There is really no such thing as a proper Australian cuisine since Australia has undergone a sort of culinary stratification in the course of the past three centuries. If you happen to be down under, don’t miss going to a traditional barbecue which, thanks to the favorable climate, has become an authentic ritual here; you have to taste the fish & chips, kangaroo meat and meat pie.
Sydney is the right place to visit if gourmet locations and dishes attract you. Here are a few tips for discovering the fine dining scene of the Australian capital, this being a city which incorporates a multitude of gastronomic influences, from Mediterranean to Aborigine and Asian.
From 0 to 25 Euros
The most glamorous breakfast is served inside the Park Hyatt hotel located in the heart of Sydney at The Rocks, with a first-class view over Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House. In its restaurant aptly called The Dining Room, this budget will run to a Poached organic egg with beans hakshouka, labneh & dukkah from the menu (15 Euros). Take note, however, that if you order an espresso coffee which costs 6 Euros you risk overspending your budget. Also very popular is the Hotel’s Classic Afternoon Tea, at 25 Euros, accompanied by a vast offering of sweet pastries, smoked salmon and quiche lorraine.
Regatta is an iconic venue located on a historical spot on the old quay of the Rose Bay leisure boat harbour, in the eastern outskirts of Sydney. A fascinating building dating back to the ‘20s had housed a fish and chip shop for decades before it was converted into a restaurant cum bar in 2014. Be sure to go there at dusk when the harbour lights go on. Choose a good Chardonnay or a craft beer such as the Cascade Stout at 6 Euros, accompanied with oysters and a citrusy raspberry vinaigrette sauce. Expect to pay about 2 Euros per oyster.
From 25 to 50 Euros
It is rumoured that more than one celebrity jumps on a last-minute flight just to dine on this terrace at Jonah’s for the sheer enjoyment of the spectacular view over Sydney Harbour and the beaches to the north, comprising the Barrenjoey lighthouse at Palm Beach. It is also possible to go there by seaplane. On this budget you may indulge in a couple of dishes prepared by chef Matteo Zamboni, a cuisine of Italian inspiration: I personally would choose red romanesco cabbage, risotto and mandarin mustard followed by a dessert such as apple textures, baked apple mousse, green apple sorbet and frozen cider. Two dishes come at a price of around 40 Euros.
You have never really lived unless you have eaten at Ester’s in the Chippendale district, which is one of the most representative venues of the local Sydney food scene. Chef Mat Lindsey and his restaurant are extremely popular among other chefs (who come here on their closing day) and food writers. This is also a good choice for those who attach a lot of importance to wine pairings. Two dishes are well worthy of note: squid ink tagliatelle with yogurt and caramelized potatoes and prawns with fermented caper butter. Ester’s wine list is another good reason for dropping in.
Located on the premises of the Ald Clare Hotel in Chippendale, Automata is one of the venues offering the best value for money. The dishes presented by chef Clayton Wells are never banal and confirm the genesis of a new contemporary Australian cuisine. The warehouse-style space, standing on Kensington Street, comprises a mezzanine floor and shared tables. Don’t miss the raw kangaroo meat, koji cream, crisp black rice and glazed wakame or the spaghettini with mussels, fermented romanesco leaves, black garlic and marigold. 3 dishes at 40 Euros approximately.
From 50 to 100 Euros
The main attractions at the Quay are chef Peter Gilmore’s amazing chocolate cake with eight different textures and the spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House. Peter Gilmore works closely with the farmers, fishermen, producers, and craftsmen who supply products exclusively for the Quay. Every piece of ceramic ware has been specifically designed for each course. You can afford to choose the gourmet menu of six courses if you go without wine, which allows you to taste such poetically named dishes as hand harvested seafood, virgin soy, seaweed and aged vinegar or smoked pig jowl, clams, shiitake and sea cucumber crackling.
If you are lucky, you may be able to find a table at Sixpenny, a delightful 35-seat boutique venue named after the Sixpence restaurants that used to operate in the late 1800s in Australia. Chefs Daniel Puskas and James Parry celebrate contemporary Australian cuisine by using locally sourced biodynamic products. No one can resist their Venison Tartare with Artichoke & Cheese or Rye Poached Potato with Oyster &Raw Mushroom. 6 courses at 80 Euros.