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Hayes Street Wharf Bistro

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.

Taste of Shanghai

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.

Chefs Gallery

More than just a menu change, this year Chef Gallery have changed their logo, livery and launched a unique art initiative showcasing Chinese (or Chinese-inspired) art, curated by Simon Chan. Responsible for the gleaming red chair, artist Laurens Tan explained that China is “the nation or the culture that underwent the most change in the last two decades.”

Popolo

Diving into an established all-male Italian kitchen as the new head chef could be daunting (especially as a half-English, half-Welsh woman) but Naomi Lowry has taken it in her stride. She’s maintained the menu’s confident Southern Italian focus, notching it up with Sardinian Fregola ($27/$35) resplendent with perfectly cooked cuttlefish, calamari, prawns and mussels, and topped with a generous helping of bottarga.

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.

Pana Chocolate

Raw, organic and vegan are three words that I tend to ignore in my day-to-day life, unless I’m at Pana Chocolate in Alexandria, where it’s literally impossible to do so. But why turn down an opportunity to broaden my horizons and satiate the appetite of my vegan best friend?

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.

Food News – Sweet Street

Anyone who’s known me longer than a DJ set will be aware that I’m not typically the dessert type; but who am I to pass up the opportunity to attend Anna Polyviou’s increasingly popular Sweet Street sugar festival?

The Devonshire

Affable Restaurant Manager Craig McCall tells me to think of this spot as my “neighbourhood fine diner”. And, after I finish scraping the last skerrick of Devonshire Crème Brulee ($16) with scone ice cream and decadent cherry jam, out of the dainty teacup, I muse he’s exactly right.

Drake Eatery

It’s hard to say what I like about Drake Eatery the most. Just opened and already booked out, the light wood furnishings and grainy yellow floor scream beach, while dark wood highlights and floor-to-ceiling windows exude casual cool—it’s perfect for Bondi.