Darling Square has been good to us so far. Last year, the 20-hectare redevelopment of the Darling Harbour precinct began with the unveiling of Steam Mill Lane. The bustling alleyway not only gave us yet another reason to fall in love with Belles Hot Chicken, but also imported Melbourne’s 8bit burgers, blessed Haymarket with a second Marrickville Pork Roll outpost and delivered our 2018 café of the year winner, Edition Coffee Roasters. The news only got better from there.
Last October, we were told big things about the precinct’s dramatic centrepiece – a hive-like, spiral nest of a structure designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, dubbed The Exchange. On the ground floor? A 400-seat market-style food hall featuring a follow-up from Saga cake maestro Andy Bowdy and Pasta Wafu, an Italo-Japanese collab courtesy of the crew behind Barangaroo’s vermouth bar Banksii and Kerby Craig of Ume Burger. On the mezzanine? XOPP, a palace devoted to pipis in XO sauce from the late-night institution that made the clams a Sydney mainstay, Golden Century.
Now, Lendlease has announced the latest batch of restaurants moving in to the district, and it does not disappoint. Vietnamese food fans have two reasons to celebrate: Marrickville’s Hello Auntie and Cabramatta cult phenomenon Tan Viet Noodle House will be bringing their signature dishes (banh xeo and crisp-skin chicken, respectively) into the city from the west. Ramen aficionados can slurp Hakata-style tonkotsu at the Sydney flagship of Japan’s Hakata-Maru, while Jackpot Hotpot promises a Macau-style take on the communal cooking phenomenon. Things are looking up for the morning crowd, too, with the arrival of Auvers Café, a Rhodes favourite famed for matcha-glazed pancakes and Australasian breakfast twists. On the drinks front, expect a second home for Surry Hills’ Haven Specialty Coffee and bargain bubble teas at Tea Shop Express.
The next wave of eateries is due to open in early August – and when all is said and done, there will be around 70 eating and drinking spots to choose from. Start stretching your stomachs, folks.
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