Get us in your inbox

Search
Melon and sorbet dessert at Hubert
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Sydney restaurant and café reviews

Looking for somewhere great to eat in Sydney? Check out the latest reviews from our food critics

Written by
Time Out editors
Advertising
Nakano Darling
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Haymarket
  • price 1 of 4
Japan’s best izakayas are the ones you lose yourself in. The places where your first visit ends hours later, when you stumble out after a long night of highballs and grilled offal feeling like a regular. The team behind two of North Sydney’s cosiest Japanese small bars, Yakitori Yurippi and Tachinomi YP, have nailed that feeling so well at their third project, Nakano Darling, that time and place become vague; the little details transportive enough to make you wonder if you’re still in Darling Square.  Beyond the grubby garage door façade, flanked by a wooden bench and a giant, eye-popping yellow flag, is not so much a bar as a Japanophile’s dream. It’s brought to life by unmistakably yellow Kirin beer crates, an abundance of raw oak, and a bar with an impressive line-up of backlit, now ultra-rare bottles of Suntory Kakubin blend whiskey perched above the usual suspects from the Yamazaki, Chita and Hakushu distilleries. That’s in addition to pages of beer, shochu, umeshu and sake imported straight from the source.   There’s a projector casting famously offbeat Japanese advertisements onto the back wall as diners bask beneath. Shed a tear of Nippon nostalgia as MOS Burger, the ubiquitous Japanese fast-food chain, flashes across the screen and fires your synapses. You can butcher the classics in the karaoke booth or pile into one of two tatami rooms for a traditional sit-down. That soft-drink vending machine in the back, the sort you’d find on every Tokyo corner, has probably co
Ayam Goreng 99
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Kingsford
  • price 1 of 4
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.
Advertising
Goros
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Surry Hills
  • price 1 of 4
It was a mammoth job transforming the old Tailors on Central into a Japanese booze and snack palace. The first round of the extreme makeover covered the basics, but the space still felt deserted on a quiet night. Round two has finally banished the last vestiges of that dreary tavern – it's now Goros, a low-lit bar decked out in splashes of rainbow neon, figurines, lanterns, bamboo and three kickass-looking karaoke booths. That’s right. You can loosen up those vocal cords over drinks before cranking out your best J Cash rendition without having to change venues. This is the place for a tankard of Kirin. Back it up with an Asahi or Sapporo in a properly chilled glass, and you've got a refreshment hat trick on your hands. Our friendly bartender is only too happy to steer a sake novice towards what he calls the sauvignon blanc of sake – the Yoshinogawa ‘Gensen Karakuchi’. We’re told that "it’s not fancy, it’s not expensive, but it’s a crowd pleaser." And he’s bang on the money. Unless you like your drinks cordial sweet, opt for the highballs built on Japanese whiskies. There’s Kakubin mixed with lemon juice and soda or Yamazaki, amaro, orange blossom and soda. Like your spirits neat? They also boast an impressive line-up of Hibiki, Yamazaki and Nikka drams behind the bar. Perhaps the Unusual Negroni is more your speed. They keep the Campari and gin from the original line-up, and add a sweet fruit liqueur (umeshu) and bitters. The result is a very distant cousin to the classic coc
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4
If you order rendang, rice and beef ribs for two, you might be disappointed. The rendang, while aromatic and chocolatey-brown from more than four hours of cooking, is not an especially large portion. Neither are the ribs, the chilli-smothered eggplant and most things at the Sambal. Think of it more like a tapas restaurant that trades tempranillo for – everything snack-sized, designed to share and priced accordingly (most plates hovering around the ten-buck mark).  This format provides the perfect platform to explore the Javanese style of Indonesian cuisine; even with two people, you can order what would usually be an inappropriately colossal amount of food. As the restaurant’s name proudly suggests, the main focus here is what is usually just an afterthought elsewhere, sambal. Every iteration of the chilli-based relish is made in-house by Nessiana Pamudji (a Bar H and China Doll alumna) and Ferry Tshai (ex-Fei Jai and Billy Kwong). There are seven options from an alarmingly crimson-brown tomato relish to a lighter and sweeter anchovy and peanut iteration. Eat them on their own, spread them like chunky peanut butter onto a hunk of grilled chicken or stir one into your rice cake and coconut soup. For CBD workers looking for a quick bite and flight local, there are a few larger dishes designed for exactly that. The most conveniently smashable is a particularly smoky nasi goreng, but there's mee goreng, too. 
Advertising
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Darling Harbour
  • price 1 of 4
Surry Hills might be the last place you’d expect to find cheap and homestyle Indonesian food but that's exactly where Medan Ciak has opened. It’s a new favourite with Indonesian students and ex-pats - queues out the door are not uncommon, especially on weekends. There’s a reason for the frisson of excitement. Unlike most Indonesian restaurants across Sydney that focus on Javanese cuisine, here you’ll find the food of Medan, the North Sumatran capital known for its distinct mix of indigenous Batak, Malay and Chinese flavours. Expect lots of pork - Batak people are predominantly Christian rather than Muslim faith - including regular cameos by Chinese lap cheong sausage. You’ll find it scattered in the nasi goreng fried rice and the cah kwe tiau – fried flat rice noodles with barbecue pork, prawns, fish cake and egg that mirrors Malaysian char kway teow. Whatever you do, make sure you order the barbecue pork and roast pork rice. It’s a porcine feast of sweet marinated pork, barbecued so the edges are caramelised, and chunks of juicy roast pork topped with a tile of bubbled crackling. It’s not far removed from what you'd find at a Chinese bbq shop, except here you get cucumber slices, a soy sauce egg and plenty of sweet soy drizzled over the top. Lontong sayur is another house specialty, a spicy coconut milk soup loaded with carrots, beans, boiled egg and green jackfruit. Curried beef and fried chicken pieces bolster the protein content. Lontong compressed rice cakes at the botto
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Kingsford
  • price 1 of 4
