With great food and amaz­ing har­bour views, it’s time to re­turn to this Cir­cu­lar Quay favourite, and to re­mind your­self that this eatery isn’t just for tourists

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Delicious. On Sunday - 5th floor, Cus­toms House, 31 Al­fred St, Cir­cu­lar Quay, cafesyd­


WE’RE so damn busy we of­ten for­get that ours is a city girt by sea, with panoramic per­spec­tives from al­most any­where near the deep blue.

With waves of new eater­ies dis­tract­ing us, we tend to for­get about Cafe Syd­ney, too. The stal­wart has been feed­ing more than 600 pun­ters a day for 17 years and is a ma­jor culi­nary draw­card for those vis­it­ing our shores.

Cer­tainly once you step onto the bal­cony, the views sweep you off your feet. The lofty out­look from the top of Cir­cu­lar Quay’s Cus­toms House de­liv­ers a star­tling re­minder to en­joy our har­bour more of­ten, but views alone do not make a top restau­rant.

I’d hap­pily trade views for good food in a heart­beat, so does the mod­ern fare stack up to the se­duc­tion of Syd­ney Har­bour? Well, for the most part, yes.

So the ser­vice is a lit­tle rough around the edges, but they mean well. And there is a sense you’re din­ing in a welloiled, al­beit mono­lithic, ma­chine.

But it takes a spe­cial sort of chef to main­tain a high level of con­sis­tency at such a vol­ume and James Kid­man makes it look like child’s play. The sheer vol­ume hasn’t quelled his ap­petite for best in class pro­duce, nor cook­ing with a con­sid­ered touch.

Deep, rich sliv­ers of Black­more Wagyu bre­saola stand out against seared tuna and a lick of Pe­dro Ximenez. Creamy King salmon belly tartare comes dec­o­rated with jew­els of salmon roe, bug tail, shiso and dabs of lemon creme fraiche.

An en­sem­ble of ca­pers, olives and tomato help pan-fried John Dory tell its story, while car­rot puree, egg­plant and sheep’s milk labne com­pli­ment the Moroc­can mer­guez sausage and blush­ing lamb loin.

A dessert of yuzu cream, blood orange jelly and mac­a­roon crumbs signs off on a meal and a venue that is worth re­mem­ber­ing.

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