Italian food is like that person you know who somehow manages to be friends with everyone. It’s simple, crowd-pleasing and reliably delicious – I mean, have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like pizza or pasta?
So when it comes to choosing restaurants, one of my fallback plans is always Cafe Sopra. The food is consistently tasty and reasonably priced, and there are multiple locations around Sydney including the CBD and Potts Point which makes it super convenient.
Today we pay a visit to Cafe Sopra in Alexandria, which has both indoor and outdoor seating. It’s a beautiful warm day, and the windows are opened to let in fresh air and sunlight on the otherwise dark interior.
There’s a selection starters, pizzas, pastas and heavier meat-based dishes on the menu, which I think are best shared so you get to try a bit of everything. Arancini are always a crowd favourite so we start with those – crispy fried balls of risotto with mixed herbs, fluffy shavings of taleggio cheese and a creamy dipping sauce.
It’s a hot day so we opt for some cold items as well, like this huge slab of chicken liver pate. It’s served with crusty bread that’s been toasted until crispy, and a slide of green bean and cucumber salad. There’s so much pate that you can generously slather on as much as you like on the toast and there will still be plenty left for everyone. The flavour of the pate is also on point – not too strong on the liver taste and also nice and smooth.
Since opening late in 2014, LuMi Bar & Dining has been on my radar for a while. I’d seen lots of photos on Instagram and heard about the awesome pasta dishes, so when my birthday rolled around earlier this year (yes, this is a very delayed post!), I requested to have my birthday dinner at LuMi.
The cuisine is a unique blend of Japanese and Italian influences, brought on by head chef Federico Zanellato’s training both at Ryugin in Tokyo and Ormeggio at the Spit. There is an option of an a la carte menu, but we decided to go with the 8 course tasting menu which was only $95pp.
The restaurant is located where the old Ripples at Sydney Wharf used to be – right on the pier overlooking Pyrmont Bay and facing Metcalfe park. The glass walls of the restaurant let in lots of natural light during the day, but be warned that it does get quite dark at night so apologies for the declining photo quality as the night goes on!
We start with a plate of four snacks which are perfect mouthfuls to whet the appetite. My favourite was the cheese tartlet with corn – a classic flavour combination. The rice chips with salt and vinegar were also interesting wafer-like rice paper sheets that melted in the mouth, just leaving the salt and vinegar flavour behind.
When the Sydney dining scene changes so quickly, it’s easy to get so caught up in chasing the latest shiny new restaurant that you forget about the ones that have stood the test of time. Alessandro Pavoni has been serving up elegant Italian food for 6 years at Ormeggio, and has achieved two hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide for the past 3 years.
Ormeggio is situated on the water at the Spit Bridge, making it a picturesque location for an early Sunday dinner. We’re indulging in Ormeggio’s Stressless Sunday Dinner, which includes 5 courses of the chef’s choosing for the princely sum for $69pp. It was kind of nice not having to make choices from a menu and let the chefs do the thinking for you – very stressless indeed!
We start off with a house-baked sourdough. The bread arrives warm, with a chewy centre and beautiful dark crust, and a light whipped ricotta to spread onto the bread. This is some seriously good bread so when we’re asked if we would like another serve, we can’t say no!
As an avid watcher of Looney Tunes cartoons as a child, the word Acme conjures up images of dynamite, explosions and Wile. E. Coyote. But I found out that ‘ACME’ has other meanings as well – a Greek word referring to the best of something, and also a convenient acronym of the first initials of the owners Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr, and Ed Loveday.
I was keen to see if ACME lived up to its name. It delivered on the Looney Tunes front with cool dynamite shaped light fixtures, but what of the food?
I was insistent on trying the Baloney sandwich, after seeing it appear on my instagram feed several times with people gushing about its amazing-ness. At $8 a pop (when we visited), it’s definitely not your standard devon sambo, but there’s a delicate quality to the thin sheets of mortadella sandwiched between a fluffy bun. I can’t say it blew my socks off though, and certainly didn’t meet my expectations based on the hype.
For a long time, the only cheese I knew about was the plasticky slices of Kraft Singles. I remember trying to make grilled cheese as a kid and wondering why my cheese didn’t ooze and melt under the grill quite like the ones I saw on TV.
It wasn’t until later on in life that I realised that there was a whole world of cheeses beyond Kraft Singles, all with different flavours and textures. I soon discovered that soft, creamy cheeses like brie and camembert, and stretchy, mild flavoured cheeses like mozzarella were amongst some of my favourites, and sought them out like they were going out of fashion.
It wasn’t long before I found out about burrata, a stretchy pouch of milky mozzarella that holds a surprise flowing river of rich thickened cream inside. When I saw it on the menu at Buffalo Dining Club, I knew I had to have it. The other cheeses would have to wait because the burrata was calling my name!
All the cheeses at Buffalo Dining Club are $20 each and come with a choice of two sides. We decided to get the potato croquettes and honey baby carrots to go with our cheese. The plate also comes with some bread and nduja, a spicy sausage that you can spread onto the bread.