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Cafe Ish

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by Anthea Lau (subscribe)
A sensual bon vivant who apparently has a flair for art and style. Originally from Hong Kong, studying and enjoying life in Sydney. More posts and photos at
Published November 3rd 2011
My first visit to Cafe Ish in Surry Hills was out of unanticipated circumstances on a usual Sunday morning. My friend and I were strolling on the streets with a slight desire for brunch. Before we knew, we had already made our way into the simple little cafe in the corner of Campbell street and Foster street at Surry Hills.

Cafe Ish is known for its innovative fusion food that combines native Australian and Japanese flavours, resulting in a range of new and modern dishes. We were fascinated by the selection of inventive sweet and savoury food choices on the "Brekkie ish" menu, but finally decided to go sweet-ish, and went for the trifle and PBJ.

The trifle is composed with natural yoghurt, berry compote and house-made rosella in the form of red liquid that resembles a fruit juice, topped with nashi pear and toasted coconut muesli. Beautifully layered and surrounded with vibrant reds and purples from the compote, the trifle has an appetising presentation. Unfortunately, the muesli itself was a little too bland and not crunchy enough for my liking. Otherwise, it is a light and healthy choice, which is fair enough to be considered as a good start for breakfast.

As for the PBJ, it simply refers to the ever-so-popular peanut butter and jam sandwich. Nonetheless, it was totally unexpected and certainly nothing like your typical breakfast sandwich at home. Instead, being revamped with a few interesting ingredients, Cafe Ish has reinvented the recipe and took the beloved classic creation to a whole new level.

The elaborated demonstration of the PBJ was visually eye pleasing. Two thick slices of toasted brioche smothered with rosella jam and peanut butter were arranged on a rustic wooden board, where the chilled soy custard and kinako were placed in separate containers.

Rosella jam is not a conventional food that is easily found in regular grocers. It has a rich magenta colour and tastes similar to plum jam yet slightly more acidic, providing an ideal balance to the sweetness on the plate. On the other hand, Kinako is a flavoursome soy bean flour that has a similar taste to peanut butter, only that it comes in powdery form. Sprinkled sparingly on top of the bread, it enhanced the flavours and added an eastern kick.

Warm and fresh, the house-made brioche was soft and delicate in which every single bite had taken me to a joyful paradise. I especially enjoyed the heavenly buttery scent infused within the bread. Although there were nothing too exciting with the soy custard, its mild sweetness blends in harmoniously with all the other elements, where none of them was overpowering.

Overall, I am contented with the food and definitely looking forward to my next visit, which I would love to try many others that Cafe Ish has to offer, including its signature Wattle Maccacino, Croc in the Rock and Crab Omelet, just to name a few.
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Why? To try out fusion breakfast/brunch creations
When: Anytime throughout the week
Where: 82 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Cost: $4 - $24 on breakfast menu
Your Comment
Awesome photos, Anthea!
by Sarah Han (score: 2|251) 2951 days ago
I had lunch at this very attractive cafe on Friday 21 October. My Daughter and I had the lamb salad. It had a great description. Unfortunately, it largely comprised of baby spinach which was delicious, but there was very little lamb and one piece was a hunk of fat no one would eat. I don't think it lived up to its description. Service was good and it is a beautiful building. Take more care with the food and adhere to the description and it will be a great place.
by micha65 (score: 1|10) 2954 days ago
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