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Variety is the spice of life. It also describes Sydney’s eclectic food scene. No matter what you crave and however niche, novel or barely heard-of it is, there’s a dining establishment to discover. From the classic to the contemporary, and absolutely every variant in between, here are our top five dining recommendations for what’s oh-so-hot right now.
1. The one everyone’s talking about
Archie Rose Distillery, Rosebery
Like anywhere these days with an industrial heritage, Rosebery is replete with former warehouses flourishing into cool, urban dining venues. The incredibly slick Archie Rose Distilling Co features a range of spirits, beers and wines, amongst many other high-percentage gems. Take a tour and observe the entire distilling process, or simply sit in the bar, surrounded by aging whisky barrels and bar staff keen on conversation; they’ll tell you anything you want to know about their extensive range of liquor. A few shots of Archie Rose gin later and we bet you’ll be chatting theatrically too!
2. Places to see and be seen
Moon Park and Cuckoo Callay: Redfern vs Newtown
it’s the X-Factor of Sydney ‘burbs, with every neighbourhood offering a little somethin’ somethin’ to set themselves apart. Redfern is winning a host of fans with its modern Korean restaurant, Moon Park. Sydney is certainly no stranger when it comes to Korean fare but this contemporary addition transforms traditional recipes into modern masterpieces. From mussel pancakes to fragrant smoked eel, Moon Park is causing quite the Redfern frenzy. Ten minutes west and you’ll find Cuckoo Callay, the café oozing with hipster cool and a hangout that’s full of illustrations, even the cardboard coffee cups are a work of art. But of course, this is Newtown; the realm of the kooky and creative. Food matches the interior in terms of knocking your socks off and they’re generous to a fault; order breakfast and dig deep for your eggs, they’ll be in there somewhere - possibly under a mountain of maple bacon.
3. Meat lovers don’t want to miss this
LP’s Quality Meats, Chippendale
If you like your dining with an extra dose of gnarly, LP’s Quality Meats in Chippendale is all about the smoked meat. With a genuine Southern Pride Smoker shipped in from Tennessee, it has an edgy Deep South vibe that doesn’t apologise for its gruffness. From deep fried chicken to beef ribs smoked for a formidable fifteen hours, head chef Luke Powell has tapped into a growing trend for straight-up, no-frills dining. There’s nothing fine to be found here, albeit a damn-fine slab of meat.
4. Insta-worthy food dwellings
Ester, Meagher Street, Chippendale
Sticking with Chippendale, Sydney’s inner south is also home to Ester, the Meagher Street haunt that has already been named the city’s best new restaurant several times over. Thanks to the wood-fired oven and an assortment of tasty treats that come from within, the creative offerings are causing quite a stir in the world of Instagram food selfies. The perfect balance of classic and contemporary, try something as simple as roast chicken with garlic, or dial up your experimental levels and go for something more unusual; Ester’s signature roasted half-head of cauliflower, paired with almond sauce and mint will not only satisfy your stomach, it’ll also wow your Insta-fans.
5. The vegan hangout
Bodhi Yum Cha Garden: 2-4 College Street, CBD
Think vegan food is all bean sprouts and soggy tofu? Nope. That’s because no one’s thought that for a long time. Not since inventive dining establishments such as Bodhi Yum Cha Garden enlightened the world with vegan flavours to set your taste buds alight. Growing since 1988, this inner city gem is still somewhat a secret. Camouflaged within parkland and hidden behind leafy trees, Bodhi is open all day, but it’s the yum char you really come for. Using locally grown produce which is both fresh and organic, the pan-Asian menu is ever changing, but the crispy wanton wings made from corn, carrot and mushroom are a speciality to look out for. Meat, you’re officially dismissed.
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