This gold patterned little French hideaway on the sleepy streets of Neutral Bay is a hidden gem. In an age of share plates, it was nice to settle in for a three-course-meal of continental cuisine. I started with the delightful Chicken Liver Parfait ($16) with cherries, while my dining companion opted for Scallop and Crab Boudin Blanc ($18) – a kind of seafood sausage, served swimming in crab bisque and caviar, basically the south of France on a plate.
The holidays are almost upon us, and like many Australians, if you use your time off to eat, drink and be merry, you’ve likely been caught needing to visit a bottle shop whilst a little on the side of merry. Throw in NSW Police’s current MDT campaign (no it’s not a hip new drug, they mean Mobile Drug Testing) and you start to amass a powerful number of disincentives to driving under the influence of anything.
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.
The empire has landed in World Square, giving shoppers a step up from the usual food court fare. Here you can have a bottle of wine - the T'Gallant Juliet Pinot Grigio ($36/bottle, $7.50/glass) goes down swimmingly - and gorge on dumplings all day and night.
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.
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.
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.
I'm kicked back on The Vic's back deck, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying a wine when I catch the moment they first notice each other. I watch their playful interactions heat up before animalistic lust takes over and the pair threaten to consummate in the corner...
“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).
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.