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Matty Hirsch

Matty Hirsch

Matty Hirsch is Time Out's former Sydney Acting Food and Drink Editor.

Articles (31)

The best pubs and bars with fireplaces in Sydney

The best pubs and bars with fireplaces in Sydney

Winter is when some of Sydney's best pubs really are the best place to be. Better yet when the mercury really drops, is a pub or bar with a great fire place. Curl up in front of the flames – preferably wood, but we'll take gas if that's what's on offer – with a pint of beer and lose whole evenings in the comfort of your local, staying warm and dry all winter long. Be prepared for any weather. These are the best things to do in Sydney when it rains.

The 60 best bars in Sydney right now

The 60 best bars in Sydney right now

We've gotta hand it to you, Sydney. You didn't make this easy. Our town is awash with great places to grab a drink and for that, we will be forever grateful. We’ve whittled this update down to focus on what really matters most to us in a bar – what it is, why we love it and whatever hot tips we think will make your visit even better. The bottom line, however, is still the same: if it's on this list, we think it's a winner – and we hope that you do, too. This list represents our picks for the best bars in Sydney right now, from fresh faces to tried-and-tested temples of great booze, ranked by our local editors. We’re looking for quality above all, with fun, flavour, atmosphere, creativity and value for money at every price point. That’s why you’ll find a car space in a CBD laneway packed with mezcal alongside a Euro-style deli serving cocktails in cans, distilleries, a brewery and just about everything in between. Cheers to you, Sydney. On the hunt for the best Sydney has to offer? Check out our best restaurants here.

The best bars in Sydney's CBD

The best bars in Sydney's CBD

There was a dark time, not so long ago, when after-work drinks were limited to chain pubs and huge booze barns with no soul. Those were your options, like it or lump it. Fast forward less than a decade and Sydney's CBD now possesses one of the best bar scenes in the country, from underground hideaways to cool-as-hell speakeasies to lofty cocktail lounges with mixology maestros at the helm. You can drink life-changing wines, the freshest ales, and fruity elixirs made from seasonal harvests, and sometimes you can do it all in the same place. These are the very best places to take an elbow and indulge in a few drinks in the heart of Sydney. Want more? Sydney is filled with ace rooftop bars, bars with a view and beer gardens.

The 23 best new restaurants that opened around the world in 2021

The 23 best new restaurants that opened around the world in 2021

Does anyone else feel like new restaurant openings hit differently in 2021? We’ve always been the first in line to try the buzzy new spot on the block (then tell you about it), but these days, we recognise that opening a restaurant is a Herculean task worthy of celebration. Despite the odds stacked against them, new restaurants are popping up all over the world right now, proving just how resilient the hospitality industry really is. So as part of this year’s Time Out Love Local Awards, we asked you to tell us your favourite new places to eat. The stories of the ones you picked are remarkable, too – from long-awaited openings to lockdown daydreams, every spot on this list is praise-worthy. Ready to dig in? Grab a glass, queue up a reservation and join us in celebrating the best new restaurants of 2021.  RECOMMENDED: 14 cool museums and other culture spots that opened around the world in 2021

The 24 best beer gardens in Sydney

The 24 best beer gardens in Sydney

Our unbeatable summers and mild winters make Sydney the perfect place for a schooner in the great outdoors, and lord knows we’ve got enough beer gardens to prove it. Whether surrounded by lush greenery, designer dogs, ocean views or all of the above, this list covers the best beer gardens our city has to offer. Because drinking outside sure beats drinking in.   Looking for a brew with a view? Enjoy a cold one at one of Sydney's best rooftop bars.

The 12 best underground bars in Sydney

The 12 best underground bars in Sydney

There's a lot of good reasons to head down rather than up to a rooftop bar when you're feeling parched. Underground, it's always party o'clock, because even if it's 2pm, it feels like after dark. Plus you have no external cues as to the lateness of the hour, so a quick drink can turn into a big night very easily. Drinking below street level is also deliciously climate controlled so on a blazing hot summer's day, or in a torrential downpour (which is more likely than not at present), your best bet is posting up in one of Sydney's best booze bukers. Need something to line that stomach? Choose from this list of late-night eats in Sydney.

The best cheese dishes in Sydney

The best cheese dishes in Sydney

Burrata, brie or blue? Raclette or robiola? Cheddar or comté? Would you like yours melted on pizza, pasta, potatoes and bread, or whipped into fluffy clouds for dessert? Whether you prefer it washed rind, runny, salty or sweet, there's a cheese dish for all moods and budgets in Sydney. Here's where to find some of the best Don't forget the wine. This is our list of Sydney's top bottle shops.  After take-home cheese? Check out our list of the best cheese shops in Sydney. 

The best waterfront bars in Sydney

The best waterfront bars in Sydney

Sydney commands the highest prices for waterfront properties in the world. Luckily, for those of us who will never scale the Everest heights of this city's lucrative (read: ludricrous) real estate ladder, there are plenty of bars where you can drown our sorrows. Many of which just happen to be by the sea. We are blessed with quite the coastline, and these are our favourite places to while away the hours and watch the tides roll away over a few drinks. For more outdoor drinking, we've rounded up the best rooftop bars in Sydney, as well as the best beer gardens. And if you're after the best of the best full stop, have a look at our list of the 53 best bars in Sydney.