If there was an award for most unassuming eatery in Sydney, Rosebery Martabak would probably win it. The pint-sized, utterly austere café-restaurant is about as unfussy as it gets – half-torn posters and faded imagery of moustachioed chefs outside, the unwashed restaurant sign, the complete lack of decoration of any kind anywhere, and a messily stacked counter to boot. But none of those things can cook. The reason you, and countless UNSW students and local Indonesians, go to Rosebery Martabak is for the $8.50 wok-hei heavy nasi goreng and the eponymous martabak. Martabak comes in two completely different forms, the first of which is a fried roti package. Imagine gozleme, with far more crunch on the outside, stuffed with egg, onion and Indonesian-style spiced mince. The other, known as martabak manis, is a sweet version. It’s more like a fluffy pancake with hundreds of crumpet-like tubular holes. Each one is raised in a flat pan, topped with whatever you choose (cheese, chocolate, peanuts, condensed milk, banana, sesame, you name it) and then folded onto itself. Rosebery Martabak is probably the best place for both in Sydney (though Martabak Café in Ultimo gives it a run for its money). Due to the sheer caloric intake involved, eating a savoury martabak followed by a sweet one is near impossible for a single human being, so if you’re looking to get the top three orders here – a savoury martabak, a sweet one, some fried rice and maybe even a plate of bready Indo-style meatballs
Advertising
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Maroubra
  • price 1 of 4
You won’t read the word ‘Betawi’ in many Sydney restaurants. Betawi people are the descendants of a Creole-like mix of European, Chinese, Malay and Arabic people from Jakarta. They’ve got their own culture, fashion and their own recipes. Betawi’s Kitchen offers a rare chance to try them. There are two classic orders. First, the soto Betawi, a thick coconutty beef soup with strands of tripe and islands of candlenut crackers. The other is a nasi-lemak-like dish, where fried chicken, an anchovy and tempeh sambal and a chilli-doused egg flank a dome of coconut-scented rice. It would be disingenuous to say those are the specialities though, they’re no better than the curiously teal restaurant’s generously peanutty gado gado, the sticky pork sate skewers or the gravy-thick rendang. Before you commit to any of those, look out for the specials, both scribed onto a board behind the counter and literally laid on the counter itself. Maybe a banana-leaf-wrapped ball of sticky rice and meat one day, and some bitternut crackers or a few sweets the next.It’s hard to believe this all comes from the tiny kitchen of this tiny, family-run restaurant. And thankfully, that sense of familial hospitality is very much part of the vibe. Even when it’s busy you’ll rarely feel the pressure to get in order, eat and get out in less than 40 minutes.
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Randwick
  • price 1 of 4
This is probably the only restaurant in Sydney where the main menu item is a verb, penyet. It’s an Indonesian word that means something has been smashed, usually with a pestle. The classic example of this is the restaurant’s namesake, ayam penyet – fried chicken walloped in a mortar and pestle and served with rice, a particularly fiery sambal, and a dusting of kremes (tiny bits of spiced fried crumbs). Then there’s udang kremes, the same thing with prawns, or terong penyet, the same again but with eggplant. Other possibilities include tempeh, eggs and beef ribs. The idea to bring this tradition from Indonesia to Australia first started in South Melbourne in 1998 with the original Ayam Penyet Ria. The same family now have four restaurants, this Randwick outlet being the latest. All the restaurants serve the same thing, the above items plus a few soups and gado gado. If you’re looking for something a bit different, rawon (a complex, slightly sweet, tar-black soup) is very difficult to find in Sydney due to the rareness of one of the main ingredients, keluak. The Southeast Asian nut is critically poisonous, but when prepared the right way makes a rich, slightly bitter black paste. Surprisingly, for a restaurant with no table service and such a small menu, it’s quite a slick place, more like a modern café than the other Indonesian restaurants at the same $15-a-head price point.
Advertising
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Ultimo
  • price 1 of 4
The gado gado at Willis Canteen is legendary. Look at the size of it, it’s like it’s been designed for marathon runners and strongman competitors. Certainly, it’s beyond the scope of the average human diet. But that’s just a bonus. The real kicker is the fact every gado gado at Willis Canteen is freshly made. While almost all the other Indonesian restaurants grind their peanuts, makrut lime, garlic, chilli, coconut and various other aromatics in a blender and haul the output into the fridge for later use, Willis Canteen does it by hand – for every single order. The latter part may sound unnecessary because, why would you do that if you could just use a blender? Science. A blender finely cuts all the ingredients, counterintuitively leaving many of the cells intact, a mortar and pestle crushes every cell, releasing more flavour and aroma while maintaining some texture. That, coincidentally, is also the long answer to the question: why does Willis Canteen’s gado gado taste so much better than the others? The only downside to this traditional practice is time. Unless you’ve called ahead or you’re eating at 10am, 3pm or any other off-peak time, expect to wait up to an hour. At least that’s how it used to be. Once, the Willis Canteen phones ran hot with orders, but they’ve since died down after many Indonesians objected to a statement one of the owners made about an Indonesian politician who’d been persecuted on religious grounds.  Of course, gado gado isn’t the only thing this tin
Ria Sari
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Kingsford
  • price 1 of 4
Imagine this: it’s 1993, there’s only a handful of Indonesian restaurants in Sydney and, like most Sydneysiders, you barely know the cuisine apart from fried rice and packet mee goreng. You’re walking down a suburban Randwick street and you spot a small, curtained restaurant advertising ‘Indonesian Padang Take Away Food’. You walk in to find Indonesian students and young families each with plates of rice flanked by brown stews, fried fish and boiled eggs drowned in chilli paste.  There’s no menu to speak of aside from a few items listed on the wall. Everyone else just approaches a counter lined with bains-marie and points at what they want. You see corn fritters, rendang and many more curries of all different meats and colours, and you think it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.  Decades later, hardly anything has changed at Ria Sari. There may be a few more Indonesian restaurants around town, even a few doing the same bain-marie version of Padang food (traditionally, all the food would be laid out on the table and you’d literally help yourself to), but nowhere will you find one quite this old school. You’ll likely get served by the owners, eat among the current generation of Indonesian students and leave without spending more than $15. 
