2015 has been an exciting year! We have not only relaunched Best Restaurants but have also launched Australia’s first dedicated gift card website called Best Gift Cards – which now has both restaurant and spa cards which is already proving a huge success.
Best Restaurants Gift Cards are currently accepted at over 800 restaurants Australia-wide. Best Spas Gift Cards are welcomed at over 300 luxury day spas, beauty / hair salons, 5 star Day Spas, Wellness Retreats and Resorts throughout Australia. We are adding new restaurants and spas regularly so the list to choose from is constantly growing.
Once upon a time and not so long ago, at nightfall the streets of our city were a ghost town. In the blink of an eye however, Sydney’s CBD has transformed into a bustling food and drink oasis, with new venues and restaurants opening weekly and in the heart of our financial district, just a short stroll from Martin Place is The Wolf Wine Bar. Run by Chef Peter Varvaressos, who you may know from his other venues Contrabando and Barrafina Tapas, has created yet another all-day venue that seamlessly transitions from café to hip bar and restaurant.
Barbecued calamari with online casino quinoa, lemon, chilli and ginger
For fear of pigeonholing, the menu takes cues from across the globe. Fat, twice-cooked fries get dipped in a fragrant Middle-Eastern Harissa mayo while plumply ripe figs are baked and paired with blue cheese and prosciutto, taking a nod to Italy. Quinoa dishes can be a little lacklustre but this, speckled with toasted nuts, a generous glug of olive oil and scatted with chilli and topped with barbecued calamari, is deliciously intriguing.
Braised lamb, burnt eggplant, feta, olives and mint
I could have inhaled a bowl of fried broccoli with shaved parmesan but sanity prevailed and instead I dip into a familiar yet fresh yellowfin tuna ceviche. With a wood fire pizza oven in the works, start with an after-work tipple at Wolf Wine Bar and stay for a tapas-inspired meal or (coming soon) a slice of old-school pizzette.
We may not have the internationally renowned Michelin Guide Star System in Australia but The Langham, is giving Sydneysiders a taste of Michelin-standard dishes. You would have seen the billboards with Bradley Cooper, looking sharp in his chef whites, promoting his new movie “Burnt” so to celebrate, The Langham, Sydney, challenged their Executive Chef, Thomas Heinrich and Head Dessert Chef, Miguel Jocson, to deliver three Michelin star dishes from recipes that inspired the concept behind the film.
Tomato tartare created by Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich
While not known widely in Australia, the consultant chef for the film was Marcus Wareing, an English celebrity chef who is currently Chef Patron of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Marcus (formerly The Berkeley), in Knightsbridge. What’s the connection between the movie and The Langham, Sydney? Burnt was shot at The Langham, London. The hotel’s restaurant, The Roux at the Landau features prominently throughout the film.
Mascarpone, blood orange and streusel, created by Head Dessert Chef Miguel Jocson
After two sold-out seasons in Melbourne, Bombay Sapphire’s Project Botanicals pop-up is coming to Sydney, but with a unique twist. Held at ‘The Old Rum Store’ warehouse building in the newly established lifestyle precinct, Kensington Street in Chippendale, this event is open for three weeks only.
Young celery – soured creme made from local milks & the freshest green peas. Paired with The Coriandrum Cocktail
Launching on Wednesday 18 November, the distinctive cocktail and dining experience will feature one of Australia’s most respected and awarded regional chefs, James Viles of Biota Dining, Bowral. The incredible five-course menu has been designed around the ten botanicals found in each bottle of Bombay Sapphire and will be matched with a Bombay Sapphire cocktail created by the Bombay Sapphire team and some of Sydney’s best bars, including local favourites The Barber Shop, Eau De Vie and This Must Be The Place.
Guests can choose between two menus – ‘Plants & Roots’ and ‘Berries & Bark’. At a special media event, we were fortunate to sample ‘Plants & Roots’ which was a selection of some of the most beautifully presented and perfectly executed dishes we have experienced. A tribute to the seasons, Chef Viles has a unique flair for pushing culinary boundaries while still ensuring his food is accessible and enjoyable to the humble diner.
Native lemon soft serve. Paired with Lemon Peel Eye Opener
As James explains, “I’m constantly challenging myself to work with new and unusual ingredients. Working with the ten botanicals found within Bombay Sapphire was really exciting in creating flavour combinations that emphasised what is at the core of Bombay Sapphire”.
With Biota Dining one of Australia’s most in demand regional restaurants, Project Botanicals is likely to sell out quickly. To avoid missing out, tickets should be purchased ASAP from: www.projectbotanicals.com.au.
