Sitting by the big glass windows overlooking Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge, with trains passing by, rattling along the tracks, and the smart, white-shirted waitstaff diligently topping up glasses of wine by the carafe, as you admire the horseshoe bar, French tiling and the light hues of the decor, you are transported to seaside Nice.
Myself and my family have become loyal patrons to Josh Niland’s cooking at Cafe Nice. We all have our own favourite dishes, and love coming back to order the same thing every time. For me, the Pichade Tart and Ratatouille are always without fail. I actually accidentally ordered the Pichade Tart on my first visit, but politely decided not to send it back and give it a go. Upon my first mouthful, my taste buds exploded with excitement and from that moment on, I have found myself spontaneously craving this sensational tart – the crumbly, buttery base, sweet tomato jam-like sauce, salty anchovies and the punchy acidity of the olives – an absolute classic dish. Next, the Ratatouille – tender, warming, flavoursome, nostalgic, comforting – this is one of my all time favourite meals, whether it’s homemade or eaten out. But, there’s something about Josh’s ratatouille that’s extra special and keeps you wanting more. Both my picks are incredibly simple dishes, and two of the cheapest meals on the menu, but I really do love simple, simple food that accentuates the flavour of vegetables and herbs.
My Dad and brothers, on the other hand, love nothing more than a big, juicy steak, with a limited about of vegetables on the side. Therefore, the Entrecote de Boeuf with pommes frites and either Bearnaise sauce or Parsley butter are a definite go-to. The steak is always cooked exactly to your liking, as you can see the medium rare steak below is that perfect shade of pinky-red that almost makes me want to dive in for a bite. My family always give it top points and can’t help but order it every time.
My mothers favourite dish, which we have often shared quickly before making it to a show at the Opera House or before jumping on the ferry home, is the Casareccia, John Dory Roe, Butter & Reggiano. This pasta dish has such delicate ocean flavours, that are light, simple and very flavoursome. For anyone that likes seafood, then this will for sure be a winner. It’s another example of Josh perfecting simple, French fare.
I never manage to order dessert here, as I’m always so full after enjoying the savouries, bread, occasionally the the fresh chickpea socca and most often a side of the green pea salad with goats cheese and mint or some other green side dish. However, I have tried the lemon tart, which is just superb and bursts with the fresh flavour of seasonal lemons. I can also attest to the Affogato and their selection of cheeses!
So whether you’re in need of a nice dinner in the CBD before seeing a show, celebrating a special occasion, or just feel like a nice, French meal to have you reminiscing about past holidays to Paris or Nice…then this is the perfect place! I have enjoyed every meal here, adore everything about the atmosphere and only wish I could visit more often! I’m sure you will enjoy it very much X
|2 Phillip St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8248 9600