Our Trip Over East (November 2012) – Sydney Eateries

From the age of 14, I’ve been a huge fan of Radiohead. Over a decade later, each Radiohead song now has a memory or feeling attached to it. While I was studying at uni, I made a pact with myself that after I graduated I would travel anywhere in the world to see Radiohead live. Once I had graduated, Radiohead were in a period of semi-hiatus and there were no gigs planned. I was in the UK when they did a surprise set at Glastonbury and I was furious with myself that I wasn’t there. Luckily, in March this year, they announced a tour of Australia. Tickets went on sale at 9am AEDST (6am Perth time), so I woke A at 545am and we sat with our laptops in bed, half asleep and battling the online ticketing systems trying to get tickets for any of the Australian shows. Luckily, we scored tickets to the first Sydney show!

In July, I was invited to the launch of the new Air New Zealand direct flight to Perth and was given a return ticket to Auckland, New Zealand. We decided to head to New Zealand off the back of our special Sydney/Radiohead trip. Lots of planning followed and finally, November rolled around. We dropped our two furry babies at their temporary new home and headed to the airport. Our flight landed in Sydney at 7pm AEST and even though it was only 4pm in Perth, we decided to head straight to dinner after checking into our hotel.

We walked to Surry Hills and aimed for dinner at Toko Dining. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, there was a two-hour wait for a table and we decided to eat elsewhere. We then decided to see Zushi, located down the road, had a table of two available. A and I have walked past Zushi a few times in our trips to Sydney and have always said we should try it as Zushi supposedly offers the best sashimi and sushi in Surry Hills. Luckily, they had a table available in the courtyard, which was lit up by tiny fairy lights and blue candle-like lights on each table. It was an extremely pretty environment to sit and enjoy a glass of wine and a light meal, while watching the Saturday night patrons of the busy Crown Street in Surry Hills.

We ordered a deluxe platter of sushi and sashimi to share ($43), which featured 12 pieces of sashimi, 8 pieces of nigiri and 6 maki rolls. The fish was really fresh and both A and I mentioned that the tuna sashimi was the freshest tuna we’ve ever tasted. There was also salmon and kingfish sashimi and nigiri. Not only is their seafood really fresh, Zushi also endeavours to source all of their seafood from Australian owned sustainable fisheries.

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We also ordered the squid tempura with wasabi tartare ($16). This dish was a standout for A and I, as the squid tempura’s light batter was perfectly seasoned with lots of salt and pepper flavour and the dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the squid. The wasabi flavour wasn’t overpowering in the tartare sauce, but it added an extra element of flavour to it. It was an amazing tempura dish.

Zushi Surry Hills on Urbanspoon

The next morning, we headed for breakfast at The Canopy, an Italian restaurant and café located opposite Hyde Park in the Sydney CBD.

A ordered two eggs (which are typically served on sourdough) with slow-roasted tomatoes with a side of bacon and avocado ($13). A really enjoyed this breakfast and was surprised with the generous serving of bacon provided.

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I ordered the crispy bacon and egg roll with house relish ($9). This was an excellent bacon and egg roll, as my bacon was crispy and the egg yolk was still gooey.

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Not only was the breakfast generous and tasty, but the coffee was really good. The Canopy imports their house blend of Ionia coffee from Sicily and this freshly ground coffee has a strong and unique flavour. I really enjoyed trying the new coffee bean and thought that the barista made the coffees really well.

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The Canopy on Urbanspoon

Later that day, A and I headed to Circular Quay to meet up with our friend Lesley and her partner Ross. It was a beautiful Spring day and it was decided that the four of us would have a drink somewhere on the waterfront. We initially tried the Opera Bar but it was at capacity. We continued strolling and found Studio Café, the restaurant and bar underneath the Opera House. Lesley and I ordered a bottle of Hungerford Hill Higher Octave Chardonnay (NSW) ($38) to share while A and Ross quenched their thirst with beer and mineral water.

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After a few hours of drinking and chatting, Lesley, A and I became quite hungry so we decided to order something to eat. A ordered the black angus minute steak with café de Paris butter, roast potatoes & vegetable ($28.50), whereas I ordered the Studio caesar, made with cos lettuce, crispy bacon, croutons & anchovies with caesar dressing ($18) and Lesley ordered the warm roasted pear & rocket salad with walnuts & raisins drizzled with a lemon dressing ($18.50).

A’s steak was the standout, with the meat served incredibly soft and the café de Paris was the perfect addition to the steak. She really enjoyed this dish while I looked on in jealousy!

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Lesley’s salad was also well-recieved, as she said all the ingredients matched each other perfectly. I really liked that both salads looked really vibrant and you could see that they were made with fresh ingredients.

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I really enjoyed my Caesar salad as well. I loved that it came with anchovies (as typically caesar salads in Perth do not come with anchioves) and the salad dressing wasn’t overpowering or over-applied.

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We would definitely return in future and recommend a visit due to the amazing panoramic views and excellent food.

Studio Café on Urbanspoon

On the Monday, I woke up excited at the prospect of seeing Radiohead that evening but it was already close to 1030am. There was a gym around the corner from our hotel, so I quickly went and had a bit of a workout. When I got back to the hotel, I was starving and ready for some breakfast. Due to the time difference, ‘breakfast’ ended up being at 12pm so lunch was more accessible.

We ended up at Westfield Sydney Shopping Centre, which houses an excellent array of food court eateries. After a quick overview of the choices available, I ordered the Pad Thai from the Thai Riffic Noodle Bar. This was the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had. There was heaps of chicken, lightly fried onion and capsicum adding lots of flavour and the sauce wasn’t too sweet. An excellent, inexpensive and recharging lunch.

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Thai Riffic Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

After a bit of shopping and some R&R, it was time to head to our pre-Radiohead dinner. We decided to head back to Westfield Sydney for dinner as I really wanted another Pad Thai and A was keen to try the dish that I raved on about all day. Unfortunately, the noodle bar was closed so we instead headed to Chat Thai within the centre. As we were going to pay for our meal with a Citibank credit card, we were able to get a free bottle of red or white wine. There was a selected number of eateries who offer this special and Chat Thai happened to be one of them.

A and I decided to share two dishes. Our first was the Padt Thai ($12.50), which came with stir-fried thin rice noodles with chicken, dried shrimps, bean sprouts, garlic and chives in a tamarind and palm sugar sauce. Our second dish was the Gai Yaang ($12.50), char grilled turmeric and lemongrass marinated chicken with smoked chilli and tamarind relish. Both A and I really enjoyed the char-grilled chicken, as the marinade was full of flavour and the sauce was spicy and added lots of other flavours to the dish. It was a simplistic dish that went perfectly with Jasmine rice. Another excellent meal at Chat Thai.

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Chat Thai Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

And then finally, it was time to see Radiohead! It was an amazing gig and I cannot wait to see them again live!

Radiohead - Sydney 2012

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