Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cafe Sopra, Potts Point

I had tried to arrange this dinner for many months, actually since last June, which is pretty terrible on m part, but with my final semester of uni, working and every other thing that I do, it was hard to find the time, let alone finding the same time free for all four of us. Finally we booked this date in 2 months in advance and no one pulled out.

I was to choose the restaurant however, but left it quite late to make a choice and ended up informing my friends 3 days beforehand. I wanted something casual, with excellent food, wine and vegetarian friendly. I had a few options but decided on Cafe Sopra in Potts Point. The only bad point about this place, which is the ONLY negative, is that the do not take bookings, and if yo know me, I ALWAYS book, write it in my diary and lock it in. So to save my friends the heartache of waiting for a long time I planned to get there at least half an hour before all of them, so I could put my name down on the list. I got there at 6, which was a whole hour early, and one friend was already waiting. She had beaten me to it and put her name down already. Great I thought, but no, not great. We could not be seated until our whole party is there....and the rest of them arrived on time......7pm. We were reduced to waiting at the bar for the whole hour, watch guests be seated and food constantly go past us. It was like someone was watching us and enjoyed the tease.

Well we were lucky however, because once our last friend arrived they just had a table free outside. It was perfect. Not as chaotic as inside (although I actually like that) and in the fresh air. Menu's? No. We still had to walk inside and look on the huge blackboard to decide what we wanted. I was actually given the task of choosing for a few of them.

So for starters I decided on a little treat to wet our palettes, something I hadn't had in a very long time. Stuffed zucchini flowers. The cheeses used were ricotta, parmesan and tallegio as they each had a very distinct and differing flavour which I could pick up. They were crisp and beautifully battered, not too heavy, but not too light...........just right. Everyone seemed to like them too which was great. TICK

Steve was first to receive his main, and being a vegetarian, his choices are already limited slightly. I say slightly as his dish looked excellent, and I'm really glad he ordered it as he had never had polenta before. It was baked polenta with porcini mushrooms in a creamy sauce with spinach and parmesan on top. Although I really did want to try it, I felt bad asking for some, so I will take his word on it that it was delectable.

Vegetarian number 2. I had sold the idea to Jack to order this dish. Casarecci with string beans, kipler potatoes and pesto. It was really nice and the flavours were good, however the pasta was a bit overcooked and actually tasted like it was not fresh or had been reheated as it was tough and rubbery. A bit unfortunate as I'm sure it would have been a fantastic dish otherwise.

I was actually sad that Jack did not like his dish as much as he liked mine so I told him we'll swap half and half so he could also enjoy his meal.

My dish was amazing. I loved it. Such simple flavours, but yet so effective and flavoursome. It was a linguine with scallops, parsley, a touch of chilli, lemon juice and olive oil, then garnished with toasted sourdough breadcrumbs. The balance of flavours were perfect, just enough chilli with that hint of citrus and fresh herbs made it a treat to have.

Next up was the lamb ragu with fussili pasta. A perfect combination for the heavy tomato based sauce. Again I did not try it as I had only met this guest for the first time that evening. He actually had just arrived from China and did not really speak english so I thought I would just observe. I have had a similar dish before however, and it was fabulous. Although quite a heavy sauce, what you do get is good chunks of meat and goes fantastically with thick types of pasta.

The last main dish was the salmon with asparagus on a creamy potato salad. I was so surprised at how large this dish was actually. The fish was very tender and cooked well. And you can see in the picture that the asparagus are a bright green and were extremely fresh and bursting with flavour. I'm glad it was served with some sort of carb as it was needed, however I do not like creamy sauces so much, but it was still nice (but that is a personal preference).

We were all quite full after this and told the waitress we would decide on dessert. Assuming we would all order, Jack went ahead and ordered, but little was he to know, none of us actually wanted dessert, so he felt a bit bad, but did not regret his decision once served. He had ordered a dessert I cannot remember the name of, but it consisted of vanilla ice cream which was topped with freshly ground coffee beans then a shot of Grand Marnier was poured over the top. The idea is to mix it up a bit once the ice cream melts so all the flavours blend together. I can tell you it is something you won't be sharing with your friends as it is that good.

Jack was very happy we were all full as he finished the whole thing, and enjoyed every last bite.


Ivy said...

I'd love some of those zucchini flowers and linguine with scallops but waiting for an hour to be seated, I don't think I would do that.

---trish--- said...

Well I suppose it was my fault for getting there so early. But it was nice to catch up over a glass of wine before we sat down. If they had a proper wine bar or a place with couches where we could wait would have been great, but I will say, usually with smaller parties it is not as long at all.