I hate Crocs.
Not because they’re sort of ugly (apologies to any Crocs lovers out there). I hate them because as a shoe, they fail. What are they? Are they gardening shoes? Are they shoes to wear in the shower at the gym? Are they casual weekend shoes? Do you wear socks with them? They don’t know what they’re doing. They need to find a singular identity.
So does Cicada, a fairly new joint on upper Adelaide Street (this could or could not be King George Square-I’ve only lived here for 18 years, what do I know) in the CBD. It’s downright beautiful inside: little candles; gold, black, and grey tones; chunky, new modern furniture; and cool copper wall hangings. There’s lots of seating and it’s a popular place for after work drinks. Outside is simple but pleasant, and has a lively vibe.
That all sounds dope, but what’s with the incredibly loud, pounding house music inside? What’s with all the low tables that make you feel like you’re in a restaurant, but the menu that makes you feel like you’re in a pub? What’s with them not being open on the weekend? What’s with such a gorgeous place mainly offering just cheap takeaway breakfasts (from $4) and lunches (pastas, sandwhiches, etc.) during the day?
On the one hand, it’s awesome that one place has managed to capture the holy triumvirate: restaurant, bar, and office takeaway. The bar part is fantastic, although the lack of lounge- and bar-style seating may throw some. It’s mainly the restaurant part of Cicada that is a little weird; the interior design and furniture make you feel like you’re in a restaurant, but the loud club music makes you think you’re wearing fat pants and ordering your third Red Bull.
Now, having said all that: the food is good. Yay! The menu is quite small, with six or seven main dishes and a small snack selection with chips, antipasto, and the like. I ordered the Salt and Cayenne Pepper Squid ($16~), while D went with the Chicken Burger with Portugese Chili Mayo ($15~). Other menu items included a lamb salad; a beef burger; and fish fillets.
While you order and pay at the bar, food is brought to the table. Service was very good: the waiters and bartenders were young and relaxed but still had that professional vibe.
So many places stuff up squid. Often, I find deep frying is the culprit: why deep fry something that only needs a minimal amount of cooking time? In animal life, a cicada would have no chance in a throw down against a squid. But this is food land, and Cicada nailed that bad boy. The generous serving of the squid strips were very lightly crumbed and flash-fried, and melted in my mouth. The accompanying aioli resembled a pile of mayo, unfortunately; a bit of garlic would have made the fish pop. The side salad was quite standard but fresh.
Speaking of salad, who hates iceberg? Hands up. It’s a shame the ‘filler lettuce’ was used on D’s grilled chicken burger, because the rest of the dish used very quality ingredients. A thick breast rested between a pair of very soft buns. Who else is giggling right now? But seriously, it was a good burger. The accompaying chips were a bit of a wedge/chip hybrid, which to me is the perfect love child: a thick, crunchy, seasoned skin gave way to a little pocket of fluffy potato. The Portugese Chili Mayo was another nice addition, although it was very mild in spiciness.
I really like Cicada, but make sure you brace yourself if you’re going there to just eat dinner. The food is tasty and of good quality, and it seems like a great place for drinks. Eating a ‘proper’ meal there, however, can be a little weird.
275 George St
07 3211 2161