Hubert
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4
You’re sitting at the bar, drinking a Gin Martini out of a Nick and Nora glass, and ‘As Time Goes By’ is being played by a jazz quintet set against a red velvet curtain. This isn’t an elaborate Casablanca fantasy but rather the very real experience of dining at Restaurant Hubert on a Wednesday or Thursday night. That’s when they have the live band, which is essential to maintaining the illusion that you have travelled back in time, helped by the fact that two stories underground your phone won’t get reception worth a damn. Dinner here is akin to immersive theatre: the narrative is a love story and the leads are played by a perfect steak bavette and your fine self. It catches your eye on the menu, it joins you at the table, and after that first bite you fall deeply in love. The Rangers Valley flank has a char that is textbook, it’s served bloody and melting over the top is a Café de Paris butter that features no less than 19 ingredients. It has a complexity worthy of a Millenium Prize Problem. Chef Daniel Pepperell is working form the classic French bistro handbook, punking up a velvety soft Wagyu tartare with anchovy, and directing sweet, juicy baby beetroots to go full melodrama in a purple pool of sharp blackberry vinaigrette, wearing a fascinator of flamboyant curls of crinkled Téte de Moine, a sour and creamy Swiss cheese. Don’t be fooled by the diminutive title, because le petit aioli is no tiny snack – it’s a weighty grazing plate starring celeriac wedges, fresh avocad
Mr Wong
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4
They’ll tell you to go for the Peking duck. They’ll tell you it’s a juicy bird with crisp skin and sweet meat. And they’d be right. It is. This is just one of the many roast delights at Mr Wong – a two-level Canto-extravaganza offering everything from fancy dim sum to green beans stir-fried with pork mince and house-made XO sauce. Chefs Dan Hong and Jowett Yu have left the day-to-day running of Potts Point pop-Asian diner Ms G’s to take the reins here, alongside head dim sum chef Eric Koh, fresh from London’s Hakkasan – luxurious dumpling den to the stars. If you’ve been waiting for a no-holds-barred-spend-big-with-service-and-wine–to-match Canto-palace, congratulations – you’ve found it. Get a crab. The big tanks hold sweet, fleshy mud crabs waiting for a dousing in the deep fryer with salt and pepper and to be served on a bed of salted chilli and green onion. Or go the Singaporean-style black pepper crab, cooked in butter and fragrant with a mountain of fresh black pepper. It’s a three napkin, two hot towels and a bowl of water job. The flash fit-out is care of Michael McCann – he of Flying Fish and Victor Churchill fame – and he’s transformed the old Tank nightclub into a sort of Hong Kong speakeasy downstairs (complete with adjoining door to neighbouring hooch lounge Palmer and Co) while upstairs features a big, beautiful bar run by Doron Whaite (ex-Felix). He makes a fine cocktail, but there’s a pomegranate and mint-spiked lemonade, as well as a house-made ginger beer i
Advertising
Quay
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • The Rocks
  • price 4 of 4
What does it take to earn the crown of Sydney’s finest diner? It’s not just a superlative location, because being a harbour city we are not deprived of beautiful places to eat by the water. Admittedly, at Quay, when the cruise ship finally pulls away from the Overseas Passenger Terminal to reveal the Opera House and a panorama that stretches from the Harbour Bridge to the CBD, it’s hard not to fall that little bit deeper for Sydney and all her aesthetic charms.  Being number one is not just about service that’s as smooth as Italian suede and as perfectly paced as a champion race horse – though it’s certainly a foundational element to the dining experience here. And it’s important that once you have achieved the top spot on the dining dance card you don’t get complacent. Sydney is a city that thrives on the new, so if the time of double linens is over, whip the tablecloths off and embrace a new era of relaxed degustatory excess, where the collars are a little looser but the standards never drop.  Fine dining no longer ascribes to the idea that indulgence requires being fed into a stupor, which is why you can safely opt for an elegant six courses at executive chef Peter Gilmore’s world famous restaurant. Of course, if you’re here for a little excess, there’s always ten, which adds marron, truffles, and extra desserts to the mix.  No matter which way you steer you get to marvel at the monklike restraint in a dish of hand-harvested octopus, clams and scallops, anointed with soy a
Long Chim
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4
Update: Long Chim is open again for dining. If you order the tasting menu for $88 per person, Long Chim will throw in a complimentary bottle of rosé until Thursday, June 10. Plus, you get to try 11 different courses in one sitting. Now, that's a welcome back to Sydney's dining scene. That's not all, though. In honour of International Lobster Day, on June 15, Long Chim's culinary masterminds have developed a brand new tasting menu, featuring crustacea from grilled balmain bugs with nam jim, a fragrant turmeric curry of rock lobster, king prawn and betel leaves, and a lobster satay. The tasting menu is $190 per person with matched wines, or $150 if you're steering clear of the booze. That sounds like more than enough reason for a visit to us. Sydney has long prided itself on its Thai food. London had Indian covered, Melbourne had Italian on lock, but we’ve always understood the combined powers of lemongrass, chilli, ginger and garlic. But then we got a bit lazy, rested on our red curry laurels too long and our Thai offerings got predictable and familiar. All that is behind us now because David Thompson has brought his Long Chim empire to Sydney to stoke the flames of our South East Asian eats – and we’re not just talking a larb that’s so hot it’ll get you high. Thompson was part of the early wave of incredible Thai eateries in Sydney with Darley Street Thai and Sailors Thai, but then he headed to London and Bangkok to open Nahm, and Singapore and Perth for the original two Long
Advertising
Firedoor
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • Surry Hills
  • price 3 of 4
Apple, peach, cherry and grapefruit might sound like a list of ingredients, but they’re not what you’re eating, but how you’re eating. Specifically, they are the woods that are feeding the charcoal oven, grill and hearths on which everything is cooked at this fire-powered Surry Hills restaurant. Don’t like smoky food? Move along, friend. This is not the venue for you. Not into a visceral presentation of meat and fish? Keep on walking. Firedoor is a place that appeals to the primal. On one side of the open kitchen you’ve got blue-eye trevalla strung up for smoking, cut lengthways so that they resemble an anatomical chart. On the other a huge hunk of dry-aged beef waits for a date with the butcher’s saw when someone orders the 184-day dry-aged steak that today clocks in at $176 and sits high on most Sydneysiders’ ‘if I were a millionaire…’ hit list. That steak is a local celebrity, but just because their most famous dish is a hunter’s dream it doesn’t follow that they neglect the gatherers on their menu. Baby Brussels sprouts manage to be at once charry and soft on one side and fresh and sweet on the other. It’s too warm to be a salad, but those golden breadcrumbs are doing a great job at conjuring echoes of a Caesar, and the unctuous chicken jus reduced almost to a paste is so rich and savoury in flavour there’s a roast dinner in every bite. Hastie earned his stripes at the famed Etxebarri in Spain’s Basque Country, and given they’re an anomaly in the region, serving both seaf
Saint Peter
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Paddington
  • price 2 of 4
