This town is definitely upping its food and wine game this August, with wine bars, giant pizzas and a brand new paddock to plate style restaurant in Sydney. We have a feeling that you won’t go hungry (or thirsty) if you follow our lead and tick off this list, one by one.
Designed to resemble a 1930s Shanghai neighbourhood lane-style restaurant, Lilong is the newest outpost by the Taste of Shanghai franchise and sits on the rooftop of Westfield Hurstville. They’re serving up authentic Shanghainese food daily and the menu is specifically focused on a northern style cuisine, with specialty dumplings like the lamb and spring onion and the beef and baby celery. If you’re a fan of the classic xiao long bao, then you will be one happy camper, since it makes an appearance and if you’re not, then the menu is so large that we’re sure you won’t go hungry here.
Bigger isn’t always better, but when the pizzas are this good, we’ll never say no to more. It’s about time that Sydney earned itself a New York style pizza place and, to be honest, we’re surprised it’s taken this long to happen. Nestled in the inner city suburb of Darlinghurst, the name says it all, since the process is truly epic, starting with the bases that are lovingly fermented for 24 hours and ending with glorious 22-inch pizzas. Expect the classics, like the Fat Tony (margarita), OK USA (pepperoni) and a couple of modern combinations as well, like the Bigger Than Texas (BBQ sauce, mozzarella, Cajun chicken, sour cream and roquette). You can even pay per slice, which is ideal since you’ll want to try more than one flavour.
If you love authentic Italian fare, then Kindred is for you. Ex A Tavola chef Matt Pollock is at the helm, with the décor, menu and general feel of the 40-seat restaurant taking inspiration from a country restaurant offering. Almost everything is made in house, including butter, sourdough, gelato, pasta, pastry and condiments as well. If pasta is what you’re after, then the ravioli of ricotta and rainbow chard with basil and pangrattato should be your first stop (after your entrée, of course) and for dessert, the strawberries, pistachio, meringue and rhubarb sorbet is an absolute must.
Hacienda has been the talk of the town this week and that’s for damn good reason, guys. Set inside the Pullman Quay Grand, the bar is inspired by the grand plantation-style architecture of Cuba, with a décor that would befit the luxury Miami hotels of the 1950’s. Taking advantage of its harbourside location, the floor-to-ceiling windows offer an unrivalled view over the Harbour Bridge and the many hanging botanicals make this an urban oasis. The food and drinks menu matches the Cuban theme, with cocktails like the Old Smoked Presidente and bar snacks such as yuka fries, buttermilk fried chicken and a Cuban Reuben.
After three years of success as Alpha, the Hellenic Club and Peter Conistis have moved upstairs, extending the space to open Beta. The décor is raw up top and modern down the bottom, with exposed brickwork and ornate archways throughout, contrasting with the modern seating in muted pastel hues. Their specialties are small plates and cocktails, with a distinct Grecian twist. Think smoked fetta custard with duck skin crisps, quince, lemon salt and Aleppo pepper and the Dirty Greek Martini, which is a blend of Belvedere vodka with cucumber tomato tea, Noilly Prat and crushed Volos olives, shaken and served with a grilled horiatiki skewer.
Balcon By Tapavino
You say Spain, we say wine! Or tapas! And Balcon by Tapavino delivers wine, tapas and oh-so-much more. Their impressive menu combines more small plates and charcuterie options than we knew existed with substantial Spanish style main meals and the wine bar ticks off all of the essentials. There’s an entire bar list dedicated to jamon, so whether you prefer to enjoy it with charred green tomato (we do now), sherry infused melon and mint, or chickpea panissa and goats curd, they got you. Mains are divided simply into two categories—sea and land, all with a contemporary take on classic Northern Spanish dishes, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to cull your options.
If you are a fan of the Surry Hills restaurant, Sugarcane, and you live in the East, then you will be very pleased to hear about their second restaurant to hit Sydney. Opening in Coogee, the Sugarcane team is bringing much of its popular Surry Hills menu with them, although there will be a wider range of seafood options, which is appropriate given their seaside location. The fit out matches its South East Asian heritage, with hanging plants and wooden accents setting the scene. The menu features modern dishes like kingfish sashimi with lime, chilli, soy and coriander and whole baby snapper with green papaya and cashew nuts for mains and a ‘Single O’ cold drip coffee, condensed milk ice cream for dessert.
Originally hailing from the streets of Fukuoka, Japan, Uncle Tetsu is the international cheesecake franchise that sent Sydney into a bit of spin when they opened their first outpost here. They’re so popular that they’ve had to impose a ‘one cheesecake per person’ limit. Seriously. They use only Australian cheese to create these fluffy pillows of cheesecake goodness and have done so since opening in Japan in the 1980’s, taking advantage of our local produce, which is frankly, top notch. This is not your average cheesecake, since it doesn’t pack the same dense and sweet punch that we are accustomed to. Instead it has a subtle flavour and super light texture, which is exactly what they are famous for.
Their slogan is ‘No Ramen, No Life’, which is pretty fitting when you consider the current crazy Sydney weather situation. We like to know that we are never too far from a bowl of ramen on a rainy day, so the fact that Yasaka Ramen specialises in exactly that, makes them a winning addition to the Sydney eating scene. There are three signature styles to try; tonkotsu shio, tonkotsu miso and tonkotsu shoyu. All are made with a pork bone broth base and, depending on your hungry levels, you can add thinks like soft-boiled egg, grilled or minced chashu (pork). In addition to ramen, there are other classic Japanese dishes and accompaniments, such as takoyaki, ikayaki and small entrée plates.
Acre Eatery is the newest paddock to plate restaurant to hit Sydney, breathing new life back into the old Camperdown bowls club (now Camperdown Commons). They’re committed to providing sustainable and delicious food; taking advantage of their onsite partner, Pocket City Farms and secondary protein cuts to create innovative dishes like beef cheek with oxtail, parsnip, raisins and chocolate and slow roasted porchetta with seasonal vegetables. If meat just isn’t your thing, then so for the shallow fried brussels sprouts with yoghurt dressing and the acre salad of lentils, farro, eggplant, kale, nuts, macadamia hummus, pomegranate and herbs. The décor is reminiscent of a country homestead, with exposed timber beams, raw wooden flooring and large banquet tables to match.
For more things to do in Sydney this month, check out 11 free things to do things to do this August!
Image credit: Caitlin Hicks at Yasaka Ramen