If you thought January was all about weight loss resolutions and holiday food comas, think again friend. Why stop the food and drink party when you can keep it going long after the last sparkler has… sparkled? We’ve trekked across Sydney, digging into gelato, cocktails and beach-side smoothies to ensure your new year eats and drinks are just as enjoyable as they were with lame jokes and flimsy paper hats. We present to you the new Sydney restaurants, bars and shops you should be checking out this month.
Double Bay’s Saké take traditional Japanese from a please-all dining option to a contemporary (yet still accessible) experience. Located in the recently renovated InterContinental Hotel, Saké feature next-level staples like line-caught snapper sushi and miso soup with truffles or yuzu. What shifts Saké to Liz Lemon “I want to go to there” status however, are dishes like wasabi sprinkled Philly salmon makimono and grilled pork belly skewers. Diners can expect all their regular favourites but with a little more care, attention and wasabi-flavoured kick.
If phrases like “skip the small talk and choc me passionately!” don’t immediately attract a swarm of ice-cream fanatics, then we give up. N2 Gelato are adventurous and unapologetically indulgent i.e. everything you could want in a gelato joint. Get ready to ditch plausible ice-cream flavours and embrace the wonder that is strawberry jalapeño and corn chip gelato. Or perhaps the potato gelato with warm gravy tickles your fancy? One thing’s for sure, their white peach and champagne sorbet sits squarely at the top of our list.
The name Dragoncello may cause one of the following two phenomena a) stubborn images of a cartoon dragon playing the cello or; b) uncontrollable drooling at the thought of gastronomic delights. We’ll focus on the second one if you don’t mind; we’re talking fine dining here. Dragoncello’s menu emphasises the use of plants, herbs and dare we say it, weeds but don’t be put off, their stuff is top-notch especially the orange margarita with salted cardamom and coriander seed foam (we’re also pretty keen on their glazed sweet potato with fig leaf cream and licorice). The venue may seem small and intimate now but owner and mastermind chef Roy McVeigh and sommelier Stuart Sanders plan to extend upstairs for even more Dragoncello goodness.
Bondi Rescue HQ
Bondi Lifeguard Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins has enlisted the help of fellow Bondi Rescue lifesavers and nutritionist Belinda Kirkpatrick, to give everyone’s fav beach yet another serving of health and safety. Bondi Rescue HQ have a standout range of fresh smoothies and juices including a superstar ‘Clean Up' smoothie with beetroot, apple, celery and carrot. If that doesn’t hit the spot, grab a ‘Muscle Up’ smoothie with protein, coconut water and blueberries before a work out or simply sit back, take a sip and watch the surf roll in.
All hail the magical cloud beings who gave us DEA. If you haven’t noticed the artisanal mecca that Redfern is fast becoming, we at The Urban List encourage you to crawl out from under that rock ‘cause it’s getting pretty darn cool over there. Ruling Regent Street is newbie DEA or ‘Delicate Eye Area’ with favourites like Uashmama washable bags, Ode ceramics and Wildfox candles. Curated by Karin Huchatz, DEA is the perfect pit stop between Redfern’s many cafes and eateries.
Sidestepping the fact our siblings convinced us they were pronounced ‘craps’ for years, crepes are without a doubt, the rulers of dessert land. Not a sweet tooth? Indulge in savoury crepes or galettes, with ingredients like chorizo, Swiss cheese and chilli or buffalo mozzarella, tomato and baby basil. Either way, you’ll be pleased, especially if you pair up with Avila’s signature martini – vodka, frangelico, fresh-pressed lime juice and egg whites. Bondi already has its fair share of pretty (both the food/drink and tanned/toned varieties), but Avila Crepes just tipped this beach-side suburb into pretty darn beautiful.
A new small bar in Surry Hills offering yakitori, Japanese beers and whisky? Yes please! There is a uniquely Japanese approach to cocktail and drinks at Tokyo Bird that’s all about technique, precision and pride emphasising classic cocktails as well as some signature serves. As well as the drinks, you can get amongst the charcoal grilled chicken yakitori or offal, if that’s your thing. There is also a great range of Japanese beers for those who are happy with the hops.
