I have to say, A and I were incredibly lucky on our trip over East. In our 12 days in Sydney and Melbourne, we did not have one bad meal or one bad coffee. Pretty amazing, huh?
Both A and I have lived in Sydney previously, so it does make it easier for us to get around and find good places to eat. We also travel over at least once a year and a few of the places mentioned are long-standing favourites. In saying that, we did eat at a lot of places we hadn’t been to before. I’ve already posted a few blog posts on specific eateries, including Tetsuya’s, Mamak and Chat Thai.
This post is a list of eateries we went to and really enjoyed. It may help you plan your own trip over east and eateries that you may not have thought about going to – just in case you need some foodie inspirations for your next visit to Sydney!
At the end of last year, A spend a fair amount of time in Sydney for work. She went to Chef’s Gallery during this trip and kept sending me photos throughout her meal. This trip around, A and I decided to head there together. Lucky for us, they had a lunch special – a bargain price of $9.90 for a bowl of noodles. We were seated at the bar area which overlooked the kitchen through a glass window and we were lucky enough to see the chefs make the noodles in front of us, using only their hands. No knifes and no utensils – It was amazing to watch! It was literally a Chef’s Gallery!
There are three types of noodles to choose from: La Mian (Regular Handmade Noodles), Bian Mian (Fettuccine-style Handmade Noodles), and Dan Mian (Egg Noodles). A ordered the Cantonese-style BBQ Pork noodles with a Fried Egg with the recommended Fettuccine-style handmade noodles. I ordered the Cantonese-style Roast Duck noodles with a Fried Egg with the recommended egg noodles. A’s BBQ pork dish was amazing. I had serious food envy and finished off her dish when she couldn’t eat it all. The fettuccine style noodles were perfect in size and texture – plus the sauce which accompanied the dish had a lot of flavour and was a little bit sweet.
The Cantonese-style Roast Duck noodles with a Fried Egg was good but I wouldn’t order it again. There was a lot of bone and grizzle on the duck which was really disappointing and made it difficult to eat. However, I liked that my dish was served with some Asian greens. The fried egg was only lightly fried so the yolk was still gooey.
One of my favourite aspects of Sydney is that it is uncommon for an Asian restaurant to serve you tea made with tea bags. We ordered a pot of Green tea which was definitely the best green tea I’ve ever had, brewed in a little traditional tea pot. (A quick sidenote – since returning to Perth, I’ve started regularly drinking tea for the first time in my life! I definitely think that this Sydney trip influenced me, thanks to the tastiness of the tea drunk on our trip!)
It was a lovely lunch which was so cheap too. Bonus!
One evening, we ventured to Surry Hills to try Bodega, a tapas restaurant. A and I always seem to head to Surry Hills when we are in Sydney. There are so many great bars and eateries in the suburb. An easy choice to wander if you don’t have a reservation and are not quite sure what you feel like eating. For example, Bodega doesn’t accept reservations so it’s easy to walk past, like the look of the restaurant and/or menu and then head on inside. Seeing as though they don’t accept bookings, it was lucky that they had a table ready. It was definitely one of the best tables in the house, a little bench which overlooked the street outside which was located in the back room which was a bit smaller and a little quieter. There was a candle on the table and it was dark and romantic – a lovely ambience to the restaurant. Bodega is fully licenced and is a tapas bar serving South American and Spanish food. The highlights of our meal was a South American and Spanish influenced wine list (with lots of great options by the glass), the sauteed mushrooms in garlic sauce ($12) and the Corn Tamale with Black Beans, Guacomole and Tortilla chips ($20).
Unfortunately there are no photos as the place was quite dark but it was a lovely evening with great food. Highly recommended!
For A’s birthday, we headed to Reuben Hills for breakfast. I had heard lots about it in a few foodie magazines before our trip, so decided to take A on her special day. It’s a coffee roastry and cafe which is located in Surry Hills and has a “coffee origin inspired menu”. A ordered the Avocado, Coriander and Lime on Sourdough Rye with cumin, white pepper and salt ($12). She really enjoyed the flavours but said that she would’ve liked an extra piece of bread to spread the heap of avocado on. I ordered the Baleda – Free range eggs with Queso Freso (cheese) and Black Beans on a “Baleada” (a wheat flour tortilla which is quite thick and folded in half). We couldn’t fault the flavour of the food or the coffee!
Before we left Perth, we saw The Food Pornographer at City Farm Cafe, who told A and I that we should check out Westfield Sydney, which houses an amazing food court called Food on Five. This food court features the likes of Charlie & Co. Burgers, Dargah Grill (Turkish), Din Tai Fung (the first express outlet of the Michelin star restaurant which is renowned for their dumplings and noodles), Guzman y Gomez (Healthy Mexican Cuisine), Iku Wholefood (a Sydney institution), 9Marys, Reuben & Moore (Renowned chef Michael Moore’s deli style sandwiches and hot roast rolls), Sassy’s Red by Chinta Ria (home-style Malaysian cuisine), and Thairiffic.
After breakfast at Reuben Hills, A and I headed to Becasse Bakery (which unfortunately has now closed) to have a pseudo birthday cake for A (as she prefers pastry). There were a lot of great little sweets available, but A and I choose an almond croissant and a chocolate croissant. They were delicious!
The day after A’s birthday, we headed to Wollongong (south of Sydney) to have lunch with my mum. Out of the three of us, no one could decide where to eat so we drove down one of the major strips in Wollongong, where A spotted Litani’s Lebanese Restaurant. A and I decided to share a serving of Haloumi to start with, the mezze plate for one as well as a serving of fries to share. Mum decided to order a piece of the barramundi and chose tabouli and deep-fried Lebanese bread as her sides. The food was amazing and there was enough there to feed two other people. It was a lovely lunch before we headed off to the local RSL for a drink afterwards.
Conveniently, our friend Lisa also flew into Sydney for a work conference. We met up for dinner and decided to catch a cab to King Street in Newtown. This long road is packed with lots of eateries, which were all very busy. We walked for a little bit, and due to the huge amount of options, it was difficult to make a decision of where to eat. I felt like Thai so we decided to try Thai Riffic.
I ordered the Pad See Ew (Stir fried flat rice noodles with egg, chicken, vegetables and sweet soy sauce) ($16.90), while A ordered the Thai Beef Salad ($18.90). Our friend Lisa ordered the Pumpkin Stir Fry (Stir fried pumpkin, snow peas, capsicum, mushroom, tofu, egg and coriander with Chef’s special vegetarian sauce) ($16.90). We all enjoyed our meal, plus the venue was really pretty. There are funky little benches and tables and we felt quite comfortable on the night.
One of my favourite little finds during our trip was Encasa Deli, located within the Sydney CBD. It is a cute little Spanish-influenced deli that offers bocadillos (a Spanish style baguette with simple fillings) and strong coffee. There is also a huge range of jamons, cheeses, olives and spanish products. We headed back there a few times for their coffee, as it was delicious – somehow it was strong but also a little bit sweet. Perfect! If you are staying nearby and love an excellent coffee, definitely give it a try!
Whenever A and I are in Sydney, we eat at Makoto (located within the Sydney CBD) at least a few times in our trip. It’s our favourite Japanese in the city and features a sushi train, plus an al-a-carte menu if you don’t want sushi. The sushi is always fresh, plus they do an excellent version of Takoyaki (one of my favourite Japanese dishes!)
It was an amazing trip filled with lots of excellent food (and shopping!) adventures. I’m looking forward to heading back in November for Radiohead, before our trip to New Zealand.