As I mentioned in my last post it was my birthday recently and another friend of mine who we’ll call GG took me to Cafe Paci. I’d wanted to check it out since it opened as it’s headed up by ex Marque chef Pasi Petanen and I loved the food there. Thursday to Saturday they serve an 8-course menu for $85 but on Fridays they serve 3 courses (which is more like 5) for $45.
It’s located in the old Cafe Pacifico building on Riley St in Darlinghurst, the colour scheme is probably more commonly used in Soviet labour camps, it’s a rather industrial shade of grey but I happen to really like it. The room is quite sparse which isn’t surprising as the building is soon to be demolished but I dig the minimal vibe.
The first plate was two small snacks, one was duck liver pate with raspberry dust and the other one from memory had an anchovy creme. I preferred the pate and with the raspberry dust it was a very different flavour which set the tone for the rest of the meal.
First course was oysters and scrambled egg, I don’t generally eat oysters because I don’t like the consistency and this wasn’t any different but the flavour was good.
We had been anticipating the bread probably more than anything else after reading a number of reviews and I did need to ask for it after we noticed a few other tables had already received it. It’s a finish potato and rye bread with a sweet crust that tastes like its been dipped in molasses (which I think it has) and apparently takes 3 days to make. The bread was amazeballs and you should check Cafe Paci for that if nothing else!
The main dish was a superbly cooked piece of Gippsland lamb that was the highlight of the meal for me. I have eaten lamb only a handful of times in my life as it’s never really appealed to me but this was something else. The meat was soft as butter and served simply, as it should be.
Next we had the optional cheese course which was a 20 month aged cheddar served with earl grey tea meringue and a witlof puree. It was a beautiful cheese and the meringue, which dissolved on the tongue was a great touch, I haven’t really had anything like it.
Our first desert was their take on fairy bread, a brown bread ice cream covered in hundreds & thousands. We loved this, it looked amazing and tasted like happiness.
And finally it was beetroot ice-cream with summer berries. It tasted exactly as described and I enjoyed it, GG not so much. It was unusual in that you don’t normally associate the distinct flavour of beetroot with ice cream but it really worked. I definitely want to come back for the full menu, there are not many places in Sydney serving food like this and I really respect what they’re doing.
You’ll hate Cafe Paci if you’re boring and only into traditional flavours, but if you want a real culinary experience and to taste flavour combinations you’ll probably never have again then I highly recommend it. And for $85 it’s got to be one of the best value degustations you’ll find in Sydney.
95 Riley St