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Petersham area guide

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in Petersham

Photograph: Anna Kucera

Have you ever tried Portuguese sweet bread? If the answer is no, you’ll need to make your way to Petersham immediately: Sydney’s ‘Little Portugal’ your first port of call for a sweet, flaky loaf of goodness from one of the many patisseries that dot its main thoroughfare, New Canterbury Road. You’ll also want to nip in to Silvas Portuguese Traditional Charcoal Chicken for a takeaway chook and chips (or try their seafood plates, which are just as good).

Petersham isn’t quite as flashy as its nearby neighbours in the Inner West, but that’s a good thing: subtly and surely, it’s become one of Sydney’s must-visit destinations for eating and drinking. Daisy’s Milk Bar is a recent newcomer that’s drawn crowds who line up for a trip down memory lane (Push Pops! Mac ‘n cheese! Meatball sambos!), while Brighton the Corner does exactly that with its fresh, friendly offerings. Grab a table outside and soak up the atmosphere. And you’ll need to make your way to the historic Oxford Tavern, a one-time topless joint that just received a very hip makeover as a destination pub. Try their Jelly Wrestle, a syrupy, ice-creamy, sprinkly waffle concoction so out of this world you eat it with your hands while wearing a pair of rubber gloves.

They’re having fun out in Petersham. Get out there and join them before the secret gets out.

Petersham highlights

Daisy's Milk Bar
Restaurants

Daisy's Milk Bar

Hello, the cutest little café and milk bar ever. Yes, Daisy’s, we’re talking to you, with your musk-pink door, daffodil-yellow-and-baby-blue dining room and pineapple ceramic table settings. Booth seating out the back, milkshakes out the front, and sweets as far as the eye can see – what’s not to love? There’s even a little wooden hutch painted yellow and white that doubles as a cordial station (it’s raspberry, orange and lemon today). A bottle of Jack Daniel’s sits high on the shelf between the red frogs and the Push Pops. We’re guessing that’s for later. But for right now, there’s a big jar of Daisy’s branded kissing candies on the counter. Brown paper bags are on hand for the mixed lollies: cola candies, Milkos, Redskins, raspberries, red and green frogs, strawberries and creams, Push Pops. Our teeth just got a little bit looser thinking about it. The floor seats around 30, and is run by a pack of super-sweet gals and guys: lips slashed jungle red, quiffs slicked high, in various states of tattoo. Our main waitress struts about in a blue-and-white seersucker flippy dress and a pair of light blue Vans. She pulls a docket book out of a yellow gingham apron (“I got it on Etsy!”) to take our order. The coffee, by Double Roasters, pride of Marrickville, is definitely worth a nudge. It’s a gutsy blend you could almost eat with a knife and fork – especially if you order it piccolo-short. Classic milkshakes (we go for caramel and a malted vanilla) come in regular and k

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
The Oxford Tavern
Bars

The Oxford Tavern

There may be a lot less jelly and nudity all round at the Oxford Tavern, but the spirit of the former topless bar lingers in the poles built into the bar and the Jelly Wrestle shared dessert of jelly, ice cream, waffles and sundae trimmings that you eat with gloved hands. During the week it’s tacos, burgers, hot dogs and mains with a side of chips, but our favourite time to visit is on weekends when the backyard smoker has been fired up in the leafy, undercover beer garden and you can order brisket, chicken, pulled pork and ribs by weight. Make it a Sunday and $10 Bloody Marys increase the good time factor by 12 points, though a midweek schooner of Monteith’s smooth cashew nut lager or a Kosciuzko pale ale doesn’t hurt either. On a Friday night unwind with ten buck Margaritas until 8pm, and then hang tight because the Friday night party here provides boogie opportunity that’s lock out free. The Oxford Tavern might have put its shirt back on, but it’s still a loose collar kind of joint where good times are the whole point.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 1 out of 5 stars
Public House Petersham
Bars

Public House Petersham

This old Petersham boozer has undergone yet another round of upgrades, but we’re pretty sure these ones are going to stick. The former Newington Inn is now the Public House Petersham, and we have to admit, they seem to have had the people’s best interests at heart when they spruced up the beer garden, turfed the TAB and reworked their food offering to be a lot more friendly to families, little humans and people making better life choices. Broke students are the only ones who didn’t luck out. Aside from the unnecessary name change that is only going to confuse taxi-drivers and Google Maps, all the updates here have been for the better. They’ve added a whole lot more furniture so everyone can bung in together for a pub dinner; replaced the gambling facilities with a dedicated games corner (the fooshockey is still there); and strung the upstairs verandah with festoon lights so that smokers have a nice spot to sit and muse on the state of the nation. This also means the spacious beer garden down on the ground floor is blissfully smoke free – everybody wins. They aren’t kidding around with the hot nduja salami on the Feeling Hot Hot Hot pizza – it builds to a serious burn for sensitive palates – and they’re not really trying to play by Naples’ rules here. Want creamed corn on a pizza? They’re doing it. Those devilled sardines speaking to you? Yep, they also fall under the vast subheading of things that can physically be put on top of a pizza base. We take the road more travelle

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Brighton the Corner
Restaurants

Brighton the Corner

Petersham has always been a destination suburb for some hangover-busting Portuguese chicken and custard tarts. But look a bit further and you’ll discover that this little pocket of the Inner West is kicking goals on all fronts when it comes to eats and drinks. Daisy’s Milk Bar is a sweet little diner fast making fast with mac'n'cheese and mixed lollies, while the Oxford Tavern has swapped tits and schnits for barbecue and tiny burgers. Even the local bowlo is getting in on the act, pulling excellent craft beers and hosting live gigs. And now a sunny corner café is charming the early risers with coffee, crumpets and a brisket for breakfast. You’ll find Brighton the Corner in the leafy backstreets behind the station. Sunshine streams through the windows and washes over a simple room of charcoal grey banquettes, bentwood chairs, claw-footed tables and tiled counters for coffee and food. Get here right on the dot of opening and you might get a mist of Windex with your coffee – they keep those windows gleaming. You won’t want to dawdle, especially if you’re aiming for one of the window seats that open onto the street. Choosing between the house-made sodas is no easy feat. It may be the colour of fairy-floss but the watermelon and basil soda is low on the sweet scale. Or go for lemon and thyme – sweet, acidic and herbaceous all at once. As to the apple and ginger number? Next time, Gadget. Vegan naysayers should stick a fork in the roast cauliflower salad. Golden brown flo

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars

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