The Best Restaurants team were invited this week to the menu relaunch of The Eight, Sydney’s largest Chinese restaurant. Located on the top floor of Market City Haymarket Chinatown, The Eight specialises in modern fusion and traditional Chinese cuisine with a focus on live fresh seafood. A team of highly trained chefs has created an enticing new menu with extensive delicious menu selections, combining both innovative and traditional Eastern styles of cooking for a fabulous combination of ‘East meets West’ cuisine.
The VIP launch event delivered 120 dishes, in 120 minutes
The VIP launch event delivered 120 dishes, in 120 minutes, leaving 120 guests with 120 stomachs to find. A live cooking demonstration also invited guests to compete against each other by trying their ‘steady’ hand at the tricky art of wrapping a Chinese dumpling. (It’s more difficult that you think!) The best looking dumpling won a copy of the The Eights’ Healthy Option Chinese Cookbook and dining vouchers to last the best part of a month. Proudly, Best Restaurants’ very own Scott Winter won the first prize for the best wrapped dumpling.
Best Restaurants’ Scott Winter, winner of “the best wrapped dumpling”, with Henry Tang, Chairman of Zilver Group
YOUR chance to win!
Best Restaurants have 8 copies of the Healthy Option Chinese Cookbook to giveaway. Simple Like Us on facebook and post on our page your favourite yum cha dish! Follow this link to our facebook page.
For more about The Eight click here
The Sydney CBD has taken the concept of ‘underground’ dining quite literally, with a growing number of small bars and restaurants humming away beneath pavement pounding office workers and corporate types. King St has joined the ranks, with Parisian-style bistro Le Pub taking over the old PJ Gallaghers basement-level space.
Escargots de bourgogne
The room is open plan, with dining at one end and the pub at the other. The bistro area blends shabby-chic with Parisian-class, with round marble tables, shiny cushioned chairs and stripy brushed velvet banquets in muted tones of green, gold, red and blue. White, lettered wall tiles give a scrabble-style effect, with words like ‘Napolean’ and ‘Croque Madame’ hidden across.
Confit de canard
It may be called Le Pub but there isn’t an ounce of pub grubbiness on the menu. The salad au fois grois is textural perfection, with julienne green apple, sticky shards of honeycomb and toasted hazelnuts hidden amongst a tumble of red sorrel leaves, dressed with creamy micro-shavings of fois gras. The menu presents French classics that are served with a modern twist. Take the twice-cooked confit duck leg, for example, while the flavours stay true to a classic duck a l’orange, the dish is served with pretty salad of micro herbs and dehydrated mandarin segments. The collet d’agneau, an equally-attractive dish of lamb neck, cauliflower puree and pea salad, arrives sprinkled with a herb quinoa crumb.
A heady glass of Louis Latour Pinot Noir Aloxe from Burgundy comes highly recommended. A dainty board of petite fours is perfect to linger over, featuring oozy caramel chocolates, house-made honeycomb and, Francophiles will be delighted to discover, Caramac bars.
Aside from providing a truly satisfying power-lunch, Le Pub also makes a convenient post-work date destination – dim lighting and dark wooden floorboards maintain a moodily romantic, old-school atmosphere.
Read more about Le Pub here
Sydney socialites, media moguls and foodies last night celebrated the latest addition to the infamous Bayswater Road strip, Crane Bar and Restaurant. Kimono-clad geishas and Japanese percussionists ushered guests into the venue where an oriental oasis was revealed. Cherry blossoms covered the entry halls while the back courtyard was home to a lush Japanese garden.
Cocktails and beverages were created by Crane Bar Restaurant’s resident mixologist Thiago Santos
The food lived up to the venue’s design with a selection of Japanese dishes impressing the crowds including barramundi in white soy, crispy chicken karaage and Crane’s legendary spicy prawn rolls. Executive Chef Taichi Ito stole the show, however, when he transformed a 50kg whole, fresh Tuna into bite sized servings of the highest-quality sashimi.
