Tamar is a staff writer for Time Out Sydney. She's never met a baked good she doesn't like or a cat she trusts. Despite the odds, she still dreams of becoming an Olympic figure skater. 

Tamar Cranswick

Tamar Cranswick

Articles (12)

The 65 best cheap eats in Sydney right now

The 65 best cheap eats in Sydney right now

Winter 2024 update: Let’s face it: life is expensive. But the good news is that you don’t need to stay home every night and survive on frozen pizza, thanks to our city’s incredible cheap eats. The best bit? Often they rival any dishes you would find in a fancy fine diner. We’ve rounded up the top places with prices that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, including our current faves Spicy Joint, Emma's Snack Bar and Tita Carinderia. Because life’s too short to eat bad food. Going out for a meal is sometimes a big occasion, worth the splurge. But it doesn't have to be that way. From banh mi to tonkotsu ramen, biang biang noodles to vegan burgers, and pretty much everything else in between, some of Sydney's greatest culinary hits are the cheapest. Time Out Sydney critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around town to bring you this list, and while cheap isn't what it used to be, there are still lots of excellent affordable venues to check out. These are the ones well worth their salt. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. Want to spend less at the big-ticket players? Check out our cheap fine-dining hacks. Looking for a café to sit down at for coffee and brunch? Here's our guide to the best cafés in Sydney.

The 17 best fish and chips in Australia

The 17 best fish and chips in Australia

Fish and chips are such a nostalgic meal for Australians that it’s easy to forget that they didn’t actually originate here. Sure, the Brits often get the credit for the dish (they do love their salt and vinegar), but it turns out that Portugal is the motherland of the ultimate takeaway food. Wherever it was invented, we’re just happy that it touched down in the land Down Under, and at just about every waterside location you can imagine. After all, it isn’t a salty summer by the beach if your hunger wasn’t satiated with some fish and chippies, right? So whether you're touring Australia's best beaches, or need a pit stop on your great Australian road trip, here are the best fish and chips shops in the land.  RECOMMENDED: These are the best pizzas in Australia.

The best private dining rooms in Sydney

The best private dining rooms in Sydney

There are times when dining among strangers in the atmospheric clatter of a restaurant is just what you’re after. Then there are times when that simply won’t do, and what you’d really like is a private room with your people. Ideally that room isn't in your own house, either – it's in one of Sydney’s best restaurants, where a team of trained professionals does the heavy lifting. Happily, that is entirely achievable. From the laidback saltwater vibes of the Bathers’ Pavilion to the perfected polish of Quay, to the rollicking good times at Hubert, here’s a handy list of the best private dining rooms in Sydney. Book one for your next office function, big celebration – or when you just don’t feel like doing the dishes. Going out for dinner with a smaller group? Check out Sydney's best restaurants. Prefer dining in the great outdoors? Have a look at the best places for a picnic in Sydney.

The best fish and chips in Sydney

The best fish and chips in Sydney

If you want a fuss-free feed come rain or shine, nothing beats golden, crisp, flaky battered fish and a hearty serving of chips. But what makes a really excellent fish supper? It's the quality of the batter through to the cut of the chip, the potatoes used and even the seasonings and sauces – are you for ketchup, vinegar, chicken salt, tartare or simply a squeeze of lemon juice? And it comes down to how fresh the fish is, of course. There’s a lot that goes into getting it just right and a wide gulf between the catch of the day and yesterday's chip paper. So Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have scoured the city to put together a list of the best to help you net the perfect catch. RECOMMENDED: These are the best seafood restaurants in Sydney. Check out our guide to the top waterfront restaurants in Sydney.

The best Turkish restaurants in Sydney right now

The best Turkish restaurants in Sydney right now

With fragrant, rose-scented desserts, warm spiced kofta and smoky grilled skewers of tender meat, Turkish cuisine is far more than just a late-night kebab or a tub of hummus at a backyard party. A huge wave of new Turkish restaurants has been taking over Sydney in recent years, and frankly, we're thrilled with the regional and specific dishes to discover as well as the classics that know no borders.  To make life easy, we've rounded up the best of the best so you can get your fix any time. Can't get enough of Sydney's finest? Check out our picks of all the best restaurants in town right now.

