Modern Australian

Walsh Bay Kitchen

I’m surprised to find Braised Mushrooms Bibimbap ($24) on the menu at Walsh Bay Kitchen. With charred vegetables, pine nuts, brown rice and abundant slippery oyster mushrooms, it’s a bibimbap that warrants being eaten piecemeal, rather than mixed.

Justine Grill

Run by husband and wife team Luiza and Marcello, Justine Grill sits unexpectedly on a leafy corner of Hunters Hill. Exposed brick, white paint and dark wood fit out a cosy, modern interior that feels a bit like a rural gastropub. To start, Crispy Quail ($25) is too tempting to go past, and sufficiently moreish to result in unbecoming bone-gnawing.

Silvereye

Entering Sydney's latest fine dining hotspot made me feel more like James Bond than a food writer. Buzzing through the entrance, we're ushered through a passageway of the fully restored yet still antiquated Old Clare Hotel, and placed in an elevator bound for the floors above.

Racine Restaurant

Our understated country waitress is effortlessly beautiful. She gestures casually out one window to show where the 2014 Logan Sauvignon Blanc ($12/glass) comes from, then the other to indicate the origins of the Pressed Duck ($36) with lentils and heirloom carrots.

Abode Bistro

Hotel restaurants are curious beasts; and while Abode has been cleverly located as a stylish, stand-alone restaurant, it is still very much part of the Parkroyal Darling Harbour. As you’d expect, the restaurant fulfils a role in providing accessible, comforting and familiar food to overnight stayers.

ACME

Last week I took some time out of my busy weekend to check out the much-lauded ACME. And yes, while the Macaroni, Pig’s Head, Egg Yolk ($18) is undeniably delicious, you might be left wondering: where’s the rest of it?

The Cross Eyed Dog

While the predictable consequences of Lockout Laws are reaping havoc upon the character of Newtown, a level-by-level revamp is occurring in the original 1832 site of the ‘new town store’ from which the suburb drew its name.

William Blue Dining

If meals at most fine dining restaurants seem too expensive, I’ve found the fancy, white-tablecloth restaurant for you! William Blue Dining is located in the old Rockpool site, yet despite the fancy, heritage, sandstone location, a three-course meal is yours for fewer than forty bucks.

Bar at the End of the Wharf

My date’s late, so I’m nursing an Old Fashioned ($20). It’s not on their short list of cocktails, but they do offer to make any classics you have a hankering for; so I forgive the bartender for it being sweet and gritty with undissolved sugar. Ordering off-list isn’t my usual practice, but I’m combating pre-theatre anxiety.

Dragoncello

Chef Roy McVeigh marches to the sound of his own beat – and to be honest, it’s refreshing in a culinary world seemingly dominated by cronuts, overfilled doughnut milkshakes, and meals served on anything but plates.