Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cafe Paci - Darlinghurst

I've heard many a good things about Cafe Paci but for some reason or another, it's taken me for ever to come and try their food in their ultra hip industrial-chic restaurant. Many people have told me that this pop-up restaurant offers crazy good and amazingly wow Mod Australian dishes and on a drizzly cold Friday lunch, I got to experience their astounding twists of flavours for myself.

Fridays at Cafe Paci mean the option of a fix prix lunch menu ($45pp) for a four and a half course meal (half course = 'snack'). For this Friday, our "snack" was their cheese sticks. Not just any cheesesticks but 'Omg what on earth is this?!?!?' cheesesticks. These deceivingly simple-looking cheese sticks were uber flakey and crunchy, topped with this fairy-floss texture which was snap frozen honey, and pollen (elderflower?) of some sort. That - and just the aromas of freshly baked goodies. It blew my mind away. Pretty good start to the meal.
We also got a loaf of potato bread. I think the waiter said something about this bread being made of potato and wheat and brushed with molasses on top to give that crunch and sweetness. The butter was also really super soft and creamy and made on the house. It's hard to say no to freshly baked bread. However, this bread was a tad dense and a tad too sweet for me.
Our first real course was Pig Tail. I've never eaten pig tail and by choice, I probably wouldn't order pig tail. However, this came out looking pretty picture perfect. The pig tail was lovely and caramelised giving a good crunch (kind of like when you eat pork crackling when you dig into some pork belly), it was super duper tender and the fat-meat ratio made this cut of meat super juicy and melt-in-your-mouth. Don't forget the awesomely sticky and delicious sauce and the thinly sliced celeriac to balance it all out. They also had some dehydrated cumquats on top to give that citrousy zing to it (kind of like when you add orange to beef cheeks). Pretty tasty introduction to pig tail I think.
Next up was a NZ snapper. Perfectly cooked fish with crispy skin. This fish sat in a pool of vadouvan (or as the waiter nicely explained - an Indian curry spice which goes well in French-inspired cooking because it blends well with garlic and shallots). There was also a lemon sauce, a super tasty spinach puree and some wilted and fresh spinach leaves. On top, there were these thin brown crispy slices of mustard. Very interesting and visually appealing dish.
With the fish came a side of potatoes. This was potatoes with a creamy potato sauce. Yes - we are talking potato puree with loads of butter and loads of cream and ZOMG let me lick the bowl clean now!
Our next dish was a palate cleanser or pre-dessert of cucumber sorbet and yoghurt mousse. This cucumber sorbet was sooooooo refreshing! I don't know how to describe it properly... You know how cucumber is 'crunchy water'? Well, cucumber sorbet is cold, smooth, tasty, refreshing water? The light yoghurt foam, which had just the right balance of sweetness, complimented the cucumber sorbet nicely.
Last course of the day was a milk sorbet with rhubarb, molasses syrup and meringue. The milk sorbet was a bit tasteless... kind of just cold texture. The thin meringue pieces were sugary goodness and the rhubarb was cooked nicely.
 All up, for $45, it was a pretty damn impressive lunch. Super delicious and really satisfying. Definitely in need of a visit if you haven't already.

Food - 9/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 32.5/40

Cafe Paci
Level 1, 95 Riley Street
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9368 7000

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