‘Our whole menu is full of questions,’ says Saint Peter chef and co-owner Josh Niland. And he’s not wrong. When you sit down at the beautiful marble topped counter that runs the length of the new-look Paddington eatery it’s not a simple matter of ‘what do you want to eat?’, but rather, ‘what can you not afford to miss?’ at the restaurant that has transformed expectations of seafood dining in Sydney. ‘Where is the sweet spot?’, is one of the most pressing questions that Niland is constantly asking himself when it comes to the sustainable fish he is using in the kitchen, both here in the restaurant, as well as in the Fish Butchery a few doors up Oxford Street. Niland has made a name for himself by dry-aging his fish in the same manner you would beef, all in search of a moment when the fish tastes better, ‘it might be on day two, or it might be on day 22,” he says. The new open format of the restaurant means that the myriad other questions you have can easily be answered by the chefs prepping in front of you. You will want to know what fish pate, bacon and pastrami tastes like. You’ll want guidance on the different oyster regions. And you’ll really want to know how they make the ocean trout salami, which is shockingly delicious and places you in a culinary uncanny valley as your brain tries to process that, yes, this is fish, but not as you know it. First the trout are aged for 10 to 12 days to firm up the flesh. Then it’s minced, cut through with Murray cod fat and flavoured w
Advertising
Ester Restaurant and Bar
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Chippendale
When we were considering contenders for Sydney’s Restaurant of the Year for 2017, we asked ourselves where we’re most likely to send people when asked for a recommendation. We thought about where we spend our own human dollars when we want a special dinner. We remembered that our mum likes it here. So does our boozy pal who believes spending $120 on bar snacks after 11pm is a great idea. Book a Saturday lunch here and you’ll be joined by the likes of Dan Hong and the ACME crew – Sydney’s hospo scene are also big fans. Chef Mat Lindsay is a master of light and shade. He slings big, punchy flavours into the wood-fired oven so that the blistering heat can work its magic, softening the fat under the skin of a tender half duck, blackening the leaves of a half head of cauliflower and drawing the deep seabed flavours out of the shells of their famous king prawns which have not left the menu since opening night (praise be). They split the heads, leave the tails in the half-shell and douse them in double umami strength tamari butter, plus fried capers and a good squeeze of lemon. We have never yet successfully gotten out of here without at least one serve, and looking around, no one else in the room will either.You can choose the well trod path and return for regular doses of the oven-roasted oysters, warmed through but not quite cooked and served with bit of horseradish cream, a little onion and finger lime – it tastes the way waves on hot rocks feel. An Irish take on a blini is a ch
Lorraine's Patisserie
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4
You might not have heard her name but trust us, Lorraine Godsmark is one of Sydney’s greatest pâtissiers. She worked for ten years as head pastry chef under Neil Perry at Rockpool in the '90s, and the lauded date tart she created with him is still on the Rockpool menus today. It’s on the menu at Lorraine’s Pâtisserie, too, but only sporadically – it’s such a complex thing to make that Godsmark says it takes six months to train a chef to do it right, so now she makes them herself, and only two at a time. That’s not all she makes though. Try her cheesecake. It’s as light as a cloud, with the faintest hint of lemon and a crisp, cinnamon-toned crust. Her brownies are famous for their chocolatey depth and it was her mascarpone cake that inspired Black Star Pastry’s celebrated strawberry watermelon cake (patron-chef Chris Thé trained under Godsmark before he set off on his own). It’s takeaway only and the kitchen is wide open to the store, so you can watch the chefs preparing their delicacies while you choose your poison. Trust us, you pretty much can’t go wrong with anything here – what Godsmark doesn’t know about pastry isn’t worth knowing. And that's exactly why we she took home the 2019 Time Out Food Awards Legend Award.  Time Out Awards 2019Legend Award View this year's Time Out Food Award winners
Advertising
Aria
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Sydney
  • price 3 of 4
Dining at Aria will make you fall back in love with Sydney. Sure, she may have wronged you in the past (house prices, transport woes) but in the warm light of this famous dining room you take back every bad word you’ve ever said about her. It’s a kind of romantic alchemy forged by the floor-to-ceiling glass – the only thing between you and the gentle glow of the Sydney Opera House – and six flawless courses from the chef Joel Bickford. How can you not feel flattered by a lavish opener of yellow tail slices, as translucent as a Botticelli angel, regally ornamented with sterling caviar and crisp pork jowl pieces? It’s three textures of luxury served on an almond pil pil made with fish stock, garlic oil and sherry vinegar. Your head will already be a little turned and things are just warming up. Chef Bickford’s culinary concerto embraces dramatic change in a way that would put the Four Seasons to shame, backing up his opening luxe tableau with an ode to the humble carrot. The veg is smoked, cooked in a water bath of carrot juice and seaweed and then grilled with garlic oil, and served with sheep’s curd, a dab of liquorice gel, black olive, and flax crackers for an extra dose of autumnal crunch. You really don’t expect something so rustic to follow from caviar, but that’s the magic of the tasting menu here. A dish of golden blue-eye trevalla fillets is a nod to Bickford’s time with Stefano Manfredi at Bel Mondo, served with a riff on a pepperonata that balances the sweetness of
Fred's
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • European
  • Paddington
  • price 3 of 4
It’s easy to romanticise a chef’s life, especially when you’re sitting in the Fred’s dining room – it’s the antithesis of every tanty-throwing, pot-chucking, expletive-laden version of a professional kitchen you’ve ever seen on TV. In this beautifully styled Paddington restaurant everyone is wearing a lot of creamy linen and seems totally at ease, and we’re not talking about the well-heeled customers. Fred’s is unique among Sydney fine diners because they’ve taken the open kitchen concept to its apex, removing the walls entirely so that the dining room and kitchen are one and the same.You don’t have to perch up at the kitchen bench among the decorative piles of persimmons and steel pots containing live marron, but you can – it’s the equivalent of getting backstage for music fans. And if you don’t beat your dining companion to the banquette seat, you can still see all the action in antique-looking, see-and-be-seen mirrors lining the room. Here you see cheffing from its best possible angle: creating delicious in beautiful surrounds using premium produce – it’s enough to make you start considering a career change.Like the corn pancake. Why does a simple sounding dish like this demand a $48 price tag? This is an exercise in layered luxury, with a generous scoop of Italian caviar crowning crème fraîche, on top of soft folds of translucent kingfish, all carried on the broad back of a golden, buttery pancake with perfectly crisp edges and a meltingly soft centre.Top points for consi
Nakano Darling
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Haymarket
  • price 1 of 4
Japan’s best izakayas are the ones you lose yourself in. The places where your first visit ends hours later, when you stumble out after a long night of highballs and grilled offal feeling like a regular. The team behind two of North Sydney’s cosiest Japanese small bars, Yakitori Yurippi and Tachinomi YP, have nailed that feeling so well at their third project, Nakano Darling, that time and place become vague; the little details transportive enough to make you wonder if you’re still in Darling Square.  Beyond the grubby garage door façade, flanked by a wooden bench and a giant, eye-popping yellow flag, is not so much a bar as a Japanophile’s dream. It’s brought to life by unmistakably yellow Kirin beer crates, an abundance of raw oak, and a bar with an impressive line-up of backlit, now ultra-rare bottles of Suntory Kakubin blend whiskey perched above the usual suspects from the Yamazaki, Chita and Hakushu distilleries. That’s in addition to pages of beer, shochu, umeshu and sake imported straight from the source.   There’s a projector casting famously offbeat Japanese advertisements onto the back wall as diners bask beneath. Shed a tear of Nippon nostalgia as MOS Burger, the ubiquitous Japanese fast-food chain, flashes across the screen and fires your synapses. You can butcher the classics in the karaoke booth or pile into one of two tatami rooms for a traditional sit-down. That soft-drink vending machine in the back, the sort you’d find on every Tokyo corner, has probably co
Ayam Goreng 99
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Kingsford
  • price 1 of 4
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.
