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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0 Responses to CafeIsh – Surry Hills

  1. InTolerantChef on September 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    What a great fusion meal! The native ingredients seemed to work in so well. My dad grow rosellas on his farm at the Sunshine coast, and they are delicious, but tart.

  2. chocolatesuze on September 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    looooove the ribs at cafe ish!

  3. Adrian (Food Rehab) on September 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Ha! Love how you ate all the potato cakes! Yes agreed, edamame is seriously addictive. I can eat that all night long…all night….all night long.. *sing it with me now*

  4. EatPlayShop on September 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Love a good fusion meal, espeically if Japanese is involved! Yummo!

  5. Tobias @ T and Tea Cake on September 27, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Wow I’m honestly regarding you with envy! While I have not heard of all the ingredients you mentioned (and most certainly have never eaten neither crocodile nor kangaroo) I’d try all of it (although not in one sitting perhaps. How did you manage doing so?!) and especially when it is served so beautifully! How great that you’ve been identified as a food blogger! Nobody would ever do that around here. Do you think it had an impact on the way they treated you and the food in general?


  6. Anna Johnston on September 27, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Yummmmmmm…. Breakfast time for me and I could totally chow down on this gorgeous fusion feed. How good is croc, and roo? Great meal and wonderful review. Next time call me, this tikka looks GReAT!! 🙂

  7. Corinne @ Gourmantic on September 27, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Everything looks delicious! I have been past on many occasions but haven’t eaten there yet.

  8. catty on September 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve also heard a tonne of stuff about Cafe Ish! I think I need to go, the potato cakes and gyozas look amazing!

  9. Ellie | Gourmand Recipes on September 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I love the food at cafe Ish although I have only tried their breakfast. It’s time to venture cross the bridge to sample their lucn hand dinner menu.

  10. msihua on September 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    That just looks delicious! Must give this a go the next time I am in Sydney!

  11. Dolly on September 27, 2011 at 9:49 pm


    OMG cant wait!!!

  12. JasmyneTea on September 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    LOVE crocodile, will have to give this place a go one day 🙂 Have seen mixed reviews about this deal on Eatability, but your experience seems pretty good!

  13. Joanna @ Chic&Gorgeous Treats on September 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Twitter stalker? That’s the first I heard.. Come to think of it, I sucked at using Twitter.. what a joke right? By profession I’m an IT consultant, but when it comes to all these tech savvy apps, I’m down right slow. Hahahah.. I must spread your link to my friend in Melby. I’m jealous, I would love to try out this place too.. Have a great week ahead Nic. Cheers, Jo

  14. sugarpuffi on September 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    looks like a lovely meal. can u believe ive never been to cafe ish?!

  15. Tori (@eat-tori) on September 29, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Ah- the twitter addiction- such a dangerous thing. I have no idea what I used to do first thing in the morning before twitter came along and I checked it with one eye open. Also slightly miffed that I didn’t make it to Ish when I was back in Sydney. Must put it on the list for our visit home in January….

  16. Joanne on September 29, 2011 at 8:02 am

    We all deserve to have an eating experience like this every once in a while…even if it means we have to loosen our belts!

  17. Hotly Spiced on September 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Dining out in Surry Hills is always full of surprises and I’ve never yet been disappointed with any restaurant I’ve tried in that suburb.

  18. Tanantha on September 30, 2011 at 6:25 am

    This sounds like a great fun dinner! I’ve had raw cabbage with dipping sauce but not with this type of mayo. Everything looks mouthwatering. PS: I like to find excuse to eat out too 😀

  19. kristy @ ksayerphotography on September 30, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I’ve never been to Cafe Ish but it looks like something my dad would love, maybe I’ll have to take him there 😛

  20. Jennifer (Delicieux) on September 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

    The food looks fantastic, and I know my fiance would love the kangaroo gyoza as he’s a gyoza freak and loves kangaroo too.

  21. Vivienne on September 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    haha im so terrible with twitter too…that sometimes i even forget i have an account >< hahah.
    ive only been at cafe ish for lunch for their soft shell omelette!! but their dinner looks amazing too…you guys sure did order a lot between the 2! 🙂
    hmmm sweeet sake!

  22. Phuoc'n Delicious on September 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Yum yum yum.. I bought and used the voucher a while ago and thought it was excellent value. We didn’t get the gyoza nor did we have any space for dessert. Glad to see you enjoyed your dinner at Cafe Ish.

  23. Dolly on October 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    me and my bf visited on friday… delish!!!

  24. Cafe ish on October 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Hello thanks for such nice words.
    You guys were great fun , hope I didn’t chew your ear off too much.
    Yes it definitely made a difference to their experience that we knew they were bloggers.
    Because a rapport w a restaurant or any place of service will always get more personalized service.
    See you soon
    Lots of crave stuff and new menus too

  25. chopinandmysaucepan on October 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    The food here looks quite cool. We were just at Bar H a week ago and was wondering if we should try this one as well. Thanks for visiting our blog over the last few days, we have been pretty busy with all the jellies and hope to find more time to visit! 🙂

  26. Lemon on October 5, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Wow, this meal looks so delicious. & awesome pictures!

  27. Iron Chef Shellie on October 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Ahhh one place I didn’t manage to get to on our trip. Wanted to try that soft shell crab omlette thing.

    These dishes sound very interesting, especially that gyoza!

  28. Miss Piggy on October 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Went went to Cafe Ish for this deal too – FANTASTIC! I wore a stretchy dress with no waistband so we ate everything that was put in front of us. I LOVED all the food – it’s hard to pick a favourite.

  29. Vivian - vxdollface on October 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    so many people are raving about the cabbage with mayo, must be pretty darn good!

  30. on November 3, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Wow, there are so many dishes that make me want to visit. Thanks for the great review. Definitely next on my ‘must-eat-there-stat’ list.

  31. Nami | Just One Cookbook on November 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I missed this post. I was quite impressed by how beautifully authentic food is turning into modernized version. I would love to try this restaurant. Each dish has some good twist from the original version and I’m very interested to have a bite of every single dish!

  32. Sarah @ WeekendNotes & Brasserie Bread on November 7, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Yum – everything looks great! This is on my long list of places to try 🙂

  33. Juji on November 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Oh, I wish I lived in Sydney so I could make use of vouchers for restaurants like Cafe Ish!

    I visited Ish on my trip and it was magnificent.

    A post is coming soon – for your next visit, I highly recommend going at lunch time…the Reubenish is my pick of the lot! Mmmm….

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