We’re wrapping up Kathryn Romeyn’s four part series on Australia’s ultimate adventures with where to eat and drink in Sydney. Planning your own adventure down under but don’t know where to eat and drink in Sydney? Consider this your ultimate foodie list!
In the past, Melbourne claimed Oz’s most talked about food scene, but thanks to a spate of ambitious young chefs leaving legendary kitchens to start their own cool ventures, plus continued innovation at the city’s finest establishments, Sydney is now a gastronome’s paradise.
With a cool, edgy feel, the intimate Bar H, opened in the fashionable suburb of Surry Hills in 2010 by a husband wife chef-sommelier team, puts a twist on wine bar cuisine via nods to China, Japan and indigenous Australian ingredients. Part of the joy of dining here is watching the incredibly precise cooking and plating, thus the bar has the best seats in the house. The tasting menu expertly showcases not only gorgeous protein but vegetables as well (you’ll dream of the simple yet mind-blowing tempura fried corn), with interesting pairings ranging from cider to sake to vino, of course.
While much of the food in Sydney is currently Japanese influenced, Cho Cho San, in Potts Point, is pure Tokyo. The modern white-on-white restaurant—opened last summer— is where diners sip inventive cocktails like the Ryeuchi, which combines Bulleit rye whiskey with yuzu, Luxardo, sour cherry, lemon and ginger, and share plates of fluffy pork steamed buns, savory soy glazed wagyu beef with pickled veggies, crunchy karaage fried chicken with lime, and absolutely fantastic raw kingfish with ginger, soy and cucumber. Careful: it’s addictive.
Thanks in part to his diverse CV and time in Europe and Asia, South African chef/co-owner Ross Lusted has made The Bridge Room one of the best places to eat and drink in Sydney since opening in 2011. With a chic, relaxed atmosphere, adventurous wines and flawless service, he turns out artfully plated dishes (atop ceramics he designed) that are almost too beautiful to eat: grilled calamari with dandelions and pomelo and watermelon-topped kingfish sashimi among them. Then there are concoctions like the cubes of robata-grilled raw beef with shitake mushrooms and puffed jobs tears, and whipped black sesame with melon and coconut that will have you seriously considering ordering seconds.
Sepia offers perhaps the most exciting culinary adventure around. At this swanky Restaurant of the Year 2015 (Sydney Morning Herald), chef Martin Benn’s degustation menu is a long and extremely rich journey through dishes that surprise and totally wow—think a simultaneously smoky and bright yellow-fin tuna sashimi tube filled with jam on Iberico cream along with wasabi and pork cracklings, and something simply called The Pearl which, once shattered with a spoon, reveals a delightfully crunchy, cool interior of gingerade “snow,” finger lime and raspberry. Even the bread—Japanese milk bread—is memorable. Of course the wine game is spot-on, too. Sommeliers share everything about each pairing, from the history of the Sicilian Marsala grape to the orientation of the sparkling Shiraz’s vineyards in South Australia.
Finnish chef Pasi Petanen and his restaurant-manager partner, Zoltan Magyar, are young guns who set out together after years at Marque. From a gray-toned second floor spot in the hip ‘hood of Darlinghurst, the pair seem to be running for longest pop-up ever with their wildly creative Cafe Paci. Start with a “snack”—dried rainbow trout “floss,” dill and smoked sour cream on crispy rye—then move along to kingfish sashimi with white onions and oyster cream, and delicious Muscovy duck breast with cherries and chewy dried then re-hydrated beetroot. Desserts pair unexpected elements to stunning results: corn powder with butter-flavored cotton candy, carrot sorbet with licorice cake, and pork crackling with chocolate and fennel.
These are the best places to eat and drink in Sydney. Thanks for joining us this week for our four part series on the ultimate adventure in Australia.