Advertising
Goros
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Surry Hills
  • price 1 of 4
It was a mammoth job transforming the old Tailors on Central into a Japanese booze and snack palace. The first round of the extreme makeover covered the basics, but the space still felt deserted on a quiet night. Round two has finally banished the last vestiges of that dreary tavern – it's now Goros, a low-lit bar decked out in splashes of rainbow neon, figurines, lanterns, bamboo and three kickass-looking karaoke booths. That’s right. You can loosen up those vocal cords over drinks before cranking out your best J Cash rendition without having to change venues. This is the place for a tankard of Kirin. Back it up with an Asahi or Sapporo in a properly chilled glass, and you've got a refreshment hat trick on your hands. Our friendly bartender is only too happy to steer a sake novice towards what he calls the sauvignon blanc of sake – the Yoshinogawa ‘Gensen Karakuchi’. We’re told that "it’s not fancy, it’s not expensive, but it’s a crowd pleaser." And he’s bang on the money. Unless you like your drinks cordial sweet, opt for the highballs built on Japanese whiskies. There’s Kakubin mixed with lemon juice and soda or Yamazaki, amaro, orange blossom and soda. Like your spirits neat? They also boast an impressive line-up of Hibiki, Yamazaki and Nikka drams behind the bar. Perhaps the Unusual Negroni is more your speed. They keep the Campari and gin from the original line-up, and add a sweet fruit liqueur (umeshu) and bitters. The result is a very distant cousin to the classic coc
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4
If you order rendang, rice and beef ribs for two, you might be disappointed. The rendang, while aromatic and chocolatey-brown from more than four hours of cooking, is not an especially large portion. Neither are the ribs, the chilli-smothered eggplant and most things at the Sambal. Think of it more like a tapas restaurant that trades tempranillo for – everything snack-sized, designed to share and priced accordingly (most plates hovering around the ten-buck mark).  This format provides the perfect platform to explore the Javanese style of Indonesian cuisine; even with two people, you can order what would usually be an inappropriately colossal amount of food. As the restaurant’s name proudly suggests, the main focus here is what is usually just an afterthought elsewhere, sambal. Every iteration of the chilli-based relish is made in-house by Nessiana Pamudji (a Bar H and China Doll alumna) and Ferry Tshai (ex-Fei Jai and Billy Kwong). There are seven options from an alarmingly crimson-brown tomato relish to a lighter and sweeter anchovy and peanut iteration. Eat them on their own, spread them like chunky peanut butter onto a hunk of grilled chicken or stir one into your rice cake and coconut soup. For CBD workers looking for a quick bite and flight local, there are a few larger dishes designed for exactly that. The most conveniently smashable is a particularly smoky nasi goreng, but there's mee goreng, too. 
Advertising
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Darling Harbour
  • price 1 of 4
Surry Hills might be the last place you’d expect to find cheap and homestyle Indonesian food but that's exactly where Medan Ciak has opened. It’s a new favourite with Indonesian students and ex-pats - queues out the door are not uncommon, especially on weekends. There’s a reason for the frisson of excitement. Unlike most Indonesian restaurants across Sydney that focus on Javanese cuisine, here you’ll find the food of Medan, the North Sumatran capital known for its distinct mix of indigenous Batak, Malay and Chinese flavours. Expect lots of pork - Batak people are predominantly Christian rather than Muslim faith - including regular cameos by Chinese lap cheong sausage. You’ll find it scattered in the nasi goreng fried rice and the cah kwe tiau – fried flat rice noodles with barbecue pork, prawns, fish cake and egg that mirrors Malaysian char kway teow. Whatever you do, make sure you order the barbecue pork and roast pork rice. It’s a porcine feast of sweet marinated pork, barbecued so the edges are caramelised, and chunks of juicy roast pork topped with a tile of bubbled crackling. It’s not far removed from what you'd find at a Chinese bbq shop, except here you get cucumber slices, a soy sauce egg and plenty of sweet soy drizzled over the top. Lontong sayur is another house specialty, a spicy coconut milk soup loaded with carrots, beans, boiled egg and green jackfruit. Curried beef and fried chicken pieces bolster the protein content. Lontong compressed rice cakes at the botto
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Kingsford
  • price 1 of 4
If there was an award for most unassuming eatery in Sydney, Rosebery Martabak would probably win it. The pint-sized, utterly austere café-restaurant is about as unfussy as it gets – half-torn posters and faded imagery of moustachioed chefs outside, the unwashed restaurant sign, the complete lack of decoration of any kind anywhere, and a messily stacked counter to boot. But none of those things can cook. The reason you, and countless UNSW students and local Indonesians, go to Rosebery Martabak is for the $8.50 wok-hei heavy nasi goreng and the eponymous martabak. Martabak comes in two completely different forms, the first of which is a fried roti package. Imagine gozleme, with far more crunch on the outside, stuffed with egg, onion and Indonesian-style spiced mince. The other, known as martabak manis, is a sweet version. It’s more like a fluffy pancake with hundreds of crumpet-like tubular holes. Each one is raised in a flat pan, topped with whatever you choose (cheese, chocolate, peanuts, condensed milk, banana, sesame, you name it) and then folded onto itself. Rosebery Martabak is probably the best place for both in Sydney (though Martabak Café in Ultimo gives it a run for its money). Due to the sheer caloric intake involved, eating a savoury martabak followed by a sweet one is near impossible for a single human being, so if you’re looking to get the top three orders here – a savoury martabak, a sweet one, some fried rice and maybe even a plate of bready Indo-style meatballs
Advertising
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Maroubra
  • price 1 of 4
You won’t read the word ‘Betawi’ in many Sydney restaurants. Betawi people are the descendants of a Creole-like mix of European, Chinese, Malay and Arabic people from Jakarta. They’ve got their own culture, fashion and their own recipes. Betawi’s Kitchen offers a rare chance to try them. There are two classic orders. First, the soto Betawi, a thick coconutty beef soup with strands of tripe and islands of candlenut crackers. The other is a nasi-lemak-like dish, where fried chicken, an anchovy and tempeh sambal and a chilli-doused egg flank a dome of coconut-scented rice. It would be disingenuous to say those are the specialities though, they’re no better than the curiously teal restaurant’s generously peanutty gado gado, the sticky pork sate skewers or the gravy-thick rendang. Before you commit to any of those, look out for the specials, both scribed onto a board behind the counter and literally laid on the counter itself. Maybe a banana-leaf-wrapped ball of sticky rice and meat one day, and some bitternut crackers or a few sweets the next.It’s hard to believe this all comes from the tiny kitchen of this tiny, family-run restaurant. And thankfully, that sense of familial hospitality is very much part of the vibe. Even when it’s busy you’ll rarely feel the pressure to get in order, eat and get out in less than 40 minutes.
