Try the prawn dumplings; it’s their best seller, and there’s a reason for that. Four come in a serve, steamed to order, with a pastry that is fine and soft, encasing crunchy, super fresh prawns. It’s the perfect snack to start you off on your meal before you order your bigger plates later on.
David Ralph and Jin-Sun Kim sure know how to make some beautiful chocolates. Order anything from here and you won't be sorry – it's truly one of the best chocolate shops in Sydney.
Try the char kway teow. It’s a massive serve of wok-tossed flat rice noodles tossed with slices of earthy, sweet and sour lap cheong sausage; whole, crunchy prawns; sheets of fish cake; crunchy bean sprouts and egg. It’s seriously smoky from the wok and the pork lard it’s cooked in, and is a lesson in umami.
The Connecticut-style roll holds warm lobster meat tossed in melted butter in a butter-drenched, toasted hotdog bun. We are told the bun is from Breadtop (who knew?), and it's just perfect for this sort of thing: light, soft and just sturdy enough to hold all that lobster. It squishes around the meat when you eat it, so the butter drips down your fingers. It’s a bit messy, and you’re going to want to forgo the napkin and just lick it off. Lobster porn! Maybe don't go here with mum...
Order the pancakes, or should we say 'pancake'. Nine inches wide and an inch thick (it's fried then baked to retain that height) the beautiful beast is fluffy, light and almost like a moist sponge cake. It’s served drenched in tart lemon curd and topped with slivers of toasty, crunchy almonds, fresh strawberries and blueberries. There is a massive quenelle of cheesecake cream bedecking the top and - genius of geniuses - little sprigs of lemon myrtle that add spice and perfume. It's like Uncle Buck’s pancakes and lemon cheesecake are having a party and you're invited.
The buttermilk and passionfruit gelato at Ciccone's is possibly the most refreshing iced treat you could imagine – sweet'n'sour and slightly salty. Co-owner Mark Megahey replaces the usual milk in his base with Pepe Saya’s tangy, creamy buttermilk, making a gelato that is creamy but not overly rich, and tastes like summer in a cup.
The chatterbox Chicken sees a big pile of rice cooked in proper chicken stock so it takes on all of those deep, savoury flavours, topped with super-tender poached chicken, rich chicken broth, crunchy cucumber and tomatoes, with a heap of coriander and a spicy ginger sauce for dipping or pouring over the top at your leisure. Oh, and there is an excellent bowl of chicken soup on the side too.
At Thievery, a tall dome of creamy hummus is doused with nutty, paprika-tinted melted butter, and smoke-rich baba ganoush is served with a generous folding of crunchy pinenuts and big dollops of tart, full-bodied sheep’s yoghurt. Uber even delivers them to you with flat bread, so dippage is sorted.
Aunt Lucy’s seasoned chicken has been brined overnight with Sichuan pepper, cassia bark (like cinnamon), cloves and coriander seeds, making it super tender. It comes whole, halved or quartered, stuffed with garlic rice that hums with the aromas of those spices, layered with the deeply umami flavours of a slowly cooked chook. It's roasted on the rotisserie rather than in the Southern-fried style, upping the moisture levels even further. What it lacks in crispness it makes up for in caramelisation.
What could be more perfect than finely ground meat placed between two sweet slices of bread with cheese and pickles? Nothing, that's what. Whether you like them stacked to the nines, fat-rich and salty, veggie or vegan, here are the best burgers in Sydney.