I am a freelance journalist and an author living in Sydney. Writing is a passion and I enjoy everyday indulging in the talent that I am gifted with. You can find me on au.linkedin.com/pub/sharmila-jayasinghe-niriella/21/182/467/
Published August 11th 2014
Italian cafe fare to delight all
I was blown away by the sheer crowds at the Pasticceria Papa, an Italian Patisserie, in Haberfield, Sydney. On a weekday at ten in the morning this place is busier than a food court on a weekend. The sheer numbers of patrons is a towering testimony to the quality of the food being served here. There are trays and trays of eye catching Italian pastries, some well know and others not, displayed on one end of the patisserie while the other end displays a wide variety of savouries to choose from.
The entire setting of the cafe is quite large and spacious, but there was hardly any room to sit as almost every single table was occupied by happy go lucky customers sipping on their coffees and munching on sweet delights. There is no doubt the customers were predominantly Italians who knew exactly what they were eating and drinking but there were a few of us non Italians who were there to try something new and some who were returning to try something familiar.
The ordering process here is an experience in itself. The displayed delights do not come with name tags or labels. Those who know the names of the baked goodies ask for them by name but those who don't just point and order. A brief description of the sweet meat or a simple pointing is sufficient to place your order with the cheery sales girls behind the counter.
There is no question about the authenticity of Papa's delights. There is a huge variety of shapes and sizes from cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits and other Italian baked goods to choose from. We were indeed spoilt for choice as there were many that tickled our fancy. The bee like business of the girls at the counter efficiently got rid of the queuing crowd while we debated on what to try. Soon it was our chance. Being not so familiar with most of the sweet eats on display there were a lot of going up and down the aisle pointing to this and pointing to that to get an idea on what would be the best for our mid-morning tea. Finally we decide on a small croissant shaped pastry filled with ricotta cream, a chocolate éclair and a box full of biscotti Napoli.
The croissant shaped doughnut filled with the creamy ricotta known as the Vanilla Horn ($2.20), was a pocket rocket, hitting the right taste buds creating an explosion of flavour in my mouth. The ricotta filling inside was not overly sweet as I expected but just right and the flakiness of the pastry only complimented the creaminess that oozed out with every bite.
My favourite out of the three we ordered definitely will have to be the biscotti Napoli ($2.00 each). Though it was ordered as a take away I could not resist the temptation of trying one then and there itself. A guaranteed winner I should say. Though the biscotti was quite large in size one bite of it was enough to hook me in and want more. The biscuit was perfect and the brown goodness that was baked in the middle with its nuttiness was one that kept demanding more bites.
Though we had only a little time to spend at the Pasticceria Papa and were of little appetites due to the timing of our visit, the overall experience for us was delightful which warrants another visit. Maybe this time with the entire brood so we could try out more of the delights lined up inside those long glass cabinets. I did drop a hint or two in the hope my husband would be able to decipher the codes and surprise me with a cake from Papa's for my impending birthday. Keeping my fingers crossed!