The latest wave of food and drink offerings has opened in Darling Square, and the majority of the lifestyle precinct is now complete. The patch that was home to the Sydney Entertainment Centre and its car park has welcomed a whopping 29 new retailers to the fold in the past week, which means you won’t have to travel far to experience some of Sydney hospitality’s biggest names in one fell swoop.
The beating heart of the lifestyle hub is Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s ground-breaking new bird’s nest-meets-beehive building, the Exchange. Here on street level, you’ll find the Maker’s Dozen – an industrial-style marketplace with 12 casual outlets and seating for about 350. The line-up here includes Pasta Wafu, the Japanese pasta joint from Kerby Craig of Ume Burger and the brains behind Banksii in Barangaroo, and Saga Lyte, the follow-up to the OG Saga, Andy Bowdy’s popular Enmore patisserie.
Boque by Tapavino will be dishing up Barcelona-inspired tapas from morning till night, while Sri Lankan specialties will be the calling card at Hopper Kadé. Fishbowl and Fish and Co fly the flag for seafood lovers, meanwhile, and fans of Vietnamese can get their fix at both Cabramatta import Bau Truong and fusion-forward Mr. Bao. Chase that all with 25 natural Taiwanese bubble teas with handmade pearls at Bubble Nini’s, or at the Bucket Boys bar and bottle shop – the second venture from Marrickville’s craft beer and natural wine enthusiasts.
If dessert calls, head across the grassy square to Electric Treat Street (aka Little Hay Street), where all manner of sweets await. You can score loaded milkshakes and shaved ice desserts inspired by old-school Japanese miruku bars at Devon’s latest concept, DOPA Donburi and Milk Bar, as well as Filipino cocktail and dessert combos at Rey Jr, the sibling to Rey’s Place in Darlinghurst. Outposts of Gelato Messina and Melbourne’s Shortstop Coffee and Donuts round out the cavity-inducing collection of pit stops.
Nicolle Walk, a short stroll away, is home to the highly anticipated sequel to Marrickville’s mod-Vietnamese hit Hello Auntie and Hakata-Maru’s tonkotsu ramen flagship.
There are still a handful of spots, including Golden Century spinoff XOPP, set to switch on the lights in the coming months, but this should be way more than enough to tide us over in the meantime.
Need to up your step count after all that? Check out one of the 11 best walks in Sydney.