Sittings available at 6pm and 8.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday evenings
Tickets are $105 + booking fee and include a five course menu matched to five Bombay Sapphire cocktails and can be purchased here.
Last night, NSW’s best restaurants, caterers and cafe operators were recognised at the annual Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence.
2015 marks the 17th year of the awards with PR guru and long-term industry advocate Stewart White national chair of judges for the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence. The Savour Australia HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence is a nationally recognised, independently judged awards program that recognises exceptional service and culinary talent across Australia.
We would like to make special mention for many of our Best Restaurants client – a huge congratulations to the following finalists and winners.
Nothing could stop us from visiting Waterman’s Lobster Co. Our dining party of 10 dwindled to just four, as our group, one-by-one fell prey to the nasty cold currently engulfing Sydney. The weather Gods turned against us too, promising nothing but torrential rain and even a few spots of hail, to add to the drama of trying to find a park in Potts Point. Alas, our loyal quartet arrive, slightly soggy but in good spirits, eager to feast like royalty.
Potts Points’ Waterman’s Lobster Co pays homage to the Maine lobster roll (pictured), popular in New York.
The menu’s attention is drawn towards the sea, which will undoubtedly work a treat on hot Sydney summer days. We whet the palate with an Asian-ified tartare of Kingfish, seaweed and radish which hits the spot and gets us in the right head space for our Maine-style lobster roll. Claw and knuckle meat is tossed with a decent amount of mayo, butter, flecks of celery and a squeeze of lemon. Stuffed inside a not-too-sweet hot dog-shaped bun and served with matchstick fries and a pickle, there’s nothing to criticise. It’s perfect. It seems odd to order the lobster salad but once it arrives, there’s no regrets – tossed with fennel, orange and bottarga (which we requested on the side), the only thing lacking was a dollop of aioli, which was quickly brought to the table and completed the dish. There’s sides galore and we opt for a purple cabbage slaw and a baby cos salad with smoked oyster mayo and croutons, which are happily devoured. Even with such adversity, our Waterman’s experience is flawless – we will be back with the full troop.
If fighting for the last mouthful of hummos isn’t something you’ve had to do lately, it means you haven’t been to Zahli in Surry Hills. At the Cleveland end of Elizabeth Street, this Middle Eastern restaurant is a reminder that Lebanese food extends far beyond a greasy kebab. Owner Restaurateur Mohammad Issmail says he wanted a restaurant that didn’t look like a typical Lebanese restaurant – the clean, simple restaurant displays a series of aquamarine tiles lining otherwise bare grey walls. The marble bar, waiters in white collared shirts and industrial style lighting exudes an edgy, modern vibe. One glance at the menu, however, and it’s back-to-basics with traditional and authentic Lebanese fare, as it should be.
Kick things off with a mixed dip platter and ease yourself into a Lebanese state of mind
Kick things off with a mixed dip platter and ease yourself into a Lebanese state of mind. Creamy hummus, a dollop of tart, house made labneh (yoghurt cheese) and a smoky, textural baba ghannouj can all be soaked up with fresh pita pieces. A selection of hot mezza features falafel, light and well spiced and fried cauliflower, the perfect vessel for lashings of tahini sauce.
The marble bar, waiters in white collared shirts and industrial style lighting exudes an edgy, modern vibe.
The fattoush salad, glammed up with radish and capsicum and studded with pomegranate seeds, is decidedly moorish while the samki harra, which features a barramundi fillet, coated in a thick tahini sauce and sprinkled with nuts and herbs, is deservedly a house speciality. Unanimously, the table favourite was an iron potful of sizzling garlic prawns, doused in a rich tomato, chilli and garlic sauce that begged to be soaked up with pita.
From the creators of The Hazy Rose, Downstairs Restaurant is situated on the ground floor on Darlinghurst”s trendy Stanley Street. The interior is decked out with quirky British paraphernalia, including bowler hats and British band posters a la The Beatles and The Who. The curtained wooden booths are cosy and intimate, while there are long communal tables available for larger groups.
We start with chicken liver parfait accompanied with apple sauce and pickles. Liver parfait is not for everyone, but this one is delightfully smooth and flavoursome, the rich butter-like puree easily slathered onto the accompanying toast. The twice-cooked veal tongue, served with onion puree, pickled beetroot, watercress and gravy is a simple but winning dish. The veal online casino dgfev is soft and succulent, and perfectly tempered with the sweetness of the beetroot. My carnivorous self is pleased with yet another meat dish; a 250g sirloin, accompanied with crumbed marrow, relish and mustard. We are presented with other quintessential British favourites, including cauliflower cheese, and bubble and squeak. We walked in unsure as to what to expect, however it is safe to say that the menu developed by Ben Allcock (formerly from East Village) does an excellent job delivering tasty British fare with a modern twist.
