For over a decade the Fratelli empire has been providing Sydney with imported smallgoods, fresh produce and Italian fare at its Cafe Sopra eatery.
Ever since the Danks Street outlet closed its doors to relocate and fill the former Buckland pub digs in Alexandria, this pair has been paying them visits a little more frequently. Mind you, mainly to pick up fresh Iggy’s sourdough on the weekends as soon as they open.
I’d previously dined at Cafe Sopra on Bridge Street in town; the cosy basement eating space with decent Italian food offerings and an atmosphere that leaves a ringing in the ears; a combination of poor acoustics and people that can’t keep it down.
The menu is pretty much cloned across every Sopra outlet – Antipasti, primi, secondi, pizza etc – so something like that glorious plate of crisp polenta, mushrooms and gorgonzola cream (18) can be enjoyed wherever you choose to eat.
As for the pan-fried gnocchi (28), we’re told that’s it only at the Alexandria address that you can have it. The high price may not match the size so much, but the flavour and texture of these little darlings is something else. Spinach, peas, pancetta and goat cheese join a delicious lemon-scented sauce that works beautifully with the light dumplings.
Some greenery came in the form of baby spinach salad (22) with burrata, roast pumpkin and pistachios.
All intentions were made to try the wood-fired pizza on another visit, but those golden fried hunks of polenta had to be consumed again. Just as good as last time.
The lamb ragù with orecchiette (22) sounded great on paper; obviously slow-cooked with tomato, chilli and rosemary, but sadly no love was applied. Watery, lifeless and none of the flavours that you’d expect from any kind of ragú. This was a “hand-me-the-salt” instance.
Things looked up with the pan-fried barramundi (28) adorned with juicy roasted cherry tomatoes. Creamy flesh – clearly freshwater barra with its earthy flavour – a little pumpkin purée, garlic crisps and fresh basil.
Considering the hits and misses, it’s still a decent choice for the neighbourhood.