9 Creswell Street, Newstead
Open seven days for breakfast and lunch
Weekdays from 6am, weekends from 7am
Ph +617 32574567
The quirk and passion behind Sisco comes from sister owners Kelly (pictured) and Vicky Jones, who dreamed of opening the sort of cafe they and their friends would love to eat at, then just went ahead and did it. Love their attitude! Vicky is the mistress of the menu and comes up with cake masterpieces daily, and Kelly runs front of house, taming the queue of customers lining up at the street-side coffee window for their daily fix.
The pair seem to know every customer by name, favourite coffee, and preferred seat, and Sisco is exactly the sort of place where I dream of becoming a regular, with the sisters sitting me down by the window and seconds later delivering me a creamy flat white, and an enormous slab of the daily cake special with double cream.
|Da bing breakfast pastry|
The overwhelming choice of breakfast street foods in China means a morning smorgasbord of flavours every day. The most difficult thing is choosing what you want to eat. Should it be savoury or sweet today? Crispy or soft? Bready or cake-y? With or without soy milk?
I’m in the farmhouse kitchen of the Xu family, along with eight neighbours, relatives and friends who have stopped by to see what’s for lunch, and the dragon is the wok stove that takes pride of place in every eastern Chinese farm kitchen, a rather lovely hand-painted beast of a thing. After a morning visiting the local market and farms of Farmer Feng and her neighbours, I’m having a home-cooked farm-style lunch and spending the afternon seeing the farms of the extended Xu family and their neighbours.
It’s quite some spread! White-poached chicken with a soy dipping sauce, and hong shao ji (red-cooked chicken) in a sweet, sticky soy reduction are both on the table (the chickens freshly dispatched an hour prior) along with crisp fried local fish, and a parade of fabulous vegetable dishes, each one simply cooked to show off the wonderful fresh-out-of-the-ground flavours. Duck egg soup with tomatoes and slices of radish, Stir-fried spinach with finely shredded tofu and a little pork, and the baby vegetable, boiled first to soften it, then gently stir-fried in the wok with a pinch of salt and a touch of oil. It has a forgettable mushy appearance but the flavour I like – a cross between a really fresh brussel sprout and cabbage. That may not be the most attractive description, on reflection, but I did enjoy it!