The best bottle shops in Sydney

The best bottle shops in Sydney

When we talk about Sydney's best bottle shops, we don't mean massive liquor barns. Rather, these are the places you go when you're after something special or specific; the purveyors of booze where you'll find boutique spirits, hard-to-find vintages, natural wines or just some locally-brewed longies at a good price. These are the places you should visit before a fancy homemade dinner, or when you want to send a little something special to someone you care about. Thankfully, these lot also offer delivery which, depending on if you're a 'glass-half-full' type or not, can be a great thing, especially under current circumstances. That's drinks sorted. Now, what's for dinner? Here are Sydney's best take aways eats.

The best Sydney bottle shops offering home delivery

The best Sydney bottle shops offering home delivery

Stepping into a bottle shop can be dangerous. You drop in for a quick six pack, but end up leaving with a ten-buck bottle of wine from the bargain bin, a couple of mini Campari bottles displayed on the counter and a bag of salt-and-vinegar chips because why the hell not? Or maybe all you're looking for is an aromatic white to go with dinner at your favourite BYO restaurant, and suddenly you're at the till with something shmancy the staff have sweet-talked you into buying for three times more than you wanted to spend. We get it. We've been there. Thankfully, there are the bottle shops out there that let you browse their excellent wares from behind the safety of a screen, so you can keep the cellar stocked with just a couple of clicks or have the essentials at the front door for when the going gets rough.  Need some nibbles to go with it? Head to one of the best delis in Sydney. Prefer to do your drinking in a bar? Here's our list of Sydney's best wine bars.

Australia's six best craft beer subscriptions

Australia's six best craft beer subscriptions

There’s no denying that Sydney’s best pubs have seriously upped their beer game in the last handful of years, or that the best local breweries are now also some of the most fun places to hang out and knock back a couple of rounds. But because those possibilities aren’t always viable options, it’s a very smart idea to have a stash of beer at the ready in the fridge. It’s even smarter to leave it to the experts and find the season’s freshest and finest brews waiting at your doorstep. Here are the ones worth signing up for. Keen for coffee? Check out Sydney’s best roasters that deliver to your home.   1. Beer Cartel Australia’s longest-running beer subscription is a solid place to start. You’ve got three choices here: $39.99 a month lands you a six pack (three limited releases and three favourites) while $69.99 and $89.99 both score you a dozen, with more premium and rarer goodies thrown in the mix. Expect detailed tasting notes, a range of styles from all over the world – and best of all, you’ll never find a repeat. 2. Craft Cartel Sydney’s Craft Cartel Liquor opened the doors more than two decades ago, and began stockpiling craft beers about ten years after that. The inventory list is now 700 strong, and you can begin making a dent in it by subscribing to their beer club. On the 15th of every month (or quarterly), expect 8 beers from Australia’s tip-top breweries, along with detailed and illustrated tasting notes for $59. If you’d rather double your pleasure, $99 will get you

Sydney's best bars offering takeaway and home delivery

Sydney's best bars offering takeaway and home delivery

Last yar, Liquor & Gaming NSW gave "non-essential" licensed businesses the green light to sell alcohol for takeaway and home delivery. It was a big win for the hospitality industry as a whole, but especially for Sydney's best bars without a takeaway license, all of which seemed destined for temporary closure. These laws remain in force, though as of July 1 alcohol can't be delivered after midnight, and drivers are responsible for checking both the age and sobriety of people who purchase it. Many Sydney bars have forged ahead and made substantial changes to their offering – think pre-batched cocktails, playlists and cook-at-home meals, not to mention glassware and equipment hire. Here are the ones worth checking out in Sydney. And don't forget, your favourite watering hole is probably home to lots of (literally) top-shelf hooch you won't be able to get your hands on anywhere else, so reach out and ask what's on offer. Need to start your morning on the right foot? Order a bag of coffee beans from Sydney's best roasters that deliver. 

Listings and reviews (98)

Senpai Ramen

Senpai Ramen

Ramen. Omakase. In 2022, it is difficult to think of two words more likely to accelerate the resting heart rate of a Sydneysider (although ‘free rent’ or ‘endless sunshine’ might come close). The city’s fixation with the ever popular noodle soup is nothing new. In recent years, however, a legion of splashy Japanese diners devoted to elaborate seasonal tasting menus ('omakase' loosely means 'I’ll leave it up to you') has emerged, reigniting a fervour for sushi, sashimi, kushiyaki and tempura, as well as the degustation dining format.  Senpai Ramen is an attempt to unify all these ideas orchestrated by Chase Kojima, the California-born chef best known as the top brass at Sokyo (home to one of the most sought-after omakase bookings in town) and the force behind fast-casual concept Simulation Senpai. How much you enjoy it depends largely on your willingness to take it for exactly what it is – a casual and commendably affordable way to experience this style of eating. The set menu comprises seven courses, including dessert and a thoughtfully portioned ramen of your choice. Those first four "courses" are more like three-bite morsels, delivered by well-meaning staff not one-by-one but in groups of two at rapid speed. So rapid, in fact, that if you book a solo spot there’s every chance you’ll be out the door in not much more than half the allocated 90-minute sitting time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a little breathing room wouldn’t hurt. There are captivating moments: a s