With the days getting cooler, Downstairs Restaurant offers a comforting British roast every Sunday at a penny pinching price of $20 a head. Be sure to make the most of your visit and visit The Hazy Rose for a cocktail after your meal.
“Want to go to Birds of Tokyo?”, I ask my partner. “Hell yes”, he says, “When?”. “Tonight?” I respond, shocked that he actually knows what I’m talking about. “How can you get tickets?” Silence. I suddenly realise my mistake. Scrambling, I try to sell it to him. “Apparently it’s just like a bar in Shibuya!” “They do yakitori chicken heart and liver!” I keep rattling off every aspect that I was excited about but the damage had been done. Apparently he didn’t love Shibuya or yakitori as much as he would have loved the band, Birds of Tokyo. In an attempt not to seem overly disappointed, we head to Tokyo Bird where Birds of Tokyo were not playing.
Japanese inspired cocktails are a must
Hidden away on a side street in Surry Hills, Tokyo Bird can almost be mistaken for one of Shibuya’s izakaya restaurants. If you get lost, just look for a queue of people lingering on a nondescript laneway that runs parallel to Foveaux Street, there you’ll find it. Although there were three couples waiting outside, it doesn’t take long before we get a table (which is a relief given the Birds of Tokyo incident). The place is packed with suits and hipsters sitting side by side at one communal table while groups of work mates hog the corner booths.
Mixed yakitori plate
Although still early on a Friday night, it’s hard to have a conversation due to one noisy group in the corner. For first dates, this may not be ideal but for my partner and I, rather than attempt a strained conversation, with every second sentence being “what did you say?” we decide to focus on eating and drinking. Scoring a seat at the bar, we watch on as Japanese-inspired cocktails are shaken with flair by bar manager Yoshi Onishi (ex Stitch). We order a whisky highball and the snacks start arriving soon after that. The sesame salad is true to its name, creamy and sweet, with crunchy shreds of cabbage and sprinkled with toasted seeds. Crisp lotus root chips and bowls of steamed edamame are obligatory drink snacks, while the assorted pickles are a nod to more traditional cuisine. Though the menu has tonnes to sate the craving of meat lovers, birds are the preferred protein on the barbie of the rising sun. Hearts are crisped and charred outside, succulent within and for those partial to fried chicken, crunchy nuggets of katsu are the perfect way to soak up an Asahi or two.
With floor to ceiling windows, offering uninterrupted views of Sydney’s skyline and three open kitchens, the Novotel Hotel’s signature restaurant, The Ternary, is one of the most impressive restaurants in Darling Harbour. The restaurant itself spans across nearly the entire bottom floor of the hotel, making it the perfect place to view the Saturday night Darling Harbour fireworks.
Three open kitchens create an interactive dining experience
While the city views are a draw card, what is almost more remarkable is that from almost anywhere in the restaurant, guests have a first-rate view of at least one of the open kitchens. The restaurant’s moniker comes from the Latin words ternarius and terni meaning “consisting of three things” and “three at once”, which seems fitting when taking into account the focus of the restaurant space on the open kitchens. Titled as The Wine Bar, the Asian Kitchen, and the Grill Kitchen, the open kitchens connect the chefs to the diners in a unique and memorable way.
Food-wise, Chef Anthony Flowers has created a menu that spans from modern Australian classics to Asian inspired curries and street-style snacks, perfect for a diverse hotel clientele. To whet best online casino our appetites, we started with naan bread served with house made mint yoghurt and onion chutney. The bread itself was warm and soft with flaky air pockets that made an excellent vehicle for the creamy yoghurt and tangy chutney. Next, Chef Flowers delivers betel leaves with two different fillings, smoked flaked salmon, salmon pearls and fried shallots as well as slow-roasted pork belly with fried shallots. Sprinkled with lime juice, the flavours popped in your mouth with a burst of freshness. We were treated to another five savoury courses, matched with wine selection by the sommelier. The remaining courses consisted of pulled peppered wagyu beef in crispy pastry and water chestnut with tamarind paste, king prawn with baby corn and cajun seasoning, tandoori salmon on a bed of eggplant puree, chiken tika masala with side of basmati rice, and just when we thought our stomaches might burst, a whole slow braised lamb shoulder with balsamic glaze and roast vegetables. Dessert was a delight on the eyes and even better to taste; dark chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet and crème brulee with champagne sorbet.