That Kentaro (Kenny) Takayama is lucky that his name isn’t palindromic can be considered a good thing. It would have been awkward to own two separate cafes with the exact same name – can you imagine the confusion? Flipping his name on its head is Redfern favourite Cafe Oratnek. Now, we have Cafe Kentaro in Surry Hills. The name’s done a 180, but critically – has the food?
Category Archives: Sydney Inner City
Tracing its roots back to 2015, Cuckoo Callay’s annual bacon festival has truly become a mainstay of the Newtown cafe, as well as for the suburb’s cafe scene in general. While perhaps not quite achieving institution status as of yet, I can definitely say they’ve pulled a hat trick. An annual homage to everything porcine might seem like immoderate flagrancy, but in the end BACON IS FREAKING DELICIOUS.
Welcome to 2017’s edition of Cuckoo Callay’s Bacon Festival! (more…)
Ethical eating. Sustainable agriculture. Farm to Table. Concepts with which we are all intimately familiar. This is not a fugacious trend, these concepts cannot be reduced to a set of transient hashtags. Merivale and Danielle Alvarez know this – taking two years to shape the embodiment of these values into one of the hospitality group’s biggest projects yet – Fred’s.
How do you like your buns, hun? While the rest of Sydney’s burger community never-endingly debates the pros and cons of brioche, milk and heck even ramen buns, Chase Kojima (of Sokyo fame) just threw a new carby spanner into the works with the unveiling of Gojima – say hello to Sydney’s first dedicated rice burger restaurant!
Michelin-starred, UK celebrity chef Jason Atherton knows a thing or two about running a restaurant. Chippendale’s Kensington Street Social isn’t his 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th restaurant – no, it’s his fifteenth. With this level of experience in flipping tables, one would expect seriously tasty fare.
I’ll just out this right now with two visits under my belt: you will not want to be social with your food at Kensington Street Social.
Date Last Visited: 6/11/2016
Address: The Old Clare Hotel, 1 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney
Price range: $20-$40
Heard of Devon on Danks? It was a cafe that served truly unique food that was always invigoratingly different to what anyone else was doing in Sydney – despite the occasional failed experiment. With over ten separate visits, I literally can’t name another cafe more frequented. Imagine my devastation then, when Devon on Danks announced its closure after its two or so years at Waterloo. With its lease up, it was time to shut its doors.
But thankfully, the winds of up-and-coming Barangaroo were blowing – and now, after a wait that thankfully wasn’t too long, Devon at Barangaroo has opened its doors.
Date Last Visited: 18/11/2016
12/11/2016 (soft launch – official launch 14/11/2016)
Address: Barangaroo Reserve (turn right when you hit the David Jones facing the water)
Price range: $15-$30
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
Address: 5 Kensington St,Chippendale, Sydney, NSW
Highlight Dish(es): steamed hapuka, roasted quail
The burgers have won, fine dining is dead. Or at least, that’s the direction the smoke seems to be blowing when owner Kerby Craig decided to close down his semi fine-diner Ume Restaurant, reopening it as Bar Ume. Gone are the delicately plated works of art almost too pretty to eat. Instead, it’s burgers, burgers, and burgers. Well that, some sides, and some drinks.
Say hello to Surry Hills’ newest izakaya – headed by a hatted chef, no less!
Date Last Visited: 18/09/2016
Address: 478 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Go-to Dish: Ume Burger
Price Guide (approx): $20-$30 before drinks
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
Address: Wharf 10, 56 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Go-to dish: parmesan chawanmushi
Price Guide (approx): $115 for 8-courses
Guillaume Brahimi is a French giant in Sydney – both in real life, and in his eponymous restaurant which, for many years, has been a French institution at the Sydney Opera House. They say that you can’t miss what you’ve never had – I beg to differ.
See, I never got the chance to visit “Sydney’s best French restaurant” during its stint at our most famous landmark. The chance escaped me – Guillaume at the Opera House closed its doors in 2013. I missed out on what surely must have been wonderful food, set in an iconic location and complemented by world-class service. I missed what I never had – until now.
Date Last Visited: 30/07/2016
Address: 92 Hargrave Street, Paddington, Sydney, NSW