Great Aunty Three
Great Aunty Three is the perfect blend of health and vitality but with a Vietnamese twist. Named after owner Michael Le’s Grandma Yi Ba (‘Aunty Three’ in Vietnamese), GAT’s menu mixes Vietnamese classics with fresh produce and an even fresher price tag. Rice paper rolls in particular are a bargain and the takeaway Vietnamese coffee made with sweetened condensed milk happily tops off any meal. GAT also feature a fresh noodle salad that would wow the socks off Instagram and a generous caramelised pork belly banh mi. They’ve long been considered an institution in Enmore, and the new set-up in Surry Hills promises much of the glorious same.
Fancy being a tourist in your own city? Head to Circular Quay’s Opera Bar and prepare to feel fancy and worldly, but without the over-inflated price tag. What was once the gold standard for all occasions has just hit next level with charcuterie, all day menu and Raw Bar. Lauded as dining theatre in its truest form, Raw Bar customers can watch oysters shucked and sashimi sliced before their very eyes. If that weren’t enough, Opera Bar have also scored level one crooner Dustin Tebbutt as an ambassador so prepare for new celebrity BFF in three, two…
Skin and Threads
If you haven’t already stocked your wardrobe with classic foundation pieces from Skin and Threads, they have just opened a second boutique in Double Bay, so you can start now. The focus is on luxurious and elegant casual lifestyle pieces, designed to be layered, worn on their own or mixed with existing pieces. Plus, you’re supporting Australian business and design, which is always a good thing.
The people that bought you Grandma’s and Wild Rover are bringing their ‘booze and juice’ menu to the inner-west, churning out drinks and food that get us giddy with excitement. From their other establishments, we know the drinks are going to be great, like the Darling Street Derby, for example, which is a refreshing and boozy mix of bourbon, sweet vermouth and fresh mandarin juice. But it’s the food that’s worth heading to Balmain for. The pork croquettes made with shredded pork cheek are ridiculously rich and moreish and if you follow it with the grilled asparagus topped with shaved baby fennel, fresh curd and toasted almonds, you’re practically #cleaneating….
Ditch the late night kebab (those fluorescent lights weren’t doing you any favours anyway) and visit Japan’s answer to late-night snacking and drinking – the izakaya. Based on Tokyo izakaya bar Tanoshī-ya! (Fun Shop!), Goro’s serve all the usual suspects (beer, wine, cocktails) plus a wide variety of sake and 2am ramen noodles. You can pick up these time-specific noodles and more between 10pm – 3am but if you fancy a midday meal Goro’s also offer a solid lunch menu. We’ve already tucked into soft shell crab ‘buns of steam’ and a bento box or two.
Bondi Bowling Club
Contemporary live music, world-class production system and barefoot bowls. Have we roped you in yet? Meet Bondi Bowling Club, your newest renovated clubhouse hang. These guys aren’t messing around with beer and cider; there are more than 20 on the menu plus a full list of cocktails. And while it usually isn’t the case at clubhouse venues, Bondi Bowling Club’s salads steal spotlight on the menu with the barbecued octopus, mango and papaya salsa salad pretty much ruling the school.
We’ve saved the best for last, folks! Gelato Messina have opened up new digs in Miranda, in part because their gelato is so damn scrummy no location should be without, but also to dilute the hordes of Messina maniacs/avoid street fines for out-of-this-world queues (totally worth it FYI). Hit up traditional flavours or take on knock-outs like pear and rhubarb or salted caramel and white chocolate. They also serve far prettier cakes then those from the supermarket freezer aisle i.e. Dr. Evil’s Magic Mushroom cake (dark chocolate gelato, peanut cookies, dulce de leche and popping candy). Far from a simple scoop and serve, every aspect of Messina is finely tuned from music and art to ingredients; these guys mean business.
Image credit: Avila Crepes