Cafe Sopra (Bridge St) – disappointing given the hype

Cafe Sopra (Fratelli Fresh) – 11 Bridge St, Sydney. http://www.fratellifresh.com.au/. Awarded 1 hat.

I’m a massive Fratelli Fresh fan. And yes, I’ve now tried all four locations – Waterloo, Potts Point, Walsh Bay and the newest Bridge St. Back in the day, I would often wish that they would open one up in the CBD – so when I found out that a new one opened up on Bridge St, I couldn’t wait to try it when I was back in Sydney.

My first attempt at getting in was a huge disappointment. I turned up at 7.20pm to put my name down for a table for 3, only to be told that the wait would be “over 1.5 hours”. I was in shock for a minute. I repeated to the waitress, “1.5 hours did you say??” and she nodded cooly, as if she told people this all the time. She said people had been waiting since about 5.30pm for a table. We were too hungry, so gave up and left.

My second attempt was to have lunch with F, who was visiting from Hong Kong and working in the CBD. It was also my birthday, so F suggested we meet at Cafe Sopra as we both loved it when we tried the Potts Point one. It was a Friday – what a smart move deciding to meet at 12noon to avoid the crowds. An even smarter move was turning up at 11.50 and beating all the folks that decided to meet at 12noon. Service opens at 12 sharp, so we were one of the first parties to be let in to be seated :)

I could not wait to get stuck into the Italian fare on offer – I absolutely love the freshness of the produce here. Both F and I were disappointed to find that the zucchini flowers, an all time favourite of ours, were not in season.

What we ordered:

  • Lamb ragu w/ lemon, chilli and pangrotto ($18): the lamb was cooked very well and the pasta el dante. I would have liked to see a bit more bite to the dish with more chilli – I could barely taste it. While I enjoyed this dish, it was not spectacular.
  • Squid ink risotto w/ chilli & basil ($23): I couldn’t have been happier with this dish – Sopra did a great job with it. Squid ink risotto is one of those very unique dishes that not many places serve. While Sopra is a 1 hatted restaurant, the prices dont feel like it – great value for this dish as you would easily pay upwards of $35 at a more upscale establishment for similar quality.
  • Chocolate semifreddo w/ pistachio ($14.50): both F and I were disappointed with this dish. The waitress told us it was a chocolate semifreddo with pistachio – what came out seemed more like a white chocolate semifreddo with chocolate CHIPS. The choc chips totally ruined the otherwise tasty rest of the dish. Both of us concluded that we would not have ordered it had we known it was filled with chocolate chips.

Clockwise from top left: lamb ragu pasta, squid ink risotto, sharing both on our plate, chocolate semi-freddo

[Please note, photography of the interior was not permitted, so I was unable to document the interior of the restaurant. It is charming though :)]

the verdict: 7/10 – a disappointing experience given how well loved sopra is. i’d rather go to the one at Potts Point, Waterloo or Walsh Bay, especially given the ridiculous wait times at Bridge St

dont forget to order: zucchini flowers (if in season) – hands down, my favourite from sopra

to try next time: benoffee pie – they seem to be one of the few places in sydney that serve it!

Café Sopra at Fratelli Fresh on Urbanspoon

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