Forget the Sydney Opera bar, Scubar and the party buses driving you around Darling Harbor.
I’m taking you for a day out to the alternative and indie kids paradise, Newtown. Although only one station from Central, backpackers and tourists tend to miss this lively area.
Here is my guide to a place often forgotten for the Bondi sunshine and lifeguards. So put away you boardies and pick your favorite pair of skinny jeans.
Newtown is amazing for food. Every time I went to Oz, I ended up piling on the pounds because I lived so close to so many delicious places. I am actually slightly drooling when I think of it. Get me there now.
To start the day right, one of my favorite places for breakfast is Café Sophia on Erskenville Road. You have to try their banana raspberry melon smoothie with salmon and eggs benedict or their French toasts. Actually try everything. Just go every morning for four months like I did.
For lunch, I would generally go for one of the many Thai restaurants on King’s Street, Newtown's main road. Most of the places are vegan/vegetarian and although I'm neither, I did get a little bit addicted to the fake duck, pak choi and rice $6 lunch boxes.
To walk off all this food, shop around! Newtown has lot to offer when it comes to retail therapy, whether it’s one the many vintage stores or young designers’ outlets, you will find everything you need to look like the Sydney hipster crowd.
Then head to the art gallery “Oh really?” on Enmore Road. Oh really? is a collective/magazine/gallery presenting the latest street artists around. They regularly organize openings and you could find yourself having a beer with artist Ears while nodding to some breakbeat. Check out what’s going on at ww.ohreallymagazine.com
Then it’s time to wind down. Head down for a cold long neck at The Court House (“The Courtie”) on Australia Street. Cheap drinks, a lovely beer garden decorated with fairy lights, a lively atmosphere and very important, a pool table.
Then move on for some cocktails on the Zanzibar Roof. You will find a cosy terrace and the staff there are always lovely (and not too shabby looking either).
If the schooners have gone straight to your head, then it’s time to go and pull some shapes on the dance floor. I have to say this is not in Newtown. On a Friday I’ll head to Mum at World Bar in Kings Cross to watch live music and listen to the latest indie-electro. Check the coming up MUM nights on MusicFeeds. On any other night check out Sydney promoters and all around cool kids UPTOOUR HIPS for the best nights in town (seriously).
And there you go, I can assure you this will be hell of a good day.
Now there is a lot more to discover by yourself in Newtown and around. But it would take way too long to tell you all about it and I have still things left to see myself. It’s alright; I’ll be back very soon. I’ll see you at The Courtie.
PS: If you were still to be hungry on your way home, stop by Saray’s on Enmore Road for a pite (also called Laknore) ,a filled bread from Kosovo with lemon juice on it. Delicious.
Cafe Sofia: 7 Swanson St Erskineville NSW 2043, +61(0)2 9519 1565
Oh Really? Gallery: 55 Enmore Rd Newtown, +61(0)401 919 624, www.ohreallymagazine.com
The Court House: 202 Australia Street Newtown, 2042, +61(0)29519 8273
World Bar: 24 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross, +61(0)2 9357 7700 www.theworldbar.com
Saray: 18 Enmore Rd, Newtown, 2042, +61 (0)2 9557 5310
This Malaysian roti and satay establishment may have a queue forming outside from the moment it opens but it's worth the wait. The freshly made rotis and Malang styled curries are spicy, authentic and ultimately, delicious.
The Rocks is a precinct of Sydney near the harbour that has an old English feel to it combined with the relaxed laid back Australian attitude. It has a huge range of pubs, bars and nightclubs that are definately worth checking out, in particular The Argyle Hotel.
An Australian icon serving typically Aussie fast food, like its classic pie ‘n’ pea floaters, Harry’s Café de Wheels is a unique part of the city’s nightlife.
Musicians, streetwalkers, dancers, policemen and taxi drivers can be seen late at night devouring meat pies and hot dogs alongside judges, politicians and society's well-to-do.
Just a few wobbly steps downhill from the watering holes of Kings Cross, Harry’s is the place to get your post pub grub and to sample the personality of Sydney .
More than a pie cart, Harry’s is a unique piece of Sydney ’s history and the stuff of legend and myth.
Longrain is the most delicious Thai food you will ever have ... no bookings though, so unless you want to wait for a couple of hours in the bar for a table (which frankly is not the worst outcome), get there around 6pm. Their cocktails have to be tried to be believed. Milsons in Kirribilli has wonderful modern Australian food and an elegant atmosphere-fantastic for a special occasion.
