SYDNEY | Usually I pop up to Sydney a few times a year, but in 2020 that obviously didn’t happen. When I finally got the opportunity to visit again in April this year, there was a whole 18 months worth of new openings on my list, along with all of the places that were already on there, and the old favourites that I wanted to revisit. One of these new spots was Cafe Paci.
The Newtown restaurant opened in October 2019, an evolution of Finnish born chef Pasi Petanen’s Darlinghurst pop-up that opened in 2013 and ran for two years. In between the two, Petanen worked at several of Sydney’s most highly regarded restaurants, and when he opened Cafe Paci 2.0, it didn’t take long for many to call it “the opening of 2019”. You bet my anticipation was high.
I arrived, feeling somewhat dusty after a friend’s 40th birthday celebrations the night prior, but a hair of the dog, a lovely Italian Chardonnay imported by Giorgio de Maria, from a producer whose name I cannot recall, got me on track. Paired with and oyster with kumquat mignonette, devilled egg with trout roe, and oozy mozzarella in carrozza, it didn’t take long for my life force to return.
From there, things continued to get better. The famed rye taco with ox tongue and sauerkraut, the one thing that I knew I had to order before I arrived, was outstanding. Where too next? I was tossing up between the octopus, green garlic, potato and paprika, and the duck rillettes with radicchio and hazelnut. I was convinced by the persuasive staff that the only sensible answer to that question was “both”, so I obliged. No regrets.
I then decided to tempt fate and order the veal and pork ragu ravioli with parmesan. One bit of the sublime pasta and I knew that one, ordering it was a smart move, and two, I couldn’t eat anything more. No dessert for me. The ravioli packed into a container made for a happiness inducing breakfast the following day.
It’s easy to tell why Cafe Paci is so well regarded. The food is fantastic, but it’s how everything comes together. It’s one of those places where you feel welcomed as a local, even on your first visit as an out of tower. Proper hospitality. I can’t wait to return.
131 King Street
New South Wales 2042
Mon – Fri: 5:30pm to 11:00pm
Sat: 12:00pm to 11:00pm