The best libraries in Sydney

The best libraries in Sydney

Dusty libraries stuffed with shelves of long-forgotten books, where silence was ordered and imagination limited, are a thing of the past. The best modern libraries are beautifully designed, high-tech, and alive with possibilities. Some even have slippery slides. To uncover the best of the bunch, Time Out editors (including our Lifestyle Writer Winnie Stubbs) packed up our laptops and got stuck in to some research in these dens of information and education. Whether you’re looking for a quiet corner to read in comfort, or want to immerse yourself in their rich resources, here’s our collection of Sydney’s top libraries.  RECOMMENDED: These are the best things to do in Sydney this weekend 52 things to do in Sydney at least once

The best bookshops in Sydney to discover your next favourite read

The best bookshops in Sydney to discover your next favourite read

There are few greater pleasures in life than getting lost in a really good book. We've put together a list of the best bookshops in Sydney that offer up a vibey day of wholesome literary fun, but will deliver juicy reading material straight to your doorstep. What's better than that? Still curious? How about reading one of these 12 cool books about Sydney.

The Sydney restaurants changing the world for the better

The Sydney restaurants changing the world for the better

Social enterprises and not-for-profit endeavours are taking root in the city, and we’ve put together a list of the most enticing ventures. From providing employment training to refugees and asylum seekers, to creating sustainable income for widows in Sri Lanka, these change makers are giving back.

The Welcome Dinner Project

The Welcome Dinner Project

For newly arrived Australians – migrants, students, refugees and asylum seekers – it’s often difficult to find a sense of belonging. The Welcome Dinner Project is helping to make these new Aussies feel more at home, by opening up kitchens, and hearts, across Sydney. The social enterprise pairs newly arrived Australians with everyday Aussies for collaborative dinners held in homes across the city. Equal numbers from each group are invited, and each guest brings a dish that’s culturally meaningful to him or her. Coming together over a meal is a universal concept and organisers hope the dinners will sew the seeds for a more inclusive Australia.  You can nominate to host a dinner, or just come along as a guest. Either way, the idea is to form new connections and appreciate that our cultural differences make for a richer society.

The Bread and Butter Project

The Bread and Butter Project

The Bread and Butter Project is an initiative of Bourke Street Bakery demigods Paul Allam and David McGuinness. The idea came to Allum after he and his wife travelled to Mae Sot refugee camp in Thailand to teach refugee women how to bake. Allum wanted to extend this knowledge transfer back home, and The Bread and Butter Project was born.   The social enterprise business offers 12-month tafe-accredited traineeships in baking for refugees and asylum seekers, with an eye towards long term employment prospects.   You can get your hands on the bread every Saturday at the Carriageworks Farmers Market as well as at other food stores around Sydney, and all profits from sales go back into the project. Anyone who’s ever stood in line at Bourke Street Bakery (that’d be all of us then) knows these guys make seriously good bread.   All rise for the next generation. 

Mazi Mas

Mazi Mas

This pop-up, not-for-profit dinner project gives migrant, refugee and asylum seeker women the chance to gain practical experience in the hospitality industry. Mazi Mas dinners are a celebration of the women’s cultural and culinary backgrounds, and money from ticket and alcohol sales is used to pay participants award wages. Dinners are held throughout the year in existing restaurants and cafés, giving women the chance to develop their skills in a professional environment. Mazi Mas means ‘with us’ in Greek, and the events are an invitation to come together over a meal. We’re into that.

Two Good Co

Two Good Co

Sick of your usual Tuesday lunch fare? The legends behind Two Good Co have thought up the ultimate “one for you, one for me” system to get you out of your lunch-time rut. The idea is simple: order a Two Good salad or soup jar, it varies depending on the season, and the same meal goes to someone sleeping rough or in a domestic violence shelter. Women from the shelters are also employed to make the lunches. Jars are available for delivery each Tuesday – there’s a minimum order of 10, so they're perfect for the office. With some of Sydney’s top chefs coming up with the recipes, you know you’re onto a winner. Order the Kylie Kwong and you’ll get hokkien noodles with Chinese cabbage, herbs, native greens and ginger vinaigrette. Maybe you fancy a bit of Matt Moran? In that case, marinated chicken with chickpeas, tomatoes, black olives and feta will come your way. If Neil Perry’s more your guy, you can have his signature poached chicken, braised beetroot and sweet potato salad.  Check out the menu and sign up here. 

Listings and reviews (25)

Hermetica Flowers

Hermetica Flowers

In a world where people can buy bunches of plastic-wrapped flowers from the supermarket or the local servo, it’s comforting to know Hermetica is here to bring floral relief to those with more discerning tastes.  Enter into the bright warehouse space on the northern end of Dowling Street in Woolloomooloo and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the glorious buds the team has picked fresh from the Flower Market. Roses, peonies, chrysanthemums and orchids sit alongside native flowers and hanging fronds create a visual delight above. The open space means that you can watch the florists work their magic before your eyes.  Hermetica provides the full gamut of floristry services, from corporate events and weddings through to personal arrangements, all with a creative flair. This artistic vision means the team has the freedom to push boundaries and try things which go beyond the expected.  As operations manager Ashley Ryan explains, Hermeica doesn’t do “shy” bouquets. “When our arrangements come into a room, you notice them. It’s about that initial moment of emotion and reaction,” she says. “We also create a very ornate wrap and people often come to us for our coloured work. We do lots of really gorgeous colours.”   Bouquets of roses start from $60 – with ever-popular red roses from $75 – while the vibrant ‘Indigenous’ arrangement, a collection of glorious native Australian flowers and foliage, starts from $100. Those in the mood to spoil the object of their affection can add on a Mais

