Friday, 13 April 2012

Cafe Sydney, Circular Quay

Cafe Sydney - heard so much about this restaurant even before I came, so there was quite a bit of an expectation coming here tonight.  Known for its food as well as spectacular views, this restaurant was always on my list of to-dos.

Situated on the 5th floor of Custom House, you enter through the main lobby, passing the library before heading to the elevators.  As you arrive at the restaurant, you'll notice that the restaurant bar is dark and swanky, filled with large over sized chairs that beckon you to sit down.  Reading the drinks menu here can be a little challenging, but the waiters know this and promptly arrive with a solution - a book light to clip onto the menu!  Quite novel :)

Once we get seated at our table, we instantly notice the beautiful, open view of the harbour bridge...absolutely stunning!  Now I just hope the food is just as good!

View of the Harbour @ Cafe Sydney

I started with the scallop appetiser since I'm always a fan of seafood.  The presentation was great and the orange sauce on the scallops was pretty tasty.  Only comment would be the scallops were kind of small..together with all the bright colours of the dish, it was nearly hidden.
Seared scallops, pickled carrot, quinoa, red vein sorrel, crispy pancetta ($27)

I also tried the carpaccio dish.  This dish did not have much "omph" to it.  The slices of carpaccio were quite thin, and when you pick it up, it looks like it is going to fall apart from the way the fish was sliced.  Did not taste much of the vinaigrette at all.  In fact, it was just very thinly cut pieces of sashimi, which for the price, i would have preferred just that.
Kingfish and ocean trout carpaccio, zucchini, fennel, radish, creme fraiche, citrus vinaigrette ($26)

For the mains, I choose the barramundi (fish) dish which I quite enjoyed.  The fish was not over-cooked, and the fish skin on top was very crispy.  I noticed others on my table with the same dish but did not eat the skin - Personally, I think they missed the best part!  It was accompanied by a croquette and a creamy salad, which reminded me of coleslaw but 10x more rich.  A good dish overall, would rank this as "safe" rather than anything of a wow-factor.

Cone Bay barramundi, Moreton Bay bug croquette, celeriac remoulade, anchovy butter ($39)

As dessert, I had the peach tart, which replaced the rhubarb tart that was on the menu.  It was served with a raspberry ice cream that sat top of a sprinkling of crystallised sugar/toffee.  Together, the icecream-toffee combination was wonderful. The tart itself was quite good, but again, nothing that particularly stood out against the norm.  In fact, I would have preferred to pair a vanilla bean ice-cream with the Peach tart, instead of raspberry.
Warm Peach tart, pistachio crumble, fresh raspberry ice cream ($18)
Had a small taste of the banana dessert too.  Presentation was beautiful, taste was just ok.
Fried banana, peanut butter parfait, salted caramel peanuts, chocolate ice cream ($18)

All in all, Cafe Sydney will rank as a restaurant with magnificent views, serving beautifully presented food.  The Sydney views, dim lights and swanky decor are the stand-outs in the dining experience here.  Food was quite solid, but nothing to overwhelm the mind or palette. 

Café Sydney on Urbanspoon

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