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The best mac and cheese in Sydney

What’s covered in cheese and burns like hell? My face, in a giant pot of mac and cheese

By Time Out editors
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It’s a jungle out there. With macaroni cheese one of Sydney’s favourite dishes, where do you get the best ones? We’ve done a little scout about, and here’s our tally.

A bowl of macaroni cheese with golden cheese on top
Photograph: Anna Kucera

1. The Stinking Bishops

Restaurants Newtown

Only serious cheese fiends should attempt the mac and cheese at Stinking Bishops. This pungent side dish is vying for the spotlight by being more cheese than pasta, stealthily swirled through with truffle oil and then topped with a generous slice of taleggio before being thrown under the broiler.

Photograph of a mac and cheese burger, milkshake in a silver shaker with a stripy straw, a vintage watch and a vintage radio, all set on a red tabletop
Photograph: Supplied

2. The Nighthawk Diner

Restaurants Circular Quay

If you get Nighthawk on the right night, they might have their famed mac and cheese burger on the menu, and you do not want to miss it. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a breaded patty of mac and cheese fried to within an inch of its life and stuffed between a bun. There could be nothing not to love about this combination.

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3. Thirsty Bird

Restaurants Potts Point

This place is all about (epic) fried chicken. And what’s the perfect marriage for deep-fried chook? That’s right, mac and cheese. Here it’s spiked with bacon and topped with crisp breadcrumbs, is faintly cheesy and the sauce is nice and loose. Pop that phone on silent, order some fried chicken and have yourself a party for one. 

A gingham-lined basket of french fries and a tub of mac and cheese
Photograph: Kit Baker

4. Surly's

Bars Darlinghurst

Do as the friendly staff suggest and order the mac and cheese as one of your sides – elbows of pasta come thickly coated in a buttery, rich cheese sauce that packs a savoury punch ­– which is perfect when you’re eating it with sweet, glazed barbecue.

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5. Rosie Campbell's

Bars Surry Hills

You might not expect to order mac and cheese at a Caribbean-themed bar, but it’s something you really outta do when it comes to Rosie Campbell’s. The sauce is creamy and boasts a cheddary bite, and a kick of jerk spice keeps things tropical.

Generic mac and cheese
Photograph: Creative Commons

6. Plumer Road Chicken Shop

Restaurants Cafés Rose Bay

For when you're despo for packet mac and cheese, but just can't quite summon the strength to lift the box yourself, the Plumer Road Chicken Shop is here to help. They dish up exactly the kind of gloopy goodness you'd expect from a bain-marie corner store, with a price to match. But the thing is, they're consistent. The pasta's never fall-apart soft, and the sauce never separates into pools of grease. As a side, it feels just as stable as you'd want.  If you really want to do yourself some damage, ask for chicken gravy to be dished liberally over the top. You know you want to, you monster.

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Tub of macaroni cheese with pickles, crisps (chips) and barbecued short rib alongside white plastic cutlery
Photograph: Anna Kucera

7. Bovine and Swine Barbecue Company

Restaurants Western Sydney

Want some creamy respite with that side of American-style barbecued meat? Go the mac and cheese. We love the studs of broccoli and hits of chilli in there, but this place isn’t all about finesse so don't expect nothin' fancy, y'hear?

And what's the perfect side to mac and cheese?

The best fried chicken in Sydney

Restaurants American

It’s official. Sydney is obsessed with fried chicken. Are we in the American Deep South? No. Does that matter? Maybe. Are we doing it anyway? You’re damn right we are: this is deep-fried meat for crying out loud, and we’re all about it. Here are our favourite joints (getit?) in town right now, doing chicken the way – our fictitious American/Korean/Indonesian – mamma used to do.

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