Co-owners Sarah Budge and David Fedele
With two large bars, two DJ booths, a private VIP or meeting room, a sashimi bar and an open kitchen, Crane is great for a range of functions and events. And with a 24-hour license, Crane has become a favourite late-night dining haunt for Sydney’s socialites and A-listers.
Read more about Crane here
The Lower North Shore is an unlikely location for a restaurant and bar of this calibre. As part of the Applejack Hospitality Group (who also own Bondi Hardware), The Botanist has put Kirribilli back on the foodie map.
The fitout is (refreshingly) not over-the-top
Historic botanist Gerard Fothergill, who was said to have spent the declining years of his life at the Kirribilli Street site, is the restaurant’s namesake and the inspiration behind the venue’s design. Thus, it’s only fitting that guests perch at wooden tables amongst pot plants while spindly ferns hang from ceiling – it’s unique without being over-the-top (how refreshing). The drinks list also takes cues from its botanical theme with cocktails themed “Mexican garden” and “The Pacific Isles” while the menu delivers a global spin with everything from sliders and pizza to tacos and pork knuckle.
Salt and pepper squid
As the saying goes, when you have your finger in too many pies, you often can’t do them all well. The Botanist is the exception. Not only does it successfully function as a bar and a restaurant but it also manages to skip between Mexican, Italian, Asian and Modern Australian. Tacos, at 4 for $20, are not only value-for-money but are generously filled with marinated beef strips and onion relish. A vibrant bowl of Szechuan prawns would rival any Thai dish from the ever-popular Stir Crazy down the road while a classic, salt and pepper squid, is tender and lightly crisp.
The drinks list also takes cues from its botanical theme with cocktails themed “Mexican garden” and “The Pacific Isles”
The Botanist is exactly what the doctor ordered for the North Shore – upbeat music, great food and a buzzy atmosphere. In fact, this place may be even worth traipsing over the bridge.
Read more about The Botanist here
The unassuming façade of the Town Hall Hotel, located on a quiet street in Fitzroy, gives diners little inkling of what to expect inside its walls. From owner and Hatted Chef Harry Lilai, Town Hall Hotel (THH) combines hearty Italian food with warm good-old hospitality.
Seared beef carpaccio, truffled beef tartare and reggiano shavings
There’s a relaxed vibe at THH with the space effortlessly designed and sparsely decorated, with bare white walls and worn timber flooring. It’s the sort of place you could easily stay at for a few hours on a leisurely weekend lunch. Downstairs, a dimly-lit cellar houses a private dining area and one of Melbourne’s most extensive wine collections north of the river.
Home cooking coupled with refined restaurant technique ensures Lilai’s reputation is upheld
The simplicity in the dining room lets the food speak for itself. A contemporary version of home cooking coupled with refined restaurant technique ensures Lilai’s reputation is upheld. Start with the chickpea battered oysters, served in the shell, on a bed of pickled fennel. Crisp on the outside and with the essence of the sea still packed inside, the flavours are clean and approachable, as is the plate of paper-thin bresaola that follows – piled with beef tartar and parmesan shavings. Larger courses see pumpkin and ricotta stuffed generously into silky ravioli and a robust osso bucco utilises saffron-laced risotto Milanese to soak up the remnants of sauce.
Snapper fillet, lemon spinach and puttanesca sauce
To end, you can’t go wrong with the tiramisu or fluffy bomboloni, but for something more contemporary, try the coconut pannacotta with pineapple salsa looking very 50 shades of white in it’s frosted glass.
A relaxed ambience, good food and quality wine set the Town Hall Hotel apart in Fitzroy, a place you could easily keep returning to, especially for more of those oysters.
Read more about Town Hall Hotel here
Sydney is in desperate need for a good New-York style deli so when news of Lox Stock and Barrel hit the foodie-press, I promptly texted a fellow bagel-lover: 140 Glenayr Avenue.
