Acclaimed chefs, quality seasonal produce and stunning dining locations combined with a laid-back lifestyle give Sydney’s food and wine culture a unique flavour all its own.
Visitors will find plenty of new tastes to savour with unforgettable dining options that include acclaimed harbourside or beachfront restaurants, neighbourhoods dedicated to multicultural flavours, aromatic native bush flavours and chefs who forage.
Sydney is bursting at the seams with places to eat and drink, many of them new and some of them operated by Sydney’s biggest names. At Bennelong, celebrated Australian chef Peter Gilmore steers the diner through the diversity of the nation’s home-grown flavours to create ‘Australian cuisine’. Opt for the bar’s “curedand-cultured” counter or the main restaurant to enjoy Gilmore’s use of texture and his exploration of nature’s diversity.
Chippendale’s Kensington Street, one of Sydney’s hottest new precincts, is populated by leading food innovators. The boutique five-star Old Clare Hotel packs a stunning line-up: Noma’s Sam Miller heads up Silvereye; UK hotshot Jason Atherton has opened Kensington Street Social, and Momofuku graduate Clayton Wells has his first Australian venue, Automata. Nearby, Spice Alley’s Kopi-Tiam is an aromatic powerhouse of hawker-style diners and don’t miss the Parisian Bistrot Gavroche for classic French cuisine in a converted rum warehouse. For dessert head to Koi, a sophisticated dessert bar spearheaded by Masterchef Australia alumni Reynold Poernomo. Also in Chippendale Ester, LP’s Quality Meats and Brickfields Bakery ensure this exciting, emerging precinct is a must-do for food lovers.
At Barangaroo openings include modern gent cocktail bar and grooming salon The Barber Shop, RivaReno gelato and ShortStop Coffee and Donuts who sold 1200 donuts in their first day of operation. These join Gin & It, boasting Australia’s largest gin collection, cult food outlets Mamak and Belle’s Chicken, Coffee Alchemy’s Micro, Bourke Street Bakery and the authentic Anatolian flavours of Anason. Sydney’s newest Harbourside playground will continue to open new restaurants, cafes and bars throughout 2016.
Sydney’s city centre is a magnet for new tastes. Restaurant Hubert inhabits a jazz-infused basement space on Bligh Street with intriguing features including a wine balcony and a small theatre. Another basement worth visiting is just off George Street, where Indu’s village-style southern Indian fare from Sam Prince and head chef Bimal Kumar focuses on the rural flavours and cookery elements of southern-Indian and Sri Lankan villages.
Chef Nathan Sasi (ex-London’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) has opened Mercado, where the focus is on the rotisserie, homemade cheese and charcuterie delivered to the table via a trolley, yumcha style. Popular Spanish restaurant MoVida is also set to call this neighbourhood home, with the restaurant tipped to set up shop in the new laneway precinct at the rear of 5 Martin Place opposite the Westin Hotel.
In the back streets of Surry Hills, Lennox Hastie’s Firedoor acclaimed restaurant features an open kitchen that centres around custom-made wood-fired ovens, grills and an Australian-made Aga stove. British chef Nelly Robinson’s Nel is located nearby and showcases the best seasonal produce with a monthly changing seasonal degustation menu. Gastro-pub The Dolphin Hotel has re-opened following an extensive overhaul led by the creative team behind Bondi’s Icebergs Dining Room & Bar and Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta. Featuring a dining room, wine room and public bar the menu features pub classics served in a fun, contemporary environment.
Other newcomers in neighbourhoods across the city include stylish brasserie Missy French and modern Japanese Cho Cho San in Potts Point, pastaria Bar Machiavelli in Rushcutters Bay, gastro-pub The Paddington on Oxford Street in Paddington, bar/deli/cafe The Continental Deli Bar Bistro in Newtown and Stanbuli Turkish cuisine in nearby Enmore.
Quirky, classy and full of personality, all types of bars are cropping up in Sydney, serving sassy cocktails, boutique beers, wines by the glass and small-plate foods. A quick selection includes Monopole in Potts Point, The Gretz in Enmore, Bloodwood in Newtown and Baxter Inn and its extraordinary whisky collection in the city. Frankie’s Pizza in the city a big, dark rock ‘n’ roll space with pinball machines and pumping party tunes on Bligh Street.
In Surry Hills, Butter is a sneaker store, bar and restaurant hybrid with a mash-up of hip-hop and luxury; 70 sneakers decorate the window, while crispy fried chicken and fine Champagne share the menu. Wraparound harbour views dazzle at Henry Deane, the rooftop cocktail bar at The Palisades in Millers Point, while European wine bar Mistelle is located in leafy Double Bay. Darlo Country Club has given Darlinghurst an inner city cocktail oasis inspired by grand old Californian country clubs, and opulent cocktail bar Della Hyde adds hotel-lobby-inspired glamour to Oxford Street’s mix.
Sydney’s love of Craft Beers
Sydney is also home to many of the stars in Australia’s thriving boutique beer scene. Modus Operandi Brewing Co. is a Mona Vale-based brewery where you can combine a beer tasting with a day at the beach. Other notable Sydney craft breweries are Newtown’s Young Henrys and Parramatta’s Riverside Brewing Company. They join stalwarts such as Rocks Brewing Company, based at Harts Pub in The Rocks, The Lord Nelson microbrewery in the lovely old Rocks pub and 4Pines Brewing Company in Manly.
Boutique brewing has also come right to the heart of the CBD with Cidery Bar and Kitchen at Rydges World Square, where Sydney Cider is brewed in the basement and served in the bar along with award-winning brews from Sydney Brewery. Also in the city are the Tank Stream Brewing Company at The Pumphouse at Darling Harbour, the Schwartz Brewery Hotel in Surry Hills, St Peters Brewery in Newtown and The Royal Albert Hotel in Surry Hills which serves only Australian craft beers.