From an Indian restaurant with a hipster twist to an international hotel with bar full of pride for local craft produce, these 5 Foodie Finds are Sydney restaurants that are full of intrigue and surprises!
The Sydney food scene seems to have been striding steady forward the whole time I’ve lived here. It’s fascinating and exciting to see where things will go next.
In this edition of 5 Foodie Finds, we’re looking at the new, the improved, the reinvented and the sublimely traditional.
From a hipster curry house to a pizzeria bringing it back to the old country, we’re thrilled about the wealth of eateries waiting to be discovered in the beautiful city of Sydney.
5 Foodie Finds – Sydney restaurants with a difference
The Cottage, Balmain
What started life as an instant classic in the Sydney restaurant scene, this pretty venue has always been a popular spot for locals and visitors to Balmain.
We reviewed the Cottage a while ago and loved it. Since then, it’s seen a few changes, but the aesthetic and the cosy yet professional feel of the place has mercifully been maintained.
What has is changed the head chef. Adam McCaughey has found his way here via some incredible food institutions like Neil Perry’s Rockpool and the double-Michelin-starred restaurant Noma, recognised as the world’s best restaurant.
McCaughey has added his own particular flair to a menu that has withstood the test of time.
It’s never been a big menu at the Cottage, but what’s here has always been popular. Revamping classic dishes like the roasted cauliflower and the excellent pizzas (this one is the Fun Guy mushroom and truffle pizza) has added that extra level to the food here.
The crispy pork belly is also quite excellent, served with confit artichokes, and celeriac and vanilla puree.
As for the entrées, warm goat’s cheese and honeyed dukkha, and the seared scallops with deep-fried nori seaweed are our top tips.
342 Darling Street
Masala Theory, Surry Hills
Masala Theory really pushes back a lot of preconceptions of what Indian food is. Taking the over the Surry Hills venue from Red Lantern, this funky hipster curry house looks more like one of the many small bars scattered through the suburb than anything from the subcontinent.
And food walks an interesting line between hawker style and food sculpture. Certainly the Three Sisters Chat draws the eye. Served cold, this entrée is a black chickpea and garbanzo bean curry covered in sweetened yoghurt, and a date and tamarind chutney. The ‘sisters’ are deep-fried spinach leaves.
More identifiable but no less delicious are the masala dosa, but it’s the butter chicken that surprised me the most. Usually too sweet and mild, it’s not a dish I usually order.
But the butter chicken here at Masala Theory is smoky and unctuous, and has a good level of spice. It’s a far cry from the bright pink sweet thick gravy you usually get and – according to owner Yashpal Erda – much more like what you’d find on the streets of his hometown Ahmedabad in India. I know which version I prefer.
545 Crown Street
Hunter Works Café, Balmain
There’s something about finding a café that’s tucked away down an alley that makes you feel like you’ve found something very special – a little secret that only you and the staff know about.
With Hunter Works in Balmain, that’s exactly right. And just telling you about it makes me wonder if I’m letting you into something that I shouldn’t. First rule of Hunter Works Club…
But it’s too good here not to share.
Apart from barista-ing (definitely a real verb) excellent coffee – they also do a great drip coffee here – the food at Hunter Works is on point. Think hearty bagels, colourful, fresh salads, delicious desserts – not your average café fare.
They sell their own deli style selection of chutneys pickles and preserves too, plus the cake section will have you giggling like a schoolgirl.
Hunter Works Café
7/332 Darling Street (directly behind Wilhelmina’s)
3 Bottle Man, Circular Quay
When I think of Marriott hotels, the last thing I’ve got in my head is Aussie craft spirits and produce. But that’s what the new bar and café Three Bottle Man in the Sydney Harbour Marriott is all about.
By day, this cool laneway venue serves good coffee and eats to the suits of the city. By night, the bartenders show their skills and the a la carte bar food comes out to play.
The bar’s focus is on the delights of the craft spirits coming out of Australia at the moment, including our favourite people the Aussie Tipple Company. All wine and beer is also Aus-centric, so it’s a great place to come to get a taste of the country.
Three Bottle Man
1 Bulletin Place (connected to the Sydney Harbour Marriott)
Dust Bakery and Pizzeria, Forest Lodge
The Tram Sheds in Forest Lodge has created a home for some amazing food options in Sydney’s Inner West. Our favourite is Dust Bakery, which doubles as a pizzeria. The pizzas that come out of the big wood-fired oven are in the Neapolitan style, so bigger crusts and softer bases.
But Dust is all about the bases.
You see, these guys also have their own flourmill on site – one of very few in Sydney. So the pizza dough is not only baked here, it’s made here. From scratch.
How cool is that? They mill the wheat, create the dough then bake it here and serve it.
Dust Bakery, Mill and Pizzeria
1 Dalgal Way
We hope you’ve enjoyed this round of Foodie Finds. It’s always a pleasure hunting new ones out. If you’ve got any suggestions on new places or products you’d like to see included in future Foodie Finds posts, let us know in the comments below!