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FOOD & DRINK

Eleven Sydney Restaurants Open for Christmas Lunch If You're Not in the Mood to Cook

Food and festivities sorted, zero kitchen mess to deal with.
By Ben Hansen
December 16, 2020
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Eleven Sydney Restaurants Open for Christmas Lunch If You're Not in the Mood to Cook

Food and festivities sorted, zero kitchen mess to deal with.
By Ben Hansen
December 16, 2020
  shares

ELEVEN SYDNEY RESTAURANTS OPEN FOR CHRISTMAS LUNCH IF YOU'RE NOT IN THE MOOD TO COOK

Food and festivities sorted, zero kitchen mess to deal with.

While getting together at someone's house for a bring-a-plate lunch is a Christmas tradition for many, it may not be your thing this year. Sometimes it's just too hard to cook and sometimes you want to treat yourself to a meal out. Although many restaurants shut for Christmas Day, a select few that are ready to welcome you with open arms for a well-priced holiday lunch or a lavish smorgasbord of seasonal treats. So that you're not scrambling to find somewhere to eat after realising the shops are shut, we've done the hard yards for you and collected some of Sydney's best Christmas lunches in one easy list. Share a seafood platter as you overlook the ocean or book a banquet of green lip abalone, bang bang chicken and stream pork gyoza. Get in early though as bookings are sure to fill up fast.

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    Glass Brasserie

    Luke Mangan’s hotel restaurant Glass Brasserie is offering up a few Christmas Day options at a few different price points. Depending on how grand you want to go this holiday season, you could opt for the $95 three-course brunch — if you can wrangle your family together before midday, that is — which includes burrata and a glass of bubbles on arrival. Otherwise, the lunch option will set you back $195 a head and includes cold prawns with mango salsa and porchetta with fennel, orange and watercress. You’ll also be treated to smoked cauliflower, roast potato and mixed leaves to share between the table and a plum pudding dessert. Christmas dinner is also available for $110–120.

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    Chuuka

    Chuuka’s Christmas Day lunch is available for $150 a head and offers up a far-reaching selection of the best the restaurant has to offer, hand selected by chefs Victor Liong and Chase Kojima. Settle into the five-course lunch menu complemented by the restaurant’s stunning harbour views. Green lip abalone and sea urchin with a golden egg yolk sauce, salmon sashimi with mandarin dressing and bang bang chicken will get you into the swing of things. Further down the menu, you’ll find steamed pork gyoza, tenshindon-style blue swimmer crab and baked chocolate mousse with gingerbread cookie crumbs.

    Image: Steven Woodburn

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    Shuk

    For a more lowkey festive meal, hit up Shuk after ducking down to the beach for a morning swim. You’ll find flavoursome Mediterranean food at a reasonable price located a stone’s throw from Bondi Beach. And the menu is jam-packed with exciting options. The shakshuka, a traditional tomato-based dish whose hero is its sauce-poached eggs, is devilishly piquant and comes with plenty of house-baked bread with which to wipe the plate clean. The salads are at once fresh and hearty and if you’re looking for something even more filling try the ocean trout or Jerusalem spiced chicken skewers or have the decisions made for you with set menus available for both breakfast and lunch for $28–35. To drink, you can order an Aperol spritz, bloody mary or sample something off Shuk’s wine list.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
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    Located on the top level of the Avalon Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, Beach House Avalon is serving up fresh seafood or double roasted ham at its Christmas Day menu for $115 a head. A variety of seafood, meat and vegetarian options will help resolve any food disputes, ensuring there’s an option for everyone. After easing into the afternoon with a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, you can choose between a charcuterie, vegetarian namasu or seafood platter as your entree. The latter includes fresh oysters, chilled prawns, south coast squid and grilled Japanese scallops, while the charcuterie plate stars the likes of double-roasted ham, spicy salami and chorizo. Mains include grilled kingfish, braised Sichuan beef short rib and tofu steak with mushroom sauce, before a blueberry cheesecake dessert.