Lox and bagels are to New Yorkers what meat pies are to Aussies. They’re part of the national identity and with such a cult-like status comes high expectations. As a New Yorker- wannabee, I was delighted when Brown Sugar brother-and-sister-duo Neil and Lianne Gottheiner, expanded their operation and opened Lox, Stock and Barrel. The name, not only a tribute to the NYC delicacy, “lox”, known in Australia as smoked salmon, is also a cheeky take on Guy Ritchie’s award winning British crime film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The fitout is bare but chic
The menu is a mix of standard Bondi café offerings (ancient grain porridge and pumpkin salad) together with Jewish classics (challah and homemade brisket pastrami on rye). A panzanella salad is nondescript however a roasted cauliflower and chickpea dish, served with almonds and a tahina dressing is a standout. There are four varieties of bagels that are boiled onsite every day which taste just like they do in NYC; moist, dense and perfect when topped with some cream cheese, capers and smoked lox.
Free range holmbrae chicken, root vegies, egg noodles – can be ordered as a main or side dish
Does Lox Stock and Barrel fill the New York deli gap? It certainly isn’t as cheap and it’s not exactly a grab-and-go kind of place. Instead it melds together a unique crowd of black comedy fans, lox-and-bagel aficionados and Bondi hipsters – and perhaps this odd sortie is something that fits more with our Aussie psyche.
Read more about Lox Stock and Barrel here
A long-standing icon in Richmond, the multi-award winning Church Street Enoteca has been serving authentic Italian food long before the suburb was pronounced a culinary hot spot.
The restaurant itself is steeped in history, housed at the site of a former metal works factory, with the original hardwood flooring still in use today. Inside the art-deco dining room, simple white walls are adorned with Italian pop-art posters, while hanging light fixtures form two lines dividing the centre of the room. It sounds cliché but the atmosphere can’t be described as anything but romantic with its cosy linen-draped tables, Riedal glassware and full silver service.
Grass fed eye fillet, egg yolk emulsion, fried capers, onion rings, parmesan tuille, truffle oil
The seasonal menu offers modern Italian dishes, each of which are executed with adept precision. A dish of vitello tonnato is elevated to fine dining standards without losing its origins, pairing slices of lightly seared tuna and poached veal with a thin tuna aioli. The crayfish and snapper tortelli is testament to the skill found in the kitchen – with handmade parcels floating in a clear, condensed broth that captures the subtle essence of crayfish.
Main dishes progress into heartier plates such as Umbrian pork chop, atop a mixed bean and a crispy pork belly salad, while a dish of braised duck leg and steamed duck breast balances out the rich flavours with pickled wild mushrooms and a parsnip puree.
“Strawberries and Cream” – set vanilla cream, strawberries, mint, balsamic
Dishes on the dessert menu are aptly named by their key flavours. Take the ‘coffee and donuts’, the restaurant’s contemporary take on tiramisu; the dish is topped with espresso foam and served with warm Italian bomboloni. It’s large enough to share, so be warned.
Church Street Enoteca is testament that good, classic Italian food will always have a place on the culinary scene.
Read more about Church Street Enoteca here
As soon as you enter The ArtHouse Hotel, you get the sense that there’s been a lot of history created within its walls. The building itself dates back to 1836 and was once home to The School of Arts. However, today’s ArtHouse is home to a stylish taproom, four bars and the elegant dining room aptly titled Dome.
Dome restaurant doubles as an exhibition area for hanging artworks by Sydney artists
High gilded ceilings, 19th century plasterwork and large arched windows set the stage for an elegant dining experience at Dome Restaurant. Guests can start with a drink in the lounge before taking a seat in the large dining area complete with white-clothed tables and polished wooden floors. The refined menu commands as much respect as the restaurant’s surroundings with dishes such as squid ink linguine, Chinese marinated quail and New Zealand salmon.
