What a wonderful surprise to find Caffe Silicia in Crown Street Surry Hills, opened now perhaps a couple of months. Thoughtfulness crosses all of areas – of design, food and service. Now that’s a plus. The large room covers what would usually be two shopfronts in a glass filled inner city haven. Decorated to be reminiscent of 1940s Sicily you could be forgiven for thinking that our new favourite hangout means we’ve got Mafia connections. We’re impressed with round tables in a cafe restaurant bakery cake shop for bringing back the art of conversation. The long narrow street fronted verandah thrives with uninterrupted tables for two – more thoughtful design – the door opening is at one end only.
Service is superb. It’s nearly downright old fashioned charming! And though this is a big call – better than I’ve previously seen in any Sydney cafe. The silver service for shared plates was quite unexpected, yet still friendly and informal, with a light modern touch. Isn’t that why you pay to eat out? To have a good time with your friends, eat good food, enjoy a glass or two of something and actually be looked after by the waiters. Bellissimo!
Large open counters display house baked bread and traditional Sicilian biscuits cakes and pastries. Breakfast lunch and dinner is served with gold etched glassware and monogrammed plates. The menu at any time of day is traditional Sicilian southern Italian fare. Maybe that’s why I saw some familiar Sicilian faces on the wall. Maybe that’s why the Crown Street cafe restaurant is already so popular.
We had lunch from an extensive and interesting menu that also included daily specials. Our midday feast was long and slow to savour as much of the tradition of southern Italy as we could manage. Did you know that traditional Sicilian pesto is not green but brown – from the addition of tomatoes? Perfectly al dente spaghetti. Perhaps I’ll be the next person to be famous for saying “Everything you see, I owe to Spaghetti” (a sexy Sophia Loren portrait and that quote is masthead for the Caffe Sicilia dinner menu) More likely though is that any extra curves you see I owe to Sicilian pastries. I’m always a sucker for a good ricotta cannoli. Caffe Sicilia has won me though with the Cassata Siciliana – “Traditional Sicilian” Ricotta Cake. I’m going to have trouble going past Crown Street without dropping in for a slice or two of that.
I can’t wait to go back to try out the expanded dinner menu that carries some of my favourite traditional dishes included fish cooked “in the bag”. And while other desserts for dinner, like Tiramisu, Strawberry and Chantilly Cream Tart or Traditional Sicilian Cannolo Filled at the Moment, all look tempting I’m going to be predictable (yes you guessed it) and my sweet treat will again be the wonderful Cassata Siciliana for a night time dessert.
Loved it. Four stars. Highly recommended! (the Cassate cake – and – all of it that is!)
628 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW Australia
+61 2 9699 8787