Stuck in the same-old, same-old restaurant eating rut? Fear not—there’s a feisty list of up and comers vying to steal Sydney’s culinary crown.
Turning the traditional notion of a ‘wine bar’ on its noggin, Bar Brose takes a refreshingly casual approach to fancy wine and fare at this new Darlinghurst locale. Replacing former venue The Passage, the loosely European-esque spot is the brainchild of rising star, chef Analiese Gregory and team ACME. An eclectic menu skilfully combines fun bites such as late night sandwiches with more sophisticated dishes like duck liver parfait and wild fennel ice cream, brought together with an extensive wine list that will keep even the fussiest of oenophiles sated. Pull up a barstool and leave your airs and graces at the door.
The Midas touch of The Swillhouse Group continues with the arrival of Restaurant Hubert on Sydney’s Bligh Street. Injecting a heady dose of old world glamour into the city’s restaurant scene, Hubert’s has perhaps been the most anticipated opening of 2016—and it doesn’t disappoint. Unsurprisingly for these guys, the beauty is in the detail. The huge venue is divided into various treasure-trove like spaces, harking back to a bygone era with vintage fittings, flickering candle light and Frank Sinatra crooning in the background. As expected, their drinks list is stand out, but the star of the show is unmistakably their ‘retro’ menu. Don’t be afraid to don your finest glad rags—you’re in for a night to remember.
Taking their name from the Spanish word for market, Mercado is all about fresh, local produce sourced from small growers, farmers and producers and fashioned into a menu that changes daily. Headed up by the team behind China Doll and former Nomad chef Nathan Sasi, Mercado is fast gaining a reputation for their innovative seasonal offering, the majority of which is produced in house. Butchering their own meat, curing their own charcuterie, baking their own bread and even making their own cheese (delivered to your table on a trolley, no less), the ambitious CBD eatery certainly isn’t doing things by halves.
Chippendale continues to emerge as Sydney’s newest eating mecca with the opening of classic French Bistro Gavroche. A former rum warehouse, the space has been beautifully refurbished with high-beamed ceilings and an abundance of natural light. Lovers of traditional French fare rejoice; Chef Frederic Colin’s menu pays homage to his childhood, with dishes such as soup a l’oignon, escargots and warm French goats cheese salad taking centre stage. Of course, no self-respecting French restaurant is complete without an impressive wine list, and Bistro Gavroche is no different, with an array of French and Australian wines all handpicked by co-owner and sommelier Lionel Richard.
Four In Hand By Guillaume
The much-loved Paddington local has undergone a subtle transformation of late under the watchful eye of revered chef Guillaume Brahimi. Although the menus have been revamped, Brahimi has stayed true to the venue’s classic gastro-pub roots with a focus on great produce at affordable prices—albeit this time with a slightly French twist. Divided into two distinct areas, the pub’s bar menu is ideal if you’re after a light bite to accompany a few drinks, while the larger dining room menu suits those in search of something more substantial. Tuck into dishes such as roasted beef sirloin, lamb rump and snapper, and wash them down with a glass or three of wine from their extensive selection.
If the thought of hearing one more person wax lyrical about the benefits of activated almonds and sprouted paleo bread makes you want to weep full fat tears into your triple chocolate freakshake, then Milky Lane will come as a welcome surprise. Bondi’s recently opened burger and dessert bar is all about the indulgence, with juicy burgers, loaded fries and decadent desserts taking up the vast majority of the menu. Go all out with The Churro Bowl, a sugary, carby delight piled high with soft serve, Nutella, caramel, crushed nuts and, well, pretty much anything else you can think of! Not one for the faint hearted.
Messina Creative Department
Australia’s real life Willy Wonka team continue to push all sorts of boundaries with their latest venture, located on site at their original Darlinghurst venue. Part-lab, part-experiential dining experience, the seven-course dessert degustation is as wacky and wonderful as you’d expect. Mixing savoury and sweet in combinations such as pear sorbet with burrata, and purple basil with beetroot granita, each course is served alongside a non-alcoholic ‘liquid concoction’ designed to complement the dish. Running two sessions every day from Wednesday to Saturday, the concept is proving to be a runaway success, so book in quick to avoid disappointment.
Another huge coup for Chippendale comes in the form of contemporary degustation eatery Automata. One of three restaurants situated within the recently refurbished Old Clare Hotel, Automata is the baby of former Momofuku Seiobo chef Clayton Wells, in partnership with hotelier Loh Lik Peng. Offering an ever-changing five course set menu alongside matching drinks that go beyond traditional wine pairings (think beer, cider, sake and tonics), the restaurant’s industrial design, communal table layout and surprisingly affordable prices put a modern, accessible spin on the classic degustation.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso at Automata