As part of my indulgent series of visits to patisseries around Sydney (i.e. the conspiracy to move me up a jeans size) I decided to visit Pasticceria Papa with the lovely Angela from Creating a Stir who is visiting Sydney from Japan. Angela is a blogger I immediately bonded with as she is a lovely soul who lives in Japan with her husband and three children and who faces many of the challenges I did living there yet still maintains her sense of humour and style. She's also the wonderful gal who sent me an amazing package of Japanese goodies-full of Japanese Pocky and Kit Kats of which I am totally addicted! So when I heard she was coming to Sydney I knew we had to meet up and I knew that it would have to be somewhere brilliant to impress her and preferably with food she may not be able to get in Japan. So Pasticceria Papa, with the legendary Ricotta Cake it was!
Angela has brought along her gorgeous 2 year old daughter Megumi who turns out to be just the kind of daughter I'd want for myself. We take a seat outside in the sunny courtyard as it's a warm Winter's day and go inside to order at the counter. When I'd first sent Angela the link to the website with the list of goodies they stock, it was so huge we both wondered whether it was a sample of what they had but judging from the enormous displays with a myriad of goodies, it seems to be what is available all of the time.
We choose a couple of necessary savouries but of course the sweets have won our hearts and the aroma of butter wafts past our nose as we walk in from the courtyard outside. We ask the girl behind the counter what is good and she makes a few recommendations and of course we ask for the ricotta cake. We take our number and they tell us they'll bring us our goodies. The cakes arrive first and there's a bit of a wait for our savouries which we want to eat first. I go back in and there is some confusion as to where we were sitting and a mix up with the order itself with the counter girl putting the wrong item into the system so after several questions back and forth they assure me that we'll get our correct order. I bought some organic chocolate bear lollipops from our Canberra trip for Megumi and she managed to eat all three whilst sampling teeny bites of our food - what a good girl and a future food blogger no?
Our fat, crunchy arancini ball arrives warm and with an oozing centre of creamy mushroom which we sink our forks into. It has a crunchy crumb outer and soft, stringy cheesey interior and I love the textures. Angela is impressed as this is her first time trying one.
We chose the bruschetta as it looked lovely and fresh and when we receive it we see that they have toasted it for us. It was fairly good although some of the harder, crunchier bits on the edge where there weren't any tomato or olive are left behind. And little Megumi took a liking to the black olives on it! What a kid!
When we try the famous ricotta cake we see why it's so famous. It's called a cheesecake but it's unlike most cheesecakes that you may have tried. One of the best things about dining with fellow foodies is the way we love to analyse the food we eat. Angela and I dissect it - there's a blanket of icing sugar and cinnamon and the crust on top and bottom is like a cross between pastry and a biscuit. The ricotta filling is as smooth as silk and very, very moreish.
The biscuit is curious as the counter girl described it as a bit bland. To us it's very sugary and nutty but the top note is definitely that of sweetness. Although it's nice, we can't imagine finishing a whole one ourselves-perhaps an espresso would help in that regard. Angela points out quite correctly that it has the taste of white sugar first and nuts second.
_Small Cannoli (left) $1.60. Bomba Jam donut (right) $2.50
I rarely order cannolis as they're usually premade and become resultantly soggy and I expect this to be similar so when I stab this with a fork I'm surprised to feel resistance and then the pastry shatters revealing the creamy ricotta centre. It's delicious and the way cannoli should be and not in the slightest bit soggy.
I do like donuts and this one is soft and fresh but like Italian donuts, the sweetness remains on the outside via the dusted sugar and the inside via the nuttela and doesn't really carry throughout the donut dough whilst I prefer a sweetness throughout. And by this stage we're experiencing some sugar fatigue.
Didn't I mention Megumi was the ideal daughter? Here she is dipping her finger into the ricotta cannoli and feeding her mum. Oh yes I sense she is a Foodus Bloggerus in the making!
So tell me, what is your favourite cheesecake flavour?
145 Ramsay Street, Haberfield, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9798 6894
Monday to Friday - 8am to 6pm
Saturday - 7:30am to 5pm
Sunday - 7:30am to 1pm