Bar Mammoni

Bar Mammoni

Unlike Melbourne, Sydney has never quite gotten the ‘all-day dining’ thing right. There have certainly been valiant attempts (vale, A1 Canteen), but for some reason or other – the atmosphere, the neighbourhood, the variability of the offering – ‘morning-till-night’ places just don’t seem to last too long.  It is hard to imagine that Bar Mammoni, the laneway café and bar from the up-and-coming House Made Hospitality group, will suffer the same fate. There’s the location, for one thing – tucked behind Customs House in the burgeoning Quay Quarter Lanes precinct off Circular Quay – which pretty much guarantees steady foot traffic. There’s the lure of the operators, too, who made a big splash in 2021 by transforming neighbouring Hinchcliff House into a red-hot, Italian-accented mega-venue. The real hook, though, is neither of those things, but an item on the breakfast menu: a rolled-up slice of slippery LP’s mortadella that’s brushed with feisty salsa verde and laid inside a neat rectangular croissant on piped little clouds of whipped ricotta. It’s called a cro-sando and, at $8.50, has to be among the most purely enjoyable things you can eat in this city for less than a tenner. If the notion of ordering one before 9am makes you feel especially smug, know that you also have the option to spike your morning juice with a nip of Campari. To experience Mammoni at its peak, aim to arrive not long after the doors open at 7am. That way, you’re more likely to pinch one of the 30 seats (24

Ayam Goreng 99

Ayam Goreng 99

5 out of 5 stars

Yes, there is nasi goreng on the menu. And yes, there is beef rendang as well. But let’s face it – you, and everybody else, are here for the chicken. You will have to make choices: thigh or breast; grilled over charcoal, deep-fried, or deep-fried and coated in a sweetish glaze, Javanese style. Whatever you decide, the result will be a tender, succulent and seasoned to the high heavens thanks to a hearty marinade of turmeric, garlic, ginger and galangal, among other ingredients. It epitomises the ‘hole-in-the-wall’ trope in the very best of ways, almost always pack to the rafters with expats and uni students, and a true champion in the value-for-money stakes.

Bar Copo

Bar Copo

The corner of Glenayr Avenue in Bondi, where Hall and O’Brien Streets intersect, is the sort of high-traffic intersection that deserves a buzzy, reliable spot for a snack and a cold one. And in Bar Copo – which opened just before Sydney plunged into its second Covid lockdown in June of 2021 – it seems it may have found one. By 6.30pm on any given evening, there is often a wait to get in. The doors and bifold windows are wide open, inviting passersby into the breezy, compact and vaguely retro space where laidback expats planted on barstools and huddled around small tables gossip in Portuguese and bicker in Spanish over who gets to dip the last thick, starchy cassava chip into what’s left of the garlicky allioli.  Copo is named after the ‘copo americano’, in which most of the drinks are served – a palm-sized, 190ml faceted glass tumbler that will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in Brazil necking draught beers in the unfussy local bars known as ‘botecos’. Copo’s owners clearly have, and this is their attempt to bring a somewhat more polished take on the “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” ethos to the 2026 postcode.  For the most part, they succeed. That may come down to the fact that while Bondi isn’t short on bars or restaurants, surprisingly few are so effortlessly casual and stylish. Fewer still get the job done with such an upbeat and attitude-free approach to service. Sometimes, it means that getting someone’s attention can take longer than it should, but relax, you’

Baba's Place

Baba's Place

In physics, we’re taught that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. More often than not, a similar logic is at play in the unending rhythm of venue openings in Sydney. So when bigwigs like Neil Perry and Phil Wood open swanky restaurants in the moneyed heart of the Eastern Suburbs, for instance, it usually follows that something more DIY appears in an industrial pocket of Marrickville best known for illicit raves, craft breweries and wholesale poultry.  In this case, that something is Baba’s Place – a sprawling, high-ceilinged warehouse turned eatery with an interior design that looks as though St Vincent de Paul himself decked the halls with kitschy chandeliers, hanging tapestries, framed needlepoint art work, old family photos and mismatched chairs and tables overlaid with doilies and clear plastic. If it strikes you as a roguishly energetic operation run by a few mates who got together and decided to give it a red-hot go, it’s because that is pretty much exactly what it is, set to a deafening soundtrack of throwback Levantine jams. Those mates are co-owners Alexander Kelly and head chef Jean-Paul El Tom, two school friends with respective backgrounds in literature and engineering who ran Baba’s Place as a pop-up at places like CBD bar PS40, Newtown café Rolling Penny and Bush in Redfern. Kelly hails from Macedonian descent (the restaurant is named after his ‘baba’, or grandmother), while El Tom has Lebanese lineage, and sous chef/co-owner James Bellos’s ancestry