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Randwick
  • price 1 of 4
This is probably the only restaurant in Sydney where the main menu item is a verb, penyet. It’s an Indonesian word that means something has been smashed, usually with a pestle. The classic example of this is the restaurant’s namesake, ayam penyet – fried chicken walloped in a mortar and pestle and served with rice, a particularly fiery sambal, and a dusting of kremes (tiny bits of spiced fried crumbs). Then there’s udang kremes, the same thing with prawns, or terong penyet, the same again but with eggplant. Other possibilities include tempeh, eggs and beef ribs. The idea to bring this tradition from Indonesia to Australia first started in South Melbourne in 1998 with the original Ayam Penyet Ria. The same family now have four restaurants, this Randwick outlet being the latest. All the restaurants serve the same thing, the above items plus a few soups and gado gado. If you’re looking for something a bit different, rawon (a complex, slightly sweet, tar-black soup) is very difficult to find in Sydney due to the rareness of one of the main ingredients, keluak. The Southeast Asian nut is critically poisonous, but when prepared the right way makes a rich, slightly bitter black paste. Surprisingly, for a restaurant with no table service and such a small menu, it’s quite a slick place, more like a modern café than the other Indonesian restaurants at the same $15-a-head price point.
Advertising
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Ultimo
  • price 1 of 4
The gado gado at Willis Canteen is legendary. Look at the size of it, it’s like it’s been designed for marathon runners and strongman competitors. Certainly, it’s beyond the scope of the average human diet. But that’s just a bonus. The real kicker is the fact every gado gado at Willis Canteen is freshly made. While almost all the other Indonesian restaurants grind their peanuts, makrut lime, garlic, chilli, coconut and various other aromatics in a blender and haul the output into the fridge for later use, Willis Canteen does it by hand – for every single order. The latter part may sound unnecessary because, why would you do that if you could just use a blender? Science. A blender finely cuts all the ingredients, counterintuitively leaving many of the cells intact, a mortar and pestle crushes every cell, releasing more flavour and aroma while maintaining some texture. That, coincidentally, is also the long answer to the question: why does Willis Canteen’s gado gado taste so much better than the others? The only downside to this traditional practice is time. Unless you’ve called ahead or you’re eating at 10am, 3pm or any other off-peak time, expect to wait up to an hour. At least that’s how it used to be. Once, the Willis Canteen phones ran hot with orders, but they’ve since died down after many Indonesians objected to a statement one of the owners made about an Indonesian politician who’d been persecuted on religious grounds.  Of course, gado gado isn’t the only thing this tin
Ria Sari
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Kingsford
  • price 1 of 4
Imagine this: it’s 1993, there’s only a handful of Indonesian restaurants in Sydney and, like most Sydneysiders, you barely know the cuisine apart from fried rice and packet mee goreng. You’re walking down a suburban Randwick street and you spot a small, curtained restaurant advertising ‘Indonesian Padang Take Away Food’. You walk in to find Indonesian students and young families each with plates of rice flanked by brown stews, fried fish and boiled eggs drowned in chilli paste.  There’s no menu to speak of aside from a few items listed on the wall. Everyone else just approaches a counter lined with bains-marie and points at what they want. You see corn fritters, rendang and many more curries of all different meats and colours, and you think it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.  Decades later, hardly anything has changed at Ria Sari. There may be a few more Indonesian restaurants around town, even a few doing the same bain-marie version of Padang food (traditionally, all the food would be laid out on the table and you’d literally help yourself to), but nowhere will you find one quite this old school. You’ll likely get served by the owners, eat among the current generation of Indonesian students and leave without spending more than $15. 
