Impressive new openings will always be a thing in Sydney. Whether it’s a new bar, a restaurant from a well-known chef, or a light and bright café, those who live in the sunny harbour city are spoiled for choice when they go out to dine. There’s been a whole heap of new ones popping up over the past few months, and before we dive into the last two months of 2018, it’s time we took a look at five new restaurants well worth checking out.
The newest on this list is Barzaari Chippendale, opened at the end of last month as sister restaurant to the lauded Marrickville original, known for their superb Mediterranean feasts inspired by the markets of Cyprus as well as the food of Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. The 120-seater restaurant takes over the former Kensington Street Social as the resident restaurant to boutique hotel The Old Clare (so in-room dining just got really, really exciting).
Ex-Quay chef Darryl Martin has brought over many of the signatures from the original restaurant, including small plates like a modern take on ‘tiropitakia’ – fava leaf, feta, burnt honey and lemon – sitting alongside new creations like stuffed pickled eggplant with toum, and raw kingfish with peas, lemon jam, basil, falafel and sunflower. Move up to substantials and you’ll find interesting dishes like hapuka on vine lead with almond tahini and spiced barley, beef short rib with chermoula, hummus and salted sumac onions, and a beetroot and turnip tart with fresh curd, mustard seed and pumpkin a la grecque. Save space for dessert though; they’ve got a blistered buttermilk ricotta with rhubarb, buckwheat crumb, rose and honeycomb on the menu, as well as an orange blossom marshmallow with loukoumi and soujouko. Then of course, there’s always that massive baklava with safflower and whole almond ice-cream.
Address: 3 Kensington Street, Chippendale, NSW 2008
Double Bay’s beloved Matteo has officially opened its second venue, travelling all the way to Sydney CBD with Matteo Downtown. Aiming to distinguish itself from the original restaurant, this CBD expression has been informed by the all-day dining restaurants found around Milan and Rome, driven by Chef Orazio D’Elia and his traditional Italian upbringing in Southern Italy. Expect earthy and rich dishes from Northern Italy sitting alongside simple traditional dishes, served all day from 7am breakfast to late-night dinner. There’s also an express lunch menu available from 11am for the city workers, two traditional Neapolitan brick-style pizza ovens, a rotisserie, and a dedicated mozzarella bar.
Breakfast dishes include scrambled eggs with pecorino, Italian style pork sausages, pepper, cannellini beans and miche bread; Italian-style eggs in purgatory; and Neapolitan Pastiera inspired wheat and grain porridge. Lunch moves up to essentials like the squid ink fregola; linguine vongole with sea urchin; and various other antipasto boards, pastas and paninis. For dinner, you’ll probably want to move up to Matteo’s popular pizza or dishes like the whole suckling pig, the 600g wood-fired Ranger Valley ribeye grain-fed steak, or the roasted king prawns with bottarga.
Address: 20 Bond Street, Sydney
The recently opened Four Points by Sheraton at Central Park has now unveiled its on-site restaurant, Central Quarter. Overseen by prolific Executive Chef Adriano Avino, the all-day, 148 seat restaurant has been carefully curated with an aim to support local farmers and community. Diners should expect premium quality meats and seafood dishes driven by fresh seasonal ingredients, as well as a strong nod to Chippendale’s brewing heritage with beer marinades and unique beer sauces. As such, beer pairing with the modern-Australian menu will help the restaurant stand apart from Chippendale’s increasingly changing dining scene.
Address: 88 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
Kingdom of Rice
Merivale have stepped into the widely underutilised (in Sydney) realm of Cambodian cooking with the new Kingdom of Rice, the group’s latest six-month pop-up packed with flavour and colour. It follows the widely acclaimed Dirty Italian Disco as Merivale’s second resident diner at their Tennyson Hotel in Mascot, helmed by the same culinary minds behind ACME – Mitch Orr, Cam Fairbairn, Lillia McCabe and Sophia Thach – and heaving with the vibrancy of full-flavoured snacks, skewers, grilled dishes, wok dishes, noodles and rice.
Hungry diners keen on getting an in-depth taste of Cambodian cooking can expect to start off with dishes like the prahok k’tis (crudities with prahok k’tis, a dip made with fermented fish paste, pork belly and kreung), svay kchey (green mango, chilli and salt) and ‘trey neet alek’ (dried fish and watermelon). Things move on up to skewers served with pickled green papaya salad; wok classics like bort ling (corn, dried shrimps and scallions); and grill goodness like white slab moan baoek ung (kreung stuffed chicken wings), and murk ung (calamri, pork fat and scallions).
Pair these up with Asian beers and natural wines taken from The Tennyson’s charming self-serve bottle shop, where guests can also buy their own alcohol from a walk-in fridge. But don’t overlook the specially written drinks list by Group Bars Manager Sam Egerton; you’ll find classic Cambodian flavours like the fresh whole coconut rum, the pandan Pina Colada, and a Hennessy & jasmine tea concoction.
Address: Tennyson Hotel, 952 Botany Rd, Mascot
Don’t Tell Aunty
Renowned chef Jessi Singh has returned to Australia to bring his “unauthentic Indian” cuisine to Sydney, opening Surry Hills’ newest restaurant Don’t Tell Aunty. The space, which replaces the old 4Fourteen, is marked by Singh’s fun and casual atmosphere, inspired by the home of a traditional Indian aunty – that being a place where you can show up unannounced and always be welcome
All regions of India will be represented by the exploratory menu, which brings in inspiration taken from Australia and America. Expect vibrant street food, cross-regional curries and tandoori specialities as well as some of Singh’s signature dishes like Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower, an Indo-Chinese style deep fried cauliflower cooked in tomato and chilli sauce, and Papadi Chaat, otherwise known as the “Nachos of the Motherland”.
International winemaker and sommelier Rajat Parr has taken care of the approachable wine list, which should keep diners very happy alongside a self-serve beer fridge stocked with small batch, local and imported beers, and a cocktail list featuring juice-based drinks like the restaurant’s namesake cocktail with beetroot and mezcal rimmed with black lava salt.
Budget diners might want to take note that there’s also a $10 buffet lunch which features canteen-style offerings of curries and street food. Those just heading along for dinner can expect a full a la carte menu or a $55 tasting menu.
Address: 414 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Feature image: Barzaari Chippendale.