The wine and dining experience
On a cool breezy Monday night, you’ll see a comprehensive mix of suits, hipsters, artists, lovers, connoisseurs and intergenerational families occupying the assortment of seats, high chairs, cubicles and long rustic tables (so as to suit all moods / events) in the large underground restaurant that is famously known as Café Sopra – one of the many restaurants attached to the providore, Fratelli Fresh. A truly symbiotic relationship exists whereby the Sopra kitchen converts the fresh produce from its supplier into delightfully savoury, sweet and tangy meals .
To start off the night, our group of four chose a bottle of Fratelli Fresh Sauvignon Blanc. I profess, not being an oenophile, I say only that it was pleasant enough to drink, and in the present company, none had any qualms.
1. Smoked ham, Mozzarella and funghi pizza
2. Funghi with smoked Mozzarella and rocket pizza
To be honest, the pizzas weren’t spectacular, but they were quite decent. The ingredients truly are fresh, the dough, light and fluffy if not a bit chewy. I could eat fistfuls of their mozzarella, which I interpret as a good thing.
3. Conchigle (type of pasta) with salsicce (sausage), crushed peas, mint and pecorino (hard italian cheese)
I’ve heard that this is their stand-out dish. However, on this night, I personally was not won over by it. My main concern was that there were not enough meatballs. Let me explain. I’m one of those people who can’t stomach more than five mouthfuls of carbs without some proteins interspersed. Another thing, the crushed peas sauce was a bit saturating. So after the meatballs disappeared (an overly meatball-enthusiast friend of mine took most of them), I found the rest of the dish a tad bland.
4. Ricotta gnocchi with pumpkin and pine nuts:
This was surprisingly good. I usually don’t like gnocchi, but the ricotta really adds richness and texture to it. The tomato sauce base was full-flavoured, which mixed well with the lighter-flavoured crescent-shaped gnocchi.
- Yoghurt panna cotta with candied fruit: just luscious; the amaretto jello and fruit making it light and refreshing all at once
- Creme Brulee: easy to crack; monstrously creamy with a light kick of liqueur; pistachio biscotti on the side for dipping (only if you want to)
- Tiramisu: amazingly pliant in one’s mouth; the alcohol infusion not too intoxicating; so that one keeps going back for another spoonful.
Verdict: Crowd pleaser – everyone who comes here will have their own favourite/stand-out dish. I could bring any one of my friends here and s/he/they will/would confess to the food being great, and having a great night (the atmosphere is wonderful and waiters are friendly, I forgot to mention). Some dishes may be a hit or miss, depending on your taste and preferences, I’ve come to realise. Regardless, this place holds a special place in my heart.