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    Neptunes

    Brighton Le Sands favourite Neptunes is offering up share menus and pub classics as part of its Christmas Day celebrations. For $55 a head, the Mediterranean share menu starts with focaccia, feta and olives before moving onto kafta, souvlaki skewers and a range of sides. Opt for the slightly more expensive $75 Bay Side BBQ  and you’ll receive Sydney rock oysters and antipasto before feasting on a share platter of eye fillet steak, lamb cutlets and king prawns paired with chimichurri and kale and quinoa fattoush. For those who aren’t good at sharing, a more traditional a la carte menu is available including eye fillet steak, chicken schnitzel, spaghetti marinara and a range of pizza.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
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    El Camino Cantina Manly

    Rockpool Dining Group’s Tex-Mex outpost El Camino is putting on a margarita-filled Christmas lunch at its Manly Wharf location. You can enjoy all the El Camino favourites including the cheeseburger tacos, confit portobello fajitas and beef nachos, as well as the range of burritos and burrito bowls. The cantina’s famous giant cocktails are sure to be on hand if your thinking of gifting yourself a 24-ounce margarita for Christmas this year. There is even a special festive Christmas punch margarita designed with a hot summers day in mind. Alternatively, you can book the Tex-Mex fiesta for $79 a head. This banquet includes a classic spread of Mexican starters before moving on to chicken fajitas made with pico de gallo, black beans, Mexican rice and sautéed capsicum. Churros will be served for dessert and margaritas, house beer, wine and soft drink will all be flowing throughout the meal.

    Image: Tom Ferguson.

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    Quay Restaurant

    If you’re truly looking to go big this holiday season, there’s one Christmas Day lunch above the rest. Executive Chef Peter Gilmore is hosting an extravagant meal at his luxurious restaurant Quay for $490 a head. Cocktails and canapés will be provided on arrival, followed by five courses of Gilmore’s signature fare. Expect dishes like slow-cooked pig jowl with umami custard, smoked eel cream and intricate desserts. You’ll be pairing the food with views across Sydney Harbour to the Opera House — and, for an extra $205, wine. There’s a $295 option, too, if you’d like your wines chosen by the restaurant’s sommeliers.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
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    Sky Feast at Sydney Tower

    Alongside Bar 83 and Infinity, Sky Feast is one of three new venues at Sydney Tower’s dining precinct. Sky Feast takes tropes of the Australian backyard barbecue and turns them into a fancy buffet feast. This Christmas, the new CBD restaurant is offering up 360-degree city views over lunch or dinner. Expect plenty of seafood, curries, noodles and dessert with over 30 dishes on the menu. The food is accompanied by over 30 different wines, too, and cocktails such as the lemon myrtle tom collins and espresso martini. The signature feast will set you back $120 a head or, if you’re all about the view, you can upgrade to a window table for $150.

    Image: Robert Walsh

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    Newtown’s Continental Deli is open 12pm–5pm on Christmas Day for those who would prefer mortadella and martinis over a five-course meal. The Deli’s martinis are, of course, served out of cans, as with much of its food, including olasagasti white anchovies and Cambados scallops. On the lunch menu, you’ll find a selection of simple yet tasty sandwiches. Try the classic mortadella or ham, cheese and pickle sandwich. Hideaway from the madness of the holiday season at the inner west stalwart over a more snack-heavy lunch or take on the steak tartare or fish and chips if you’re looking for something heartier. Bookings available for 12pm and 2.30pm.

    Image: Kimberley Low

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    Following Fratelli Fresh’s 25 Flavours of Spritzmas, the Italian chain is keeping its doors open to offer a three-course Christmas Day lunch, playing off the classic home-cooked holiday meal while saving you the time and hassle of cooking yourself.  On arrival, you’ll review a limoncello and two summer favourites: a fresh prawn bucket and an antipasti board. In true Christmas spirit, carved honey and maple syrup glazed ham will then be served alongside potato salad, green beans and honey-roasted dutch carrots with cumin yoghurt. The three-course meal will set you back $89 a head, plus $29 per child for families. If you want to take things up a notch you can add a two-hours drinks package to the meal for $39 which will provide you endless Aperol spritz, espresso martinis, prosecco and craft beers.

    Christmas Day lunch is available at Fratelli Fresh Crows Nest, Darling Harbour, Manly and the Entertainment Quarter.

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    If you’re looking for an affordable group lunch this Christmas, head to Chinatown stalwart Marigold. All the yum cha favourites including dumplings, tea, Tsingtaos and an all-star selection of fried food will be on offer with only a $3 a head surcharge. Like a well-oiled machine, servers start circling from 10am and ensuring you’re never far off your next selection from the cart. From the fried selection, grab some prawn toast, spring rolls, pork pies and crispy hom sui gok dumplings. Squeeze in a couple of fluffy, cloud-like char siu bao (steamed barbecue pork buns filled with sweet, caramelised roast pork), and some slippery cheong fun (steamed rice noodle rolls with prawn). Then, finish up with a yum cha classic, mango pancakes.

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