The biggest problem with Cafe Giulia is deciding what to choose. The blackboard menu stretches across six columns of food and drink items, a bewildering bonanza of choices that renders newcomers helpless with indecision.
Converted from a 100-year-old butcher shop, Cafe Giulia has been a long-running favourite with locals and uni students. Regular lunch-goers know to arrive early to avoid the queues and to snare a table.
Casual and cheerful service starts at the counter, where orders are taken in exchange for numbered stands to take back to your table. Plenty of DIY water jugs and glasses are available, and the trek toward the back of the dining area will take you past the open kitchen, sizzling with hot grills and buzzing with activity.
Lamb, beetroot and fetta casa roll $9.90
with a roasted pepper and yoghurt sauce
We always head for the outdoor courtyard to eat, as picturesque as any back garden with an eclectic collection of tables, bench seating and plenty of flower pots scattered throughout.
Several visits have enabled some progress made through the sandwich menu, and the winner so far is the lamb, beetroot and fetta casa roll. You'll find a luscious combination of tender well-seasoned lamb skewers served with a spicy capsicum sauce. On the side is a bright and refreshing salad of beetroot strips that works brilliantly with the lamb.
Vegetarians are well looked after here, with Turkish bread options including chickpea, spinach and tomato; and grilled eggplant, ricotta, spinach and roasted capsicum.
Grilled fish is seared to a pleasing crisp, resting on fat slices of ripe tomato slathered with pesto.
A wedge of fresh lemon is provided for patrons to add extra zing.
Tomato, egg and cheese roll $6.90
Breakfast is available all day, and the tomato, egg and cheese roll is even better with barbecue sauce. The fried egg is deliciously runny and yes, there are bacon, sausage and smoked salmon fillings available too.
Prawn bagel $9.90
with grilled tomato, watercress, cucumber and yoghurt tahini
The prawn bagel comes with fresh grilled tomato, cucumber chunks, yoghurt tahini and a sprawling nest of peppery sprouts.
The steak casa roll is more refined than you'd expect, the tender slab of meat sliced into manageable pieces. Aged cheddar, onion relish and dill pickle add some welcome piquancy, but watch out for the horseradish which is spread with such generosity, you'll clear your sinuses with the first mouthful.
Chips with rosemary and rocksalt $5
I've saved the best for last, of course. The chips are a standout. You'll spot the big tub of fresh handcut potatoes in the open kitchen as you walk past, steadily depleting as the potatoes make their way into a baptism of hot oil.
Thick cut wedges with skin still on, the chips are deep-fried with sprigs of rosemary and sprinkled with rocksalt. The rosemary flavour does come through, bringing forth memories of a Sunday lamb roast with all the trimmings. Deep-fried to a mouthwatering crispness, you'll be glad you're sitting down as your knees start to buckle.
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2/09/2011 03:31:00 a.m.