Sydney’s vast array of eating establishments certainly leaves nothing to be desired, however, it can be pricey…. unless you know where to look. If, like me, you are open minded but looking to be drawn in by the atmosphere, excited by the menu and enthralled by the details, you will probably find that there is fine line between authenticity and a pretentious prelude to a hefty bill. While this is reminiscent of many things in life, here’s a selection of establishments that I thoroughly enjoyed during my short time in Sydney to make your hunt a little easier. Oh, and they won’t break the bank either!
Bourke Street Bakery (Paddington) – Not only would this tiny corner bakery slot effortlessly into a continental side street, the fare reflects quality, talent and design while the prices are more like pocket change. Sit inside or street-side for some quality local people watching. We kept it simple with croissants and freshly squeezed juice and it was pleasurable to say the least. What we had: croissant ($3) and fresh squeezed orange juice ($3.50)
JuJu Japanese Tavern Restaurant (Kings Cross) – Hidden below the chaotic streets of Kings Cross, JuJu Japanese Restaurant had me with “Herrow”. When crossing the threshold, patrons must remove their shoes before being led, barefoot, to their own sunken table. Sushi is a favorite of mine so this one stretched our budget a little but $29 each scored us a healthy assortment of top quality sashimi, rainbow rolls, maki, nigri, a beautiful beef tataki starter, green tea, saké and of course, a generous helping of wasabi and pickled ginger. Yum! What we had: green tea ($3), sushi platter for two ($43), beef tataki ($9) and sake ($7.50)
5 Boroughs (Kings Cross) – A trendy enclave on King’s Cross main street. Ivy covers the matt black walls and furniture is wooden and mismatched. The staff were friendly and helpful but seemed eager to move us on when we’d finished our breakfast. I took full advantage of the daily deal and scored a thick toasted slab of pear & raspberry bread with a cappuccino for just $5!
Third Village Cafe (Kings Cross) – Small, trendy and wholesome, Third Village Cafe was reasonably priced and offered a wide range of delicious, healthy breakfasts and lunches as well as giant muffins and coffee to die for. What we had: grilled chicken sandwich ($8.60) and hot chocolate (£3.50)
Hana Hana Japanese Cafe (Chinatown) – A strange take on the word ‘cafe’ but interesting all the same. At Hana Hana you order your own food from a touch screen or select other items off the belt. It’s served to you on a tray at the pay point and seating is inside and outside. I wouldn’t rate the atmosphere much but the food was pretty good and the prices allowed for a bit of variety. What we had: miso soup ($2), mini chicken teriyaki bowl ($3.50) and salmon sashimi box ($4).
The Canteen (Bondi Beach) – It has to be said, there were a lot of people in the restaurant that thought they were cool but we didn’t let that ruin our dinner. The menu is exciting, the ambience is dark and funky and the cocktails are over priced but worth every penny. They have a pool table, outdoor and indoor seating with a view of Bondi beach. What more could you ask for? What we had: the ‘Woodstock’ veggie burger (13.50), passionfruit mojito ($17.50) and a jug of ‘Pure Blonde’ or ‘Carlton’ ($12).
Twelve (Newtown) – The staff at twelve were a bit dizzy but their desert selection is up there with the best. As long as you like cake and pie that is. What we had: ‘Toto Pizza’ – proscuitto, rocket, parmesan, pumpkin, zucchini and goats cheese ($10), lemon meringue pie ($8), chocolate cake ($8) and a green tea pot ($3).