With waterfront views, an incredible café culture and shopping beyond the big labels, these two suburbs know how to do Sydney proud. On the outside it’s got that whole vintage charm thing going on, but inside there’s all the modern touches we’ve come to love.
Overflowing with wellness hot-spots, casual bars and boutique gems, you’ll end up spending the whole day in Rozelle and Balmain (if you don’t already live there).
3 Weeds, Rozelle
This Rozelle eatery is beloved by locals for its casual pub atmosphere where the food isn’t limited to $12 steaks. Instead you can devour Moroccan-style lamb rump with your craft beer. If you’re wanting something a little more swank, then pay a visit to the 3 Weeds restaurant area where smoked short ribs and truffle ravioli grace the menu.
Cantina Bar, Balmain
Home to a crispy potato salad unlike any other, Cantina Bar is not your average Mexican joint. Dishing out mouth-watering street food that doesn’t scrimp on flavour, it’s a fiesta for your mouth. Oh, and there’s this little thing called Taco Tuesdays so let the tequila flow and salsa on down to this bar in Balmain.
Indian cuisine in Sydney is a hard thing to come by beyond the standard butter chicken. But leave your memories of takeaway curries behind and say hello to this Rozelle institution. Combining the traditional spices of South East Asia with a modern sensibility, Nithik’s contemporary take on Indian means it’s the perfect place for date night.
One Ford Street, Balmain
This Balmain newcomer has been earning praise left, right and centre and for good reason. The al fresco dining area complete with a hanging garden will make you feel like your holidaying in the vineyards of Italy while the food is quite simply drool-worthy. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve come back for more, the tiger prawns, sugar snaps and maltagliati is a must. You can thank me later.
Egg of the Universe, Rozelle
The morning after said tequila shenanigans (see above), detox at Egg of the Universe. With a yoga studio integrated into this Rozelle café, living clean is made easy so even a health dummy like myself can do it. And the stuff coming out of this café manages to make wholefoods taste like anything but a wheatgrass shot which is a massive tick in my books.
The Welcome Hotel, Rozelle
We kind of have a love-hate relationship with all the awards this Rozelle pub has been getting of late. While it’s well deserved, we just know that when you’re touted as Sydney’s Best Pub Food, The Welcome Hotel won’t be our little secret anymore. Headed by ex-Pilu chef, Daniel Mulligan, the one-hatted restaurant out back is the perfect excuse to make your way through that cracker of a wine list.
This intimate Balmain watering-hole is the place to head if you’re wanting to fill your glass with something new. Developing close relationships with small producers, Wilhelmina’s stocks a curated range of local craft brews and biodynamic boutique wines that you’d have a hard time finding anywhere else.
The Corner Bar, Rozelle
The tapas-style menu at this local hideaway is perfect for weekend debriefs with your mates and cocktails with the girls. However, The Corner Bar is small so if you’ve got a big group we recommend booking ahead.
Soho in Balmain, Balmain
Soho in Balmain just gets our love for this harbourside neighbourhood. Their cocktail list is basically an ode to this inner west suburb and the food is incredibly inventive. Having a heavy Mediterranean influence, the Northern African spices added here and there are a surprising twist on bar-friendly eating.
The Cook’s Grocer, Rozelle
This Rozelle food store stocks some of the best produce from the likes of Salt Meats Cheese and Origin Meats to get you inspired but the real magic happens online. From their menu you’ve got your choice of 30 minute meals which come to your door with the ingredients already measured and ready to go. All you’ve got to do is follow the recipe and voila you’re a home cook!
Hunt Leather, Balmain
There’s just something undeniably luxe about leathergoods and boy does this Balmain store stock some of the most sought after collections around. With bags by the likes of Sophia Hulme and Longchamp available in store, Hunt Leather only sell the pieces that are worth investing in.
Local Store, Rozelle
Perfectly situated amongst the bustling coffee shops in Rozelle, Local Store is a great place to visit if you’re in need of left-of-centre gifts or maybe a little something to treat yourself. Always stocking new up and coming brands, it’s the place to spot the trends before they’re all over Instagram.
Art of Bloom, Balmain
This is not your average florist. In addition to beautiful bouquets, Art of Bloom in Balmain turns flowers into incredible pieces of art. Included in Lana Lichman’s portfolio are wearable floral pieces including a dress made out of flowers and headpieces that put our daisy chains to shame.
Embellish Atelier, Rozelle
Whenever I step inside Embellish Atelier I immediately want to buy ten hats even though I know they aren’t what I’d classify as “everyday wear”. Home to award winning milliner, Catherine Kelly you can get a bespoke piece for that hard-to-match outfit or learn the tricks of the trade at one of her workshops.
Rozelle Markets, Rozelle
Home to the weird and wonderful, the Rozelle Markets is the definition of “one man’s trash becomes another man’s treasure”. Open every weekend, it’s ideal for some vintage rummaging and exercising your haggling skills.
Dawn Fraser Baths, Balmain
Located on the western side of the Balmain peninsula, this harbour pool is one of the oldest in Australia you can wade in. When the tide’s low you even get a mini beach to build sandcastles on because you’re so adult now.
Cooking Class at Essential Ingredient, Rozelle
Essential Ingredient is the type of store you go to when your local supermarket annoyingly doesn’t stock that freeze-dried raspberry powder you need to complete that Zumbo recipe. And in their on-site kitchen they host a whole variety of cooking classes from Italian cheese making to croquembouche construction to show-off with at your next dinner party.
Skin Renu, Balmain
In this ultra-chic Balmain clinic just off bustling Darling St, Skin Renu are basically skin angels. With a team of expert doctors and beauticians on hand, whatever your skin concern, these guys will have you glowing in no time.
KX Pilates, Balmain
Get ready to sweat at this Balmain fitness studio. KX Pilates will have you working muscles you never even knew existed. Specialising in an intense 50 minute workouts, it’s Pilates on steroids.
Image credit: Jackielyn Powell at Egg of the Universe, Federica Portentoso at One Ford Street, Soho In Balmain, Embellish Atelier, The Essential Ingredient and KX Pilates.