CafeIsh – Surry Hills

September 26, 2011

Ever since starting my blog, I’ve naturally been on Twitter. The two go hand in hand and although I may not tweet as much as I probably should (coming in at a very sad #416), I’m a total Twitter stalker. Early morning wake ups, train rides, bathroom breaks (oh too much information), I’m checking out what other people are eating, doing and just generally ranting. So ever since the beginning of Dining with a Stud, I have wanted to go to CafeIsh. How freakin excited was I when they did a meal deal?? I know, we really could go any time. It’s not far? Sometimes life just flies by and before you know it, you need a good excuse to go out to dinner. Excuse, check!

Because we were on the voucher, we could choose between either 6:00pm or 8:30pm for our dinner. We normally eat between 6:30 and 7:30 anyway so went with 6:00pm sitting and just made sure not to have a big lunch. Eight courses awaited us! It was a challenge, we accepted.

As soon as you walk in to CafeIsh, you feel the warmth. The staff are really friendly and there’s a little peepy hole so you can look up in to the kitchen. I pulled out my camera and was immediately asked by the owners wife if I was a food blogger. She was excited for the review which is refreshing as some places are a little sketchy with things like that. Having followed CafeIsh on Twitter for a long time, I knew it wouldn’t be a problem.

We were asked whether we would like sweet or dry sake and in unison, Stud and I said “sweet” lol. We have had sake before in a little Japanese hideaway in Cammeray and it blew both our heads off so opting sweet this time was a good move. Our waiter then said not to take it as a shot and to slowly sip it. When we laughed thanking him for the tip, he joked that he had made that mistake a little while back and learnt his lesson haha.

Our first dishes were the Cabbage with Wattle Seed Miso Mayonnaise, and the Fried Potato and Organic Feta Mochi (Japanese potato cakes), with Davidson plum sauce, and Edamame (steamed green soybeans) with Murray River pink salt.

Stud and I have never eaten raw cabbage and paired with the Mayo, it was delicious! I could have quite happily have bought pints of that Mayo and had it on everything!

The potato cakes were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft pillowy innards. The plum sauce gave a lovely sweetness to them – I ate all of Stud’s too ;)

The edamame are a fave of both of us. Stud said it could do with more salt but I think I have him slightly addicted with the amount of salt I pack on everything at home. No respect for our arteries but all for flavour lol.

I was really excited to try the California rolls comprising crumbed crocodile, avocado and lemon myrtle mayonnaise, with pickled rosella flowers. Stud had never had crocodile before. The best way I could describe it was a salty chicken. After his first bite he said “chicken schnitzel” lol I wasn’t all wrong? I really loved these rolls!

Next up were the Kangaroo, Prawn and Ginger Boiled Gyoza with white soy and black vinegar. Gyoza are another of our favourites. I really liked the slight gameyness of the kangaroo although I couldn’t taste much prawn. The dipping sauce cut through it really well.

Starting to burst at the seams, we still had plenty of food to go and I was running out of pant space. Luckily next up was the seared tuna salad, with mizuna, avocado, soy beans, tomato and lemon myrtle dressing. Salad barely takes up any pant space at all ;) the tuna was perfectly cooked and wonderfully fresh. I’m a lover of avocado so adored this dish. Stud wasn’t so sure as he’s not as keen on the avo’s.

Brought out at the same time was One of Ai’s awesome fried chickens, with vinegar, shallot dressing and crisp eschallots and the Free-range Wagyu ribs, cooked with native flavours, smoky soy caramel, garlic, chilli, coriander and sesame. Our bellies immediately seized as our eyes cast over these dishes. I started with the ribs which Stud tackled the chicken and we swapped. The ribs were uber sticky and melt in your mouth although hard to tackle. Both of us are on a diet :( so any chance we can get to remove the fat (fat = flavour, I know! And it kills me to remove the flavour) we usually take it. So I at around it and chowed down on the meat.

Stud mentioned that the fried chicken was a little vinegary for his taste and when we swapped dishes, I could see how he thought that but I quite liked it so we happily ate each others dishes!

Our final course was A kara age (deep-fried) crab omelette with garlic, chilli, soy, ginger dressing, avocado, shallots and lime. We were well and truly stuffed by the time this dish came to the table. CafeIsh aren’t messing around with this dish man! It’s mammoth. Beautifully sweet crab wrapped in egg and completely delicious! We didn’t finish nearly half of this and I felt awful leaving such a great dish but knew I had to try dessert because as you all know, that goes to a different part of the stomach.

Scotland were playing that night on the TV so Stud went with the Affogato hoping that the hardcore espresso hit would keep him up to watch it (he didn’t make it lol).

I was tossing between two desserts but ended up going with the Vanilla ice cream, rosella jelly, native berry compote, shiratama and macadamia biscotti.

Stud had never had an Affogato before and he did like his first experience however thought that the coffee hit was a bit much. He’s a milk and three kinda guy so I don’t think it was sweet enough for him. Not the desserts fault ;)

When my dessert was placed in front of me, all thoughts of busting buttons went out the window. I knew I would devour this dessert and after one bite, was hooked. This was my first shiratama experience and although Stud was repulsed not a fan, I was converted. The rosella Kelly gave a great texture and although hesitant at first, I demolished the hibiscus flowers and almost licked the plate clean.

CafeIsh did a great job at showcasing their vision on the voucher and we definitely want to go back to try out the rest of the menu!

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These views are mine and mine only. I don't claim to be any kind of professional food critic, I just know what I do and don't like and express accordingly. Please contact me first if you wish to use any of my images for another purpose.