Rococo Flowers

Rococo Flowers

An unlikely start grew into a career calling for Rococo owner JJ Phan. Convinced by his mum to go into business together, Phan decided the closest he would ever get to a bouquet was to deliver them. Then, one day, he tried his hand at an arrangement and things blossomed from there. Twenty years later, the kid who once didn’t know a poppy from a poinsettia is the owner and creative force behind Rococo Flowers in Surry Hills.  Phan describes the Rococo aesthetic as “vintage and classic” and says that both corporate and private clients have come to expect elegance when they place an order.  “We don’t follow trends as such; we’re more interested in creating something beautiful,” he says. “Once you get a brief, you can take it and turn it into something amazing. People tell us what they want and we’re able to take those words and turn it into a vision.”  These ideas are put into practice in a studio space on Cleveland Street. While there isn’t a shopfront as such, Phan says the doors to Rococo are always open. “Our business is pretty much all online, but it’s always nice to see people walk past and then do a double take and come in to check out the flowers,” he says.  Bouquets range from $90 to $200, with wine and Champagne available for those wanting to add a little extra. The ‘Vibrant’ arrangement mixes seasonal flowers with bursts of colour, while as the name suggests, the ‘Vintage’ is a classic arrangement featuring pastel tones.  For Phan, every flower in his bouquets must be

Ultimo Library

Ultimo Library

On any given day you’ll find a mixed bag of patrons at the Ultimo Library, from retirees fresh from a Zumba workout at the community centre below to students and parents with little ones to tow. Reflecting the diverse community coming through its doors, the library is home to Chinese language texts and newspapers and hosts bilingual story time sessions in English and Mandarin. For the older kids, there’s a sizable young-adult collection and for the adults, there’s regular skills workshops.

Customs House Library

Customs House Library

This heritage listed building mixes beautiful design with contemporary comforts and is the perfect place for a pitstop or to while away the hours in the company of a good book. A helix staircase connects the three levels, with light pouring in through the atrium above. The Grand Reading Room is just that, bookshelves line the walls and light from the harbour-facing windows reaches to banquette style study tables. There’s an extensive range of Japanese and Korean texts available as well as music scores. The ground floor of the library, which used to accommodate the magazine and newspaper collection, is currently undergoing a revamp. Rumour is it may end up as an adult gaming centre.

Jessie Street National Women’s Library

Jessie Street National Women’s Library

The library is named after the eponymous Jessie Street, a women’s rights campaigner, and in keeping with Street’s work, the library has a focus on works that represent the experience and history of Australian women.

Woollahra Library at Double Bay

Woollahra Library at Double Bay

This Willy Wonka of libraries could convert even the most ardent library sceptic. The three-level space is bursting with greenery, from the vertical plant wall to the hanging vines that cascade from above; giving the feeling of being in the midst of an indoor garden. The children’s area is ripe for fostering growing imaginations, with arts and crafts, cushioned wall crevices and even a slippery slide! The clever design continues on the second level with the wide staircase doubling as an amphitheatre. Head upstairs again, and you’ll find meeting rooms and private booths as well as an impressive local history collection. Did we mention there’s a fireplace? You may not ever want to leave.

Green Square Library

Green Square Library

We can be happy underground. That’s certainly true when visiting the subterranean Green Square Library. From the street level, the skyline is reflected on glass blocks that make up the exterior of the building. Step inside, and you’ll find the library’s collection under street level. The main space is conceived as a living room, complete with a kids' corner and pint-size nooks built into the walls for children to crawl into with a book. In the middle of the collection space is a sunken garden; the perfect place to sit and read under the sun. Rising from the other end of the library is a six-level glass tower, which houses a music room, replete with a baby grand piano.

Sydney Community College

Sydney Community College

Sydney Community College offers a huge range of short courses and drop in classes. Learn the basics of flower arranging, pick up some millinery tips or try your hand at a new language. Language classes take place at Sydney City Campus, which is at 91 York Street, Sydney 2000. 

