At this time of year, we’re always left scratching our heads asking: “Seriously, where did the year go?” Our head says September but our calendar says December. And as your summer diary continues to stack up, it can sometimes be hard to schedule in a silly season get together, let alone book a venue.
If this sounds all too familiar, never fear, because we’ve teamed up with Barangaroo to bring you six epic summer venues to hit up according to your party personality. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s never too late to schedule a long, boozy catch-up—it is the end of the decade after all.
The Luxe Lifestyler
If you’ve been stinging to whip out your new threads and keen to kick the classiness up a notch, then Bea at Barangaroo House is the place to hit up. Boasting a glistening harbour backdrop and dapper decor comprising of brass accents and plush, olive leather, Bea is without a doubt one of the most picturesque places to perch for the afternoon.
For a bigger crew, we recommend Executive Chef Tom Haynes’ three-course Chef’s Menu. At just $89 per person, you can expect beyond-delicious share-worthy dishes like Jurassic quail terrine with mustard and pickles, king salmon with diamond clams and grilled cabbage, and mandarin granita with coconut and eucalyptus. As for the drinks list, Head Sommelier Gerogina Larsson’s wine list is a juicy mix of standout local wines and international stars, and as for the cocktails? Well, they’re ‘Gram-worthy to say the least. Our favourite? It’s a tie between the Hacienda Spritz, which is Patron Blanco tequila, aloe vera, agave, citrus, Fever-Tree Indian tonic and mint, and the Bea Beautiful, which is Bombay Sapphire gin, St Germain elderflower, Lillet rosé, rosé reduction and lemon.
Image: Bea at Barangaroo House
Floral button-downs and flowy dresses go hand in hand with this stunning waterfront dining destination. An ode to gorgeous, fragrant botanicals—and famed Botanist Sir Joseph Banks—Banksii is a surefire way to celebrate the silly season with your friends. Serving up tasty Mediterranean flavours and aromatic cocktails, with a menu that’s equally delicious, varied, and made for sharing. From the mussels cooked in white vermouth with green olives and herb butter to the roast pork belly with XO sauce and Zuni pickle, you honestly can’t go wrong—the $79 per person shared menu is our pick of the spread. Drinks-wise, Banksii boasts an extensive vermouth list and the cocktails are a fresh mix of beautifully-balanced classics and contemporary sippers and citrusy spritz. But, let’s be honest, ‘tis the season, so can you really go past a bottle of bubbles? We think not.
As for the venue, it’s a stone’s throw away from the harbour, dripping with leafy greens and everything is dished out on dreamy, pastel plates. It’s a resounding yes from us.
The Cuisine Connoisseur
If you’re the type of person who knows your confit from your coulis and only dines at hatted restaurants (hey, who doesn’t enjoy the finer things in life?), the award-winning Cirrus is your go-to for a summer get together. Boasting not one but two hats, Cirrus is a foodie’s dream dining experience with a slew of decadent and succulent seafood, delicious cocktails and noteworthy wines. And you know you’re in good hands with restauranters Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt as they own a string of award-winning Sydney hot spots, including Bentley Restaurant, Monopole and Yellow.
Fresh seafood is at the core of Cirrus’ hearty menu with oysters and caviar to start followed by dishes like Fremantle octopus with braised carrot and chickpea, and grilled rock lobster with spiced pumpkin and kaffir lime. And if your silly season crew continues to grow, you can rest assured because Cirrus offers an outstanding share-style menu for groups of eight or more: $95 per head or for the extra boujee one, $120 per person. Trust us when we say, you won’t be disappointed.
The Casual But Classy
Who doesn’t love a little slice of paradise on a balmy summer afternoon? Our thoughts exactly. So, if you’re in the mood to be transported far away from Sydney without the pricey plane ticket, Untied is a little rooftop oasis you never knew you needed.
Perched high above the city skyline, Untied is a laid-back and welcoming restaurant and bar that’s bringing the vibes all summer long. And it’s the perfect place to spend a long, boozy evening with your mates. Open ‘til late, Untied serves up a contemporary blend of tropical-inspired dishes like the tropical fish burger, the saucy jerk chicken burger or the fresh as summer swordfish. But if you’re like us, and think sharing is caring, Untied’s share-worthy dishes like the Southern-fried buttermilk popcorn chicken with chipotle mayo, DIY taco party platter, which serves four people for just $38, or the hearty charcuterie board topped with Midnight Moon Gouda, prosciutto, spicy Spanish salami, cornichons, quince and baguette crisps, is certainly the way to go.
The rooftop also offers great packages for larger groups, so be sure to jot it down when considering your next big bash. Oh, and did we mention they have doughnut fries with dulce de leche cream? Yeah, we’ll see you there.
When it comes to casual yet classy haunts, look no further than NOLA. Barangaroo’s esteemed, whiskey-happy Southern charmer promising to transport you straight to New Orleans and serve you up some deliciously different, smokey Southern soul while you’re there.
If you’re carting a bit of a crew, the intimate private dining room is a must. Awash with vibrant cerise and sporting white, Southern-style shutters, it can fit up to 15 people making it the perfect place for a silly season catch-up. As for the group dining menus, you’re spoilt for choice with four options: the $60 per person Express Lunch Menu, the $80 per person Pit-Master’s Menu, the $80 per person Banquet or the $125 per person Feasting Menu. Don’t be shy when it comes to ordering either because you’re going to want to try nearly one of everything. Carrying a rich, deeply multicultural heritage, you can expect classic dishes with a contemporary twist like the Creole Pearl barley jambalaya, the Ranger’s Vallery black onyx brisket burger with crunchy fries or the hefty 1kg USA pork ribs with Habanero and pretzel glaze. And if you’re a whiskey fan, NOLA has everything you need with over 500 different types of whiskey—it’d be a sin not to sample a few.
The Early Riser
We all have that one friend. The one who wakes at the crack of dawn and books shindigs before noon. Well, if you know the type—or you are the type—the place you need to head to is Wild Sage. With mimosas on the brekkie and brunch menu, is there really any question?
To say Wild Sage’s menu is colourful would be an understatement. From breakfast through to brunch, lunch and cocktails, the dishes on offer are a kaleidoscopic mix of fresh, local produce and each dish is more ‘Grammable than the last. Whether you order up the healthy bowl, which is brimming with beetroot hummus, avocado, roasted field mushrooms, roasted pumpkin, Persian feta, poached eggs and dukkah, the drool-worthy and delightfully decadent French toast made with crunchy cornflake covered brioche, mixed berry coulis, peanut butter, ricotta, fresh berries, berry maple syrup and crushed almonds, or the anything-but-standard spiced smashed avocado with heirloom tomatoes, pomegranate, radish, lemon ricotta, poached eggs and mixed grains on sourdough, when your artistic dish is plated up, the only word you’ll be able to muster is “wow”. Consider your next brunch bash sorted.
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Images: Yasmin Mund