Recently I was lucky enough to head to Sydney for Afterpay Australian Fashion Week. My husband came too and worked in his Sydney office for the week. The days were filled with fashion, work and writing so instead of sightseeing and lunching we’d meet up at night to share our busy days. We didn’t mean to take a trip around the world through food but with so many options in Sydney’s CBD that’s exactly what happened. So with my Sydney sisters staying safely at home for now I thought I’d tempt you with some great places to visit when we are all out and about again visiting this most beautiful of cities.
Day 1 Italy
We flew from Brisbane to Sydney with Qantas on a midday flight so arrived in the afternoon. We then caught the train to our lovely Air BnB in the centre of Sydney. It was the perfect base for us and we could walk or catch the train or tram everywhere. After settling in and buying some supplies we wandered down to Circular Quay for an early evening stroll to gaze at the magnificent views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Harbour. It was so comforting to see the ferries chugging into dock. I realised how much I had missed visiting this brilliant harbourside city.
It was cold but we still wanted to enjoy the view so we grabbed a table at East Bank Café Bar and Pizzeria. This is one of our old favourites in Sydney. My husband loves the pizza here and we usually visit for a quick bite on our first night. It’s always open too, which is a plus, as a lot of the CBD restaurants are shut on Sunday and Monday nights.
We surprised each other with our choices. I think the cold was a factor here. I was shocked when Mr Bee did not order the pizza but a chicken fettuccine carbonara and I shocked him by ordering the veal scaloppine. The last time I had ordered this was in a little Italian in the backstreets of Paris when we visited for my 47th birthday, so ten years had passed since I enjoyed that one. Our choices were perfect to warm us up.
My veal was two pieces of veal tenderloin slightly grilled and finished with a wild mushroom sauce. It was served with a crushed potato mash.The veal was cooked perfectly and the amount of mushrooms in the sauce was generous , which earned a big tick from me. I’m not a huge fan of mash but as this was more like a crunchier rubble version it definitely worked for me. Hubby’s creamy Fettucine Al Pollo hit the spot with chicken, basil and mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce which was devoured immediately. This is a great little harbour viewing spot offering a contemporary fusion of traditional Italian dishes with Modern Australian cuisine.
Day Two Thailand
Heading back to Carriageworks the next day was easy as we were staying only three stops away from Redfern. I caught the train from Wynyard Station to Redfern and then it was only a short walk to Carriageworks. Sydney trains are amazing and I never had to wait more than a minute. It’s so easy to get around. My day was spent registering, exploring, celebrity sighting and talking to designers. I was fuelled by many, many coffees from the free Vittoria coffee vans onsite, so was in dire need of some sustenance by the time the evening rolled around.
That night we were hoping to snare a table at Bistecca. It was in the bottom of the building we were staying so the tantalising aromas were beckoning us. Alas, even on a Monday night it was booked solid. So we ventured into its cosy and dark underground interior for a drink before deciding where to go. We will definitely make a booking here next time we visit Sydney.
A short walk took us to a favourite part of Sydney, Angel’s Place. Not everything was open on a Monday but our favourite Sydney Thai restaurant Long Chim was and they could fit us in. It’s a big, bustling, welcoming and casual restaurant with exceptionally good Thai food. It had been recommended on our last visit by my friend who is a chef at Yandina’s famed Thai restaurant – Spirit House.The quality of food and efficiency and friendliness of the staff was just as we remembered in this street style Thai food restaurant.
We shared some Spring Rolls to start. They were crunchy and filled with glass noodles and shiitake mushrooms. For mains we shared Pad Prik Khing of Chicken , which was a dry red curry with snake beans and kaffir lime leaves.This delicious dish packed a flavour punch and chef had not shirked on the chillies. Our second amazing dish was a green curry with beef brisket, eggplant and Thai basil. The brisket was melt in the mouth and had soaked up the flavoursome green curry sauce. The eggplant was tender, served with steamed jasmine rice to soak up that sauce, it was another winner.
Long Chim is a welcoming restaurant right in the centre of Sydney perfect for couples, groups or after work meal and drinks. I spied comedian Andy Lee a few tables over dining with his partner. It’s an eclectic mix of patrons all enjoying the best Thai food South of the Queensland border.
