Crave Sydney Food Fest is sadly drawing to a close. This year, I wasn’t able to hit up as many events as I would have liked but fortunately, did manage to squeeze in a couple of high teas and brunches.
Cafe Ish was on the top of my brunch list. It’s a place familiar to Sydney foodies but is also a place that is true to its reputation.
The cafe does its specialties well. Its signature dish, the Crab Omelette ($24), is karaage soft-shell crab that is fried in a delightfully fluffy egg mixture and drizzled with a tangy ginger-lime soy sauce. Slices of avocado are folded inside the omelette and the fresh and creamy texture complement the crunchy deep-fried crab, helping to make the dish feel lighter on the palate. The omelette is served with run-of-the-mill miso and rice.
For $25, the Brunch Special (last days tomorrow and Monday!) is a great deal, giving you the option between the crab omelette (without the unspectacular sides) or emu eggs, a coffee and trifle.
I’ve tried emu before. It was on an emu farm, in emu pie so it doesn’t get more fresh or Aussie than that. It was an interesting experience at best and I did not want to go there again.
I wasn’t going to try it again until the waitstaff got my order wrong twice and instead of apologising and correcting the order refuted my protestations with an annoyed sigh, asking, ‘Well, would you like to try the emu eggs instead?‘ My hungry self decided the prospects for a third, correct order was slim and I’d better get something into me before brunch turned into lunch. Well lucky for me, I was in for a pleasant surprise.
The smoked emu chunks were panfried in a runny scramble, served atop a thick slice of crusty white bread, with a side of chutney. Although smoked, the emu was tender and tasty (with a flavour a little like good-quality smoked ham). The consistency of the eggs was definitely a deliberate choice and balanced out the dryness of emu meat. Its runny goodness seeped into the bread, softening it and infusing the crust with a great flavour. Serving it this way really brought the dish together- i.e. instead of having separate elements on a plate.
The winner of the day for me was the affogato. If you’re unsure about what an affogato is, it’s a scoop of ice cream poured over with a shot of coffee. Instead of simply the usual vanilla, however, Cafe Ish also offers the choice of having macadamia nut ice cream instead. This variation makes all the difference. The nutty aroma diffuses around the mouth, complementing the rich flavour of the coffee and offers a flavour that is nothing short of amazing. This is something I will definitely be returning to have.
The trifle was pretty disappointing and it was unfortunate that it was the last course. I felt a little unsatisfied finishing the meal this way. The muesli was bland and soft and the berry preserve in a syrup that was too sweet. The only good thing about this dish was its beautiful presentation.
Berry and bircher muesli trifle
• Tasty food with great textures and presentation
• Great balance of flavours
• Quirky twists on classic dishes
• Service is bad!
• Dishes that aren’t usually on the menu aren’t cooked as well as the specialties
82 Campbell Street
Surry Hills, NSW
(02) 9281 1688
Monday – Wednesday: 7:00am – 04:00pm
Thursday – Friday 7:00am – 10:00pm (dinner from 3pm)
Saturday: 9:00am – 10:00pm (dinner from 3pm)
Sunday09:00am – 2:30pm