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FOOD & DRINK

Our Sydney: Here Are Our Readers' Favourite Spots to Visit in Paddington

From upmarket boutiques and quality date night spots to legendary sporting venues.
Flip the switch below and discover Sydney by day or night
By Melanie Colwell
February 01, 2021
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By Melanie Colwell
February 01, 2021
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OUR SYDNEY: HERE ARE OUR READERS' FAVOURITE SPOTS TO VISIT IN PADDINGTON

in partnership with

From upmarket boutiques and quality date night spots to legendary sporting venues.

If you were to summarise Paddington in one word, it would be creativity. Time spent here is time spent immersed in beautiful creations — from the galleries showcasing the works of emerging artists to the boutiques filled with designer wares by local and international labels. To some, the high price tags that can accompany these displays of creativity can be intimidating. But others know better. Paddo residents (and frequent visitors) know creativity extends into more accessible places, too — from cosy bars serving experimental cocktails to the restaurants pushing culinary boundaries. So, when you're wanting to explore more of this neighbourhood, who better to turn to for advice than its locals? We teamed up with City of Sydney to ask you — Concrete Playground readers — what businesses you love to support in Paddington. Here are some of your top picks.

Read on to discover some of the most popular picks to visit during the day. Then, flick the switch above and we'll dim the lights to show your favourite things to do once the sun goes down.

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    Tuckerbox

    Some say good things come in small packages, which is true of both Tuckerbox and the range of grab-and-go bites it sells. The tiny cafe opened in Paddington in October 2019 and is a go-to for locals — like CP reader @isyrouslstone, who recommended it to us — for its range of takeaway salads, sandwiches and hot meals, all prepared daily in an off-site commercial kitchen. Pair your feed with a coffee — Mecca is the bean of choice —  or a cold-pressed juice from nearby Simon Says Juice.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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  • 5
    Opus

    Some people are great at buying gifts. Others, not so much. Whichever camp you fall into, you’ll be well looked after at Opus. Recommended by CP reader @binki_lee, this family-run business has been around since 1968 and moved into this whopping 500-square-metre space in 2015. It’s full to the brim with quirky lifestyle products. The street level is where you’ll find knick-knacks and novelty products like retro outdoor games, cocktail kits, stationery, candles and cookbooks. For big ticket items, like furniture and soft furnishings, you’ll need to head upstairs. No matter who you’re buying for, you’re sure to find something they’ll love — be it a Beyonce keyring, a book about burps or a luxe gold champagne ice bucket.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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  • 4
    White City Tennis

    Hopping between boutiques and galleries may be the sport of choice for many Paddington residents and visitors, but those really wanting to get the blood pumping head to White City Tennis. “I love having a hit at White City Tennis courts. It’s steeped in so much history and the grass courts are surrounded by lots of greenery,” says CP reader Alison Tanudisastro.

    Established in 1922, White City Tennis played a pivotal role in Sydney and Australia’s tennis scenes. Until the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre opened in 2000, it was host to the NSW Championships (now Sydney International). Boasting 16 grass courts, six synthetic grass courts and six hard courts, it remains a go-to for tennis enthusiasts. A $60 million redevelopment of the site into a multipurpose recreational facility, featuring a gym, basketball courts, a soccer field and 25-metre outdoor swimming pool, has been in the works for several years.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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  • 3

    If you’ve ever needed an example of Sydney’s culinary prowess, you need only look at Saint Peter. Led by Josh Niland, the 22-seater Paddington restaurant has been impressing Sydneysiders for years with its experimental nose-to-tail approach to seafood. And after firmly convincing us that fish can be dry-aged for two weeks or that fish fat belongs in dessert, Niland — alongside his wife Julie — decided to reimagine another part of the seafood world: retail.

    In 2018, the duo opened Fish Butchery just a few doors up from the restaurant. Unlike the traditional seafood stores with fish piled atop crushed ice, Fish Butchery dry-handles its goods, storing them in a fan-free cool room at 0-1 degrees celsius to extend the shelf life and intensify the flavour. As CP reader Susan Shi explains, it “sounds kind of creepy but absolutely delicious”. Expect to find species you may never have tried cooking with before, like tommy ruff or mahi mahi. Not confident on the tools? The shop also offers cooked meals to take away, including tuna burgers, pink ling and chips and, of course, potato scallops.

    Image: Cody Duncan

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  • 2
    The Captain Paddington

    Concrete Playground reader April Mouwad’s pick for Paddington was The Captain, thanks to “its new renovations”. Based at the corner of Flinders Street and Moore Park Road, The Captain is just a ten-minute walk to Sydney Cricket Ground, making it an excellent spot to head for a drink before or after a game. In fact, its proximity to such sacred sporting ground provides a buzzing atmosphere regardless of whether there’s a match on.

    Happy hour deals are available on weekdays between 4–6pm with $5 beer and wine and $10 espresso martinis and Aperol spritzes. Foodwise, expect elevated pub fare — think king prawn and pea arancini, steak frites and a wagyu burger. And, on Sundays, it does an Italian-style roast dinner with a glass of chianti for $30 per person.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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  • 1
    We Are Kindred

    Oxford Street has many identities, and the section that cuts through Paddington is largely known for and dedicated to fashion boutiques. Many homegrown labels have chosen the suburb for their first — and, in many cases, only — dedicated bricks-and-mortar space, including We Are Kindred. The boutique was selected by CP reader Susi Reed, for the “dreamy florals and pretty things” that get them compliments every time they wear them. Started by sisters Lizzie and Georgie Renkert in 2013, We Are Kindred is a luxe womenswear brand with a penchant for floral prints. The duo designs everything in this Paddington studio and sources quality fabrics like silk, washed linen and lace from across the world.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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  • 0

    It appears 10 William Street, the cosy Italian wine bar and restaurant that has had many of Sydney’s hottest chefs at the helm over its near-decade of operation, has quite a few fans among Concrete Playground readers (and employees). Tahlia Phillips loves it for its “ridiculously good pasta, yummy orange wines and chill neighbourhood vibe”. Similarly, Mariel May Andaya called out its “dope vibe, cosy corners and pasta Action Bronson got the chills over”, referencing the rapper’s visit to the venue in an episode of F*ck That’s Delicious in 2017.

    Despite its postage-stamp size, you have a few different seating options, but we recommend the bar. This way, you can get recommendations straight from the bar staff (and they may let you cheekily try a few sips before committing to a glass). Pair your vino with a selection of bar snacks and bowls of pasta — think pretzel and whipped bottarga and spanner crab and corn sopressini. There’s just one condition: you need to save room for dessert. According to CP reader @chrisjamo89, the tiramisu is “the best in Sydney”.

    Image: Kitti Gould

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  • 0

    Sure, Paddo has its fair share of upmarket eats, but sometimes you’re after something a little more casual. If it’s a slice of pizza you’re craving, make tracks to Oxford Street spot Love Supreme. Staying true to tradition, Love Supreme selects only the highest quality ingredients — many of them organic — and it doesn’t go overboard with the toppings, either. There are twelve pies to choose from, split between red and white bases. CP reader Susi Reed called out the TNT (salami, capsicum, smoked bacon and chilli) and the Pelle (ham, mushroom and olive tapenade) as two of their favourites. Explore the menu further and you’ll find a great selection of salads and hand-rolled pasta alongside local craft brews from the likes of Yulli’s Brews and Wildflower Brewing and plenty of Italian vino.

    Image: Kitti Gould

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  • 0

    Paddington residents are extremely lucky to call Chubby Cheeks (suggested by CP reader @anikavb101) their neighbourhood Thai restaurant. And, for visitors, it’s worth the commute. For starters, the venue is a cut above your usual Thai eatery — it’s an intentionally stripped-back design featuring exposed brick, raw timber and tropical prints. The menu, created by Executive Chef David Claesson and Head Chef Tom Penpanussak, is packed with the punchy flavours of traditional Thai cuisine elevated through top-notch local produce — think Tinder Creek roasted duck with squid ink rice crackers and toasted ground rice, 12-hour Rangers Valley smoked brisket with burnt chilli sauce and crackling pork belly with smoky eggplant relish. Banquets are available for groups of two or more for just $49 per person, plus BYO is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays for $13 a bottle.

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  • 0

    There’s no shortage of places to have a drink or two in Paddo. It’s really just a matter of picking your vibe. For cosy, low-lit intimacy, Merivale’s basement bar is the answer. Set underneath upscale restaurant Fred’s, Charlie Parker’s is all dark timber, leather seating, exposed sandstone walls and (minimal) warm lighting — and it has a killer cocktail offering to boot. Recommended by @dillileoni, Charlie Parker’s makes for excellent date night territory, particularly if the relationship is still new-ish or at the very, very comfortable stage — both of which can be plagued with silences of varying awkwardness. Why? Because the extensive, seasonally driven cocktail menu provides plenty of conversational material — as does spying on couples at other tables and trying to work out what their situation is (don’t act like you’ve never played that game before). While you’re playing (or chatting), snack on burrata with pickled lime and thai basil, braised octopus with white beans or roasted cauliflower with goat’s curd.

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    Some may consider charging $12 for Jatz with french onion dip blasphemy but, somehow, The Unicorn (recommended by Concrete Playground reader @lauren_ellen1) gets away with it. Perhaps we forgive the Oxford Street stalwart because it follows the classic Aussie appetiser up with plenty of equally no-frills but excellent eats. There’s the chicken schnitzel, which uses both the breast and wing of a Bannockburn chook and is served with mash and gravy, and a Mary’s burger, served with crinkle-cut chips, for example. Drinkswise, expect Young Henrys alongside the classic pub pours, and an all-Aussie wine list that leans natural.

    Image: Bodhi Liggett

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For more small businesses to visit and support in Paddington, check out our Day and Night Guide

Top image: 10 William Street, Kitti Gould

For more small businesses to visit and support in Paddington, check out our Day and Night Guide

Top image: 10 William Street, Kitti Gould 

 

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