Our ‘best of’ foodie experiences 2018: Sydney and Surrounds

2018 has been a busy year, we have been fortunate enough to travel much of this wonderful world and all over this beautiful harbour city. We’ve written over 200 blogs, as well as reviews on multiple platforms and are appreciative of all venues for having us well as the support provided from our friends and loyal followers.

We are very lucky to have such a multi-cultural influence in Australia which makes Sydney rich in culture and it also means we are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options. We have compiled our ‘best of’ list, reflecting the range of cuisines on offer. We hope this list will provide some guidance when you are sitting at home in the new year procrastinating about where to go for breakfast, a coffee, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or something sweet.

Whether looking for a coffee on the run or somewhere to catch up with friends for brunch, Sydney certainly delivers, with most Sydney suburbs having quality offerings.

Coffee

Our favourite way to start our day is with a good cup of coffee and there are plenty of places that come to mind. At the top of this list is Artificer on Bourke St Surry Hills and this humble little corner shop is a specialist coffee roaster which does only coffee and no food, so they have to be good.

A new one up there in the coffee stakes is Ona Coffee. Having opened their cafe in Marrickville this year, these guys have gone from strength to strength and they do offer food too. We also continued to enjoy Mecca, which always do a quality coffee roast and have a great selection of interesting food. We will also have to give props to the quality Baristas at our local Panivore in Pagewood who pump out the Mecca coffee and do it justice. There is also Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville, so popular, even David Beckham paid them a visit when in town.

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Image – Ona

Cafes

For good cafes in Sydney, there are so many to choose from and you pretty much see a new one open up every other week. However, at the top of our list is Edition Coffee Roasters, who have a sleek new space, close to what was once the Entertainment Centre. Edition do a nice cup of coffee and a sophisticated Japenese inspired cafè menu. The Sokyo Breakfast at the Star was very impressive and we suggest doing the double, ordering a la carte and the buffet. We also enjoyed At Neutral and also  5 loaves 2 fish in Neutral Bay for a quality breakfast offering, the Mews in Mosman also putting out a creative Breakfast menu. Girdlers stores in the Northern Beaches producers some great healthy food options. The Reuben bagel at Lox, Stock and Barrel and in Bondi also impresed. Buku, a new opening in Zetland also up there, with coffee by Artificer, quality pastries and a top notch food menu.

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Image – Edition coffee roasters

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Image – 5 loaves 2 fish

Cheap eats

For cheap eats under $20, you must venture west to the Casula Power House and go to Bellbird dining. The quality of meal on offer is amazing comparative to price, food fresh from their garden and great technique on display. Forever at the top of our list is Suzuya on Devonshire St Surry Hills. This place serves quality Japanese, with fresh ingredients, big portions and reasonably priced. For Thai, Spice I am is a great option with interesting dishes and the spice levels are through the roof. Charcoal Kingdom in Rockdale is geat for your fix of Lebanese Charcoal chicken with garlic sauce and across the road is an awesome Lebanese Patisserie called Ibrahims, making for a great dinner and dessert combo. We also love a good pie and sausage roll, so Bourke St Bakery are on the list. You simply cannot do a cheap eats list with out Bahn Mi and there are two that rise above the pack, Hong Ha for their chicken Bahn mi and Marrickville Pork Roll for their Pork Roll. Butter in Surry Hills great for some fried chicken booze and their cinnamon doughnut is simply ridiculous. We will also add some sweet – Gelato Messina always has a special place in our heart and we have now added Ciccone and sons to that list.

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Image – Bellbird

Dining

There are also plenty of great eating experiences around town. Sashimi Shingensumi was an amazing experience in Crows Nest. A small restaurant run by a husband and wife team, serving a beautiful sushi and sashimi degustation feast with masterful knife skill on display all for $70 and, it is BYO too. Although it is very difficult to secure a spot, the phone only open for booking once every three months, it is worth the wait.

Another great experience was the Basque Club Gure Txoko, which we found out about this gem through SBS food. This social club in Darlinghurst representing an ancient culture from the North of Spain and South of France, rich in culture and famous for their cuisine. Open every Sunday, putting on a delicious 3 course lunch for $30. There is also a good selection of booze and it is super cheap too.

There are also plenty of great reasonably priced meals to be had in Sydney. Peppercorn at the Civic being the pick of the bunch, you’d be hard pressed to find a meal with more flavour and it is a great fusion of Laotian and Thai cusine. Da Mario’s is good for some authentic pizza and Pino’s Vino e Cucina for some great pasta. We will also include Ho Jiak for some quality Malaysian food.

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Image – Ho Jiak

Bars

Big Poppa’s is a great spot for a drink with a bite to eat. Then there is Mjolner for a hearty feed and a great whisky list. The GPO cheese room for both their cheese and wine experience. Our favourite new bar is Redfern Surf Club for their party vibe and creative cocktails.

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Image – Mjolner

Fine dining

For something fancy, and on those special occasions, Fujisaki was a favourite with their classy display of Japanese cuisine and it is also great value. We revisited LuMi and it again makes the list, we love the sophisticated flavour combinations. Cirrus at Barangaroo is a great new addition, keeping up to those hats with a high quality seafood dishes by the water. Aqua dining in Milsons Point another great waterfront dining venue and we love that it is BYO. A classic, Macleay St Bistro has made the cut with a great offering of classic French food, done very well and some charismatic service.

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Image – Fujisaki

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Image – Cirrus

Out of Town

Out of town there have been a few standouts. A late visit to Canberra really suprised us. We knew they had some great cafès, however the number of quality establishments is understated. In fact, Canberra could quite possibly challange Sydney in this regard. We had a beautiful brunch at Urban Pantry, a great atmosphere and so many top menu items. It has been one of our favourite cafes of the year.

Image – Urban Pantry

We also had a wonderful meal at Raku, a phenomenal Japanese Restaurant with a Robata grill and a top class sushi and sashimi station. Raku is a classy establishment and has a great Japanese drinks list.

Image – Raku

We also ventured to Wollongong on a number of occasions and quite enjoyed Lily J cafe, they had quality coffee on offer and some great healthy brunch items.

The Press cafè in Bowral was another revelation with good coffee and quality cafè fare was elegantly presented.

We also headed North to Newcastle Habesha Ethiopian restaurant was a pleasant suprise, the food and atmosphere were equally excellent.

Image – The Press Cafe

We hope this list helps you to also enjoy some great dining!

Kurt and Sarah

 

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