On our must-visit list of Sydney restaurants for this year we feature a champagne parlour, a place serving up Australian fare with a Mediterranean twist and a restaurant where you let the chef decide what you eat…
It seems like every other day, a new, fabulous restaurant opens in Sydney. And not just any restaurant, but one led by a sensational chef cooking mouth-watering fare in an elegantly designed, plush interior. Sydney’s culinary scene is officially exploding and it’s giving Melbourne – long considered the culinary capital of Australia – a run for its money.
In 2019 we are seeing a host of new restaurants that have recently opened or will soon open their doors in the Harbour City, offering a range of delicious cuisines from experimental Asian fusion to modern Australian and traditional Middle Eastern cuisine. Think: a four-drink tasting flight of premiere French champagne, a personalised, chef’s-choice sushi session or even a berry and tea-infused crème brûlée.
Scattered across the city of Sydney from the CBD and the historic Rocks to Pyrmont, Australia’s most exciting and rapidly evolving food scene now has even more tasty morsels to offer. Now, who’s hungry?
Bopp & Tone
Wynyard Park, CBD
This Sydney-made restaurant and bar marks the first CBD restaurant by renowned hospitality group Applejack. A tribute to the Applejack founders’ grandfathers, Keith ‘Bopp’ Evans and Anthony ‘Tone’ Adams, Bopp & Tone reflects the nostalgic and optimistic post-World War II era they lived in, with a lived-in luxury style accompanied by a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Luxurious marble fills the space along with classic tiles and textures, dark timber furnishings, an alfresco dining terrace, a vintage-style bar, private dining room and Applejack’s signature injection of greenery – this time in the wrap-around terrace that creates a calming oasis in the city.
Head Chef Sa Va’afusuaga and Group Executive Chef Jason Roberson boast a relaxed yet elegant Australian menu with Mediterranean influences, where charcoal oven-cooked seafood and wood-grilled meats are the stars of the show. It’s refreshingly unfussy yet delicious dining that is made even the more enjoyable by the interior that nods to a golden and glamorous bygone era. This restaurant is one of our new favourites – be sure to check it out when you’re in the CBD.
Location: Queen Victoria Building, CBD
It’s about time the Queen Victoria Building got a glamorous champagne bar, don’t you think? Recently opened Reign is a plush cocoon of a champagne parlour serving over 150 champagnes and sparkling wines alongside an array of light share-plates fit for a queen (or king). Set amongst lush marble, brass and soft musk tones, and framed by a Romanesque arch window overlooking Town Hall, guests can enjoy a tasting flight through France’s champagne region, or sip on an artisan cocktail.
For food, try a serving of pork fried rice with king brown mushrooms followed by a thyme-and-honey ice cream sandwich with plums. Open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch through to dinner on weekends, Reign is the perfect spot to escape the daily grind and enjoy a quick bite, a longer lunch or dinner or a midnight feast at this late-night venue.
Operating since this past December, Tayim combines modern and traditional Middle Eastern cuisine in a beautiful, historic space in the rocks. Located within the Harbour Rocks Hotel, the bar-restaurant is backed by stunning sandstone interiors inspired by Middle Eastern cultures with low lighting that makes this haunt a hot contender for date night. Head Chef Ran Kim, former head chef of the award-winning Nour in Surry Hills, showcases the region’s most flavoursome dishes, including a signature hummus, a kangaroo kebab dish and a dukkah-seasoned rainbow trout, among other tasty treats. The restaurant also features a deli with breakfast options, salads, sandwiches – all with a Middle Eastern twist. Tayim focuses on bold, exotic share plates cooked using traditional methods on the open grill.
Esquire Drink + Dine
Queen Victoria Building, CBD
Just one floor up from Reign, Esquire is another beauty to have recently opened in Sydney’s historic Queen Victoria Building. A late-night bar and dining room reminiscent of a New York supper club, Esquire’s menu features reimagined modern-Australian comfort classics alongside an array of the world’s best spirits and hand-crafted cocktails. The restaurant boasts an old-world glamour setting with a dark oak bar framed with mosaic and parquetry flooring, soft leather seating and sensuous lowlights. Start at the bar and choose from a selection of 100-plus wines, whiskeys and cocktails on the menu then venture into crumbed sweetbreads, a gooey, yet crunchy gruyere jaffle, a two-course whole roast chicken for two or a 250g Grainge Signature MB3+ Rump Cap steak straight from the grill. For the indecisive, the chef’s table menu offers a taste of everything. What’s not to love?
The Star Sydney has recently announced the upcoming Chuuka, which will offer a blend of Japanese and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant will be replacing Flying Fish in Jones Bay Wharf, making it the first off-property restaurant venture for The Star. Chef Chase Kojima of The Star’s Sokyo and Kiyomi and Chef Victor Liong of Melbourne’s Lee Ho Fook will be converging the distinct flavours and techniques of both cuisines and featuring local produce. The two chefs’ first business venture together, Chuuka will feature a spectacular 130-seat dining area across two levels. The ground floor will host a 60-seat dining space, with an indulgent wine room and an outdoor bar area with panoramic views across the harbour. The first floor of the restaurant will also be home to a private dining area catering to 70 guests. The Asian fusion restaurant is expected to open July of this year.
eliza Food & Wine
Jeremy Bentley, founder and former head chef of Surry Hills’ The Devonshire, has recently launched his next culinary endeavour. Eliza delivers modern cuisine, complemented by a sophisticated wine and cocktail list in an open and stylish venue. The menu, which includes a 12-hour lamb shoulder dish, miso-roasted eggplant and a ‘very berry tea’ brûlée, has a strong emphasis on approachable food and contemporary cooking rooted in classic technique. The stylish newcomer boasts a pastel-themed interior and natural wood furnishings in a sleek but relaxed atmosphere. Named after Governor Darling’s popular wife, Eliza follows Bentley’s nearly year-long period of experimentation where he travelled throughout the world trying different restaurants and meeting with chefs and suppliers.
Slotted for mid-2019, Ura San is an upcoming Japanese restaurant that will be one of the many businesses involved in the $30-million makeover to the Campbell’s Stores Building in The Rocks. The menu will focus on nigiri – cuts of raw fish over rice – and omakase, which is a “chef’s choice” or degustation-styled menu chosen by the chef. Head Chef Nobuyuki Ura, former head chef of Sushi E in the CBD, has more than 35 years of culinary experience and will be using traditional and modern techniques, accompanied by a team of sushi masters. In addition to a curated cocktail list by Ura, an extensive range of sake and Japanese whisky will be offered. The waterfront locations provides guests with a view of the harbour in an interior inspired by traditional Japanese design principles.