The words ‘sushi train’ don’t always fill me with the greatest of confidence. Too often I’ve been burned with boring, lack-lustre offerings. The first clue that this Newtown stalwart (opened in 2004) is different, is a glass cabinet featuring beautiful batons of sashimi-grade fish.
Alongside the Consul-General of Korea, Whie Jin Le, and a host of chefs and food media personalities from Danny Russo to Lyndey Milan, I attended the Korean Cultural Centre for a fabulous multi-course Korean Banquet Showcase. We were treated to an array of dishes, including seasonal hwe (Korean-style sashimi) of abalone, salmon, kingfish and cuttlefish, and Korean pancakes (jun) with flavourings like zucchini, mung beans and oysters.
Tantalising glimpses of working chefs through a George Street window box; a well-dressed hostess highlighting the way into the basement off Angel Place… restaurateur Sam Prince sure knows how to generate excitement and intrigue. Switching out guacamole for Tableside Coconut Sambol ($14) and milk buns, Prince harnesses what he did for Mexican at Méjico to give South Indian a much-needed face-lift.
When I want to drink Japanese whisky I head to Tokyo Bird. And this Surry Hills small bar is making it hard not to want to drink whisky on Tuesday 22 December with their inaugural Christmas Whisky Dinner ($135/person).
Some restaurants manage to slide effortlessly into the fabric of the Sydney dining scene, simply by encapsulating the type of food we want to be eating right now. One Ford Street, tucked in behind the Cricketers Arms, is one such restaurant, serving up fresh and unfussy, modern Italian food.
Nutritionist and cattle farmer, James Bjorksten, is producing some of the best grass-fed beef I’ve eaten under the name of Hereford Red Beef. The cream coloured fat is simply magnificent, leading to a super-tasty steak that literally melts in your mouth.
When I arrived at Gelatony, Antonino Lo Iacono was making gelato. This might not sound surprising, but with so many places buying in product or importing the base, it’s important. When we sit down over a Flat White ($3.50) he brings me the smoothest gelato I’ve ever tasted.
Granted you could view this new Westfield Bondi Junction opening simply as an excuse not to schlep into the city from the Eastern Suburbs for your regular Cantonese fix, however if you scratch beneath the surface, there’s more than meets the eye.
The Powder Keg has so far been my favourite bar of the last twelve months, mostly for the cooking of Elijah Holland. His foraging for edible flowers and beach plants even prompted René Redzepi to meet with him on his recent trip to Australia.
“John Laws had lunch at Otto today,” my UberX driver informs me when he sees my destination. I’m apparently his second trip to this famous waterfront spot - operated by The Fink Group, who also have Quay, The Bridge Room and Firedoor in their stable. With its reputation preceding it, I was surprised to find an accessible menu of every-day food, starting with vibrantly green asparagus, broad beans and peas hiding Buffalo Ricotta ($27).