A Melburnian’s guide to eating out in Sydney
Those of you who follow Poppet's Window will have noticed some Sydney posts popping up. Earlier this year I went on a gluttonous weekend away to Melbourne's rival city. After hours of research (read: procrastination) I narrowed it down to a list of the places at which I most wanted to dine. Below is a round-up of where to eat in Sydney. You can thank me later.
Address: Level G The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Sydney
A visit to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without dining at Momofuku. We enjoyed 13 plus immaculate courses and every single one is worth the painful and exclusive booking policy (reservations are taken via an online system, which opens exactly 10 days before you wish to visit). It’s hard to fault any of the dishes served at Momofuku Seiōbo. Each is a harmony of presentation, texture and taste. Our taste buds were tantalized by Chang’s creativity and our sweet spots were left bewildered yet satisfied. David Chang’s first Australian restaurant exceeds expectations. Sure, it costs approximately $1.46 a minute excluding drinks, but would we do it again? Momo-fukun-lutely.
Highlights included Chef David Chang’s famous steamed pork belly buns, just-cooked marron from Western Australia with a smoky burnt eggplant purée and pickled rhubarb, a buttery pile of shredded mud crab in a heavy sauce with a foamy Yorkshire pudding, a chunk of soft beef cheek with piquant pickled cucumbers and a smooth Jerusalem artichoke purée, a ‘cheese course’ of grated C2 cheese from Bruny Island in Tasmania crowned with a lattice of star anise ‘bee pollen’ honeycomb, potato ice cream—and the final dessert dish—whole caramalised pork shoulder cooked in brown sugar for seven hours, eaten with the hands.
Address: 17 Randle Street, Surry Hills
Tucked down Randle Street in Surrey Hills, District Dining will not disappoint. When we visited for an early lunch on a Saturday, the joint was empty. The space is smart, the service attentive and friendly, the cocktails delicious (try a carafe of ‘Moroccan Iced Tea’) and the food some of the best I’ve eaten. We gorged ourselves on marinated white anchovies, crispy school prawns with lime mayonnaise, District crispy chicken wings in chilli caramel, crispy quail eggs with tarragon mayonnaise, black pepper tofu, seared kindgifsh served in an artistic tapioca garden with wasabi snow, golden-brown seared scallops and cous cous stew with root vegetables, honey and labne. If only we had saved room for the pear and rhubarb crumble with gingerbread ice cream.
Note: Get 30% off your bill (including drinks) when you book with Agenda Tables online.
Full post here.
El Loco Mexican Cantina Y Barra
Address: 64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
For a fiesta in your belly, head to this colourful taqueria. El Loco is cheap, cheerful and trendy. You can’t miss the azure blue doorway, around the corner from the walls speckled with cactuses in vibrant pots. It’s pretty kitsch inside, thanks to quirky posters and plastic table clothes. There are three types of hot sauce, tacos (choose from spit roast pork with pineapple salsa; lemongrass beef with salsa verde and queso; prawn with salsa verde and pico de gallo; chilli marinated tofu with pico de gallo; chicken with sweet corn salsa or the ‘Secret Taco’), corn chips with guacamole and salsa, the healthy ‘El Loco Salad’ with chilli spiced tofu, market grilled fish served with fennel salad and salsa verde, minute steak with radish salad and pico de gallo, an ‘El Hot Dog’, and two Torta Sandwiches: one fish and one pork. Expect sloppy, hearty Mexican fare and be sure to order a veggie margarita.
Address: 155 Victoria Street, Potts Point, 2011
Ms G’s is to Sydney as Chin Chin is to Melbourne. There’s a no bookings policy and the vibe is absolutely buzzing. There was a 40 minute wait for two at 6.30pm on a Saturday night, so we made the most of the bar, especially the ‘bubble tea’ style cocktails. The multi-level fit out at the decidedly Asian Ms G’s is one of the restaurant’s most impressive components. Each room is heaving with eccentric decorations: a wall plastered with old photocopied Rolling Stone magazines, ropes and buckets hanging from exposed beams, a graffiti wall, and a pink glow emitted from the neon signs fastened on the raw brick walls.
The ‘Buddha’s Delight’ “textural vegetarian salad” was a hit, as was the Calamari and snow crab salad. From the ‘Larger’ plates, we inhaled the stir-fried rice cakes with pork mince, juicy prawns and chilli, the D.I.Y grilled beef pancakes and the snapper in a herb and tamarind broth. We were full. We didn’t have room for dessert. We ordered Ms G’s signature dessert anyway: “Stoner’s Delight 2.0”. A ball of doughnut ice cream crowned with a slice of candied bacon was thrown in amongst potato chip crumbs, four slithers of Mars Bar slice and a warm banana fritter, surrounded by blobs of raspberry jam and a thin peanut butter smear. The combination is pure genius, really.
The Grounds of Alexandria
Address: Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
In the middle of the industrial district in Sydney is an oasis. It’s not your average white-sanded, palm-treed oasis, but an 1800 square meter space containing a sustainable garden, coffee roaster and kitchen. It’s called The Grounds of Alexandria, and its grand name is perfectly suited to this innovative café concept. The Grounds boasts a manicured garden, complete with lush herbs and veggies that are used in the kitchen. An eccentric mix of rustic typewriters, metal vats and vintage trolleys are scattered around the al fresco area, surrounding the outdoor furniture. You simply have to see the space to believe it. The Grounds roast their own coffee onsite, so it’s essential you order one. We ordered three dishes between two: rolled eggs with crispy quinoa and truffle oil, dukkah toast with tomato, avocado and feta, and the brioche French toast with rhubarb and lemon mascarpone.
Zumbo Pâtissier Dessert Train
Address: Shop 1, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont (Entry Via Edward Street)
Zumbo’s is something fairy princesses dream of, or at least Willy Wonka. The concept is like Sushi Train except with dessert instead of sushi. A conveyer belt slithers around a table with plates of deconstructed sweets. In the middle of the table, fake grass sprouts vibrant yellow and orange cogs. Above the table, industrial caged lights emit a neon glow. Unfortunately, the desserts on the train look way better than they taste, but the toasted ice cream sanwhich (we tried the licorice and raspberry) from the a la carte menu was devilishly decadent. Next door, the store sells arguably the best macarons in the world. Make sure you get some salted butter popcorn macarons to go.