[Sydney] For first time visitors to Sydney, you would realise that the city is more than just the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and Darling Harbour.
It is also house to some of the best brunch and coffee places around the world. Not exaggerating.
The multi-cultural aspect of Sydney has also given rise to some very creative food, that have become renowned all around the world. Of course, Instagram plays a big part in that aspect.
Here are some of the 10 Must-Eats In Sydney for first-time visitors:
Black Star Pastry – Newtown
277 Australia St, NEWTOWN, NSW 2042 (Newtown Station. Lines serviced: T2 Inner West & South Line.)
Tel: +61 02 9557 8656
Opening hours: 7:00am – 5:00pm Daily
Google Maps – Black Star Pastry Newtown
World Famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake
Black Star Pastry is famous for THAT ONE THING – the Strawberry Watermelon Cake, which propelled the bakery café to almost-international fame.
Not an understatement to say this cake is world-famous.
Tastefully gorgeous with a rather girly style, a layered photogenic cake termed ‘instagram-worthy’ all around, with a taste to match.
A slice of the famed Strawberry Watermelon Cake (AUD7.50) created by Christopher Thé, consists of two layers of almond dacquoise, rose-scented cream, watermelon, strawberries, pistachios and dried rose petal.
Having it was like experiencing ‘happily ever after’ or when you crush invites you for a movie when you were 17. Black Star (Newtown, Sydney)
Hurricane’s Grill Darling Harbour
Harbourside Shopping Centre, Level 2, Darling Harbor New South Wales Australia
Tel: +61 2 9211 2210
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 2:00pm, 5:00pm – 11:00pm (Mon – Fri), 12:00pm – 10:30pm (Sat, Sun)
Famous For Saucy Flame Grilled Ribs And Steaks
Hurricane’s Grill & Bar at Darling Harbour is always packed, seemingly with tourists. So do go early to make your reservations, if not the wait can be rather long.
It is considered one of Sydney’s leading BBQ meat specialist, situated on level 2 of Harbourside’s Shopping Centre.
I can imagine why it is so popular – it is in close proximity to several places of interest such as the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, also a short walk from the city centre.
The brand spans more than 20 years with the first Sydney steakhouse opening at Bondi Beach in 1995.
Hurricanes Grill uses an original, unique basting sauces, which complement their ribs, steaks as well as burgers.
For an introduction, you can consider the Hurricane’s BBQ Meat Platter (AUD105.00) which consist of BBQ basted chicken wings, Boerewors, juicy Lamb Cutlets, Top Sirloin and the ribs with choice of either Beef, Pork or Lamb. Should be good for about 4 to share.
Sydney Fish Market
Bank Street Pyrmont (Fish Market Stop on Metro Light Rail), Blackwattle Bay N.S.W. 2009, Sydney Australia
Tel: 02 9004 1100
Opening Hours: 7am – 4pm (Mon – Sun)
Sydney Fish Market for Freshest Fish & Chips and Sashimi
Blue skies, seagulls roaming free, sitting in the open having crispy fresh fish and chips.
Established in 1966 and located on Blackwattle Bay, this is one of the largest working fishing port (after Japan) and wholesale fish market.
And it includes a fresh seafood retail section and eateries where you can order fresh seafood and have them cooked on the spot – deep fried, grilled, fried or sashimi style.
There are many retailers such as Claudio’s, De Costi, Doyle’s, Nicholas Seafoods, but according to a friend who goes to Sydney every year – Peter’s Fish Market is one of the most vibrant and cooks the best seafood.
The Grounds of Alexandria
Building 7A, No 2 Huntley Street Alexandria NSW Australia
Tel: +61 2 96992225
Plan your trip via public transport: http://www.transportnsw.info
Cafe & Roastery: 7am – 4pm (Mon – Fri), 7:30am – 4pm (Sat – Sun)
Potting Shed: 11:30am – LATE (Mon – Sun)
Markets: 8am – 3pm (Sat – Sun)
One Of The Best Brunch And Lifestyle Experiences
For café lovers, no visit to Sydney would be complete without stepping into The Grounds Of Alexandria.
In fact, I would write “Grounds of Alexandria” into a list for “What to do in Sydney” along with the usual suspects of Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, and Sydney Fish Market.
Transformed from an old pie shop which existed from the 1920s, this is a ‘mega café’ which is a coffee roaster, café, bakery, bar, kitchen garden, weekend market, florist and a mini-farm all rolled in one.
The main and only things that would likely piss people off, are the wait and crowd. Grounds is packed at all times of the week, especially during the weekends due to the markets.
Another key attractive is a little farm, where children are always fascinated by the animals. Note: Kevin Bacon, the famed pig from Grounds, has retired.
76 Devonshire St Surry Hills NSW
Tel: 02 9211 8777
Opening Hours: 7am – 4pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 3:30pm (Sat – Sun), 8am – 3:30pm (PH)
(Kitchen closes at 3pm)
Google Maps – Devon Cafe
Asian Fusion Food On Surry Hills, Go For The Sakuma
It is not hard to like Devon Café, which has managed to find a unique voice in an ever-evolving café scene in Sydney.
Since it opened in 2013 at Surry Hills, Devon Café which is a short 10 minutes’ walk from Central Station, continues to be packing in the crowds.
It used to have a branch at Danks, but has shifted that outlet to the more commercial district of Barangaroo.