An Italian restaurant hidden away in Surry Hills. Not easy to find - which makes it even more rewarding - but very busy when we were there. Fantastic, fresh, al dente Italian cooking accompanied by the mother of all wine lists. Try the crab if it's on.
It's a restaurant/bar on the fifth floor of the old Customs House (which also includes a library with a scale model of Sydney under a glass floor). It's not that expensive and you get a fantastic panoramic view from the Bridge to the Opera House & beyond.
It's not open that late, however only until about 11pm.
31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, NSW 2000
Telephone: 02 9242 8551
Neraest Station/ bus stop/ ferry stop is Circular Quay.
Google map: tinyurl.com/qmqk8h
Great restaurant in central Sydney that’s reasonably priced and has soaked up more than a little of the city’s party atmosphere… Loud, funky music makes a great night out but probably not the best romantic meal! They also have a BYOB (bring your own bottle) policy on wine ($2 corkage) that helps save some more cash.
1 Broughton Street (Kirribilli)
Google map: tinyurl.com/re7e9g
The restaurant Forty One at the top of Chifley Tower has private dining rooms. You can enjoy breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour and the city’s impressive skyline, and the food is also excellent – there's a six-course dinner menu with wines chosen by the sommelier.
This is a restaurant in Manly, a ferry ride away from Sydney's Circular Quay. Despite its name, and the fact that I am a vegetarian, I can definitely recommend it for meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike.
My husband - a meat eater - tells everyone he meets about the steak that he had there, whilst I - a non meat eater - can say that the meal I had there was the most generous and varied vegetarian meal I have ever tasted.
It consisted of every type of vegetable imaginable, fresh and beautifully cooked. Add to this, the fantastic view overlooking Manly Beach and the ocean and the buzzing atmosphere; yes, I would definitely cross the world to eat there again!
Manly, New South Wales - a ferry ride away from Sydney Circular Quay
Get your fish and chips from 'Fish at the Rocks', 29 Kent Street, then a quick climb to the Observatory garden for a stunning outlook over the Bridge. A fantastic meal. Or get a cheap early dinner at the restaurant, then go up to gaze at the stars.
Modern Vietnamese restaurant and bar. The bar is great if you want a cocktail/beer and some nibbles, try the crispy squid. The restaurant has a outdoor terrace filled with chinese laterns and has very reasonable beautifully presented food. Try the sticky ribs/scallops on papaya salad.
Indian restaurant in Randwick, not too far from the SCG, in case the Army are suffering from Indian cuisine withdrawal symptoms. Great food and nice price. BYO too, bottle shop near-by.
Bombay Bloomers Indian Restaurant
Google map: tinyurl.com/onfk4p
Sydney does Japanese food far better than the UK. A fun budget option is Ju-Ju’s in Kings Cross, a typical izakaya, complete with karaoke in the corner. For a special night out Tetsuya’s is undeniably one of the great restaurants of the world, but if you want great food without the name-dropping, Uchi Lounge on Brisbane Street provides impeccable quality for in-the-know locals – there’s a no-booking policy at the weekend so get there early!
(Ju-Ju’s, Bayswater Road, Kings Cross, NSW 2011. (02) 9357 7100)
(Uchi Lounge, 15 Brisbane Street, Darlinghurst. NSW 2010. (02) 92613524)
(Tetsuya’s, 529 Kent Street, CBD NSW 2000. (02) 9267 2900)
This restaurant in Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour, is a cross between a Buddhist temple, a back alley Chinese restaurant and a top-class establishment. A gorgeous combination of smells hits you as you walk through the red curtains and are greeted by a giant statue of Buddha - those sweets are offerings for him though, not for you after you've enjoyed your reasonably priced meal!
The floor is polished concrete, the bowls are retro plastic and the ceiling is high. There's also a great view of the harbour. Oh, and the food is good too. A warning: they don't take bookings.
The Roof Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Park
Level 2, 201 Sussex St; tel: 02 9264 3211
The Bather's Pavilion is right on Balmoral Beach and has the most sensational views. The restaurant and cafe are situated inside a renovated 1920s beach side changing pavilion. The exterior of the building oozes an older world charm and the inside has a warm, yet contemporary feel to it. Sunday morning brunch at the cafe is an experience not to be missed and you can stroll along the Esplanade afterwards and go for a swim. Lose yourself for a day at Balmoral!
This has to be one of Sydney's best-kept culinary secrets. A beautiful little Japanese/French fusion restaurant with live jazz most nights and reasonable if not cheap prices.
Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, near Central Station.
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