Café Sopra Waterloo, 20 Nov 2009

On a particularly hot Friday that Monsieur Poisson had off work, we ventured to Waterloo in search of some lunch. This has become an increasingly favoured area of mine in recent years to dine at or just to browse through places like Fratelli Fresh and Macro Wholefoods. On the upper level of Fratelli Fresh, past all the varieties of dried pasta, tins of tomatoes and bottles of balsamic vinegar, Café Sopra can found more often than not teeming with people waiting for a table. To the right, hidden in a corner, is what looks like a private dining table in front of a massive board with a recipe for minestrone written in Italian. The table is not part of the café itself and I would love to find out what its reserved purpose is.

We arrive mid-lunch rush and add our names to the waiting list. In the meantime I go for a bit of wander around the produce aisles and admire all the things on offer. I’m really tempted to take home a pack of Vittoria gianduja chocolates but the day really is too scorching for me to guarantee their safe journey to my pantry. Not long after, we are offered a couple of seats at the bar which suits us just fine. Much to my delight, our seats offer a direct view into the kitchen which is down only a few stairs behind the bar area.

The menu is scrawled on a huge blackboard propped up against the window side of the café and items are erased as they sell out. We start with a couple of ‘Zucchini flowers stuffed with five Italian cheeses’ which are encased in a light batter to conceal very cheesy tasting contents. The sweet crunch of the young flowers and stems are perfect with the soft, pungent filling and are served with more shredded parmesan sprinkled over the top.

As it’s hot, we’ve gone for the light pasta option of ‘Linguine with lemon, chilli, parsley and pangrattato’. I am most taken by this conical mound of perfectly al dente pasta with its balanced and refreshing flavours of lemon, chilli and parsley against the crunch of garlicky breadcrumbs. It’s quite a generous serve too.

Next up we’ve ordered the ‘Shaved Brussels sprouts with poached egg, cavolo nero and pancetta’. Its composition is a brunch-style salad dressed with a sweetened balsamic. I must admit I’ve never had shaved Brussels sprouts before and the overall taste is more lettuce-y rather than baby cabbages with the usual after-tinge of bitterness. The oozy poached egg melds with the dressing, and coats the pancetta pieces in a sweet, creamy kind of way.

On the side we have a salad of ‘Baby cos and cherry tomatoes with salad cream’ which I mainly order due to the mention of retro salad cream. I struggle to remember when it went out of fashion but it adds a lovely milky creaminess to the lettuce leaves with a hit of ground black pepper, without clagging it like some Caesar dressings do.

To round off our very satisfying meal, I order an affogato which comes with a silken and dreamy vanilla bean gelato. This was also around the time that I was told by a staff member that cameras are not permitted at Café Sopra, and I have since read that this is a widely-known fact. As usual I neglected to ask the reason for such a ban but we did manage to sneak in a photo of Monsieur Poisson’s caffe latte with its beautiful latte art.

It was a great cup of coffee to boot and to not photograph it would have been a major injustice to the very talented barista!

Upstairs level of Fratelli Fresh, 7 Danks St, Waterloo NSW
Tel: (02) 9699 3174

Opening Hours:  Mon-Fri  10am-3pm
                        Sat  8am-3pm
                        Sun  10am-3pm

Eastwood Garden Peking on Urbanspoon

happy eating!


  1. it's a good idea with the blackboard and erasing out items that have been sold out. god, the food looks scrumptious, i'm drooling at my keyboard...mmmm

  2. I've been meaning to go here for a while, the food looks great! And what a pretty coffee, such a shame that they don't allow photos when everything looks amazing. Lucky that you got snaps of all your food though!

  3. Wow, love the decor! The linguine looks really good, and the zucchini flower a little oddly-shaped.

    And the 20th of November? LOL. I know how you feel ....

  4. Yuuuum, I love Cafe Sopra, the zucchini flowers are the best! You know I've always wondered what that table off to the side is for! I find the whole no cameras thing really confusing at Sopra, I was told not to, but then tried to clarify it with someone else who told me it was fine.

