Tuesday, May 20, 2014


While some count down the days until their next birthday or holiday, I'm marking the calendar until I get to see my family (I also count down the days until online purchases arrive and when my husband is going to be off work next). I'm lucky in that my siblings and parents are the best friends I ever had, but I consider myself slightly hard done by because they live so far away. When they're in town, I always like to show them some of the iconic places that I fell in love with when I first touched down in Sydney some 10 years ago. For Josh and Reggie's latest visit, we booked a table at Cafe Sydney - the ultimate place for delicious nosh, moreish cocktails and one of the best views in town.

Cafe Sydney lives up the top of Sydney's Customs House, one of the city's finest heritage buildings.

Before we took the elevator up to the restaurant, we gave our Victorian visitors a little geography lesson. Did you know that before James and I met, we had actually lived in neighbouring buildings? In the less romantic reality he had moved out of his building by the time I moved in to mine, but I still think it's a romantic coincidence! I'd say he's pointing out our former buildings in this snap:

I may have looked to be your typical tourist taking aerial shots of the diorama, but really I was capturing my beautifully engineered boots:

We were taken to our table which, luckily for us, was smack bang in the middle of the restaurant, facing out to the breathtaking views outside. Josh approved, I think.

Naturally, us girls started with something sweet and potent. Mine was the cocktail of the month, the Knight Rider, a delicious blend of George Dickel sour mash shaken with Cointreau, lemon, plum jam and plum bitters. Reggie had the Red EmpressBelvedere vodka, Roses lime marmalade, vanilla sugar, and Veuve Clicquot.

To nibble, we shared goat cheese and spinach Naan and Sydney Rock Oysters (drool... Cafe Sydney does seafood really well!)

I had the peppered beef tenderloin with brussels sprouts, swiss brown mushroom and bone marrow. 99% of the time, I order the beef at a restaurant. It never fails to please me. Growing up, I didn't understand my family's obsession with things like juicy steaks or bacon or seafood. Mum would cook spaghetti bolognaise and I'd eat just the pasta; at school I'd turf the meat from a pie or sausage roll at lunch time and only have the pastry. Somewhere in my 20's that changed. I woke up one day and wanted to eat everything that had once repulsed me. Unfortunately, I still like wheaty, carby, buttery things though.

One thing I haven't learned to love unconditionally is pork. I love greasy bacon, I love deli ham. But I do not love the taste or smell of plain cooked pork. I'll eat it if it hasn't got any pork flavour, like really heavily marinated ribs. But that's where I draw the line! Do any of you relate? (James ordered the pork, by the way).

Josh opted for the barramundi. Side note: he lives in the coastal/fishing town we grew up in. My theory is, if you grew up close to the beach you usually know better than city dwellers what is and what isn't good seafood. James was born and raised in Newcastle and, like Josh, he has high standards when it comes to seafood. My sister's the same. Obviously this rule cannot apply to me because I didn't touch a morsel of seafood until long after I had waved my hometown goodbye. I actually have to ask poor James to stop what he's doing and evaluate any seafood I've ordered for freshness before I feel safe enough to eat it! I think this one got Joshua's nod of approval.

I challenge you to find a more delectable pasta dish than this: pumpkin sage gnocchi with zucchini flower, macadamia nut and taleggio. Heavenly!

I decided to break my no-carbs rule and order from the dessert menu. Both dishes very worth it. This was a white chocolate raspberry pave with coconut crunch and raspberry ice-cream:

And this sexy little number? Chocolate peanut tart, with salted caramel, banana fritter, chocolate ice-cream...

Cafe Sydney's right up near the top of my list of "Things to do when in Sydney" and the only reason I don't go there more often is because I frequently leave booking a table 'til the last minute and can't get one! Check out their website for all the important details here

While I've got you here, where do you live and what things would you recommend to visitors who come to stay?

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