Renowned for the sparkling harbour and balmy evenings, Sydney reveals a slew of new flavours as the hot days turn to cool and colourful nights this winter. Where comfort food reigns supreme, from dine dining takes on classic dishes to cult-status budget friendly eats - refuel with some delicious winter warmers in the harbour city.
The hottest seat in town is the counter at Firedoor. Literally. Escape the winter breeze and be warmed by the heat of the wood-fired oven, which can reach 1600°C, as you watch Lennox Hastie and his team cooking over charcoal, embers and open flames. Everything is kissed by smoke, from fat oysters to fresh vegetables and memorable steaks - dry aged for around 150 days, it'll thrill your taste buds in a way you never thought possible.
The crackling fire over the open hearth is a sign of what's to come at Fred's. From a daily changing menu featuring freshly caught seafood and mouth-watering steaks - you can see and hear the chefs prepare your meal so that it feels as if you're part of the kitchen. The rhythmic chop of the knives, the bubbling water as it boils and the hiss of the hot grills makes you forget bustling Oxford Street is just behind you as you immerse yourself in the theatre of a fine dining kitchen that has the rustic charm of a country farmhouse.
The concrete walls and woodfired oven at Ester create the sensation of stepping into a bunker, albeit one with deliciously scorched food. The modern Australian menu is peppered with native ingredients and while it's not bush tucker, it is a unique taste of this land of sweeping plains. Think handpicked mud crab with claypot rice, king prawns with fermented shrimp butter and dry aged pork chop with a flavourful native spice rub cooked over charcoal.
Retreat from the cool wintry nights with a heartwarming dining experience at Margaret, acclaimed chef Neil Perry's first solo restaurant. Named in honor of his late mother, the 170 seat fine-diner combines the homestyle heart of mum's cooking with a surprise twist of a chef at his peak. The chicken is done over a wood rotisserie, the fish has a gremolata crumb and the baked pear and raspberry pudding with vanilla sauce is just the thing to warm you up from the inside out.
Set inside the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong's curated menu offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Peter Gilmore's dishes are as whimsical, memorable and quintessentially Australian as the restaurant's setting. His lamington has all the nostalgic flavours of the beloved classic, with the addition of cherry jam, coconut cream ice-cream and chocolate ganache.
For a delicious soul-soothing dish on a cool winter evening, pay a visit to Chaco Ramen for one of their cult-status dishes - The Fat Soy ramen. The equivalent of a big, warm hug on a chilly day - this delectable velvety mix of broth, pork, chicken and fish, made rich and thick by the addition of pork fat is a true crowd pleaser, so pack a jumper and get in line.
A roaring fireplace, cozy Chesterfield couches you can sink into and wall-to-wall bookshelves make The Duke of Clarence a place to linger. Hidden in the centre of the harbour city, this 18th Century-inspired London Tavern is renowned for wholesome British eats from home-cooked pies, to bangers and mash - ideal for cooler days. Warm up your weekend with a memorable roast, and pick from one of four options every Sunday, each served with delicious Yorkshire puddings to soak up the rich gravy.
Descend the curved, wood-paneled staircase to Restaurant Hubert and lose yourself in a world made for bon vivants. Time is irrelevant here; this is the kind of place that makes you want to stretch your night out. Martinis in the bar turn into a dinner of French bistro classics with a twist, think roasted snails with XO butter, and live jazz that will convince you to linger a little longer over a digestif.
Reveal a world you didn't know existed at Aalia and take your taste buds on an adventure through the lands of the Levant and Northern Africa. Where Middle Eastern food is elevated to fine dining status with chef Paul Farag at the helm. Combining tradition with modern techniques offering diners a time-travelling odyssey of dishes whilst they feast on ingredients such as molokhia, geymar and kabsa.
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