Summer in Sydney

Admittedly we haven’t actually hit Summer yet but I was up in Sydney for work last week and it was feeling pretty Summery.  I got to pull out my Summer clothes and even when it rained one day it was that warm tropical rain which makes it very clear you are in Sydney not Melbourne.  It was a bit of a flying visit but while there I managed to eat at one of Sydney’s latest openings not once but twice and also to check out the noodle markets which are currently running in Sydney as part of the Crave Food Festival.

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.
Gowings Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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.

Sushi E
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)
Damage: Pricey
Sushi E on Urbanspoon

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.  
Palmer & Co on UrbanspoonThe Baxter Inn on Urbanspoon

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 Sydneyโ€™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).  


  1. Dear Cara,

    I am not a big fan of the night noodle markets because I feel the restaurants may not be cooking at their best although I do like the atmosphere and would gladly have a few slices of cold cuts with an icy cold beer.

  2. The noodle market sounds really interesting.

  3. Noodle Night Market! I’d love to curate one of those in London. Mind you, it probably wouldn’t be as good as one down under.

  4. Summer in Sydney – bliss! The noodle market sounds really fun – Mr Noodles you absolutely should. Noodles of the world!

  5. Looks like you you picked some great places to dine! It has been a tad chilly lately, hopefully it warms up a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. In and out! One day, we WILL catch up… ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. It sounds like you packed some great places in! A very worthy trip – and I love how Sydney and Melbourne are close enough for fleeting visits ๐Ÿ™‚

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