“Fine dining, without the pretension” – that’s the philosophy of Bouche on Bridge. A focus on produce, core ingredients, and exceptional cooking without overt complications round out the package. Head chef Harry Stockdale-Powell’s ostensibly got the chops for it too – having worked at both Marque and Rockpool. Looks like it’s time to head back to Bridge St for something that isn’t Eleven Bridge and see what “no fuss fine dining” is all about.
Date Last Visited: 23/11/2016 (1st visit 29/10/2016) Address: 6 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000
Go-to Dish: eschallot tarte tartin (if you like onions a lot) Price Guide (approx): $80-$100pp plus drinks
Last year, a meal at Automata counted as one of my favourite restaurant experiences. That it gained two chef’s hats in the 2016 Good Food Guide Awards, along with ex-Momofuku’s Clayton Wells lauded as Time Out’s chef of the year was, to my mind, no brainer. As was usually the case, I felt that it had been far too long in between visits, and so made a return visit almost exactly one year down the track. However, it was with a deep melancholy when, on that second visit, I discovered that while fragments of the experience were the same, I was not eating at Automata.
It’s almost as if it’s become something else entirely.
Date Last Visited: 24/09/2016 23/09/2015 Address: 5 Kensington St,Chippendale, Sydney, NSW Highlight Dish(es): steamed hapuka, roasted quail
Hat trick (n, sporting context): success achieved three times in the same game. In the cutthroat sport of restauranteering, three rounds of excellent results over multiple years of visits is something rarely achieved. But that’s exactly what Berowra Waters Inn has accomplished under Brian Geraghty in his stewardship of this remote restaurant. Sydney’s hidden gem remains as polished as ever.
Date Last Visited: 22/10/2016 7/12/2014 Address: Public WharvesBerowra Waters, NSW Price Guide: $165 plus drinks
For this latest visit, I was invited to Berowra Waters Inn by Victoria Zwierzynski (partner to head chef Brian Geraghty) herself, so The Usual Disclaimer applies. Having said that, as my third visit here, there’s really no denying my near-unconditional affection for Berowra Waters Inn.
The Inn is about 50km from the Sydney CBD, so convenience isn’t exactly going to be on the “pros” column. However, remoteness is very much the allure of the restaurant. It starts with the private ferry, which takes around 2-3 minutes and deposits you at the beautiful Glenn Murcutt-designed limestone building that dates back over 85 years. You can also get here by seaplane, but given that it’s 2-3x the price of your $165pp meal here, you may want to save that one for the most special of occasions for that most special someone.
When one is on the everlasting quest for great food, one goes to great lengths to consummate the experience that bestows on us food euphoria on a higher plane. But in doing so, one may sometimes forget that there is excellence everywhere around us. LuMi Bar & Dining is, quite simply, one of the worst-kept secrets in Sydney. In the two years since it opened this Japanese-Italian lightbox, perched at the tip of Pyrmont harbour, raked in awards so fast the yachts & speedboats in the habour seemed positively slothful.
You don’t even have to click into this post to infer that I’m going to wax lyrical about the place – if it’s between reading this piece and making a booking right now, I think you know where my recommendation lies. But for those with a bit more curious? Read on to find out why I think this may just be one of my favourite Sydney restaurants in 2016.
Date Last Visited: 17/09/2016 22/03/15 Address: Wharf 10, 56 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont, NSW 2009 Go-to dish: parmesan chawanmushi
Price Guide (approx): $115 for 8-courses
Stalwart (n) – a loyal, reliable, and hard-working supporter/participant in an organization or team. If there was ever a shoehorn restaurant fitting this definition in Sydney’s dynamic fine dining landscape, it would absolutely, unequivocally, be Neil Perry’s Rockpool. Established in 1989, it has the incredible honour of being the longest-running fine dining restaurant in Sydney. As far as the high-end goes, Rockpool is immutable.
But now, times are a changing – Rockpool closes its figurative doors, re-opening under its new mantle Eleven Bridge. The biggest question then – same same, or different?
Date Last Visited: 26/08/2016 Address: 11 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Go-to Dish: Whole partridge steamed in bread w/glazed turnip
Price Guide (approx): $40 entrees, $50-$70 mains, $25 dessert
In 2013, I visited Attica, then the #21 best restaurant in the world on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best List. And I was not impressed – Ben Shewry’s food wasn’t my idea of world-class. Certainly – the polished service, the attention to detail and the use of native Australian flora and fauna were all most exemplary and worthy of recognition. However, the food just wasn’t all that…tasty. My palate is my palate, after all – as such, while I appreciated it, I didn’t like it anywhere near what I thought I would.
But short of a disaster, I’m all about second chances – there’s no way true restaurant reviewers would score a venue based off just one visit, and if I’m going to make a judgement call on Attica, I ought to take a page out of their books. A second visit, three years later, was in – colour me seriously impressed.
Date Last Visited: 07/07/201627/11/13 Address: 74 Glen Eira Rd Ripponlea, VIC 3185
Returning to Flying Fish is like seeing an old friend. My first visit was during the halcyon days of 2012 – you know, when people still actually read food blogs instead of going to Instagram. It’s cool, I get ya – I do it too.
Needless to say, change affects us all – Stephen Seckold’s flagship restaurant being no exception. Does the Flying Fish continue to soar, or is it now merely a fly-by? It’s been a long four long years, let the reunion begin.
Date Visited: 8/3/201626/10/2012 Address: 21 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont, NSW 2009 Go-to dish: seared yellow fin tuna, pork belly, pink grapefruit & black pepper caramel
Bestowing the gift of fire onto humanity wasn’t the smartest move by Prometheus. While he’s doomed to an eternity of “liver-picking” (definitely not going into detail on that), we have been using fire in more inventive ways than ever.
Fire is a beautiful thing. Not only is it mesmerizing in its brilliance, the difficulty of mastering this fickle beast is both an art and a science. It’s no wonder why modern recipes focus so much on thermometers, cooking times and precision measurements in order to rein the capriciousness of flame.
But one restaurant’s turning that on its head. Just a dash of gut feel, wood, charcoal, and pure, unadulterated fire. That is Surry Hills’ Firedoor.
Date Last Visited: 5/8/15 Address: 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills, NSW Recommended Dish(es): cauliflower w/tallow & hazelnuts, aged lamb rump cap, beef cheeks, aged rib on the bone