Day 3 Spain
Our third day was a super busy one for me, with four fashion shows and several fashion talks. In the evening we chose another Angel Place favourite Bar Topa, with an ever changing seasonal tapas menu and a diverse wine and cocktail list. You will feel like you are sitting in laneway in Spain. It’s a small and buzzing place and sitting up at the bar you can watch the theatre of the open plan kitchen, as waiters and host pirouette to speedily serve your selections. We began with fat Spanish olives whilst perusing the blackboard menu. We chose two types of croquettes – spinach and ham. Both were excellent, crunchy on the outside and gooey and creamy within. We loved them so much we ordered an extra serve of the spinach. San Daniele ham was next with crusty bread before spicy chicken skewers with a green harissa sauce. It was difficult to choose a favourite. A few glasses of Pinot Gris later and we were asking ‘ What cold weather? ‘ as we were warmed from the inside out. A terrific and friendly place to while away the evening. Try the half sized cocktails for a taster or share a portion of the dessert of the day. Today it was cheesecake. Last time was a heavenly apple pie.
Day 4 Modern Australia
I was excited to be finally visiting one of my bucket list restaurants, Rockpool Bar and Grill, for my fourth day in Sydney. We were meeting Sydney friends that we hadn’t seen for quite a while so a good night was on the cards. We arrived early to enjoy a champagne at the bar. I marvelled at the wall of glasses above the well stocked bar and was glad that I wouldn’t be the one in charge of cleaning them. It was a real talking point and the ambience extended into the restaurant.
This beautiful Art Deco restaurant is a destination unto itself and I could see why this gorgeous place has stood the test of time. I thought before visiting that it was mostly a seafood restaurant but I was totally wrong. It is very much a Modern Australian restaurant and the choices were amazing.
The ladies ordered the duck which was Maremma Duck with Mandarin and Rosemary. It was tasty and a very generous serving. The lads ordered the rib eye on the bone and were very happy. We ordered sides to share which were delicious – winter greens, baby carrots and fat cut chips. Sadly we had no room for dessert after this feast. Service was impeccable and the wine list is extensive with over 3000 wines to choose from. I will definitely visit again and would particularly recommend it as a special occasion restaurant on your next visit to Sydney.
Day 5 Japan
On my last day in Sydney it was bitterly cold and raining. I only had two shows and they were both after lunch so I was late home. We didn’t want to stray far from our apartment so we headed across the street to a laneway precinct we’d noticed to see what we could find. We first stopped in the secluded Tank Stream Bar. It’s lovely and intimate with warm lighting, an ancient wooden ceiling and wine- rack walls which serve as a reminder of Sydney’s convict past. Early settlers chose the tank stream as their source of fresh water and while the stream now runs underground this bar remains one of Sydney’s favourite watering holes.
Venturing along the lane we spied Kid Kyoto. Our last overseas trip had been to Japan so we thought it fitting to spend our last night away in this hip izakaya style eatery. Listening to a killer 90’s playlist we perched up at the bar and enjoyed modern Japanese snacks with a twist. We both love jalapeño poppers so the tempura jalapeño poppers with kombu cream cheese proved to be a winner. We loved them. Second choice from the snacks was the pork croquettes with bulldog sauce, bonito mayo and aonori. These smoky croquettes had a perfect crunch on the outside plus a delicious creamy and tasty filling. We shared a main of grilled chicken with garlic chilli miso and lotus chips paired with steamed rice. This dish packed a punch and was a feast for the eyes as well. Service was speedy and efficient and it was fun watching the chefs in the open kitchen. Definitely a hip and happening place for a superb Japanese meal. We would love to visit here with our family who love this style of dining.
Australia is such a melting pot and in Sydney there are so many different places to dine it’s difficult to choose where to go. It was a lot of fun trying out a range of new and old favourites and every single meal was a delight. It was also very easy staying in Sydney’s CBD where we could walk everywhere or jump on a train for a couple of stops and be in a completely different suburb. I’m keen to try the new light rail next time I’m in town and also grab a ferry to some places further afield. If you are from Brisbane like me, Sydney might just be the place to go for your first flight away. I know they’ll be pleased to welcome us back again soon. You will feel like you are taking a trip around the world without leaving your own country. It’s a bustling and beautiful city which sure knows how to serve up a buffet of delectable cuisines.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).