Gleebooks

Gleebooks

Home delivery? Yes – and it's even free if you're in the inner west of Sydney until the end of March 2020. Gleebooks will also waive shiping costs Australia-wide on all orders above $50 until then. Check back for updates.   The family-run Gleebooks have been in the book business for over 40 years, and it's fair to say they know their Descartes from their Dahl. We love the original – the secondhand shop just down the road – and the dainty Dulwich Hill outlet, but our heart belongs to number 49. This split-level space services everyone from uni students looking for the latest political tome to picky toddlers (and their parents) on the hunt for Dr Suess. Talks are hosted throughout the week and feature an impressive roll call of authors and public figures spruiking their new books and debating the issues of the day.

Gertrude & Alice

Gertrude & Alice

Entering Gertrude and Alice is like stepping inside a good friend’s house – a friend with an insatiable appetite for books. This cosy bookshop-cum-café is full to the brim with new and secondhand titles; all jumbled together, piled high to the ceiling and stacked along the walls. Bondi’s not known for its thriftiness, but if you’re willing to do a little digging you can find a bargain here. Tuck into a text or put your writer's hat on at one of the communal tables and while away the hours over a cuppa. Literary doggos even have their own Gertrude and Alice hashtag on Insta. We always suspected they could read.

Sappho Books Cafe & Wine Bar

Sappho Books Cafe & Wine Bar

Sappho is like a somewhat dishevelled, oddball uncle who you love in spite of – or maybe because of – their eccentricity. The converted terrace house in on Glebe Point Road is packed to the rafters with secondhand books. Downstairs you’ll find a treasure trove of fiction, from Amis to Zelazny. Wend your way up the stairs, and you'll come to books on history and culture. Venture further up again to a room dedicated to solely to secondhand music books and sheet music. When you’ve finished foraging, settle in in Sappho's courtyard café with a book in hand. There are open mic nights and poetry readings here on alternate Tuesdays. Would be Byrons, beware: there’s a two-minute time limit for readings, so keep it snappy.

Berkelouw Books - Paddington

Berkelouw Books - Paddington

Oxford Street has undergone more changes in recent years than Shane Warne’s face, but Berkelouw has remained a fixture. The three-level emporium next door to Verona Cinemas has been keeping bookish types happy for over two decades. Downstairs you'll find new books, magazines, curios and gifts. The next two levels hold a sizeable collection of secondhand titles covering fiction, art, culture and history. The second floor is where you'll also find the store's licensed café that looks out over Oxford Street; it's the perfect place to hunker down and watch the world go by with a coffee or a glass of wine.

News (2)

Spread the love this Valentine’s Day by donating undies to the Wayside Chapel

Spread the love this Valentine’s Day by donating undies to the Wayside Chapel

Valentine’s gift giving is usually a bit of a drag. It’s hard to get that loving feeling when cupid brings the same obligatory gifts of flowers and chocolates every year. That’s why you should shake things up this V Day by giving a pair of underpants. That’s right, undies. The Wayside Chapel are asking the amorous to forget about service station bouquets and choc-boxes this year and instead donate a pair of undies to someone sleeping rough on Sydney’s streets. Waydie’s Nothing Says “I Love You” Like a Pair of Clean Undies campaign is designed to shore up the centre’s stock of clean underpants, an important part of their role in providing a safe place for people to access showers and emergency clothing. Donations will also go towards the ongoing work of providing care and support to those in need.   Visitors at the Wayside Chapel     Most of us take the comforts of life for granted, but for those less fortunate having access to the basic necessities, like a fresh pair of undies, can make a world of difference. According the the Wayside’s CEO and pastor, Reverend Graham Long, the act of giving can reverberate well beyond the material goods given. “Transformation seems to happen through a cup of coffee, given generously, or with a new pair of undies after a shower has washed the grime of the street away. Fresh undies sometimes brings fresh hope,” he says. Give the u’dacks we say. To make a donation, visit the Wayside Chapel’s website and choose how many pairs undies you’d like

There's an In-N-Out Burger pop-up in Sydney right now

There's an In-N-Out Burger pop-up in Sydney right now

They've only gone and done it again. US chain In-N-Out Burger have popped up in Darlinghurst today near Darlo Country Club and Messina.  The American burgers that inspire a cult following has sneakily opened their pop-up on Victoria Street in Darlinghurst on what will be one of the hottest days of the year. These guys like keeping us on our toes – there was no announcement of the pop-up, just a banner nonchalantly placed outside. When they opened for just a day last year at Dead Ringer there were queues circling around the block and more than a few tears when people missed out on the goods. RUN! Run there now and brave the heat because they won’t be around for long. PSA: It'll be 38 degrees out there until at least noon.  Don't fancy queuing for hours in the heat? Here's a list of Sydney's best burgers that you can eat whenever you like.