Sydney’s Haute Cuisine

"Down Under" in gourmet heaven

Culinary Art

Sydney is a huge city and when it comes to culinary pleasures, residents and visitors alike are even more spoilt for choice than in most other places in the world.

"The City Down Under" is a city that truly breathes diversity. The kitchens are just as multicultural as the population. Among the many skyscrapers in the city’s business centre, young professionals gather in chic eateries. Paddington, with its splendid Victorian architecture, is home to the boho and gay scene. Chippendale, known as Chippo for short, is the hippest neighbourhood and is where architect Jean Nouvel and vertical garden specialist Patrick Blanc are now immortalised in the Central Park Mall.

Automata

Clayton Wells also comes from Chippo. The opening of The Old Clare Hotel in a former brewery coincided with his plan to launch his own restaurant. The result is Automata, which is housed in the historic building and is what everyone in Sydney is talking about. Clayton’s cuisine uses the best Australian products and his sophisticated dishes on the obligatory five-course menu form a fusion of culinary traditions from many countries. For example, he combines slipper lobster tails and steamed aubergine with XO and red wine vinegar sauce and a sprinkling of Avruga caviar.

Kensington Street Social

His neighbour is the British Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton (Pollen Street Social and City Social in London) at Kensington Street Social. This industrial heritage-listed building has a ten-metre high ceiling and guests can watch the chefs in the open kitchen. They produce delicacies such as Queensland spanner crab with frozen cucumber gazpacho and rhubarb or roast Berkshire pork chops with sweetheart cabbage and turnips.

Ester

The atmosphere at Ester is a mix of wine cellar and student bar. The restaurant is relaxed, but the service is speedy. It is highly popular, not only among Chippos, and even with a table reservation you may have to wait. As at Automata, the menu by Mat Lindsay simply lists a few ingredients, such as “octopus/potato/nduja” (the last of these is a spicy sausage). Another dish is made from cauliflower, almonds and mint. As the ingredients mix in your mouth, the resulting flavour is delicious. The starter alone is so good that you won’t want to stop eating it: blood sausage sanga, a mini sandwich made from sweet white bread with red blood sausage baked in a wood-fired oven.

Bennelong

Bennelong is one of the most spectacular eating places when it comes to a harbour view. You don’t see the Sydney Opera House of course, because that is where Chef Peter Gilmore’s restaurant is based. His innovative cuisine is like a journey through Australia, where high-quality ingredients are collected from specially selected farmers, fishermen and producers and carefully prepared.

Mr. Wong

Mr. Wong makes a striking contrast. Located in a backyard and with a queue of people outside the door, it offers rustic flair in workshop-style premises. The food here is Cantonese with a contemporary touch. The dim sum makes an excellent lunch. Whether the rice dough dumplings are filled with wagyu and truffles or take the form of traditional xiaolongbao (filled with minced pork in its own stock), lovers of dim sum simply can’t get enough of them.

Yellow

Before “Chef of the Year 2015” Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt moved in, their yellow building was home to an artists’ collective that caused a furore. Now Yellow is the best vegetarian restaurant in the city. The delicate creations on the plates are a feast for the eyes and the palate. For example, kohlrabi, enoki mushrooms and vegetable jus or broccoli florets, amaranth and peas.

The Paddington

The Paddington has the most original gastronomic concept. On one side is the bar and on the other is the show kitchen with its three-metre-wide rotisseries. Everything here is grilled, including fresh fish, the finest meat and vegetables. Add a craft beer and the opportunity to chat with the others at your table and you have the epitome of life in Sydney.

Restaurants

Automata
5 Kensington Street
Sydney
Tel.: +61 2 82 77 85 55
www.automata.com.au

Ester    
46–52 Meagher Street
Sydney
Tel.: +61 2 80 68 82 79
www.ester-restaurant.com.au

Kensington Street Social
3 Kensington Street
Sydney
Tel.: +61 2 82 77 85 33
kensingtonstreetsocial.com

Bennelong
Sydney Opera House
Sydney
Tel.: +61 2 92 40 80 00
www.bennelong.com.au

Mr. Wong
3 Bridge Lane
Sydney
Tel.: +61 2 92 40 30 00
merivale.com.au/mrwong

The Paddington
384 Oxford Street
Sydney
Tel.: +61 2 92 40 30 00
merivale.com.au/thepaddington
 

Author: Kiki Baron
Images: © PR

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