New Zealand king salmon served with butter beans, bacon and tomato passata
In keeping with the hotel’s artistic bent, Dome also doubles as an exhibition area for hanging artworks by Sydney artists. The ArtHouse also regularly features creative arts events such as life drawing, art exhibitions, burlesque, cabaret and DJ/club nights.
Please note: There is a dress code that rules out singlets, thongs, tracksuits, sneakers and hats.
Read more about The Dome here
From New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul and now little old Sydney – Ippudo is a Japanese ramen chain that’s taken the noodle-world by storm. As SMH food-critic Terry Durack has asked, what’s the hype about? It’s hard to deny, ramen certainly isn’t an elegant dish nor does it push the culinary boundaries in the same way as Heston Blumenthal but (and I’m sure many would agree) there’s something so utterly satisfying about a big, sloppy bowl of piping hot broth, tender pork and silky smooth noodles.
The Saikyo miso barramundi is served with a spicy wasabi sauce
Shigemi Kawahara started Ippudo way back before many Ippudo fans were even born (i.e. 1985), in Japan’s ramen capital, Hakata. It was here that Kawahara developed his master recipe which includes a Tonkotsu broth and Hakata-style noodles. On the menu at Sydney’s gleaming Westfield outlet are three ramen options that feature either pork loin, pork belly or ground pork. Of course, you can select various toppings such as flavoured egg, shallots and black mushrooms.
Grilled lamb with miso sauce
Not in the mood for oodles of noodles? Entrée and a la carte options pay tribute to deep-fried goodness with dumplings, tempura camembert and fried chicken wings. On the lighter side, the avocado and tofu tartar arrives in an inedible leaf (?) cone, wedged into a bucket of ice and served with a sweet and creamy sesame sauce. What this dish lacks in aesthetics it certainly makes up for in flavour. The grilled Tasmanian salmon is a good option for those still acquiring a taste for Japanese while the Saikyo miso barramundi fillet is both fishy and smoky but served with a kick-starter wasabi sauce that brings the dish together.
If you’re meeting friends, you have to wait until all your party has arrived before getting a table but perch at the bar, enjoy a sake cocktail and avoid going at ramen peak-hour (7-9pm). Oh and if you prefer an inconspicuous entrance, then be prepared to be pushed outside of your comfort zone when you walk in Ippudo’s doors. “Irasshaimase!”
Read more about Ippudo here
Nothing will stop Radio Mexico fans from crowding in and if you, too, can bear the wait, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Set on a prime corner location on Carlisle Street, this bayside taqueria and bar has a laid-back beachy vibe thanks to an informal fit out and a casual all-day eating approach.
Radio Mexico is set on a prime corner location on Carlisle Street
Just like out of a vintage postcards from Baja, streamers hang from worn-wooden tables and chilled-out beats croon over the speakers. The restaurant is divided into an indoor area and semi-outdoor space but, in true Melbourne style, there’s a fireplace to warm up the place and a great mural painted on the wall.
Tacos fillings include pulled pork; BBQ Moreton Bay bug or slow roasted lamb
When you finally take a seat, the menu may be simple but it’s full of promise. Start with totopos, classic corn chips, arriving with a selection of homemade salsas, or opt for the ones topped with crabmeat slaw. It doesn’t take long to realise that the star of Radio Mexico is the humble taco, given a contemporary spin with fillings like pulled-pork and pineapple; BBQ Moreton Bay bug and slaw; or slow roasted lamb. The tacos are small enough to order a selection to share, but we recommend a couple of sides including roasted pumpkin salad, goat cheese and quinoa salad or maybe a generous glass of rockling, avocado and grapefruit ceviche. If you need a drink, the boys at the bar mix a great margarita, or try Radio Mexico’s take on the infamous espresso martini – it’s shaken up with tequila here.
Slip in early to avoid the queues at Radio Mexico and get carried away in the festive beat and tasty, Mexican dishes.
Read more about Radio Mexico here