Being Brazilian (born Rio & grew up in a small town near Sao Paulo), I am always nostalgic for a good Brazilian meal, and am excited if I come across a Brazilian restaurant in any other corner of the world. Luckily for me, Sydney seems to be full of Brazilians, the beautiful sunny weather, beaches and lovely people is all very familiar with Brazilians, and probably what attracts so many of them over to this side of the world.
I was very excited to have stumbled across this cafe, Cafecito, one of the first Brazilian cafes I tried in Sydney when we first moved over 18 months ago. Since discovering this hidden gem in the heart of Sydney, I am a regular, always keen to feed my nostalgia for a good home cooked Brazilian meal.
The cafe can be found in Town Hall Square (underneath Town Hall/ Town Hall Station). If you walk past the cafe, you probably will not notice it, and it is not that obvious that it is a Brazilian restaurant until you enter the place and see the big Brazilian flag hanging from the ceiling. The menu contains both ‘Seasonal menu’ which contains both European & Australian dishes, with your typical sandwiches, salads, pastas, and Brazilian dishes.
There are regular Brazilian dishes each day of the week ($14 per dish):
- Monday, Frango Parmegiana – chicken cordon bleu with parmesan sauce, vegetable rice and green salad.
- Tuesday, Churrasco misto com arroz & feijao – mixed Brazilian grill with feijao tropeiro, rice and vinaigrette.
- Wednesday, Feijoada – Slow cooked pork, ribs, chorizo and bacon with black beans served with rice, (farofa) cassava flour, (couve) cabbage and orange.
- Thursday, Costela de carne com arroz e polenta – Beef rib served with rice and polenta
- Friday, Bife ressecado com arroz e mandioca – Beef served with rice and cassava flour.
My two favourite dishes are the Feijoada (served on a Wednesday), the Brazilian national dish, black beans cooked in a sauce with slow cooked ribs, chorizo and bacon served in a traditional clay pot, with accompanying rice, farofa (cassava flour), couve (cabbage) and a slice of orange. Cafecito know just how to cook the feijoada perfectly, with just the right amount of meaty goodies in the ‘broth’ with the black beans. You must remember to add the farofa (tapioca flour) to the feijao, to give any crumby texture to the beans and the (couve) cabbage.
In addition, on the regular ‘Seasonal menu’, you will find a great Brazilian dish ‘Prato Feito’ – Picanha, Brazilian cut of rump steak, served with rice, feijao, frices & fried egg. I also order this regularly, when I’m hungry. This meal is HUGE, so be sure to be hungry before you order it!
In Brazil, lunch is the main meal of the day, which is why it must be a big wholesome meal (and explains the large serves). Brazilians will always go out for a big lunch break, and enjoy a good meal with their co-workers and friends in the middle of the day.
Depending how hungry you are, I would recommend trying some of the sides, such as the pão de queijo (cheese bread), coxinha (chicken croquette), mandioca frita (cassava chips) – I LOVE mandioca frita! And they also have a great menu of pasties, which are savoury pastry filled with different ingredients, you can chose from frango & catupiri (chicken and a deliciously creamy catupiri cheese), carne (minced meat), queijo (cheese), bacalhau (cod), palmito (palm hearts), bife ressecado (dried meat), camarao (fresh prawns and fish cooked with coconut milk palm oil and vegetables. I also recently saw that they have a pastel de chocolate (chocolate pastry!) that I am yet to try!
You must be sure to order your meal with the most traditional and delicious Brazilian soft drink, guaraná. I always order these with ice, and a glass of orange.
After the meal, if you can squeeze in some dessert, why not try brazil’s most traditional sweet, brigadeiro – this is definitely for the chocoholics out there – a round chocolate ‘truffle’ ball mixed with condensed milk and covered in chocolate sprinkles. What can I say, ‘é uma delícia’ (it’s delicious) you must try!
For those of you who aren’t that keen on chocolate, there are Brazilian cakes like pão de mel (honey & chocolate cake), bolo de cenoura (carrot cake with chocolate), and I have also seen they have recently added pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tarts) to the dessert menu. For a healthier dessert option, try the acai (Amazonian berry with great antioxidant qualities), served with banana or strawberry and granola.
If you happen to be in Sydney’s CBD, wanting something more than your regular sandwiches, why not try Cafecito for a nice home cooked Brazilian meal, served by some very friendly Brazilian waitresses 🙂 Bom apetite!!