Re-

Re-

These days, when nearly every piece of PR related to restaurants, cafés and bars inevitably peddles some degree of ‘sustainability’, it’s hard to peg who’s really going the extra mile. You know, the folks going further than bamboo straws, honey from the rooftop hive and flicking the lights off for Earth Hour. On the surface, Re may not appear to be doing anything too different. It’s a stark, borderline brutalist cocktail bar occupying a former locomotive workshop – all hard lines, sharp angles, soft curves and gritty industrial details given warmth with glossy design magazine styling. But that bar top, which looks something like terrazzo on an acid trip? It’s a mass of recycled plastic milk bottles and containers. Those light fixtures and wine coolers? Made with mycelium, the vegetative, thread-like part of a fungus. And the leather that upholsters the banquette? Not leather at all, but pineapple-leaf fibre.  Nearly everything you come into contact with, in fact – from the salvaged Maison Balzac glassware and Mud ceramics formed with excess clay to the imperfect produce in the drinks and Latta Vino wine poured from ten-litre casks – aims to minimise environmental impact in some way. The eventual goal, says co-owner Matt Whiley, is to be completely waste-free. Sydneysiders first got a taste of Whiley’s regenerative school of thinking at Scout, the Surry Hills outpost of his groundbreaking London bar, which he opened with Icebergs restaurateur Maurice Terzini on top of the Dolp

Ursula's Paddington

Ursula's Paddington

One very curious consequence of the pandemic has been the rise of a phenomenon known as ‘dopamine dressing’, wherein people don vivid colours and vibrant patterns to make themselves feel pleasure and glee. If one Sydney restaurant among the blizzard of new openings has emerged from the wake of Covid-19 more gussied-up than the others, more eager to elicit the ecstasy that comes with dining out, it’s Ursula’s Paddington. Set foot in the regal Paddington terrace that used to house both Guillaume and Darcy’s, and you’ll be met with Melbourne designer Brahman Perera’s whimsical pastiche of warm butterscotch tones and vibrant blues, cushy carpeting, glowing Maison Balzac glassware and sculpted Clementine Maconachie wall lights that look like origami folded by Frank Gehry. Spark joy the space certainly does, and so, too, should the guy doing the cooking – one of the country’s most well-respected and likeable chefs, Phil Wood.  Before skipping town to commandeer the culinary program at Pt. Leo Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, Wood manned the pans under Neil Perry in Sydney for the best part of a decade, as the executive chef at Rockpool and its short-lived successor, Eleven Bridge. In those kitchens, he melded Asian flavours, top-drawer Australian produce and high-wire French technique with an often extraordinary degree of finesse. In this one, where he’s playing the chef-owner role for the first time (along with partner in business and life, Lis Davies), the motifs are not dissi

The Old Fitzroy Hotel

The Old Fitzroy Hotel

5 out of 5 stars

There’s no need to look at the Old Fitz all that closely to notice there have been some changes. Nothing major from the outside – fresh signage, more outdoor seating and some striped umbrellas better suited, perhaps, to a St Tropez beach club than a 160-year-old pub. Inside, the state of affairs is much the same, from the crimson carpet and pressed tin ceilings to the cranking fireplace. The theatre remains, too, out the back and down the stairs. And that’s a good thing, because the diehard local regulars and their dogs would likely stage a riot otherwise. Peer into the kitchen, though, and you’ll find somebody new in charge. Her name is Anna Ugarte-Carral, and with her comes a wealth of experience in some of Sydney’s most demanding kitchens, including Hubert, Firedoor and, most recently, Momofuku Seiobo. At just 27 years of age, she took out the 2020 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year award, an accolade that has catapulted the careers of big names like Mark Best, Dan Hong and Sixpenny’s Dan Puskas. And while some chefs with similar credentials might aim to pull no punches, she’s taking a refreshingly, decidedly unshowy approach to her first head chef role.  Her compact menu owes as much to the classic French bistro as it does a modest Tuscan osteria. Steak frites (sliced bavette with sturdy, skin-on chips and a splotch of herb butter) and pan-fried market fish (maybe Spanish mackerel, a nod to Ugarte-Carral’s Spanish background) jostle with the likes of ‘minestrone pa

Margaret

Margaret

In July of 2020, at the age of 63, Neil Perry announced he was retiring, after roughly 40 years in the game. For many, the news that one of Modern Australian cuisine’s founding fathers was stepping back from his role as culinary director of Rockpool Dining Group – a restaurant empire that encompassed 80-odd establishments across the country – came as something of a shock. But some people, it seems, just can’t stay away for too long.   One year and a bit later, after a gruelling stretch that saw the celebrity chef feeding thousands of disadvantaged people, hosting online cooking classes and pivoting to takeaway, Perry and his signature ponytail are back in the kitchen at his latest (and reportedly final) venture, Margaret. It is his first venue to date without any financial partners and, in many ways, his most personal project yet.   It feels very much like a family affair. Step inside and Perry’s daughter, manager Josephine Perry Clift, might be the first to greet you. Look towards the open kitchen, and you’ll spot executive chef Richard Purdue on the pass, who began working alongside Perry nearly 30 years ago as an apprentice at Rockpool. Scan the cocktail list, and you’ll discover the perfect Martini was “quintessential” to Margaret, Perry’s late mother, after whom the restaurant is named. Seems only fitting, then, to start with one.    The bar has assembled an adventurous collection of small-batch Australian vermouths and gins, the wildest of which might be a mixture of Re

