Something that caught my eye in the 2010 Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF) lineup was the new addition of “Let’s do Brunch”. I noticed that Cafe Ish was participating in Let’s do Brunch, offering a breakfast trifle, soft-shell crab omelette and a coffee for $25, and since I’ve always wanted to try their soft-shell crab omelette it was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Josh, the owner and chef of Cafe Ish, gives us a friendly wave as we walk in and I make sure to ask the waitress if it’s ok to take photos. Asking politely goes a long way here, and the waitress kindly thanks me for asking and gives me the thumbs up :)
It’s definitely a good thing that I can take photos since it would be a shame not to be able to share the awesome food that they serve at Cafe Ish. We start off with their signature Wattle Macca-cino which is a nutty concoction of wattleseed, macadamia and coffee. It arrives with pretty coffee art on the top and the tiniest, cutest little cookie ever on the teaspoon. The coffee itself is smooth and with just the right amount of sweetness that I don’t have to add any sugar. If I could have this every morning to start my day I would!
While we’re waiting on the food, Josh pops down from the kitchen to have a quick chat and offers us slices of their house-made bread baked fresh that morning. Slathered in butter and Vegemite, the bread had deliciously fluffy innards with a crunchy crust. It was definitely my kind of bread and I’m hoping it stays on the menu for the next time I come.
The next thing that arrived was the breakfast trifle. I’m not usually a big fan of yoghurt but the native berry compote and muesli made it a million times better with the berries adding sweetness and the toasted house-made muesli providing a nice crunch. The berries used in the compote were interesting, I found something that looked like a giant strawberry with the leafy bit at the top still attached! No idea what it all was but it tasted great.
And now for the main event – the soft-shell crab omelette! This certainly lived up to the hype with the omelette being full of avocado and soft-shell crab goodness inside! The soy, garlic and chilli dressing with a squirt of lime juice was the perfect sauce for the crispy crab, and the servings were substantial as well.
If you don’t feel like the Let’s Do Brunch menu, there are other breakfast options available all day on weekends and until 12pm on weekdays. The Big Ish is a MASSIVE serving of your usual breakfast food and your not so usual breakfast food. So you have your 2 eggs, toast, bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms, but you also get croc sausage, fried mochi and baked beans. These baked beans are not the ones you buy from the can, they have a deep, smokey pork flavour to them and I also got a hunk of pork meat in the bowl as well – win!
The croc sausage was noticeably leaner than a normal sausage and I detected some Thai flavours in the sausage from the herbs and spices thrown into the mix. And oh, the fried potato mochi, how I wished there were more than two pieces of it! It was crisp and crunchy on the outside and surprisingly not jaw-achingly chewy on the inside but still had some bite. The best part was chomping into it to find a small cube of molten feta in the middle. This was my favourite component of the Big Ish.
The lunch menu has different dishes, as well as some of the signature dishes from their breakfast menu like the soft-shell crab omelette. The green tea roasted Byron Bay chicken salad is fresh but filling, with chunks of tender chicken and crispy bacon scattered amongst fresh watercress and tomato, soft pieces of kipfler potatoes, avocado and a light lemon myrtle mayonnaise.
The Tassie peppered seared tuna skewers comes arranged beautifully on a bed of fluffy rice with stir fried Asian greens. The skewers have a chilli, sesame and wild lime soy glaze which adds a hint of sweetness and tartness. It also comes with your choice of miso soup or the soup of the day, which in this case was a creamy tomato and lemon myrtle soup.
Let’s Do Brunch is $25 at Cafe Ish, and runs on weekends from 9am-2.30pm. Bookings are recommended since it was packed when we went. But if you miss out, you can always head there at a later date since the soft-shell crab omelette, breakfast trifle and wattle macca-cino are on their permanent breakfast menu. Lucky for me they’re going to stick around because I would totally order them again next time I return!
82 Campbell St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: +61 2 9281 1688