Flour and Stone
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Woolloomooloo
Is it possible to build a business off the back of a lamington? When it's the arctic flurry of shaved coconut embellishing a hefty cube of chocolate-coated vanilla sponge, soaked in panna cotta and shot through with crimson berry compote at Nadine Ingram's Flour and Stone bakery in Woolloomooloo, the answer is yes. Ingram, with her community-driven, small-batch approach, has taken the most deceptively simple baked goods and raised them to cult-like status, thanks to an unwavering commitment to precision, quality and flavour. Since it was established in 2011, Flour and Stone has become a Sydney institution with queues out the door - and they’re still a regular occurrence even with an extra space added two doors down. It’s hard to imagine how a team of 22 fit behind the tiled wall when you sneak a peek from the communal 8-seater at no. 53, the new annexe. A high table, a pair of outdoor settings and a banquette seat provide extra dining space (but nowhere near enough to sate demand). The room is decorated in colourful Dave Teer artworks inspired by Old-fashioned vanilla cake, but the real eye candy is the display cabinet packed with madeleines, lemon drizzle cake, brulee tarts, and chocolate, raspberry and buttermilk cakes. Do not discount the savoury treats though. Spanakopita ferries a textbook-perfect spinach and feta filling between layers of delicate puff pastry; crisp iceberg lettuce plays a surprisingly significant role in the success of a chicken ciabatta sambo with
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Ultimo
With its bustling narrow footpaths, perpetual construction projects and conga line of rattling buses, Broadway might take the cake for Sydney’s least fun pedestrian experience. Luckily, respite is now available for us – hark! Seek out the bucolic signage at Little Livi, a little cottage tucked just far enough down Mountain Street to remain a viable pit stop on a takeaway coffee rush.  Rest assured, your cuppa is in steady hands here. Ask the friendly partner/barista Amadeo Vasquez about his lateral involvement with various roasters, importers and brewers through his career, and you’ll come to understand he’s curated Little Livi’s coffee menu from a truly wide range of experience. Today’s super clean, vibrant filter coffee hails from Dukes in Melbourne, served in a bulbous glass for optimal sniffin’ and quaffin’. Bonus points awarded for Little Livi’s house blend being an actual house blend, designed by Vasquez himself. It’s rich and punchy through milk, and its syrupy honey sweetness intensifies as it cools.  Decent grab'n'go breakfast options are something of a rare find around here, so if you’re wondering why everything looks miles better than the cling-filmed banana breads of your past, it’s because partner/chef Daniel Leyva once headed the kitchen of the Bridge Room (RIP), and this fine-dining pedigree shines through in the visuals of every edible thing under the roof. An abundant pastry cabinet features artfully stuffed croissants, bagels (by Brooklyn Boy Bagels) and hou
Advertising
Lobby Boy - North Sydney
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • North Sydney
  • price 3 of 4
When you’re dining in a hurry, it can be easy to slip into the pitfalls of mediocrity. While a fridge-cold sandwich shrunk in plastic wrap from a sad display is still a very real lunch possibility in Sydney's other CBD, the tides are turning in North Sydney thanks to a recent influx of dining destinations. Take Hawkers Village, the dizzying food market proffering a taste of Asia, or neighbouring Glorietta, a pizza and wine bar brought to you by ex-Tetsuya’s and Frankie’s chefs. Now, the team behind the Grounds of Alexandria is joining the fold with Lobby Boy. We all know this brand specialises in generous servings of fresh, wholesome food and perfectly roasted coffee in beautifully imagined spaces – and Lobby Boy is no exception. Brushed charcoal walls, forest-green banquettes and marble tables in a soaring light-filled atrium isn’t necessarily what we’ve come to expect from “the coffee place down in the lobby”, but it’s clear here that no expense has been spared. As with the other venues, there is real luxury here, though it’s less technicolour Instagram dreamland, and more pared-back, polished and grown-up. The effect is transporting; you’d hardly know you were on a bustling intersection (unless you’ve paid for metered parking...set that timer).  Like the fit-out, the menu is considered and tailored to all manner of occasions, whether you’re dashing to work or have knocked off for a long lunch. They take a seriously (possibly overly) decadent approach to the croissant, stuf
Brighter Coffee
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Stanmore
  • price 2 of 4
You’ve heard of confit duck, of course, and confit garlic or tomatoes, but confit tofu? That’s a new one. Should you add said block of spongy bean curd – marinated overnight in mushroom stock and slowly cooked in olive oil – to the kimchi toastie at Brighter Coffee? It’s debatable. Not so much because the tofu itself wants for anything in particular, but because that toastie is a thing of beauty on its own.  The kimchi is made in house, more a fresh and fragrant ferment than a pungent lactic acid bomb, and it’s sandwiched between two pieces of Iggy’s miraculous sourdough in the company of sweet tomato passata and a combo of nutty Gruyère and mild Gouda cheeses. Much like the other five items on the Stanmore café’s (very) short, entirely vegetarian menu, the toastie is a variation of ‘stuff on bread’, and it might not even be the best of the bunch. That title might go to Where the Wild Things Grow, which isn’t a psilocybin hunter’s guide, but what co-owners Ben Richardson and Junji Tai call their mushrooms on toast. Here, a plate-length slice of Iggy’s (or Nonie’s next-level gluten-free bread) gets a light swipe of mushroom purée, made from reducing mushroom stock to the consistency of Vegemite and blitzing it with cashews and truffle pâté. Layers of various sauteed fungi get stacked on top – field mushrooms, buttons, woodears – and elegantly finished with saffron-stained enoki strands and shiitakes seasoned with koji. Shiso, sage and dried rose get a little bit lost amidst al
Advertising
St Dreux
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4
If this hole-in-the-wall café seems a little more ambitious than others, it’s because owners Raf Bartkowski and Ernest Igual were cracking beans long before you’d sipped your first piccolo. Long-time top brass at Campos, these two opened St Dreux as a flagship spot to showcase their multiple coffee blends, single origins and various brew methods, amassing quite a following thanks to their reputation in the coffee industry. Take a moment to admire the cutting edge of coffee brewing technology along the bar. There’s an Ubermilk, a unit that automatically dispenses pre-foamed milk. A puqpress, or automatic tamper. And, along with the offer batch-brewed filter and creamy, punchy nitro coffee on tap, these bits of kit lead to greater consistency and speedier service – music to the ears of the morning rush crowd.  Every coffee is presented with fanfare here, as drinkers receive information cards with each cup regarding origin, tasting notes and other terroir statistics. Show a little interest when ordering to get the rundown on different beans: our black espresso-based coffees are made with the Shepherd, St Dreux’s lightest blend, which has some fruited complexity and good acidity, while the batch brew of the day is a natural process single-varietal lot from the Volcan Azul estate in Costa Rica, which isn’t quite as exciting as it sounds. The milk coffee is the winner of the bunch, where the lingering flavour of brown sugar and Port in the Rainmaker blend really come to life. There
Outfield
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Ashfield
  • price 2 of 4