Maíz

Maíz

When Rosa Cienfuegos opened Dulwich Hill’s Tamaleria and Mexican Deli in 2018, she offered us a much welcome glimpse of everyday Mexican food beyond pick‘n’mix burrito chains, uninspired Taco Tuesday pub specials and Margarita slushies in some cartoonishly appropriated vision of the Day of the Dead. Now, with the arrival of Maíz Mexican Street Food on south King Street in Newtown, it appears that we have ourselves another.  Maíz is the brainchild of co-owner Juan Carlos Negrete Lopez, a former Three Blue Ducks sous-chef and permaculture designer who hails from Baja California. And unless you have shelled out more than a few pesos at Oaxacan market stalls or on the side of the road in Puebla, quesadillas are the only item you might recognise on his expansive and exciting menu – a menu which is essentially a celebration of corn in its various incarnations.  Sopes – thick, saucer-like masa tarts with pinched edges – act as vehicles for juicy shreds of beef barbacoa, plump mushrooms sheathed in umber-hued mole or a sweet-sour symphony of hibiscus flowers and pineapple jam. Tlacoyos are even thicker, purple corn patties shaped like flattened footballs and stuffed with black beans and topped with a simple avocado and corn spread, or fried eggs soused in tomatillo and pasilla chilli salsas. There’s also a section devoted to the breakfast favourite, chilaquiles – crisp-fried tortilla chips smothered in crema, queso fresco and poached chicken or stringy lengths of braised nopale cactu

Pepito's

Pepito's

Once again, we find ourselves faced with the age-old question: is this a restaurant, or is this a bar? On the one hand, you could pull up a stool at Pepito’s for a longie of Reschs or a glass of natural Chilean red wine and leave it at that. On the other, that would mean missing out on the leche de tigre – and that would be foolish. Your eyes will tell you it’s essentially a glorified shot glass of ceviche. Your mouth, however, will register that it is, in fact, so much more. Once you make your way past the toasted Peruvian corn kernels and lightly crumbed calamari on top, through the layers of explosively fresh prawns and firm-fleshed Hiramasa kingfish, you’re left with nothing but a nip of the marinade, which you’re advised to drink. If you’ve never fully realised the power of lime, ginger, garlic and chilli shot through with a marine tang, you most certainly will. But back to the matter at hand. Pepito’s, it turns out, is neither restaurant nor bar, but a homage to what Peruvians call a ‘taberna’ – an unpretentious, often century-old, family-run neighbourhood haunt where people from all walks of life cross paths for a drink and a casual bite to eat. Owner José Alkon and his family migrated to Australia when he was eight years old, and this is his way of introducing a slice of everyday life in his native Lima to Illawarra Road (complete with pan flute Smokey Robinson covers that play in the bathroom). Alkon is also a cinematographer by day, which goes a long way in explaini

Bistrot 916

Bistrot 916

You've probably had at least one 'a-ha' moment with Dan Pepperell’s cooking. The pretzel with whipped bottarga that may never leave 10 William Street’s menu, perhaps? Or was it the triumphant chicken fricassée or gutsy kimchi gratin at Restaurant Hubert? Or even that unforgettable butter-chicken-esque trippa alla Romana from his most recent stint at Alberto’s Lounge? Odds are, you're likely to have another one at his latest venture, Bistrot 916, which opened in early 2021. Especially if you order the duck frites. It’s not the most elaborate dish you’ll ever see, but it doesn’t have to be – not when the fat underneath the dry-aged bird’s rugged skin is so carefully rendered; the breast meat itself both rosy and preposterously juicy; the just-crisp shoestring chips seasoned to a tee. Then there’s the sauce: a mustardy, herb-heavy butter emulsion with walnuts, Worcestershire and anchovies that puts the red wine jus you might have expected to shame. This is not your everyday neighbourhood bistro. We’re talking about Potts Point here, so you'll find tablecloths the palest shade of pink, lobster frites for an eye-watering ‘market price’ and young fashionistas rubbing elbows with the local sweater-over-the-shoulders set. The former Lotus space now feels like a basement brasserie seen through the eyes of Wes Anderson (even though it's on street level), rendered eternally dark by an all-encompassing coat of black paint. So dark, that without the faint wattage in the vintage fixtures

News (94)

Support your favourite restaurant in these trying times by buying a voucher

Support your favourite restaurant in these trying times by buying a voucher

No two ways about it, it’s been more than a rough streak for the Australian hospitality industry in 2020. First came the summer’s horrific bushfire crisis, which impacted bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants during their busiest time of the year – especially those in regional areas, which rely heavily on holiday trade. And now, along with the global outbreak of the coronavirus, comes a period of unprecedented uncertainty as venues around the world are being forced to temporarily shut the doors. Unlike in so many other industries, hospitality staff simply cannot work from home – and their places of employment depend entirely on people coming through the doors. In what feels like a couple of weeks, that has become a serious question of health and safety. As venues find ways to adapt to the current situation and ever-changing circumstances, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to visit your favourite venue in order to show your support. Buying a voucher is one of the best ways you can do your part right now, because the money goes straight to the restaurant and ensures the doors stay open one more day. Below is a list of links to purchase vouchers from the restaurants on our 50 best Eat list. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and if you’re wondering whether your local favourite offers gift vouchers, the best thing to do is pick up the phone and call. (And let’s face it, most restaurants are all too happy to take your money – margins are slim!) Terms and conditions w

