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Chippendale area guide

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in Chippendale

Photograph: Anna Kucera

Sandwiched between Cleveland Street and Broadway and a longtime favourite of the Sydney Uni set, Chippo packs a lot of punch for a little fella. The area has just welcomed mammoth the Central Park development to the old Carlton & United brewery site – Daiso is the most exciting thing for us – and there’s increasingly tonnes of eating, drinking and art-watching to be done: hit up Mission Restaurant and Bar (and gallery!), the always excellent White Rabbit CollectionCafé Giulia and Brickfields. And take a moment to remember the late Abercrombie Hotel, home of late nights, fried pizza and, once upon a time, our hearts.

Chippendale Highlights

Restaurants

Brickfields

You have no idea what a relief it is Brickfields opened up when it did. This new bakery/café from Luxe founder and exceptionally incredible baker Simon Cancio and Mecca’s Paul Geshos is serving some of the best bread in the city. It’s dense, elastic and malty. Try yours sandwiching rich, juicy anchovy-mayo-soaked-brisket with chilli and gherkins. OK, so it’s a $13 sandwich, but you could easily split it between two – especially if you share a quinoa, roast green pepper, pearl barley, tomato and olive salad on the side. Or maybe it’ll be a breakfast plate – perfect if you’re flighty or fickle, there’s enough on there to keep you interested. Here, a halved boiled egg sits on a pile of fried eggplant, tahini, a slice of lemon and zhoug (a spicy green relish that’s almost like an Israeli version of salsa verde) on toast. Make sure to try their house-made sodas (or, as they refer to them on the blackboard, “dranks – hells yeah!”). Order carafes of ‘Lebonade’ and plain mineral water, or our favourite, the pink peach – if only we could add gin. Coffee, as you’d expect with Geshos involved, is reliably ace. Sweet treats run to Persian love cakes, croissants and a very attractive-looking crostata, but you’ll find us precariously balancing a custard tart on our laps. The fine pastry cups a thin layer of fig paste topped with creamy custard and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon on top. Why are we precariously balancing anything and not sitting at a table like grownups? S

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Art

White Rabbit

White Rabbit is a a state-of-the-art, four-floor temple to 21st century Chinese art hidden on a backstreet in Chippendale. Founder Judith Neilson created the self-funded non-profit gallery to house her epic collection of post-millennial Chinese art, and it opened to the public in 2009. The gallery also houses a gift-shop full of cheap, cheerful and colourful gifts, and a ground-floor tea house that also serves dumplings. Contemporary Chinese art is a hot commodity right now, and among the most fascinating in the world, says Paris Neilson, Judith's daughter and the collection's manager. "When you go to China and visit the artists' studios, they're the size of airplane hangers. They have access to materials like bronze and fibreglass and they can get workers to help. They have so much freedom to create whatever comes to mind." White Rabbit opened in August 2009, the culmination of an idea sparked ten years ago. Judith Neilson discovered the work of Wang Zhiyuan at a 1999 exhibition at Ray Hughes Gallery (now The Hughes Gallery) in Surry Hills and began a friendship with the Beijing-based artist. "Mum went and visited him in Beijing and was just amazed by the work she saw," Paris explains. "She bought a couple of works and came back raving." Judith's husband, Platinum Asset Management founder Kerr Neilson, urged her to buy more, and the issue of where to keep and display a collection arose. The Neilsons found an old knitting factory in Chippendale and set about a thre

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Shopping

Central Park Shopping Centre

Dubbed the ‘living mall’ by the precinct’s developers, which sounds horrifyingly like a Little Shop of Horrors theme park, Central is the new five-level vertical shopping centre with 40 stores and nine cafés, all less than five minutes walk from Central Station. The fancy-looking glass building it is housed in, all covered in greenery, was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and botanist Patrick Blanc. It’s the first of its kind in Australia thanks to its eco heliostat (a plane mirror which reflects sunlight), which will conserve and produce solar power for the building. With such striking architecture, Time Out had envisioned reporting that stores like H&M, Uniqlo and Muji would be setting up shop (we’ll wait patiently in line for those to arrive in Sydney next year). However, the new retail hub is a far more practical mix of familiar brands like Adidas, Glue, Hype DC, Foot Locker, and (coming soon) Superdry. There’ll be a few fast-food favourites like Coco Cubano, Guzman y Gomez, Din Tai Fung and yet another frozen yogurt joint opening in the outdoor dining area and food court. Plus, there’ll be free Wi-Fi (hello students and freelancers); Woolies; Priceline; a new medical centre; and Japan’s largest discount store – Daiso Japan (cheap crockery: hello students and freelancers). Plus, an entire floor will be dedicated to a creative playground of art called Brand X.

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Restaurants

Ester Restaurant and Bar

It’s hard not to fall totally in love with Ester the moment you walk through the door. Its arched concrete features, open kitchen and laid-back but chic vibes are intoxicating. All of this is lovely, but it’s the food that’s going to get you, one way or the other. That’s because behind the pass is Mat Lindsay – a man who knows how to prepare a meal that feels as accessible as it is delicious, but still, in the undercurrent, is actually sophisticated cooking. The squid ink dumplings are a great example of this. Rejecting our usual wont for thin casings and delicate fillings, here everything is thrown on its head, with its outwardly crisp, inwardly thick, sticky and chewy casing enclosing nubbly little pieces of squid drenched in its own ink, humming with ginger and beautifully seasoned. Heavily spiced, individual morcilla sausages are dressed with caramelised onions and served on soft steamed bread. It’s like a sausage sizzle gone posh and somehow humble at the same time (this is a sausage made from blood after all). Another meaty dish of steak tartare comes remixed from the classic with a fried egg purée replacing raw yolk and mustard leaves in place of the sauced variety. The usual capers are textural – fried, rather than raw. The cow, the waiter tells us, was fed on chestnuts, giving the meat a nutty fragrance and a deep, dark flavour profile reminiscent of red wine. It’s amazing when something simple like prawns in butter can deliver like it does here. And these are b

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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