Alex: Obviously having a large Italian family we are no strangers to traditional food/recipes that have been brought over from Italy and have since remained in our family for years and years. It’s obvious, Izba’s owner Olga, has that passion and love for what she does and that has helped perfect her own culture’s recipes and create a little gem in Newtown by the name of Izba Russian Treats.
The cafe is rather quaint and can’t fit many people but it didn’t stop them from bombarding the store, ordering takeaway and treats for home.
We started our foray into the world of Russian food with some savoury pies and first up was the Salmon Pie $7.50. Firstly, for the price this is a ridiculously generous portion size. The dish was packed with different layers of salmon, spinach, buckwheat (similar texture to rice) and egg. This was unlike anything I have ever tasted before and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Everything was cooked well and the pastry was nice and flaky but for me, I found the flavours a little bland and we all agreed that the egg did not support the dish. This was ultimately the least favourite of the day.
I was praying that whatever was next was going to be a step up from the last dish and boy was it! Before it even came to the table the smell of cooking wine enveloped the cafe. The savoury beef blinis $11 were one of the greatest things I have eaten in a long time. The caramelisation of the onion mixed in with the beef created a really beautiful sweet flavour that you could cut through with a dollop of sour cream. This was definitely a winner.
Similar in flavour (I thought) but not made with a crepe was the traditional Beef pirozhki. So moreish, so good. The ‘bun’ is a fairly light yeast dough with a crusty exterior and soft fluffy insides. Order these….that is all.
If you have heard of Izba it might have been in the same sentence as their famous Honey Cake. Luckily there being 3 of us meant we could try an array of different desserts and not be fatty boom bah’s.
Like the Napoleon, a meticulously constructed cake with layers of flaky dough with a subtle creamy texture. Similar to that of the iconic Australian vanilla slice. This happens to be Olga’s favourite cake and whilst we enjoyed its subtle subdued flavours our hearts belonged to the honey cake.
The Honey cake with literal layers of ‘heaven’ to put it quite simply. While it looks fairly heavy and dense, when you’re actually eating it, it’s actually fairly light. We also found that little nugget of dark chocolate added such a contrasting flavour profile against the cream. Our initial thoughts were that the layers between the cream was an actual sponge like cake, it was more akin to a light biscuit.
The Izba was a cherry dessert with vanilla flavoured cream. This unlike the other two cakes was a little dense and became a little sickly to both myself and Vanessa after a few bites. Bianc however, loved the little bursts of the sour cherries.
All the desserts are rather whimsical and fun and more importantly, extremely tasty. They would be perfect for a family get together or to have with coffee. If I didn’t convince you guys with the savouries then surely you want to go now!
Now please, enjoy some cake porn photos…you’re welcome! 🙂
* To follow-up our Webjet voucher giveaway, a big congratulations to Cameron R who has won himself, two $75 Webjet vouchers. Which can be used towards cheap flights or accommodation.