We are officially closing in on the second half of 2016, and what an amazing year it has been so far! We’ve played witness to incredible, world-altering events all year and should, by now, have all successfully abandoned our New Year’s resolutions… That’s usually the case by this time of year right? Or are we the only ones? Either way, we have re-jigged our resolutions to embrace all of the new restaurants in Sydney. And trust us, there’ve been a lot already this year.
Admittedly, it can be hard to keep up with, so we’ve created a list of Sydney’s best new restaurants of 2016 (so far) that, if you haven’t tried already, require a mandatory visit. Make it your mid-year resolution to sample the culinary wizardry that goes on in each venue and make a note to thank us later.
No. 1 Bent Street
One of Sydney’s best-loved chefs, Mike McEnearney, has returned after the closure of the coveted Kitchen By Mike last year. Mike has brought all the classics and sustainable ethos to his new CBD restaurant No. 1 Bent Street, but with an added twist. This new creation is more of a formal dining setting complete with table service and beautifully composed dishes. But staying true to his Kitchen By Mike efforts, No. 1 Bent Street cooks seasonal, and easy-on-the-pocket dishes, keeping you toasty with a wood-fire oven and fresh bread baked daily.
This restaurant, from the boys of the Swillhouse Group, will have you at hello. Restaurant Hubert has a seldom-seen wow factor, with many patrons already in love when they reach the stairs, which are lined with almost 4000 miniature liquor bottles. You’ll be carried into the dazzling and romantic basement style restaurant and be lost for words as you soak in the tunnels leading off to small cars, cellars and kitchens—and even a stage complete with a grand piano. You’ll be spoiled for choice at the decadent menu, which can be explained to you and your restaurant-going crew by the expert proprietors working the floor, a touch that contributes to this incredible dining experience just as much as the luxurious food on your plate and the classic style cocktails in hand.
Messina Creative Department
I’m sure we’ve all stood in line once or twice to get a late night (or morning, whatever!) gelato because it’s true, Messina is delicious. As of this year, Gelato Messina in Darlinghurst has taken one step further towards becoming the most incredible ice cream parlour of all time. Introducing; the Messina Creative Department. Bookings are now available for this seven course degustation with accompanying “nectars of the gods”. We can confidently tell you now that this does not mean you will be eating seven scoops of Messina in one sitting, but instead engaging in a creative and unique dining experience—did we mention it will be delicious?
Vibrant owner Paola Toppi grew up in half in her mother’s CBD, long-serving Restaurant Machiavelli, and half in a house of legit Italian foodies, so basically you just know the food at Bar Machiavelli is going to be second to none. Paola re-energises the classics with ever evolving, and exclusive menus, and puts on a show for you to feast your eyes on with glass rooms displaying antipasto and pasta making. Does it get better? Yes it does. Bar Machiavelli boasts an incredible list of inventive and decadent cocktails including dessert martinis and new monthly bellinis. Bar Machiavelli has already been embraced by the livelier bunch of the Eastern Suburbs and creates an atmosphere of fun, energy and true Italian warmth that will leave you not knowing what to eat and not knowing where to look.
We love how the French, no matter where they may go, stay truly and utterly French. Chef Frederic Colin’s Bistrot Gavroche is like dining in Paris without the eye-watering airfare and hard to shake jet lag. Inspired completely by Colin’s grandfather Henri, Bistrot Gavroche is the French king of Bistro’s that has been inserted into the first floor of an old rum warehouse (The Old Rum Store) in our very own Chippendale. With an impressive list of Australian and French wines, both delicious, your warming meal will be accompanied in style leaving you a touch more Parisian than when you came in.
Make a point to come and visit Anason, the first permanent resident to open up shop in Sydney’s newest, and fastest growing, development of Barangaroo. Equipped with a hand-picked team of Turkish Chefs in Anason’s bustling kitchen, you can expect the authentic taste of Turkey any night of the week (except Sunday, sorry). Dive into Anason’s exotic mezes with delicious appearances from charcoal octopus, heirloom tomatoes and crumbed feta. The innovative dishes at Anason can be washed down with some true Turkish beer and wine, or perhaps even some raki if you’re feeling especially adventurous! But don’t forget that post-meal must of robust Turkish coffee and you’ll be swooning.
At first look, Butter is a fancy sneaker store. But after a few double-takes, we can see Butter for what it truly is. Amazing. Surry Hills is setting new-kid-on-the-block standards with this OG fried chicken, soft serve, sparkling wine and sneaker emporium. We still can’t believe that this is real. It’s pretty much a collection of all things loved by the guys who brought you Thievery in Glebe. Everywhere we look there is something exciting, and totally unheard of, going on at Butter, whether it’s the much appreciated boozy slushies or the fermented mushroom salt on the chips created by 2015 Young Chef of the Year, Julian Cincotta. Throw in the old-school urban beats and we are officially sold.
Dine like a Viking at Norsk Dor, a new creation for Sydney’s CBD. Brought to you by the clever team behind Uncle Ming’s, you can expect an exclusive, silver door, blue button entrance (hint, we got you) that opens up into a previously disused storage unit that now boasts cow hide cushions, feature lighting and wooden fixtures in efforts to transport you to a warm log cabin, filled with Scandinavian spirits and minimalist, Viking approved menus. The simple, yet utterly tasty ingredients are contrasted by the theatrical, if slightly chaotic, Nordic feast that goes on around you. Embrace your inner Viking and enjoy a salty log of bone marrow or a large platter of venison.
Soon to open at Tio's Cervecería
If you’re having one of those nights where your hunger won’t let you pick between Mexican and Chinese, head to Ghostboy Cantina immediately at Dixon House food court in Haymarket. Why? Because Toby Wilson, former owner of Glebe’s Wedge Espresso, is serving up non-traditional tacos with Asian ingredients in efforts to kick start Sydney’s quality street-food scene. In a small basement in Sydney’s Chinatown, these two favourite cuisines come together in an almighty way with specials such as a beef-brisket taco with mushroom XO sauce and chipotle Szechuan fries. Need we say more?
Editor's note: Ghostboy Cantina is currently closed and will re-open inside Tio's later this month.
Deus Bar & Kitchen
Camperdown has delivered a brand new bar-restaurant with the re-launch of Deus Bar & Kitchen earlier this year. Think lovechild of The Bucket List and Bar Sage, because that’s exactly what Deus is. Now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus snacks), Deus Bar & Kitchen is a homely, trend-aware spot with a simple and delicious menu. A perfect restaurant in Sydney for a relaxed share plate of absurdly soft, caramel-skinned lamb shoulder paired with a sneaky drink named after a bike made by Deus.
Scout’s Honour in Redfern has officially introduced us all to its younger sibling, Morris. Morris has a menu that carries on the family tradition of healthy eats and famous sandwiches that see’s all the locals lining up for more. We love a restaurant where the sides are practically a meal in themselves, and, in this case, Morris delivers. Step into the breezy, minimal interiors and have a relaxed meal composed of oh-so-fresh ingredients and don’t forget to indulge in Morris’ hot milo options and older-brother Scout’s giant cookies.
Want to know the best new bars of 2016 so far? Head here.
Image credit: Anason