tartare.
The crumbed crab cake was absolutely delicious – fresh, meaty and tangy. It is one menu item that has remained, time in and time out at Cafe Sydney due to its popularity.
Ms G seemed to enjoy this dish. I had a quick taste of the twice cooked duck leg ($39) and found the dish very comforting. I was eager to taste to the foie gras sausage (I’ve not had one before, you see) and was obviously dropping the “is it nice?” line, so she could happily pass some along. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as exciting as it could have been as the taste of the foie gras was difficult to distinguish.
The radicchio, pear, roquefort & walnut salad ($26) was another tasty number but at the $26 mark for a salad, I felt it was pretty overpriced for what it was.
The flesh of the pork belly ($39) was cooked well with the skin pronouncing a soft crack. Along with pine crusted pork loin, the two servings of pork worked well with the jus. However, it was the morcilla (blood) sausage that was my hero. Rich, smokey and full of depth, I had only wished that there was more. Overall, a great dish.
Note: the sweet potato was substituted with mash potato.
I asked the wait staff if they could write a happy birthday message for Ms G and they also came out with a cute little candle on a marshmallow for her to blow out. Cute!
Nicknamed “The Elvis”, this dessert was exceptional ($19). I loved how the fried banana had the sensation of a soft banana doughnut. Mush on the inside and crumbly on the outside, with the lovely traces of sugar crumbs sticking to the surface of your lips.Every element worked well together with the crackle of the caramel, the smoothness of the ice cream and lightness of the peanut butter parfait. Between the parfait and the fried banana, I couldn’t decide between which I liked more and I don’t even like peanut butter!
The experience at Cafe Sydney was what I had hoped for in terms of the food, atmosphere and location. It was fantastic. The service was very good and equally I thought the level of service good have been more thorough. I liked the thought that went behind the birthday message, how they engaged with us throughout our meal. Yet I was disappointed on how I specifically asked the staff to charge the bill to my card which I had left behind the counter. I didn’t want the risk of having to fight over the bill, as I knew this would happen. Since this was missed, the fight ensued but I had no card to fight back with! Oops.
I also felt that the service could have been more readily available. I found the turnaround of food was quite slow and that it was very challenging during service to get anyone’s attention. They just walk so gosh darn fast. I also asked to have an item of my meal removed yet an alternative wasn’t offered to me. At $39 a main I would hope that a substitute at least be offered and not feel shortchanged for the exclusion. When I asked if I could have this changed, they advised they would find out for me which they forgot to do. The combination of forgetting and not being able to get their attention was a little frustrating. These are minor details, but at the price tag isn’t it all in the detail?