Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cafe Sydney, L5 Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Circular Quay

Cafe Sydney, L5 Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Circular Quay
Thursday 2 February, 2006

Cafe Sydney has one of the best views of Sydney Harbour. Uninterrupted views - that is. The large open space is inviting with the names of international cities in large lettering e.g. Stockholm, Paris, London etc all over the walls. As you step out of the lift you are met, not greeted, by front desk staff who always appear flat out, taking calls, leading guests to tables etc - it's all a little chaotic and not a great first impression.

We were shown to our table on the verandah - it was a spectacular day & the temperature was climbing into the mid 30's with high humidity. Our waiter dripped sweat onto us as he took our drink orders. The table across from us were all using fans - what a good idea! We weren't offered them.

Menus were handed out and specials were discussed but the staff really need to work on their customer service skills - it's a little haphazard and inconsistent. On such a hot day, we were all feeling a little dehydrated and were drinking water like fish. There's plenty of staff wandering around but they just don't seem to be focused on the guests - when a glass is empty you refill it, when all guests have finished their meals you clear the plates away etc.

The food however, is fantastic - for entree I enjoyed the chilled gazpacho with tuna avocado and pepper salad (the perfect entree on an uncomfortably warm day) and for main I devoured the tandoori roasted blue eye cod with eggplant, mustard, baby spinach, choko chutney and raita. My dining companions all enjoyed their entrees;

- Tian of hot smoked kingfish, avocado, tarama, preserved lemon and avruga caviar;
- Quail "Saltimbocca" with pancetta, sage, buffalo mozzarella and lemon butter; and
- Prawns served chilled in the shell with mayonnaise and lemon.

For mains the decisions were hard but there were absolutely no complaints from the:

- Barramundi fillet with baba ganoush, pomegranate molasses, beetroot and mint salad x2; and
- Spring lamb with sourdough, pecorino and basil crust, crushed kipfler potatoes, baby green vegetables and sauce vierge.

As our mains were being delivered we asked if we could have some fans (we really shouldn't have to ask). If it hadn't been such a hot day, we may have indulged in dessert.

With such an amazing location and great food - it's a shame that service is not taken seriously.

Cafe Sydney - L5 Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Circular Quay - (02) 92518683


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