Din Tai Fung has launched an online store and is now delivering frozen dumplings

Din Tai Fung has launched an online store and is now delivering frozen dumplings

When it comes to comfort foods, few compare to the almighty dumpling. And when it comes to dumplings, almost none are as widely revered around the world as the ones you’ll find at Din Tai Fung. Melbourne's Emporium outlet of the insanely popular Taiwanese franchise has remained open for takeaway and home delivery via online partners during the shutdowns, but the Michelin-starred chain is now offering a frozen range of its most popular products on a new online store. The legendary xiao long bao are available, as well as the glorious shrimp and pork wontons, along with a host of other dumpling varieties, which can be boiled, steamed or deep fried to your liking. Both savoury and sweet buns are also on offer, as are regular and wide noodles, soup broths, fried rice and desserts. You can even purchase Din Tai Fung steamer baskets. The minimum spend for home delivery is $50, and delivery sits between $10 and $20, but the goods last for up to two months in the freezer so there isn’t any harm in stocking up (not that you probably wouldn’t anyway). Want to know what other Melbourne restaurants and cafés are offering in terms of takeaway and home delivery? Find out here.

This legendary Surry Hills restaurant has launched an online shop

This legendary Surry Hills restaurant has launched an online shop

Update: On June 10, Fireshop and Gelato Messina teamed up to launch a new truffle gelato. They've gathered truffles from Manjimup, in Western Australia, and churned the fragrant flavours into Messina's jersey milk base. Order online from Fireshop for pick-up starting from Friday. Admit it: you never dreamed you’d be putting the finishing touches on dishes from the likes of Mr Wong and Yellow in your own kitchen. And the thought of cooking housemade pasta from Ragazzi or utilising the same produce as some of the best restaurants in Sydney probably never crossed your mind. But, alas, here we are – and there’s now another top-tier eatery offering killer staples and ready-made meals you can add to your newfangled shopping list. Firedoor, Lennox Hastie’s epic flame-powered Surry Hills restaurant, has announced the launch of Fireshop – a new online marketplace featuring “almost-ready” dishes, fresh produce, dry goods and pantry essentials curated by the chef and his team. Die-hard fans will recognise dishes like Goolwa pippies in XO sauce with karkalla and Murray cod in pil-pil, but there are new additions, too, like kangaroo sausages with bush-tomato sauce, as well as sides like a smoked potato salad with horseradish and dill. And of course, no meal could possibly be complete without a loaf of Pioik’s sourdough bread and the restaurant’s housemade smoked butter. In addition, you can stock up on Messina’s Jersey milk, free-range eggs from the Southern Highlands, Cudgegong Valley ol

Here's how Sydney's hospitality businesses are adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic

Here's how Sydney's hospitality businesses are adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic

When “non-essential” businesses and services closed on Monday, March 23, restaurants and cafés were restricted to takeaway and home delivery only. On Friday, May 15, they were allowed to reopen with a maximum capacity of ten patrons. While many of our favourite spots are offering sit-down dining again, they are also still doing takeaway and delivery. Other restaurants have decided not to reopen their dine-in service until restrictions are relaxed further, and takeaway remains their only form of business for now. Despite drastic staff cuts and an unprecedented downturn in trade, our city’s hospitality workforce is still proving how resourceful, supportive and proactive it can be, from heat-and-eat options that you finish at home, to pre-prepared freezer meals and produce boxes direct from their suppliers. And while restrictions are still in place, ordering takeaway remains the best way to support our favourite restaurants and cafés. Below is a by-no-means exhaustive list of the venues making it incredibly easy for you to continue showing your support (in alphabetical order). Please understand that circumstances are changing constantly and everyone is doing their best to keep up. Check the social media accounts of your favourite venues for the most up-to-date information.   Arthur This intimate deg-only diner in Surry Hills has launched ‘Arthur To-Go’, a collection of rotating $40 meals for two the Arthur team likes to cook at home. Think lasagne with pork and tomato ragù, cott

Some of Australia’s best oyster farmers have launched a delivery service

Some of Australia’s best oyster farmers have launched a delivery service

Perhaps you’ve spent the past month or so upping your home-cooking game and perfecting the art of baking sourdough. Maybe you’re on the third rotation of a small but mighty repertoire of pantry pastas and sad sandwiches. Or has nothing changed, and you still find yourself ordering takeaway every night? Whatever the case, you probably haven’t kicked off a meal with a glass of bubbles and a handful of Sydney rock oysters in a fair while, and thanks to the good folk at East 33, you now can. East 33 is one of the nation’s most esteemed suppliers of these beautiful bivalves, and for a limited time is delivering oysters usually reserved for Australia’s best restaurants directly to your door (for a $10 shipping fee) at a fraction of the usual price. For just $59, you can score two dozen – which comes out to less than $2.50 a pop – and it’s up to you whether you’d like them shucked or prefer to do the work yourself.  It’s well worth spending an extra $10 for a ‘Tasting Kit’, which showcases oysters from each of East 33’s three farming regions along the coast of New South Wales. You’ll get to experience the different flavours and textures from waterways between Pambula and Nambucca, with tasting notes to guide your journey. They’re all farmed by a collective that includes multiple fourth-generation families, with a heritage that spans more than 130 years – so regardless of whether you prefer yours clean and dry or creamy and salty, quality is never in question.  Delivery to Melbourne