Over at Surry Hills, you get items such as the Tropical Chia – chia pudding, almond milk, fresh dragonfruit, mandarin, passionfruit, strawberries; Eggs Blini – Buckwheat blini, poached eggs, citrus cured king salmon, salmon caviar, broccolini, maltaise sauce; Yakuza Burger – Grilled chicken, mozzarella katsu, Devon’s secret sauce, cos lettuce, pickles, milk bun, seasoned chips; and Hojicha Cookies N Cream – Hojicha cream, Hojicha sponge, Hojicha crunch, Hojicha sauce, yuzu gel and mandarin.
The famed Sakuma (AUD26) contained miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63 degrees egg, radish petit salad and kewpie mayonnaise. It was on the expensive side.
The chunky, fresh, smooth, well-seasoned salmon which melted in the mouth, the smoked eel croquette lightly crispy and with smoky hints, and the perfectly cooked egg. Devon Café (Surry Hills, Sydney)
359 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW Australia 2010
Opening Hours: 7am – 10am (Mon – Fri), 7:30am – 10pm (Sat – Sun), Lunch from 12pm, Dinner from 5pm
World-Famous Scrambled Eggs
Owned by celebrity chef Bill Granger, bills is famous for breakfast items such as the world famous scrambled eggs and ricotta hotcakes.
The art student turned self-taught cook and restaurateur, and now author and media personality is one of Australia’s best known Chef. (Some refer him as the Australian version of Jamie Oliver.)
Get the Full Aussie Plate (AUD24.50) comes with the signature scrambled organic eggs, sourdough toast, bacon, cumin roast tomat, miso mushrooms, pork and fennel sausage.
The eggs were like fluffy soft (and milky) pieces of yellow clouds. Some say there weren’t as good as they used to be, but I thought they were still pretty decent. (bills)
Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke Street Surry Hills
Tel: +61 02 9699 1011 (To order for same day collection from the Surry Hills bakery, you can call +02 9699 1011.)
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 6:00pm (Mon – Fri), 7:00am – 5:00pm (Sat – Sun)
Life Changing Ginger Brulée Tart & Sausage Roll
There are few things I would describe as life-changing, and two items from the famed bakery would fit that bill – Ginger Brulée Tart and Pork & Fennel Sausage Roll.
Their legendary Ginger Brulée Tart (AUD5) had a firm tart shell, smooth and thick filling of subtle ginger twang that reminded me of Christmas, with a layer of crisp caramelised sugar topped with pistachio.
My first Pork and Fennel Sausage Roll (AUD4.50) was eaten hours later and cold, yet I thought it was a god-sent, literally.
The minced pork filing pleasantly enhanced with funnel seas with buttery flaky pastry was utmostly delicious. Then, I went again to get my second.
Before I forget, other pastries and bakes, are also worth the try. Bourke Street Bakery (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Single O Surry Hills
60 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, NSW Australia 2010
Opening hours: 6:30am – 4:00pm (Mon-Fri), 7:30am – 3:00pm (Sat), Closed Sun
Coffee At Surry Hills
Single O is formerly known Single Origin Roasters.
The epitome of good coffee is passion. Said to serve the best coffee on Surry Hills, thus the long queues for takeaways, especially during morning rush hours.
Seats are limited. I sat on benches outside the café, literally a hole in the wall.
Many cafes in Australia serve banana loaf, but Single Origin Roasters’s Banana Bread With Espresso Butter (AUD5.50) had my friends buying those every single day we were there. Single Origin Roasters (Surry Hills, Sydney)
Most Popular Gelato Shop In Sydney
Sydney is home to several world-famous gelato shops, including N2 Extreme Gelato, Cow And The Moon, Frangipani Gelato Bar, and Pompei’s… even though it is not, well, Italy.
Talk about the most popular gelato in Sydney, and the answer goes “Messina”. It is also voted “Best Gelato In Australia” by Good Food Guide.
Gelato Messina uses only the finest ingredients in their raw form, with everything made from scratch.
There are no artificial colours or flavours used, and special ingredients that goes into their ice cream (e.g. apple pies, fresh stewed rhubarb, freshly roasted and ground pistachios) are made in store.
Look out for the 5 weekly specials which are advertised on social media, which always draws a crowd.
Most of my friends love it, though a couple think it is over-rated and would rather go for the more indie, less commercialised brands.
KOI Dessert Bar
42–44 Kensington Street, Chippendale Sydney NSW 2008
Tel: +61 02 9212 1230
Opening hours: 10am – 11pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
Google Maps – KOI Dessert Bar
MasterChef Australia’s Reynold Poernomo Creates Some Dessert Magic
Meet Reynold Poernomo, probably one of MasterChef Australia’s most noticeable alumnus, young, good looking (okay, VERY handsome), fit, talented, and successful.
The MasterChef Cakes
A never-before perfect score of 30/30 for his dessert on MasterChef propelled him to further popularity, even though he didn’t win the season in the end.
Reynold serves up his signature desserts, cakes and coffee at the space, with an open air courtyard on the ground floor, and dining room on the upper.
The variety changes all the time, but some of the favourites include The Forbidden Fruit – which is given birth after the first chocolate challenge he had done in Masterchef; and Nomtella which includes flavours of Nutella, caramel, chocolate and coffee.