  5. hmm ive heard about the no camera ban which i find really odd and its such shame as their food always looks so awesome. the zucchinni flowers sound so tasty mmm 5 cheeses

  6. Hehe, you got in a good lot of photos before you had to put the camera away! :)

    I can just imagine how deliciously cheesy the zucchini flower must have been! And the coffee art is so stunning!

  7. Looks like a great lunch, and what a pretty latte!!!

    My hubby and I stopped off at Cafe Sopra on Saturday morning for brekky, but discovered the only eggs on the brekky menu were in the form of a frittata... so we went across the road to Dank St Depot and had an amazing meal there

  8. The private dining room is very pretty. I've always wanted to visit Cafe Sopra (and Danks St Depot) but it's a bit out of the way for me. Shame, the food you had looks really good!

  9. Ohh, that pasta dish surely has my name all over it! Looks like a fantastic place to visit for lunch.

  10. I want my dining room to look like that! It looks fantastico!

  11. It is so delicious! The room is a private dining room as far as I'm aware...and I've been yelled at downstairs for taking pics, but have managed to take plenty of pictures with the iphone...

  12. Oooh look at that perfect egg ooze! I love it :) Yes they can be quite funny about taking photos there although when I went there, it became emty quite quickly as it was a week day lunch and my photo taking was pretty obvious. But the staff didn't say anything then (perhaps it's a newer rule) :) But as Reem said you got all the photos you needed!

  13. That is some pretty impressive latte art!!

  14. This is on the list for 2010 for me, sadly was on the 2009 list, but I didn't get there.

    Interesting about the no photo policy. Your great pics do sell their food and are making me drool as I type. Adds to my want to visit, glad you got some pics taken before advised otherwise.

  15. That's the prettiest coffee I've ever seen!

    I'm always tempted by chocolate, but put off buying it in summer since it always turns into a gooey mess.

  16. Wow always on the look out for a great coffee. Glad you broke the rules and snuck in that final photo. That shot is worth the risk of possibly getting kicked out. =)

  17. Hey Panda, the blackboard menu gives it a rustic feel and the food, presentation and taste-wise, is definitely some of the best I've had.

    Hey Jacq, the food was great as well as that coffee but the photo thing is a bit divided - only one staff member told us not to when I'm sure plenty of others saw me doing so as well *shrug*

    Hey Joey, the interior's lovely and the zucchini did look a little crab claw-ish! And curse this food post backlog!!

    Hey Steph, this zucchini flower is probably the best I've had so far! The private dining room is beautiful but the photo thing has me confused too - we were seated at the bar so I'm sure plenty of staff saw us taking photos but only one spoke up about it *shrug*

    Hey Suze, don't know the reason behind the camera ban but that zucchini surprisingly cheeeesy!

    Hey Rilsta, the zucchini flower was wonderful and that latte art is the most beautiful that I've ever been served!

    Hey Ladybird, I've never tried breakfast at Sopra but I've brunched at Danks St Depot quite a few times and I've yet to be disappointed =)

    Hey Belle, Sopra and Danks St Depot aren't in my area but I go by the premise of: will travel for great food =p

    Hey Y, such a seemingly simple yet wow-ing pasta, that one!

    Hey Gastronomy Gal, that dining room with its pretty!

    Hey Reemski, haha, that last caffe latte shot was snuck in with an iPhone! =p

    Hey Lorraine, I never say no to a lovely poached egg! The photo thing is funny coz I'm not certain there's a firm policy about it across all staff?

    Hey Shellie, we saw the barista fiddling with the caffe latte and was wondering what he was taking so long with on top - then it was unveiled to us!

    Hey Sara, I have yet to try Sopra at Potts Point but I highly recommend this one at Waterloo =)

    Hey missklicious, fabulous coffee =) I'm still bummed I couldn't take home the chocolate, but it'd be worse to return home with a bag of goop!

    Hey Lobo, thanks for dropping by =) That last photo was snuck in with aid of an iPhone so that it didn't look as, aherm, obvious! =p


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