Monday, March 9, 2009

Cafe Sopra - Waterloo

I dislike places which don't allow me to take photos. The last time that happened, I didn't bother to blog about them (and hence, you have not read a post on the buffet at Seven Hills RSL). This time, I was so so so so so close to not blogging about this place... but the food just needed to be talked about!

I actually tried to find Cafe Sopra around 2-3 years ago. I never found it back then and always ended up eating at Dank Street Depo. This time, with the guidance of my friends Cafe Sopra was found!

Being extremely bad at observation, I understood why I had failed to locate this Cafe on previous occations - it was inside a warehouse, above an Italian Grocer - Fratelli Fresh.

Fratelli Fresh

Given the location, I was genuinely surprised at the number of diners - and at the lines! We waited around 1/2 an hour before we were seated. According to my friends (who are regulars), the cafe is a hotspot even on weekdays.

Blackboard menu

The popularity of this cafe may stem from their frequently changing seasonal blackboard menu - which is really, quite huge. It took me a good 5 minutes (or more) to read through all the options (and even longer to decide).

Bread rolls - $1 each

We ordered a bread roll each ($1). The bread was warm and fluffy - and pretty average, really.

We also ordered an antipasto to share ($14.50). There was beetroot with cheese, a mix of eggplant, tomato, celeray and corn, beans with pesto, and nectarine with tomatos. My company thoroughly enjoyed this starter, commenting incesently about the freshness of the ingredients, the richness of the flavours, and the blends of different tastes. The nectarine/tomato bit received mixed comments - maybe a bit wierd, a bit too sweet, and oh, it's perfect! (and if you're wondering why I'm going off the comments of my company rather than giving you a first-hand account, it's because I'm a self-professed picky eater who does not touch beetroot, eggplant, tomato or nectarine. I did enjoy the pesto-covered beans though!).


My partner's coffee came before our mains. It looked pretty but tasted average (not up to scratch compared to Melbourne coffee - proclaimed my partner).


Waiters hustled and bustled about and a while after, our food came out. This is also about the time when the waiter told me that I wasn't allowed to take photos (grrrr) - so all the following are just 'sneak shots'. I guess I was agitated enough to forget the prices of the mains (but they were all within the $16-22 range)

There was my friend's smoked chicken risotto. It had a nice creamy texture to it. The risotto was cooked quite perfectly - not hard and raw, it was soft, yet not mushy. I guess presentation-wise, it looked quite ordinary.

Smoked chicken risotto

I completely forget what this was apart from that it was quite nice. Pasta in tomatoey, chilli-ish sauce with zucchini.... or that's what it seems like.

Pasta in tomatoey-based sauce

My partner's penne bolognaise was quite a tastey mix of mince and pasta. The meat was so minced up that every little piece of meat was surrounded and emersed in sauce. Topped with cheese... mmm... The only thing I have against this dish is that it's made of lamb mince >.<

Penne with bolognaise sauce

And finally, my dish! My fresh ocean trout with fennel and salmon caviar. So deliciously fresh and zesty, it was a light yet filling dish. The aromas filled my mouth - which was a great thing, until the end, where it all got a bit too salty for me (and hence a lot of water was consumed). Nonetheless, it was a delicious combination of flavours.

Ocean trout with fennel

We also ordered the witlof salad with pear to share. Witlof was with it's expected bitterness. The pear... hmm.. I guess I personally, am not a fan of pear salad, but my company seemed to thoroughly enjoy this. So, I conclude that it must have been a good salad.

Witlof and pear salad

Now on to dessert. Below is my friend's Scroppino ($12.50) which is lemon sorbet (I know, it looks pink!) with strawberry, and liquer of some type. It was an interesting floating island. I think you were supposed to mix it up, but as my friend just dug in, it was sweet and lemony-sour up the top, and alcoholically bitter down the bottom!

Scroppino - $12.50

I ordered a chocolate and nougat semi-freddo ($12.50). And this was yummy. It would have been yummier if it was more chilled, less melted, and generally, more like icecream. But it was good. The toffied-nuts were deliciously interspersed throughout the dessert.

Chocolate and nougat semi-freddo - $12.50

So overall, the food - by the amount of people, and by us licking our plates clean - must have been pretty good. The ingredients they used were fresh and seasonal (picked straight from the grocery store downstairs). The service was attentive - and they checked in on us every so often, even though they were hustle and bustling around all the tables. My only disappointment at the service was that we weren't allowed to take photos (so deducting points there). Nonetheless, the ambiance was good and vibey and really, quite relaxing. And finally, our total bill was around $140 for the 4 of us. Not super cheap, but not super expensive.

Food - 8/10
Service - 6/10 (points deducted for disallowing photos)
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 28/40

Cafe Sopra
7 Danks Street
Waterloo, NSW, 2017
Tel: (02) 9699 3174

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