For many years this strip of the CBD fringe sat unused and unloved, but now Barangaroo boasts a string of great restaurants, from interstate imports like Belle's Hot Chicken, to fine diners like Cirrus. There's also plenty of spots to grab coffee, relax in Barangaroo Reserve or hop on a ferry.
The best restaurants in Barangaroo
Hit peak Sydney with seaside seafood from Cirrus, the fourth venue from culinary kingpins Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt. Their trophy cabinet is already chockers thanks to Monopole, Bentley and Yellow, but the collection wanted an aquatic addition. When NOMA moved out, Savage and Hildebrandt moved in and built something Sydney was sorely lacking. To deprive yourself of the roasted tiger prawns here would be cruel and unusual punishment for any crustacean fan. The heat draws that savoury bisque flavour out of the shells and then they match it hit for hit with a miso mustard and a mayo spiked with pickled and roasted Padrón peppers.
In the same way that smart casual can be a flummoxing dress code, fancy casual is a difficult dining style to nail. You want it to be classy enough that you might take visiting colleagues out for lunch here on the company dime, but not so exclusive that the throngs of tourists who gravitate to Sydney’s waterfront hubs won’t consider making this one of their feature meals while they’re in town. Bea is the answer to this brief. It’s not fine dining exactly, but it’s classy as hell and ticking a lot of boxes, especially on the drinks front. It’s not surprising given it’s the restaurant filling between two bars inside Solotel and Matt Moran’s ambitious Barangaroo House.
This Barangaroo restaurant led by Justin Wise is all about delivering dishes that focus on the differing elements of the air, land, sea and earth. Wise has also taken inspiration from local Australian farmers to create a menu that showcases their produce, including pork jowl with black pudding, riberries and chestnut; lamb neck with potato and broad beans; and duck with beetroot, macadamia and alpine pepper. At the bar or with dinner you can order up tricked up Tommy Collins (with the addition of plum jam) while the Espresso Martini gives the pick-me-up-cocktail an injection of salt caramel. The restaurant also boasts a specialty dessert bar where you can choose à la carte or go for a three, five or seven-course dessert tasting menu.
The burger-fuelled brother of Surry Hills' Ume brings Japanese sangas to the streets of Sydney's new dining precinct. The signature burger is an American-style cheeseburger, while the handmade prawn katsu imbues more Japanese flavours. You'll also find a rich katsu curry sauce on the pork and veggie numbers. Sides are a little more exciting than your usual takeout options – think koji fried chicken, house made kimchi and cod row-spiked mayo. They also have an ever-changing soft serve station and housemade sodas on tap, alongside Japanese whiskeys and beers.
This historic hotel has stood like a sentinel on Millers Point for nearly a century, and although it spent time as a boarded up beauty, inspiring a million “if I bought that building…” dreams, now the cladding has come off. Underneath the old girl has been restored to her former glory, and now the northern city workers have another outpost for beers and pub pies that’s prettier than most. It’s also a convenient pit stop for anyone checking out Barangaroo Reserve. There’s not a lot of space at the Hotel Palisade, but they’re making the most of what they have by cramming wobbly tables and wooden chairs into the parlour rooms behind the main bar.
The husband and wife duo behind Surry Hills' Bar H have branched out with a Barangaroo-based botanical bar. What exactly is a botanical bar? Well they are focusing a lot of energy on vermouth – the aromatized, fortified wine that's flavoured with roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, spices. It's a staple in Martinis and Manhattans, and it's also a decent apertif – they'e got a selection of over 40 of them at Banksii so there's sure to be something to both educate newbies and impress botanical buffs.
You know that delicious smell of hot fried chicken? The one that immediately makes your mouth water and your whole body fuzzy and warm? Belle’s Hot Chicken is the answer to all your prayers. The menu is similar to that of Melbourne's Belle's Hot Chicken in Fitzroy (from mild to spicy fried chicken, fries and sides) and drinks include the sweet flavours of housemade lemonade, iced tea and kombucha. You’ll probably be able to follow your nose as the smell lures you in the right direction, but you can find Morgan McGlone’s epic chicken shop on the south end of Barangaroo’s lifestyle hub, Wulugul Walk, open seven days a week, eat in or takeaway.
Somer Sivrioglu, from the ever-popular Effendy in Balmain, is bringing his take on Turkish cuisine down by the water. In keeping with its location, Anason’s menu will dip into the sea while giving a nod to the meyhanes of Istanbul. We’re excited about the charcoal octopus leg with mastic and couscous, and the lamb short fillet with eggplant begendy. Those passing through can grab a heart-starting Turkish coffee and a simit, a sesame covered Turkish-style pretzel, all served from the restaurant’s outdoor cart. This place is piled high with kitchen talent. Sivrioglu has nabbed some hot chefs from home and abroad, including Murat Buvan from Melbourne's Attica and Inal Erdener from Turkey’s famed Alancha restaurant.
Old Town – one of the fancier yet still affordable Cantonese restaurants in Sydney – now has a second home in Barangaroo (its first is over in Haymarket). It’s the mix of value, friendliness and downright deliciousness that sets this casual Hong Kong-style restaurant apart. Order up plates of dim sum, roast duck and mud crab congee and settle in for a good time.
Bel and Brio is Barangaroo's one-stop-shop for all things food and wine. Not content with being just a café, this emporium also has a laneway bar and dining offshoot, a wine shop (with a 2000-strong wine list, curated by Jon Osbeiston) an eatery (with readymade meals for busy officeworkers), a marketplace (with pasture raised eggs, freshly baked bread and cold pressed juices) and they are also tapping out coffees from Will and Co.