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FOOD & DRINK

Five Sydney Eateries for When You Want to Show How 'In the Know' You Are

These buzzing spots are guaranteed to impress.
By Concrete Playground
July 31, 2019
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Five Sydney Eateries for When You Want to Show How 'In the Know' You Are

These buzzing spots are guaranteed to impress.
By Concrete Playground
July 31, 2019
  shares

FIVE SYDNEY EATERIES FOR WHEN YOU WANT TO SHOW HOW 'IN THE KNOW' YOU ARE

These buzzing spots are guaranteed to impress.

Serious food lovers are spoiled for choice in Sydney, but sometimes it's hard to see the wood for the trees with so many great options on the table. There's also the problem of everybody else knowing about them, too, which means looking down the barrel of hour-long (or more) waits to get a seat. And then there's the hole in your wallet some of the city's top bites will burn.

Don't despair though, as there are plenty of 'secret' eating spots for those in the know. We've tracked down five of our favourites that are guaranteed to impress — especially any new mates visiting the harbour city for the weekend.

These eateries still might be busy and buzzing (it's a big city after all) but each has retained an element of the underground and a focus on innovative, creative deliciousness. And the best part is that none will break the bank.

  • 5

    Neutral Bay has its fair share of Japanese restaurants, but none are quite like Ichibandori. It’s both an izakaya-style bar and a ramen joint — but, you won’t find any ramen here when the doors of the small 20-seat restaurant swing open at 5pm. You’ll have to wait till 9pm.

    Two bowls of the rich warming noodles are available each night (from 9pm): the signature ramen — creamy tonkotsu ramen with chashu, pureed apple, enoki mushrooms, broccolini and a soft-boiled egg — and a a ramen of the day. When we visited, the special was a shio (salt) ramen with chicken, a soft-boiled egg, chargrilled shiitake and enoki and a variety of herbs.

    If you want to dine before 9pm, you won’t go hungry, either. From 5–8pm, the restaurant is Ichibandori Robata, and it’s serving up scallops, chicken breast marinated in sweet soy, young corn grilled within its husk and potato with creamed butter and fermented squid all off the robata grill and izakaya-style snacks, too.

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  • 4

    Famous for her show-stopping hoppers at Carriageworks Farmers Market, O Tama Carey flung open the doors to her first permanent restaurant last year, Lankan Filling Station. A shrine to Sri Lankan cuisine, the East Sydney venue is headed up by the renowned chef and curry queen who has put together a hands-on menu of hoppers, sambols and curries. Start by ordering a few hoppers, which are bowl-shaped crepes, known for their soft, spongey centre and crisp lacy trim. Next up, choose a sambol. This is the dip to your chip. Turn it into a proper banquet with a few of Carey’s curries.

    Now all that’s left to do is tear into your hopper, and start dipping, dunking and dribbling your way through the different spiced bowls. While hoppers go exceptionally well with hops, there’s more to the drinks menu than just beer. If you’re looking to quench the heat, try one of custom-blended Sri Lankan tea. Otherwise, there’s natural, minimal intervention wines available (including sangiovese rosé on tap) as well as mead, faluda and Ceylon arrack, a Sri Lankan spirit made from fermented coconut flower sap.

    Images: Parker Blain

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  • 3

    Marrickville’s Two Chaps is great for many reasons. Not only does its $60 degustation (available from Tuesday–Saturday) take you through the entire night menu, but it’s also 100 percent vegetarian and BYO ($10 a bottle or free on Thursdays). Brush off that nice bottle of wine gathering dust in the back of your closet because this is the occasion you’ve been saving it for. The restaurant’s seasonal dinner feast changes fortnightly and consists of homemade pastas, local Australian cheeses, house-baked focaccia and fresh salads, plus gelato made from scratch.

    If you’re more of a daytime person, the cafe also open for breakfast and lunch every day of the week — serving up great coffee, freshly baked pastries and vegetarian brunch fare.

    Image: Alana Dimou

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  • 2

    Gather your mates, sink into plush blue velvet banquettes and get ready for a taste of ‘inauthentic’ Indian cuisine by chef Jessi Singh. Don’t Tell Aunty throws out the rule book, delivering innovative foods and wine fusing Indian flavours with American, Australian and Chinese tastes. Expect whiskey in your chai, ghee-free curry, a self-serve beer fridge and delightful little snacks dubbed ‘balls of happiness’.

    The street food menu includes many a must-try item, such as the papadi chaat, motherland-inspired nachos and proteins from the tandoor. We also highly recommend ordering the slightly spicy, slightly crunchy Colonel Tso’s cauliflower. But the real winner is the Chef’s Tasting Menu for $65 that brings you a thali-like serve of each curry served — including the butter chicken with tomato, ginger, garlic and fenugreek and without the traditional ghee.

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  • 1

    When Luke Powell of LP’s Quality Meats teamed up with Porteño mates Joseph Valore and Elvis Abrahanowicz to open a pizzeria, we knew to expect something blisteringly good. And good the resulting King Street spot was. It still is, in fact. So much so, that it’s buzzing every night — we suggest booking a spot if you’re heading in as a group.

    The style of pizza served up here isn’t traditional. The bases are a mix between Neapolitan and Roman style — blistered and chewy like the former, but crisp enough that it can be eaten with your hands (like the latter) — and toppings vary widely, taking their inspiration from America and across Italy (and even around the corner in Chippendale). If you’ve been to LP’s in Chippendale you’ve probably tried its house-made mortadella. And, here, you’ll find it atop a pizza with garlic and green olives. The Clam pizza, however, takes its inspiration from a bit further away — New Haven, Connecticut, to be exact. This white-based pizza is heavy on the chilli and garlic, and unlike anything else we’ve tried in Aus.

    Images: Kitti Gould

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Top image: Bella Brutta by Kitti Gould

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