You can now take virtual cooking lessons from out-of-work Sydney chefs

You can now take virtual cooking lessons from out-of-work Sydney chefs

What do you get when you combine a suddenly stood-down legion of talented kitchen professionals and a population spending more time cooking at home? For Ankita Metha, the answer is a clever business idea. Plagued with boredom in the early days of lockdown, the Sydneysider and software engineer enrolled in an online cooking class with her mother-in-law and, to her surprise, thoroughly enjoyed mastering the fine art of baking pecan pie from scratch. The next day, she bumped into her barista on a run, who told her he’d been stood down, and the concept clicked – why not create a community initiative that connects displaced workers with people looking to upskill? Mehta took a photo of a few rogue pantry ingredients and posted it in a few online chef groups, asking whether anyone was willing to help her create something delicious. She ended up with zucchini noodles in a slow-roasted chickpea and tomato ragu, as well as a chef that was eager to give her a hand with a new project. The result is Yum Tum, a website offering intimate cooking classes with Sydney-based chefs from all over the world, who’ve clocked time at the likes of Quay, Fred’s, Coogee Pavilion and Bar Patrón to name a few. Lessons are limited to a maximum of five participants and typically cost between $20 and $25 per person (plus the cost of the ingredients). In 45-90 minutes, you’ll learn a traditional sweet or savoury recipe from your chosen chef’s home country, from paella and tacos al pastor to millefeuille, shor

One of Australia’s biggest restaurant groups has launched a community meal program

One of Australia’s biggest restaurant groups has launched a community meal program

It should come as no surprise that an industry centred around taking care of other people also knows how to look after its own. Over the course of the past month, bars and restaurants across the city have responded to these challenging times with all manner of inspiring initiatives, from feeding displaced workers to pivoting their businesses in order to keep their staff employed. Neil Perry’s Rockpool Dining Group is the latest to step up to the plate, with the launch of Hope Delivery. Backed by Rockpool Dining Group’s charitable arm, Rockpool Foundation, the community meal program kicked off in Sydney on Thursday, April 30, and in Melbourne on May 7, with the goal of feeding international hospitality workers, in addition to the homeless and disadvantaged. Meals are prepared and distributed by staff members and volunteers at Rosetta in Sydney and Melbourne’s Rockpool Bar and Grill, and through agencies like OzHarvest, Foodbank and Meals on Wheels. “Neil and I wanted to see the Rockpool Foundation expand and add another meaningful and critically important program that helps our visa staff and other hospitality employees in need,” says Rockpool Dining Group CEO Thomas Pash. The restaurant group is sourcing ingredients directly from its extensive network of suppliers, growers and makers in the hope of keeping producers afloat as well. Hope Delivery is aiming to feed 2,000 people per day, seven days a week, in both cities until at least November. “We can stop sporting and cultur

Mr Wong and other Merivale favourites are now offering takeaway and delivery

Mr Wong and other Merivale favourites are now offering takeaway and delivery

When you’ve got more than 70 brands and venues in your portfolio, adapting to a lengthy list of new regulations and restrictions overnight isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Merivale took a brief hiatus when bars and restaurants were ordered to close on March 23, but returned in early April with ‘Merivale at Home’, a new delivery service offering five different “almost-ready” menus for two from the likes of Mr Wong, Fred’s, Bert’s and Totti’s. Now, the restaurant and bar conglomerate is upping the ante and adding pick-up and home delivery options to the mix. Ready-to-eat signature dishes and weekly specials from three of the group’s leading establishments – Mr Wong, the Paddington and Coogee Pavilion – are now available to pick up, which means you can enjoy Peking duck pancakes, rotisserie chook and a bevy of pizzas and pastas without busting out the pots and pans or having to wash up. The move coincides with the government’s decision to allow two adults to visit other households, so you’ll also find larger share-style dishes like whole roast duck and three-course family meals for four – a perfect way to resurrect that thing we used to call “having friends over for dinner”. The industry pioneer has also created its very own delivery service, beginning with Mr Wong which is expected to launch this week in time for Mother's Day. Vehicles will be driven entirely by Merivale employees who would otherwise not have been working during this period of uncertainty. You can place an ord

