For a little slice of the Mediterranean in Sydney, head to the top level of Cockle Bay Wharf for the lavishly decked out Cafe del Mar. The original Cafe del Mar on the gorgeous Spanish island of Ibiza is well known for its view of the sunsets on the island, with beats playing in the background. It seems that the Sydney restaurant is set to continue the tradition with the restaurant’s stunning views over Darling Harbour providing the perfect backdrop to watch sunsets over the water.
The spacious Cafe del Mar feels luxurious from the moment you step in, thanks to the plush banquette seats and dramatic blue and white themed decor which pays homage to its Mediterranean roots. There’s also a lovely outdoor terrace area facing Darling Harbour with comfy lounges which would be a top spot for drinks in summer.
We tried their Sangria Rojo which is a delicious, sweet concoction featuring Ciroc Snap-frost Vodka, Cointreau with house made wet-chai falernum, orange juice, lemon juice, red wine and black tea. The ingredients are a bit different from other sangrias we’ve had, but it works and we’re fans of the fruit frozen into the ice cubes.
Sangria Rojo Uno – $45
For our lunch we kicked off with a selection of signature starters consisting of Snapper Tartare, Charmoula Chicken and Watermelon with Jamon Serrano. My favourite was the Snapper Tartare, with fresh cubes of salty, raw snapper, mixed in with fennel, radish and bubbly Yarra Valley pearls (fish roe) all balanced on top of a crispy water cracker. The tasty Charmoula Chicken usually comes served on a betel leaf, but was substituted with a sesame leaf today. It’s not easy to eat; you need to wrap it up into a little parcel to keep everything from falling out but its worth the mess. Last but not least, the juicy Watermelon cube had salty slivers of Jamon Serrano wrapped around it to counteract all the sweetness and also had a bit of marinated feta on top to round things off.
Snapper Tartare – $24 for full size; Charmoula Chicken – $16 for full size; Watermelon with Jamon Serrano – $16 for full size
Cafe del Mar’s signature shared main is their Slow Cooked Murryland Lamb Shoulder, which comes out still steaming hot as the waitress carves it up for us. The tender meat falls right apart and is oh so comforting with a hit of flavour coming from the salsa verde served with it. I absolutely love the side Roast Garlic Mash, which is silky smooth and has so much garlicky goodness infused within it. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the fantastic lamb shoulder in my books. We also get a side of Steamed Broccolini flavoured with parsley, lemon and parmesan which helps us hit the veggie quota for the meal.
Slow Cooked Murryland Lamb Shoulder – $65
Roast Garlic Mash – $12
Steamed Broccolini – $10
We’re pretty full from the generous, hearty serving of lamb already but found room for the Tarte Cafe del Mar for dessert – a pretty combo of brioche, creme patisserie and Grand Marnier strawberries. It’s essentially a glorified strawberries and cream dish, elevated with vanilla woven into the creme patisserie and some buttery brioche to add a bit of substance.
Tarte Cafe del Mar – $15
Cafe del Mar delivers quality food which reflects its Mediterranean roots, although its pricing is on the premium end of the spectrum for Sydney (most likely due to its location). The luxe decor capitalises on its views and the trendy music playing in the background gives it ambience and elevates it beyond some of the other dining options in the Cockle Bay Wharf precinct.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Cafe Del Mar
Cafe Del Mar Sydney
Cockle Bay Wharf, Roof Top Terrace
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph:(02) 9267 6700