Posts tagged ‘eat at the bar’

July 5, 2011

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

by minibites

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

Stumbling through the large barn like doors on Danks Street, it was nice to be shielded from the rain and cold. Cafe Sopra sits on the top of the constantly busy Fratelli Fresh market below – bringing the freshest fruit and veggie produce along with the pantry basics.

Cafe Sopra in Waterloo is probably my favourite, being the most rustic, being warehouse styled with gorgeous wooden finishes and natural light beaming through french styled windows.

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

There’s only the 2 of us so we grabbed a seat at the bar where we could peer into the kitchen and watch countless dishes emerge from the relatively zen-like kitchen. Whilst also eying all the numerous desserts that we guiltily wanted…

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

The menu is generously extensive and most likely has a dish to tickle everyone’s fancy, and undergoes numerous changes to match the seasonal produce. As the afternoon progresses, the menu becomes shorter and shorter as the dishes become snapped up. Skipping the entree (to save belly space for dessert), we dive into some warm hearty pastas, mmmm!

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo
Mezze Rigatoni

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo
Penne al Forno 

It’s not long when the waitress leans over and presents a large bowl of steaming mezze rigatoni – soft cylinders of pasta mixed with soft beef ragu, bolognese sauce and light parmesan snow on top. My fellow foodie devoured the penne al forno (Italian for “from the oven”) – a terracotta dish filled with penne pasta, amazing slices of smoked ham, spinach, florets of cauliflower and oozy melted mozzarella on top.

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo
Banoffee Pie

The rain began to fall, so we chit chatter until our mains digest and dive into the infamous banoffee pie that countless friends have recommended. Banoffee is an English dessert which is simply, banana and toffee! Surprisingly it wasn’t too overwhelming sweet nor heavy even with the naughty layers of cream on top.

The next day we were battling banoffee cravings, so I gave it ago! The recipe was from Taste. Instead of just a dollop of cream on top, I whipped thickened cream, a tablespoon of vanilla extract and sugar till soft peaks formed then piped it on top. Viola!

Banoffee Pie

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

Amazingly satisfying Italian dishes made from the freshest produce for brunch and lunch. Delish!

Cafe Sopra
7 Danks St
Waterloo, Sydney
www.fratellifresh.com.au 

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April 14, 2011

Cumulus Inc, Melbourne

by minibites

Cumulus Inc

It’s the only time that I have appreciated a no bookings policy, meaning that we could rock up nice and early to grab a seat along the marble bar to watch young chefs in action. Andrew McConnell’s slightly more casual diner, Cumulus Inc. Cumulus Inc brings fresh dishes which are a little less experimental than Cutler & Co, but still keeping it sexy and interesting. It’s an open room with high ceilings, gorgeous windows looking out to the alleyway and most importantly, an open kitchen and beautiful white marble bar.

Cumulus Inc

Cumulus IncMoonlight en surface rock oysters

Cumulus Inc Slow cooked octopus with aioli, dehydrated olive

Cumulus Inc

There’s delicious warm bread that arrives in a small pan to keep us occupied. The work station of the chef who prepares our dishes happens to be right in front of us, and casually serve our entrees; freshly shucked rock oysters and an intriguing and vibrant dish of slow cooked octopus. The oysters were oysters, but the octopus were amazingly interesting with the unexpected firey pow wow! A definite try to kick start the taste buds.

Cumulus Inc Seared scallops, fresh bacon, pearl barley & sorrel

Next along the agenda was a gorgeous dish of seared scallops and generous tender confit duck leg. The scallops are slightly seared on a bed of pearl barley and bright green pureed sorrel with cubes of fatty bacon.  One of the most ingenious marriage ever: bacon and scallops, and my favourite dish of the night.

Cumulus Inc Aylesbury duck, confit leg, roast breast, plum sauce and spiced turnips

The confit duck is tender and falls off the bone and well balanced with sweet plum sauce and slightly spiced baby turnips. If no one was looking, I would have picked up the duck leg and nibbled through…

Cumulus IncChoc-chip and black olive semifreddo with strawberries

Cumulus Inc

Lemon curd madeleine

The dessert menu is of the obscure kind, but if you’re thinking of dining at Cumulus Inc, your mindset should already be out of the box. Our first sweet delight is a choc-chip and black olive semifreddo; a slather of black olive tapande added a touch of bold flavour to a seemingly simple and stone cold semifreddo. And to finish off the meal and to cleanse the palate; a piping hot, light lemon curd madeleine. Delish!

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
www.cumulusinc.com.au

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

April 12, 2011

Bar Lourhinã, Melbourne

by minibites

Bar Lourhina
Bar Lourinha is like visiting your grandmama for dinner; homey, comfort food with rich, meaty dishes. Buzzing on a week night, plenty of people fill the table at the bar with metal pans of meaty delights with a serve of fresh boiled potato. Walk into a room with walls of an assortment of photo frames, different sized mirrors, unusual antlers mounted on the wall and hanging spoon collections.

Bar Lourhina

Bar LourhinãPancetta “soldiers”

There’s a line but instead of rubbing our hands in the cold, we hang around in the hallway for a drink and some nibbles. Our drink of poison is “The Stolen Town Bike”; a concoction of Frangelico, Amaro Lucano, Gin and mixed with pomegranate juice and rose water. The nibbles include toothpick skewers of green olives and a generous cube of lemon curd ocean trout. Bewildered to what “soldiers” were, we’re pleasantly surprised with a soft crispy bread cube with garlic butter wrapped with flavoursome salty panetta. Simple yet amazingly good.

Bar Lourhina Pork neck, almond sauce

Bar Lourhina Roasted mushrooms & garlic cream

Bar Lourhina Home made free range chorizo & cider

The dishes are quite meat heavy, so it’s wise to select one or two along with a dish of veggies. Our meats for the evening were a pork neck served with almond sauce, and a thick home made chorizo in cider; both served with a boiled potato. The pork neck is tender and the almonds add a nice crunch. The chorizo sausage is generous and genuine with an array of herbs and spices mixed through. The favourite dish has to be the whole roasted button mushrooms with garlic cream, which were incredibly delicious. If you love creamy mushroom sauces, then this is perfect to top off pulled pork neck.

The dishes aren’t pieces of artwork, but they taste homey, simple and wholesome. The meats are of the different kind, but it’s great to see restaurants acknowledging the other kinds of the animal than the typical pork belly, shoulder or sirloin steak.

Bar Lourhinã
37 Little Collins St
Melbourne
http://www.barlourinha.com.au

Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon