A Rundown of All the Things You Can Eat at Darling Square's New Food Precinct
Japanese pasta, Vietnamese tacos, cheesy broccoli toasties, shaved ice desserts — it's a lot.
August 21, 2019
It was hyped and hyped and hyped. And now it's finally here. Darling Square's new slinky-like Exchange Building has opened its doors and, as well as being home to a sparkly new two-storey library, its filled with — and surrounded — by eateries from top Sydney chefs.
Inside, you'll find the Maker's Dozen: ten restaurants serving up everything from Japanese pasta to Vietnamese tacos and cakes from an Enmore fave. Outside, on Little Hay Street, there's Electric Treat Street, which is a haven for Sydneysiders with a sweet tooth.
The two new precincts join the already-open Steam Mill Lane, too, which houses spots such as Belles Hot Chicken, Edition Coffee Roasters, Marrickville Pork Roll and Melbourne burger joint 8bit. If you work anywhere nearby the Square, you're certainly not short on lunchtime (and after-work snack) options.
To help you decide where to go on your next lunch break, we've rounded up some of our favourite dishes from the new openings.
The little sister to Enmore's Saga, the aptly named Saga Lyte is serving up Andy Bowdy's elaborate cakes, cheesy toasties and flaky pastries. One of our favourite savoury options is the Lee Tran (named after Sydney food writer and podcaster Lee Tran Lam). It's a golden toastie filled with charred broccolini, chilli mayo and caciocavollo (a southern Italian cheese). Other pre-dessert highlights include the pork and veal sausage roll and the rotating pie (steak and onion when we visited). After this, we highly suggest digging into one of the single-serve cakes — pavlovas, vanilla slice, lemon meringue pies, choux buns, the list goes on — and if you take it back to the office, we're forecasting some serious brownie points.
What to order: Lee Tran
What happens when Kirby Craig — of Bar Ume and Ume Burger fame — teams up with the duo behind Barangaroo's vermouth bar Banskii? They open a Japanese pasta shop, of course. While not an obvious concept, it's an extremely tasty one. The stars of the menu are five umami-packed pastas, featuring the likes of miso bolognese, nori, soy butter and shiso. Choosing a favourite is hard, but one we keep going back to is the Kinoko Spaghetti. Translated as 'mushroom' spaghetti, it's a pretty apt description of the dish, which has miso mushrooms, shoyu butter and shio koji (a salty fermented seasoning). It's suggested you add an onsen egg to this, which we also recommend you do. As Pasta Wafu is licensed, you can pair your spaghetti with a sake or umeshu, too.
What to order: Kinoko spaghetti (with onsen egg)
Sydney — and Haymarket in particular — is not short on bubble tea joints. But, this one's a little different. Every morning, the team makes fresh pearls, of which there are six different flavours. Once you've chosen from the 50 different flavours of teas (with punny names like Jasmine Is a Cute-Tea, It Takes Two to Mango and How Ya Bean, Matcha Happening?) you can pick your pearls: sakura, matcha, taro, brown sugar, mango peanut or strawberry. It's a lot of decision making. Luckily, we've done some taste-testing and the A Taro-Bly Bad Name (they're not wrong) with taro pearls is a winner. It's also a really pretty lavender colour, if you're there for the 'gram.
What to order: A Taro-Bly Bad Name
We've had Japanese pasta, now get ready for another left-of-centre culinary combination: Vietnamese tacos. You'll find them at the new CBD outpost of the Cabramatta favourite Bau Truong. Here, there's not a tortilla in sight. Instead, the banh trang gion (the proper name for the 'tacos') are served on bowl-like rice crackers and topped with the likes of prawn, braised pork belly and beef jerky. If you like your cuisines fused, you'll be happy to know that Bau Truong also serves up a deep-fried banh mi — with Vegemite.
What to order: Banh trang gion
DOPA BY DEVON
The Devon team has found a winning formula with its cafes (located in Surry Hills, Barangaroo, North Sydney and Brisbane), but now it's trying something new: a Tokyo-inspired milk bar. Located on Little Hay's Electric Treat Street, Dopa by Devon has over twenty varieties of donburi. These rice bowls come topped with the typical teriyaki chicken, katsu pork and king salmon sashimi — plus house specialties like cheeseburger wagyu, beef tongue, ling cod and even a sub-Antarctic toothfish. But, the dishes making waves on social media are its desserts. Giant matcha cookies, OTT parfaits, loaded milkshakes and shaved ice desserts are all on the lineup, and we can't get enough of the latter. The strawberry kakigori (Japanese shaved ice dessert) is sweet, surprisingly creamy and refreshing. We think it'll be a big hit with city workers come summer.
What to order: Strawberry kakigori
AND THERE'S MORE...
Yes, lots more. You could, in theory, spend an entire weekend here eating a drinking. If you do have more stomach space to fill, we suggest swinging by Hopper Kadé for a Sri Lankan hopper, Bucket Boys for a refreshing brew, Boque by Tapavino for a chorizo burger — or out to Rey Jr on Little Hay for some Filipino street food.
Find Maker's Dozen, Electric Treat Street and Steam Mill Lane in and around The Exchange, 35 Tumbalong Boulevard, Haymarket. To check individual restaurant's opening hours, head to the Darling Square website.
Images: Kimberley Low
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