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Home > Sydney > Cafes | Food and Wine
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 February 14th 2012
Perched at the corner of 22 Union Street in Pyrmont, Cafe XXII is lined by some beautiful old cottages and terraces at the 19th century sandstone square, one of the few heritage sites left in Pyrmont. From the streets, the cafe, painted in a burnt olive green, harmoniously blends into the tranquillising scene that depicts simplicity and class. Cafe XXII was fortunately preserved at the current spot as the State Government's plans for a metro station at earlier times were abolished.


Interior - stone walls

The cafe is known for its delicious brunch menu, but instead we had given it a try for dinner. First appeared at the front door was the bar as we stepped into the place, where coffee is brewed as well and greeted customers in the mornings. Walking through the narrow corridor, we were led to our table situated next to the window. Covering the walls were unrefined, light-coloured stones and bricks of non-uniform sizes, creating a very rustic appearance, together with a rather casual yet charming ambience. Further, during dinner hours was a dimly-lit room with warm candles lightening up the food on tables, exerting a romantic touch and comfort to the atmosphere.

A waiter quickly followed to our table, cheerfully introduced himself, and went through the menu with us. Printed versions of the menu was not available, most probably due to that the items on the list would be changed every week - except for the cafe's signature entrees XXII Calamari and oysters, and lasagne for the mains. The waiter directed us to the menu written on a blackboard adjusted to the wall, marked "Dinner" at the top. One by one, he explained every single item presented in detail and ensured that he delivered a special, personal experience to us. He was very friendly and enthusiastic, and had been thoroughly attentive to our needs.

We had chosen a lighter entree option. Slices of tomato, buffalo cheese and basil leaves were layered in the shape of an original tomato. The cheese had a mild flavour that was highly compatible with the sweetness of the tomato. The balsamic has a rich, sticky texture, and added a kick to the dish in terms of both presentation and taste. While relishing the entree and chatting along as dinner was served, we embraced the light breeze accompanied by fresh air entering from the large wooden-framed window.

I had set my eyes on the salmon and king prawns the moment I screened at the menu, and went straight ahead with the seafood dish. The sizeable prawns were pan-seared until crispy on its shell that I can devour it as well as the tail. The flavours were sealed into the flesh and juices of the meat, vibrant and absolutely delightful. Again, the salmon steak was perfectly cooked with an amazingly flawless crispy skin. I believe that it belongs to one of the best that I can get within a reasonable price range. On the other hand, the cous cous has quite an interesting, chewy texture, and was a lot bigger in size than its Moroccan counterpart.

As for my friend, he opted for pasta as the main as he was struck by the craving for chorizo. The linguine represents an Italian regular that is favoured by many. The chorizo was a little on the tough side, contrasting against the creamy feta. Other than that, the tomato sauce burst with bright flavours without overpowering the rest of the dish. In fact, the cafe had been generous on the amount of feta and sausage provided, which was certainly enough to satisfy his desires.

Ripe tomato, Buffalo cheese, Balsamic and olive oil dressing

Crispy skin Salmon and King prawns, cous cous and peas

Chorizo and feta linguine

Cafe XXII specialises in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines, and offers a considerably great range of choices with lots of varieties, providing that the menu is changed on a regular basis. It is a pleasant spot that delivers great food, friendly service, and sensible price altogether. There will definitely be a next time where we can enjoy more of its creations.
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Why? Great food and service, beautiful location.
When: Anytime
Where: 22 Union Street, Pyrmont
Cost: Approx. $12 to $40
Your Comment
Looks delicious! I love the looks of that tomato dish :)
by Sarah Han (score: 2|251) 3098 days ago
Nice article. I love this place. They have lunch specials for $10 that are great value
by Priyanka (score: 2|435) 1666 days ago
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