Review: Caffe Sicilia, Surry Hills5

Posted on September 30, 2011 by ChristieRestaurants

As we sat looking at the menu a very handsome waiter approached us and said “Don’t worry, we already know what we are going to feed you. A little bit of everything. It will be a feast of good food and wine”. Well, who can argue with that? Not us!

Admittedly, the handsome waiter knew we were reviewing the restaurant during our visit, but you really cannot not expect a better reception at a restaurant in any circumstance. It was absolutely lovely to just sit back and wait for the food to roll out.

First up was marinated olives and fresh warm bread. Baby Poppy went straight for the olives and I quickly snapped a shot of her chubby hand diving into the pretty glass jar. I’m so proud that she’s already adventurous with food at only 10 months old.

Next up there was Arancini with meat ($6) and Arancini with mozzarella and prosciutto cotto ($6), plus glasses of bubbly prosecco. I just love the Italian tradition of ‘aperitivo’ – a drink and something to nibble pre-dinner – especially when it’s a crunchy rice ball filled with oozy melted cheese and top quality ham.

There were two dishes on the menu that I was really looking forward to (yes, I did thoroughly check their website before turning up!) and one of those was the Caprese di bufala ($17). It would be a massive understatement to say that I am a mega fan of buffalo mozzarella. What can I say? The creamy centre has me hopelessly addicted. The menu says this version has ox heart tomatoes but ours turned up with cherry tomatoes. Never mind, they were perfectly ripe and delicious. The buffalo mozzarella didn’t disappoint either and when I asked the waiter if they imported it he answered ‘Of course’ in that nonchalant, yet authoritative voice only Italian men can pull off.

Hubby was a bit nervous about the Pane cunzalo ($14) as he is not a fan of tuna, however, his taste buds loved this moreish grilled focaccia with tomato, buffalo mozarella, tuna, eggplant and baked ricotta. That’s the beauty of allowing someone else to order for you, they’ll probably choose dishes you wouldn’t dream of, and you might just end up with a new favourite. The gorgeous bread is house-made and had the most amazing soft, yet firm, yet cakey, yet crunchy texture – which sounds horrible but was, in fact, wonderful.

We had a little breather after the starters while I fed Poppy and hubby took her for a quick walk around the block in her pram until she fell asleep. She napped happily next to us while we tucked into the pasta and meat courses.

Spaghetti with Sicilian pesto ($19) with cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, almonds and eggplant was a very interesting combination. The handsome waiter returned to tell us that this special Sicilian pesto is influenced by mediterranean ingredients due to the proximity of Sicily to Egypt. The crunchy toasted almonds were a nice contrast to the al dente spaghetti, but I must say that pine nuts are still my preferred pesto nut!

Involtini di vitello ($20): rolled veal stuffed with breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and pepperonata was absolutely lovely, although the portion was a little small. We chatted about this and came to the conclusion that if you were eating Italian style with several courses (antipasti, pasta, meat/fish and dessert) then it would be perfect, but if you came in off the street and ordered one main course then you may feel a little hungry afterwards. Keep that in mind for your visit.

The other dish that I was busting to taste was the Homemade gnocchi e gamberi ($19) with zucchini and fresh prawns. Gnocchi is one of those fiddly dishes that requires a light hand and lots of practice so I, personally, don’t really get inspired to make it at home all that often (ie. never). When it’s made well, gnocchi is heavenly light pillows of potato that roll over your tongue and when it’s made badly, it’s stodgy chunks of dough that sit in your stomach and make you feel queasy. This version was the former; light, bouncy and oh-so-moreish with the prawns and zucchini adding so much freshness. I really wished I didn’t have to share it, it was that good.

We really couldn’t fit dessert in but the handsome waiter insisted that we at least have one Cannoli di ricotta ($8), an espresso coffee from keurig coffee pods and a small shot of Limoncello. Well OK then, when in Rome, *ahem* Sicily. Somehow, despite by full belly, I found myself licking my fingers clean of the last remnants of icing sugar.

Situated at the Cleveland St end of Crown St, Caffe Sicilia stands out from the crowd with it’s chequerboard floors and interior decked out like a traditional restaurant in Sicily circa 1940. It’s a welcome change from the hyper trendy options nearby and if you’re a sucker for handsome waiters with equally cute Italian accents and rustic, but well presented Sicilian-style Italian food, then you’re in for a treat. Bon apetito!

Christie x

Fig & Cherry dined as guests of Caffe Sicilia and Wasamedia.

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