|Night Noodle markets at Crave Food Festival|
Gowings Bar and Grill
Gowings is part of the swanky newly opened QT hotel and the latest offering from Rob Marchetti of North Bondi Italian and Neild Avenue fame. The fitout is stunning with the whole place decked out like a New York brasserie. The waiting staff look like they are also about to head out for a night on the town thanks to clothes provided by the restaurant and a make up artist and hair stylist provided for the mostly female staff. Only in Sydney!
|Charcuterie at Gowings Bar and Grill|
I managed to go there twice during my stay in Sydney once with a friend and then again for a work event. Both times I really enjoyed the food which features well done retro classics. At Gowings the much maligned iceberg lettuce making a comeback in a great prawn cocktail ($18) and in a salad teamed with anchovies. My favourite dish was probably the tangy yellowfin tuna tartare ($18) which I had to order after seeing the giant tuna fish hanging in the kitchen. Rib eye steaks ($31) are served unadorned but it is top quality meat treated with respect and cooked to a perfect state of medium rare. Special mention should go to the onion rings ($7) which my friend Hugh described as “exactly like Hungry Jack’s and I mean that in a good way” and the German doughnuts ($12) served hot and minus holes for dessert. In spite of the slightly pretentious setup I couldn’t help but like the place.
|Goats cheese and beetroot salad at Gowings Bar and Grill|
Details: Gowings Bar and Grill, 49 Market Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 (Ph 02 8262 0062)
Damage: Pricey. Our bill came to about $90 a head.
Night Noodle markets
The Night Noodle markets are held in Hyde Park as part of Sydney’s food and wine festival Crave. This take on an Asian hawker market is a great event as you don’t have to pay to get in and prices are really reasonable compared to many food festivals. Lots of top Sydney Asian restaurants have tents including Jimmy Liks, Mamak and Longrain. We went a little bit nuts at Dim Sum Station where I picked up crispy spring rolls and fluffy pork buns ($12 for plate). However, the best thing I tried was the melting slow cooked beef curry from Longrain ($15). There were bands playing and on a balmy night it was pretty good sitting on the grass choosing which stall to head to next. The noodle markets are scheduled to come to Melbourne next year let’s just hope the weather can match Sydney.
|Spring rolls and pork buns from Dim Sum Station at the Night Noodle Markets|
Details: Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park, Sydney. The markets run from for three weeks and the last week is from 15-19 October from 5pm -10pm.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve. Cost was about $20 a head.
MTV and I actually tried to get a table at newly opened Mr Wong but the quoted two hour wait time even at 9pm on a Thursday night put us off. So instead we headed to Sushi E the Japanese fusion restaurant which is in the same building and also part of the Merivale group of restaurants. The cavernous warehouse space which houses Sushi E is very glamorous and the best seats are sitting around the sushi bar watching the chefs do their thing. Sashimi was sparklingly fresh while the tuna tataki ($30) was served on a salad and laced with a creamy but spicy yuzu dressing. However Sushi E is very expensive for what you get and I felt we were paying more for the look of the place than the quality of the sushi.
Details: Sushi E, Level 4, Establishment, 252 George Street, Sydney, 2000 (Ph +61 2 9240 3000)
Baxter Inn and Palmer and Co
There is a big of a speakeasy vibe going on with some of the new bars in Sydney at the moment. To get to Baxter Inn you have to go down two alleys and then down some poorly lit stairs amongst beer kegs to arrive at this dark, underground bar with the most amazing whiskey collection lit up like a jewel box. The barmen know their stuff and you get free pretzels. Although this does lead to the time honoured dilemma of “these pretzels are making me thirsty”. Similarly Palmer and Co is down an alleyway and a set of stairs near the Establishment. The place is decked out to look like you have stepped back in time or have stumbled into Boardwalk Empire with even the staff kitted out in trousers held up by braces and hats. It’s a fun place but lacked the exclusive feel of Baxter Inn and the free pretzels!
|Palmer and Co|
Details: The Baxter Inn, Basement, 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney, 2000
Palmer and Co, Abercrombie Lane, Sydney 2000 (Ph +61 2 9240 3172)
Damage: Both are pricey.
9/10 for The Baxter Inn and 7/10 for Palmer and Co.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- Flights start from $133 one way from Melbourne to Sydney with Qantas.
- Stay at Blue Sydney in Woolloomooloo. It’s incredibly glamorous, located in old wool warehouses on a pier set over Sydney harbour. From the rooms you can see yachts bobbing on the harbour with Sydney’s botanic gardens framing the city. Essentially this is a location that cannot be beaten. Blue Sydney, 6 Cowper Wharf Rd Woolloomooloo NSW 2011 (Ph (02) 9331 9000) Rooms start at $218 a night. 8/10
- For things to do check out my list for 24 hours in Sydney (plus there’s some more restaurant tips as well).