One of Sydney’s best pastry chefs is selling tubs of cookie dough

One of Sydney’s best pastry chefs is selling tubs of cookie dough

Are you one of the seemingly few people left in this city that hasn’t fallen victim to the unrelenting wave of sourdough mania, but still loves to bake? Are you a hapless cook, whose prowess doesn’t extend far beyond sticking a tray of dough in the oven? Or are you, perhaps, someone that just really like cookies? Whatever the case, your time in the kitchen is about get a lot more exciting.  Anna Polyviou, the instantly recognisable pink-mohakwed executive pastry chef at Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel, is joining forces with chicken institution Chargrill Charlie’s and selling cookie dough for you to bake at home (or eat with a spoon – no judgment). Beginning Friday, May 8, 600-gram tubs of the triple chocolate dough will be available for $15 at all 13 Chargrill Charlie’s outlets in Sydney, as well as on the Chargrill Charlie’s app and through select delivery partners until sold out. The award-winning author, MasterChef guest judge and so-called ‘punk princess of pastry’ is the latest addition to a series of collaborations organised by Chargrill Charlie’s, as part of its 'Local Flavours' initiative. In an effort to lend a hand to out-of-work chefs and restaurants that have been forced to close their doors in response to government restrictions, the family-owned chicken empire has been selling products from other businesses to help keep them afloat. Last week, Lotus head chef Sam Young’s lasagna was up for grabs, and Middle Eastern specialities from Redfern’s Kepos Street Kitchen hav

You can now support hospitality workers in need by buying wine in bulk

You can now support hospitality workers in need by buying wine in bulk

As yet another week of restrictions and uncertainty rolls by, there’s every chance you’re wondering how you can help others that are doing it tough and simultaneously thinking of restocking the wine cupboard. We don’t blame you – these aren’t uncommon thoughts nowadays. The good news is you can do both in one fell swoop, thanks to three mates in the Sydney wine industry. Wine Aid is a new initiative developed by Connor Sainsbury-Canham, Dan Simmons and Andrew Jamieson – a trio of hospitality pros with decades of experience consulting, importing and distributing between them. The premise is a simple one: you buy a curated mystery pack of six ($150) or twelve ($295) wines from small Australian producers which are delivered to your door, and a portion of the proceeds goes towards providing meals for hospitality workers from participating restaurants. Each six pack sold equates to two meals, while a dozen provides four. “The hospitality industry has been very kind to us throughout our careers,” Simmons says. “Our shared goal is to support those that serve us’ in a time of crisis.” The wines are currently for sale at bars, restaurants and bottle shops across the city, including Annata in Crows Nest, Arthur in Surry Hills, Osteria Coogee, Prince of York and the Oak Barrel in the CBD, as well as Manly’s Winona Wine. In order to receive a meal, hospitality staff simply need to follow Wine Aid on Instagram (@wineaid_), and they’ll find out which restaurants are participating and how t

The Tramsheds Growers Markets has gone virtual

The Tramsheds Growers Markets has gone virtual

Nothing will ever compare to the feel-good feeling that comes with meandering through the stalls of a weekend farmers market. They’ll be back someday, without a doubt, but at least we can still get our hands on premium produce in the meantime. In fact, never before have we had access to restaurant-quality goods on such an extensive scale – we can now buy oysters that were destined to be served by Sydney’s best chefs, score boxes of fruits and vegetables from some of the finest restaurants in the country and, thanks to the good folk at the Tramsheds Growers Markets, we can still purchase products from our favourite stallholders. The weekly Sunday market has temporarily moved online and has made the best of the best from its growers and makers available at the click of a button. Yes, that means Madeleines, meringues and canelés from Sacrebleu; doughnuts from Sergio’s Kitchen; all things macadamia from Brother Mountain; handcrafted miso from Enokido; olives galore from the Olive Bar and small-batch granola from MG Food Co. Breakfast boxes from Brickfields are also available (complete with Pepe Saya butter), as are the recently launched smoked sausages from LP’s Quality Meats. If you’re after fresh produce, boxes of organic fruits and vegetables are on offer from Prickle Hill. Small boxes start at $60 while large ones go for $90, and the contents depend on what comes from the farm each week. For an additional $30 or $35, respectively, you have the option to upgrade to a growers b

Icebergs is now offering a series of ace at-home dining experiences

Icebergs is now offering a series of ace at-home dining experiences

Whether you’re knocking back tip-top cocktails in the bar overlooking the beach on the sunniest of summer days or sitting down to a lavish long Sunday lunch in the dining room, it’s safe to say that a session at Icebergs really is a consummate Sydney experience. And while it is nigh impossible to imagine re-creating the magic in your lounge room without those knockout views, owner Maurice Terzini and his team are giving it a red-hot go by introducing a handful of new at-home dining experiences. Like many other pointy-end restaurants, the modern Italian standard-setter temporarily closed the doors on March 22, but is back in business as of this week with the launch of Icebergs Moments – a series of events that would have otherwise taken place at the seaside stalwart, recalibrated for enjoyment under your own roof.  Action kicks off this Thursday, May 7, with a Full Moon Spaghetti and Wine party, spotlighting pasta dishes and hand-selected vino from Tuscany.  You’ve got the choice of “almost-ready” spaghetti sauced in wild-boar ragù or ziti with braised bitter greens, and you can pimp up the festivities with a nip of liquorice amaro from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella to finish. Icebergs resident DJ Charlie Chux has also created a Full Moon playlist so that you can keep the mood alive.   If you’re still looking for ways to spoil mum on Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, the restaurant has put together an epic three-course takeaway spread for four. You’ll begin with Sonoma bread a