Heading to Sydney? Here are some restaurants you don't want to miss.
Chef Peter Gilmore of Quay fame made big news when he opened up Bennelong in the Opera House, and he’s managed to meet all expectations with this slick multi-level space that serves up home-grown flavours including seriously fresh seafood, Byron Bay pork, and Blackmore wagyu. You have your choice of casual drinks and bites at the Cured & Cultured counter, The Bar and the upper level Circle, or more formal two or three-course meals at The Restaurant on the lower level.
Named after the Provencal town of Nice, this warm and welcoming French cafe offers harbour views, blonde-wood tables, pastel hues and a warm and welcoming vibe. But the main draw is, as Mark says, “a very talented chef doing flavourful, simple, well-executed food with amazing ingredients.” You can expect to find classic French dishes here like the Nicoise Salad tossed tableside, and the pissaladiere, a pizza-like creation with buttery pastry, anchovies, peppers, olives and parsley. Fine French wines are also on offer either by the glass or bottle.
With five locations scattered across the city, Chat Thai still manages to pull in huge crowds at each of their locations. The reason? Fabulously flavourful food that ranges from the usual Thai suspects like som dtum (crunchy papaya salad adjusted to your preferred level of heat) and gaeng keaw gai (green curry chicken) to exotic creations like the bpla todt bpa sah, a fragrant mix of sour orange tamarind curry with ocean trout and water spinach, and the khao kana mhu grob, stir-fried crispy pork belly and Chinese kale on rice.
Opened in buzzing Bondi by award-winning Chef Ian Oakes, this is the type of place where you can gather with a few good friends over shared plates and vino or settle in for a full-on multi-course meal. The ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, which is why you see items like the Pan-seared Gnocchi with golden raisins, mushrooms, hazelnuts and Pecora Dairy blue cheese, and the Mirrool Creek Lamb Leg with spring onions, broad beans, peas and milk curds.
Barbecue fare is an Australian staple, but Chef Lennox Hastie takes it to a whole new level at Firedoor, a smokehouse type spot where all the meats are cut to order, the seafood comes straight out of the tank, and everything is powered by fire. Chef Hastie learned the subtle art of smoking, grilling and charring from the much lauded Asador Etxebarri in the Basque Country, and his expertise shines through in dishes like the subtly smoked Salmon cooked over aromatic orange wood and the unique Grilled Berries with smoked milk ice cream.
Laid-back vibes and legendary meals made with locally sourced fare (including veggies, honey and chickens from the garden out back) are the norm at Three Blue Ducks, a cool cafe in the beachside Bronte hood. Expect to find long line-ups, especially during brunch when they serve up superb organic coffee and eggs, toasted sourdough bread, and rich black sausages. By night the graffiti-clad walls are softly lit by fairy lights and candles, and the kitchen puts out dishes like the Duck with roast beets, wilted greens and liquorice, and Sesame Crusted Kingfish with chinese broccoli and caramelised chilli. Pair your meal with a chilled craft beer or cider.
The name may not seem particularly inspired, but the same cannot be said for the food at this contemporary Korean joint. Opened by Chef David Ralph and Tae Kyu Lee, who both worked at the esteemed Quay, Kim Restaurant takes traditional Korean dishes and kicks them up a notch with modern cooking techniques and interesting textures and flavours. For familiar flavours try the Mandoo Korean Dumplings and Bul Kalbi pork ribs, or get adventurous with theTang Tang Yeokhwe, a mix of spicy raw beef, octopus, pear, and egg yolk.
A night out at Sepia is a fancy affair, with slick modern decor and seamless service, seductive lighting, and a contemporary menu that is nothing if not memorable. The dishes make use of the finest seasonal ingredients and show a touch of Japanese inspiration on various plates. Think Charcoal Grilled Marron with kabosu and meyer lemon cream, carrot, calendula and chrysanthemum, and the Seared Scampi with smoked bone marrow, cauliflower, yuzu koshu, toasted milk bread, citrus soy and sobacha.
This Sydney institution located right on the harbourfront is a must-try for all the right reasons, not the least of which is their palate pleasing plates by Chef Peter Gilmore. The dishes change depending on the chef’s whimsy or the seasons, but you can be assured that each dish is made with high quality produce sourced from local growers and farmers and expertly prepared with passion and purity. Examples of menu items include the raw smoked Blackmore Wagyu with horseradish sour cream, fermented rye crisps and raw fungi, and the Sashimi of South Coast Crayfish with squash seeds, tapioca, white cucumber and green almonds.