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  1. An overhead shot of a lunch table with oysters, roast carrots and more
    Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan
  2. The Barber Shop Long Lunches & Late Nights
    Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

Discover all the best dining experiences from Sydney’s Open for Lunch event

For one day only, some of the Harbour City’s top culinary talent are coming together for a celebration of food

By Time Out in association with Destination NSW
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Sydney’s back, baby – and to help in the revitalisation of the city’s hospitality scene, the NSW Government is launching a one-day-only dining event on Friday December 3. Sydney’s Open for Lunch will see an exciting program of long lunches, pop-up activations and bespoke foodie experiences take over the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs, plus the inner-city fringe areas. Industry heavyweights like Kylie Kwong, Luke Mangan and Palisa Anderson will also be lending their support to the occasion, hosting events and curating special menus. 

And while the George Street luncheon is completely sold out, there are still plenty of seats at lots of long, linen-clad tables left to be snapped up. So whether you’re planning a long-overdue family catch-up, looking for an excuse to escape the office for a few hours, or just want to head into the city to do something fun, there’s an event to suit all taste buds and culinary preferences. The hardest part? Choosing just one to attend.

Three pop-up events you don’t want to miss

The name says it all, really. The inner-city suburb of South Eveleigh is set to transform into a vibrant food, drink and entertainment hub, complete with dancefloor and shiny mirror balls (so don’t forget your best boogie shoes). Culinary queen Kylie Kwong is heading up the curated menu, which will reflect the vibrant culture of Sydney’s inner west. Expect to devour dishes like hokkien noodles with raw Hiramasa kingfish, and a salad of five-spice tofu, fresh black fungus and vegetables. Matt Whiley is in charge of beverages, and alongside a solid selection of beer and wine there will be two specially crafted cocktails. A battle of the decks will be taking place to entice you out on the d-floor, with live DJs including Joyride, Deepa and Tyson Koh spinning tunes. Tickets are $30, and there are two separate sittings: noon-3pm and 6-10pm.

In Parramatta, 400 diners will descend on the city’s newest food precinct for three separate events. Parramatta Square will play host to Ruse Bar and Brasserie, Ciccia Bella and Lilymu, with each restaurant offering up a tasty three-course lunch. Inspired by the great trattorias of Italy, Ciccia Bella is presenting a menu full of classic, comforting dishes – think pizza, lamb stuffed with olives, herbs and pine nuts, and a vanilla and cherry crostata. Ruse Bar and Brasserie will deliver a rich sensory dining experience that makes good use of the restaurant’s open-fire grill, while Lilymu – where the food is heavily influenced by Chinese and Southeast Asian flavours – has ceviche and massaman curry on the menu. Oh, and there’s also live entertainment in the form of Winston Surfshirt (DJ set), Milan Ring and Parramatta-based musician Nardean. Tickets cost $50, and the three-hour event starts at noon.

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Sydney’s CBD will come alive with the clink of glasses and clattering of cutlery when the YCK Laneways precinct (York, Clarence and Kent Streets) stages a number of long lunch events to showcase the very best of inner-city bar culture. The crew at Prince of York are throwing one of the bigger parties – a long lunch on Barrack Street that will include a ten-course sharing menu, matched drinks and a welcome cocktail. At Esteban the tequila will be flowing as executive chef John Frid serves up his Mexican-inspired feast, while at the Barber Shop you can be one of the first to sample the new Hickson Road Gin over plates of yummy morsels. The Duke of Clarence is hosting a Chrissy lunch with all the trimmings (yes, that includes a traditional roast turkey), Burrow Bar is creating a Vietnamese banquet and PS40 is doing a three-course meal with paired cocktails. Phew! As if that wasn’t enough, Since I Left You is teaming up with three Kent Street restaurants to present a meal highlighting the diversity of the area’s culinary offerings. Tickets start at $65, and the events all kick off at noon.

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