From the outset, Outfield is a charmer. Sitting pretty on a grassy knoll in Ashfield’s Yeo Park, the former healthcare centre is a mid-century gem – all horizontal rooflines, mission-brown brick walls and porthole windows. The prime spot, though, is outdoors, where families gather under umbrellas and slatted tables or on provided striped picnic rugs beneath the trees, watching kids having a bat on the astroturf pitch. The forest-green iron chairs might be more at home in a backyard than a Sydney café, but they embody Outfield’s unassuming and community-driven approach while also laying down the game plan for the clever thinking in the kitchen and behind the coffee machine. Owners Caleb and Belinda Maynard unveiled their update to the long-empty space in April of 2019. And while the building works the suburban nostalgia angle, the dishes are all present-day finesse. For instance, the King of Spin – the nickname of one of Australian cricket’s favourite sons, Shane Warne – features fragrant lemon myrtle-cured kingfish and a garden-fresh herb salad, pretty pickled radishes, a smear of sour labneh and a poached egg. It’s a healthy dish that would’ve done a better job of keeping Warnie’s weight in check than those infamous diuretic pills.  The menu is split up into healthy-ish open toast, rolls, salad bowls and specials presented brightly on the plate. If you’re looking for a clean start to the day, give the bowls a turn of the wrist. The bowls offer winning combinations of interes
Advertising
Kurumac
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Marrickville
  • price 2 of 4
It’d be easy to dismiss this stained glass and grey façade on Marrickville’s Addison Road, best known for the namesake Sunday markets and the 428 bus. Only a pair of well-crafted timber benches out front offers a hint of the considered approach being taken behind the door. Step into Kurumac, and you’ll discover a relaxed and refined space of built-in ply seats, matte black tables and a few choice artworks that soothes instantly, forming a neat zen backdrop to Japanese café fare. And the locals have taken notice if a queue on a stinking hot day waiting for a steaming bowl of ox tongue ramen in a beef bone broth is anything to go by. Owner Eugene Leung has brought his East-meets-West hits enjoyed by Kirribilli locals at Cool Mac for the past decade to a suburb with a penchant for craft beer, pet-nats and pho. Staples are covered with experienced ease here: co-owner Dika Prianata pumps out Campos coffee behind a white La Marzocco, alongside pastries from the Bread and Butter Project. The drink of choice, though, is a milkshake made with Mapo’s hojicha gelato, which delivers sweet childhood delight backed by a robust roasted tea flavour. Where Kurumac comes into its own is when things turn fully to the Land of the Rising Sun. Chef Jun Okamatsu’s primarily all-day menu remixes home-cooked Japanese dishes with quiet sophistication that’s still approachable. A breakfast toastie takes the form of spicy cod roe on melted cheese atop a thick slice of shokupan, a traditional subtly swee
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Concord
  • price 1 of 4
Dessert for breakfast is real! Sicilians have been waking up with granita and brioche for generations. Not to mention brioche buns stuffed with gelato. Seriously. And as Sydney heats up for the summer months, it becomes harder to deny our Italian cousins are onto a winner. Let’s start with the granita. Sicilian granita is like a finely crafted slushie, smooth with ice crystals that melt on the tongue. At Pari Pasticceria, in Concord, granita flavours run from fruity (mango, strawberry and lemon) to rich and nutty (chocolate, hazelnut, almond and pistachio). Pistachio and coffee are Sicilian classics, and here, they’re piled into a parfait glass with optional whipped cream on top.  On the side, you’ll score a shiny glazed brioche bun called brioscia cu’ tuppu, so named because it resembles hair tied into a bun. You can eat the granita and brioche – a steal at $8 – however you please: dunk the brioche into the granita like a biscuit, spoon granita onto torn brioche like a scone, or eat them separately and alternate mouthfuls. And while the combo sounds weird at first, trust us, it’s strangely addictive. The brioche is made in-house daily, and it’s softer and fluffier than you’d expect. As a result, every spoonful of granita provides both clarity of flavour and icy refreshment.  Level up with the gelato burger (also $8) if you dare. That’s a brioche bun cut in half and crammed with up to two scoops of gelato. Get the amarena gelato if it’s available, syrupy wild Italian cherries
Advertising
Das Juice
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Redfern
  • price 2 of 4
It’s almost impossible to walk 500 metres in Sydney these days without the offer of a poké bowl or a cold-pressed juice. So when a café specialising in both of those things comes along, it’s hardly revolutionary. Das Juice doesn’t have a frilly fit-out. The menu of mostly juices, smoothies and bowls reads mostly like something you have seen before. Yet, behind the unassuming glass-paned shopfront on Regent Street in Redfern, co-owners Lara Dignam, Michael Dhinse and Joshua Ng are doing something worth talking about. Recognise those names? They’re also the owners of CBD cocktail haunt Papa Gede’s, and they’re taking a woke approach at their debut café. Their aim? To rescue ‘ugly’ fruit and veg unfit for grocery shelves from landfill and fashion it into healthy, delicious GF, DF, V, and VG things. They’ve salvaged four tonnes of produce less than a year after opening, and you can check the current tally on a little letter board next to the till. What’s more, every ounce of compostable plastic and organic waste is composted.  Whether ethos objectively makes food taste better is a question best saved for a third-year philosophy tutorial, but everything at Das Juice tastes exactly as it should, like the purest expression of the ingredients themselves and nothing more. Juices are a logical starting point, and at $6 each, a thrifty one. You’re in the hands of bartending veterans, and they know a thing or two about the dark arts of balancing flavours. Order a Das Hulk. Notice how the
Calla
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Pyrmont
  • price 2 of 4
‘Crème brûlée’, ‘aerated goat’s cheese’ and ‘terrine’ are not words you’d typically expect to find on a breakfast menu – but why not add some culinary pizzazz to your morning? Chef Max Bean (formerly of Est and the Bridge Room) figures there's no reason not to, and to that end has opened Calla, jutting off the courtyard of John Street Square. It’s a welcome addition to Pyrmont’s relatively sparse café scene, which up until now has been serviced mostly by Bar Zini and Clementine’s.  Inside, it feels low-key and easygoing, but still a little luxe. Morning light streams through the windows, and Winston Surfshirt provides the soundtrack. You’ll catch Bean in crisp chef whites in the open kitchen, channeling his fine-dining days, but the espresso machine, a hopper stuffed with Mecca beans and the tempting offer of caramelised white chocolate cookies will remind you that you are, in fact, in a café. Interesting brekkies often set you back more than you’d want to shell out before 10am, but plates here cap at $23; it’s pedigree without the exxy price tag, which is a real win for locals. The humble zucchini slice gets a schmick makeover, with a garlicky crumble and sliced Swiss brown mushrooms atop, a swipe of avocado below and aerated goat’s cheese that really elevates it from lunchbox mainstay to something a little fancy. The effort is there, but it’s denser and more cakey than you might expect, and somehow the whole feels like less than the sum of the parts.  Opt for the salmon ter

Looking for the best of the best?

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising
Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising