Vanessa: It is commonly known that bread is a weakness among us at Team FFS so when an opportunity arose to try the new “Citizen of the World” menu at Sonoma Alexandria we did not hesitate. It was girl-date that day as Bianca and I arrived at Sonoma and were greeted by the lovely, exuberant Retail Operations Manager, Eirini. From the minute we met Eirini, it was clear to us that she was passionate about her job and proud of what Sonoma represents.
We chose to sit outside where we would spend the next couple of hours dealing with pesky fauna in the form of birds and curious patrons. I say curious but to be fair it was only natural that we would draw attention to ourselves with the amount of food ordered between the two of us!
As we perused the menu, Eirini explained to us that Sonoma’s culinary team, which includes ex-Head Chef of Icebergs and Neild Avenue, Marjorie Robertson, strive to create dishes that are reminiscent of home-style cooking. She explains that the new menu does not follow food trends but instead promotes a more classic style of eating with dishes that have soul and elegance. With such an enticing foray into the menu, it was fair to say our expectations were heightened, as were the excitement levels.
With the “Burger Queen” in tow, we clearly could not pass up the opportunity to road test the burger offering at Sonoma. I’m generally not one for burgers, but I was very impressed by this one, as was Bianca. The Sonoma Blackmore Cheese Burger ($22) consists of a milk bun which is soft and fluffy. The Blackmore wagyu pattie was a little overcooked for both of our tastes but this was overlooked with the perfectly melted American cheese oozing throughout the burger and the generous topping of bacon, onion and lettuce. It was served up with some incredibly moorish beer battered chips and a trio of sauces , a tomato, barbecue and a “special sauce” which very much resembled the Big Mac sauce…delicious!
Every Sonoma Café offers a dish that is unique to that location. The Alexandria café offers a rotisserie platter ($25) with meats that change regularly. That particular day, lamb was on offer. This was a very generous portion of thinly sliced, rotisserie lamb, creamy labneh and smokey babaganoush. The dish was also accompanied by a selection of sliced sourdough and a salad consisting of freekeh, tomato and cucumber. This dish was very Middle Eastern in its flavouring and not a meal I would typically associate with Sonoma but I really enjoyed it and think it is a great option for substantial yet not overly heavy lunch.
I was intrigued by the baked eggs with smashed peas, kale, green chilli, ricotta and sourdough ($16). Now, this definitely differs from the typical baked egg dishes and I am so grateful Sonoma pushed the boat out with this one. The peas were cooked perfectly well and had just the right amount of texture in their consistency. The kale and chilli gave the dish a slight bite and the creamy ricotta balanced it all out. The eggs were perfectly baked, holding their form and complimenting the greens well. This was a unique way of serving up baked eggs and I would definitely ordering this again. It wasn’t Bianca’s cup of tea but I can vouch for it particularly if you are after a light start that will still fill you up.
Then came the pièce de résistance. A super sized serving of Ricotta loaded hotcakes served up with honeycomb butter, berry compote, caramelised banana and maple syrup($24). Given the thickness of the hotcakes, they were still wonderfully light and fluffy and a nice crust had formed on the edges. The berries gave it a much-needed tart and tang that offset the sweetness of the syrup and banana. The honeycomb butter added a smooth, creaminess to the dish that blended perfectly with the syrup. An incredible dish that we rated highly both for its visual appeal and its taste. It is a very big serve so our thoughts would be this is a dish best shared.
This was a really wonderful opportunity to delve deeper into the Sonoma menu and food philosophy. Going beyond the Sourdough, which we hold in such high regard, we now have a greater appreciation for the broader menu and the culinary vision of the Sonoma team. This is a great option for lunch with ample seating and strong menu offerings. It is worth travelling for if you don’t reside in the area.We are already planning our next visit to come back for those hotcakes!!
Photos by Vanessa and Bianca
*For Foods Sake were invited to dine by the management of Sonoma. All opinions however are our own and independent. Special thanks to Eirini and Molly for their hospitality.