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The Mayflower

Restaurants Darlinghurst
Mayflower caviar
Photograph: Supplied/Mayflower
Photograph: Supplied/Mayflower
Mayflower truffle toastie
Photograph: Supplied/Mayflower
Mayflower fresh toast
Photograph: Supplied/Mayflower
Mayflower outside
Photograph: Supplied/Mayflower

Time Out says

Opulent ingredients and grand floral designs are the focus of this Darlinghurst corner café

Nestled in the heart of Darlinghurst, the teal-tiled art-deco façade of the Mayflower gives way to blushing interiors strung with garlands of preserved flowers, dotted with suede seating and lit by wide, street-facing windows. 

Housed in what was once a florist, the café and restaurant clearly prides itself on its looks – but there's more to this joint than just surface-level sheen. A closer look reveals a focussed yet far-reaching menu of breakfast, lunch and most recently, dinner fare which plays to its clientele's desire for highly photographable food while still packing a culinary punch. With founding pair Christian Lee and Kevin Ly, both alum of Brewristas and an ex-Momofuku Seiobo head chef, Jihwan Choi, leading the kitchen, you'd expect nothing less. 

Try the melting, decadent three-cheese truffle toastie, or the "the prettiest dish on the menu", the ocean trout gravlax – it's light, fresh and comes scattered with edible flowers. Seafood is a dominant force at the Mayflower, with dishes like king prawns served with sea urchin butter, togarashi pepper and yuzu mayonnaise, and a zesty kingfish sashimi with pomelo, nori paste and dashi. 

Truffle finds its way onto many menus this time of year, but you won't find caviar in every Sydney café – mostly because it costs $168 for 30g of Ars Italica Osietra caviar, or $228 for the same amount of holy grail Black Pearl beluga caviar. Downstairs – a space with a richer, more sophisticated ambiance – is the kind of room that's made for eating it. In this basement dining room, egg-like onyx stools huddle around a giant, marbled table as florals offer a frisson of lightness against the imposing décor; fresh and bright for the tables, and dried for those wrapped around the room's central pillar. You can also get 50g servings of both kinds of caviar, priced accordingly – and all orders come with blinis, crème fraîche, egg mimosas and chives on the side. Chilled spoonfuls of the caviar are gently served on the back of your hand so it can rise to body temperature before you gobble it up.

Some day dishes, like the burrata and the kingfish sashimi, make the natural leap to also feature on the evening menu, but dinner is an experience all of its own. Sweet, clean miso toothfish comes from a glacier off the coast of Antarctica, served with pickled ginger and shiokoji, a fermented Japanese rice seasoning. Thick slices of katsu-style black pig are accompanied with a tangle of cabbage and apple and a smear of wasabi mayo. Delicate, edible flowers as plate garnish reign supreme, day or night. 

As you'd expect in the caffeine-mad inner-city, the Mayflower serves a mean coffee, too. Sip it sitting at the windowside high counter upstairs, listening to the chatter of streetside tables and watching the Saturday morning routines of Darlinghurst's streets play out in front of you. 

This little CBD laneway bar transforms into a taqueria on Fridays. Check it out. 


Address: Shop 2
303A Liverpool Street
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 7am-3.30pm; Wed-Sat 5pm-10pm.
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