Over the Christmas break, I had time to reflect on my experience of Sydney’s restaurant scene for 2012. Overall, it was fantastic. There are always some disappointments of course, but I will happily return to about 70% of the restaurants I visited last year. Below are the restaurants I would return to and why:
- 4Fourteen for hip atmosphere, smoked salmon bread and bounty dessert.
- AKI’s for fine Indian flavours, and the cardamom and pistachio kulfi.
- Azuma for outstanding sushi and sashimi.
- Barrafinna for the range of tasty tapas and spanish wines.
- Bentley for fantastic food and wine matches.
- Buffalo Dining Club for buffalo mozarella and antipasto plate.
- Cafe Morso for views of Sydney harbour and outstanding breakfast dishes.
- Catalina for stunning 180 degrees views of the harbour.
- Chez Dee for great decor, atmosphere and service.
- Chiswick for its laid-back, country feel and lovely garden.
- DOV for original and always delicious breakfast dishes – in particular those with brioche.
- Food Society for well-priced, modern Eastern European fare.
- Guillaume at Bennelong for top french dishes and very professional service.
- GPO Cheese and Wine Room for the somewhat mysterious atmosphere, and cheese and wine flights.
- Jimmy Liks for beef cheeks in green curry.
- Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse at Woolloomooloo Wharf for mud crab in Singapore chilli sauce, green beans with almonds, and stunning views.
- Malabar Darlinghurst for chicken chettinad, and okra masala.
- Marque for its exquisitely refined tasting menu.
- Mere Catherine for quail with raisins, and profiteroles.
- Momofuku for the surprising and exciting tasting menu.
- Mr Wong for superlative surrounds, steamed lobster with ginger and shallots, pork and chives dumplings, and service a step above traditional Asian restaurants.
- Ms G’s for funky atmosphere, intensely flavoursome dishes and margaritas.
- No. 9 for Bruschetta with poached eggs and avocado salsa.
- Ocean Room for views of the Opera House and an interesting, well priced, degustation.
- Pendolino for beef carpaccio with truffle oil, and veal pasta with bone marrow.
- Pilu at Freshwater for the picturesque setting, and panacotta.
- Porteno for the best vegetable dishes in town.
- Public Dining Room for idyllic views, and Boston style baked beans with ham hock.
- Sushi-e for the sashimi platter, infused kingfish carpaccio and Waygu beef score 9.
- Sushiwa for quality lunch time sushi with a modern take.
- Rockpool Bar & Grill for grandiose decor, wood fire grilled king prawns, and Cape Grim rib-eye on the bone.
- Sepia for chocolate forest and other sophisticated dishes.
- Sky Pheonix for wok-fried snake beans, deboned roast duck, prawn and spinach dumplings, and crab in spicy salt and chilli.
- The Alibi for seared scallops & ocean trout tartare, and banana harumaki.
- The Apollo for taramasalata of mullet roe and Kritharaki pasta with braised oxtail.
- The Bather’s Pavillon for sights and sounds of the sea, and pistachio and raspberry gateau.
- The Owl House for duck terrine, cocktails and friendly service.
- The Sardine Room for consistently delicious seafood dishes and attentive wait staff.
- The Winery for the beer garden and Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc by the glass.
- Universal for “Gaytime goes Nuts”, and great cocktails.
- Watermoon for reasonably priced, yet delicious, sushi and sashimi, and Wagyu beef steak with sweet miso sauce.
Because I eat take-away pretty much every working lunch, I am also going to list my 3 favourite places for an on-the-run weekday lunch:
- CBD Noodles for flat rice noodles with chicken / beef, oyster sauce and Malaysian chilli paste
- Guzman & Gomez for mini burrito or soft-shell tacos with chicken guerrero or pork chipolte
- Sabbaba for messy but tasty Algerian falafel roll
Please note that a number of restaurants haven’t made the list. What are your recommendations for 2013? I’d love to read them in the comment box below.