Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The only way is up... to Café Sopra

Stroll into Fratelli Fresh on Danks Street in Waterloo (or indeed, drive in if there are available parking spaces), past the pretty displays of fruit and vegetables, up the very industrial staircase and into the upper level where shelves of pasta compete on variety with bottles of balsamic vinegar and other very Italian ingredients.

If you’re not distracted by the balsamic vinegar tasting station, move towards to the light and noise that should undoubtedly be Café Sopra – haven for lovers of pasta, fresh salads and Saturday lunches it seemed.

Smoked trout fish cake with soft poached egg, caper mayonnaise
from Café Sopra, Danks Street, Waterloo
With a few breakfast options amid the many salad and pasta options, a breakfaster would likely struggle not to order a plate of tagliatelle or a cabbage salad to break the fast.

For our lunch-y brunch, we quibble over who has the trout fish cake – I concede quickly so I get to order my second choice too. The fish cake arrives as a thick golden coin, sprinkled with sea salt and sitting amid watercress and a liberal puddle of yellow caper mayonnaise and higged by two halves of an egg.

The potato and trout filled cake was a little more fishy than I like, suitably offset by the tangy mayonnaise and the bitter-sour flavours of the radicchio side which is dressed in aged balsamic vinegar.

Radicchio with aged balsamic
As for me, I can’t go past the eggplant in the casareccia pasta dish, which actually turns out to be a minor player in the whole thing.

Casareccia with roast eggplant, goat’s cheese, portobello mushrooms, black olives
Long, ‘S’-rolled pasta fills the plate with the perhaps a dash of cream; blobs of white goat’s cheese; a few caramelised, charred bits of eggplant and many hunks of juicy Portobello mushrooms.

Casareccia - perhaps my new favourite pasta
Some cracked black pepper would have been perfect, and while the olives weren’t discernable to the eye or palate, its exclusion wasn’t missed as the pasta dish was pretty close to perfect as it was.

And just the right size too, but unfortunately not leaving any space for dessert and Café Sopra's famous banoffee pie.

We choose not to loiter as the queue to be seated extends into the grocery area. Completely satisfied with the meal, we do the only thing we can after things go up – we head back down to Fratelli Fresh and look forward to heading up again soon.

Cafe Sopra on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Love the looks of that fish cake, generous and not oily. The pasta dish has too much pasta and too few veggies for my liking.

Buggles and Squeak said...

Good to see that things don't seem to have changed much since Andy Bunn departed earlier this year. Have always loved the food at Sopra.

Joseph said...


Have yet to check out Cafe Sopra in Waterloo but we recently visited the one in Walsh Bay:

Jasmin said...

We go there every few weeks and the line just seems too long, and we know that there is no leisurely long meal at Sopra.

I keep hoping one day it won't be so long. But it never isn't.

Pasta looks amazing.

Richard Elliot said...

The first time I went to Cafe Sopra at Dank St I almost couldn't find the cafe. The staircase that takes you upstairs looks so unpromising and there weren't any signs. I got a bit lost!

I really enjoyed my lunch there. Good Italian food. Although I think they trade on the fact that they are one of the few places serving this type of Italian cuisine in Sydney and the prices are quite high as a result.

It will be interesting to see how Jamie's Italian compares in terms of price and style of food when it opens later in the year.

joey@FoodiePop said...

Have never visited the one at Waterloo but was impressed by the Walsh Bay incarnation. That smoked trout cake looks so perfectly formed!

Anonymous said...

I love Cafe Sopra, the food is always so fresh and simple!

chocolatesuze said...

argh dying to go here now that you mentioned the banofee pie!

msihua said...

Hahahah... I would definitely come here on my next visit up!

Tina said...

Hi lateraleating - It was quite the good mix. Lots of mushrooms maybe not so visible.

Hi Buggles and Squeak - No probs with quality here at all!

Hi Joseph - The Walsh Bay outlet looks equally good :-)

Hi Jasmin - We just beat the Saturday lunch crowd by getting there before 12

Hi Richard - You wouldn't think nice pasta would be so difficult to find, would you?

Hi Joey - It's almost frighteningly perfect:-)

Hi minibites - They sure are fresh!

Hi suze - I have to make a return trip...

Hi msihua - Make sure you do when you're up :-)

chopinandmysaucepan said...

Love the pastas here as long as I dont have to wait too long in queue!

Anonymous said...

That fish cake looks unreal!!!!

Tina said...

Hi chopinandmysaucepan - I think avoiding peak times is the only way...

Hi wholelarderlove - Doesn't it just look fake?! But so tasty :)

Buggles and Squeak said...

We dined at Walsh Bay last Saturday...seriously the Vitello Tonnato is perfection, as is the fried polenta with gorgonzola sauce & the beef cheek lasagna. Don't make the mistake of ordering all three in the one sitting as we did....way too rich!!!!

Tina said...

Hi Buggles and Squeak - Definitely sounds pretty rich, but beef cheek lasagna? Take me there!


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