Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved

April 26, 2017
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

Coffee, cafés, cocktails, Chinese... despite a brief time in Sydney I seemed to have managed to sample a lil' bit of everything. This culinary accomplishment has nothing to do with my being intrepid (unless we're talking about how I collected 9 Kangaskhan in three days) nor there being sweet nothing else to do (quite the contrary - despite Sydney's lockdown laws there is a wealth of arvo activites for the eager visitor) but rather the diversity of offerings in the city and its suburbs. From fine dining by the beach to a classic brunch fry up, here are the 5 eateries that stood out the most in my short but sweet stay in Sydney.

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

SKITTLE LANE COFFEE

Hidden just out of the average person's line of vision (unless you're 8 feet tall) in a building that looks like it could be 'classic Manhattan' is one of the best specialty coffee roasters in Sydney CBD - Skittle Lane Coffee. The interior is small and sparse in that Scandinavian minimalism style that's so hot right now, with just a solid black marble counter and pine stools for 'tables'. The lack of decor means the coffee is the star of the show: ethnically sourced, seasonably selected coffee including espresso, filter, cold brew, and their signature Skittle Lane iced coffee. Best enjoyed with their truffle oil and egg on toast with shaved parmesan - ask for smashed avo if, like me, you need extra fuel. Conveniently located right in the city centre, Skittle Lane Coffee is a great pit stop or for coffee to go.




Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

ICEBERGS DINING ROOM AND BAR 

Some critics have described Icebergs Dining Room and Bar as either "everything you love or everything you hate about Sydney". An award-winning restaurant in Sydney's most prestigious swim club, serving up fine dining and outstanding seafood with a view of Australia (if not the world)'s most photographed ocean pool and famous Bondi Beach - what's there not to love? Read my full review of Icebergs Dining Room and Bar as well as my guide to Bondi.




Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

MR WONG

Do two Wongs make a right? Let's talk about the elephant, or rather the giant dumpling in the room - my main gripe with Mr Wong is that the best part of the dim sum menu is only available at lunch (whyyyy). That doesn't stop Mr Wong from being one of the hotter restaurants in Sydney - the place doesn't take bookings and on the Friday night I went there was a queue down the block. The vibe is French Colonial-chic meets warehouse cool with just enough Cantonese haphazardness (think roasted ducks hanging from hooks over open kitchen counters). 

Luxy and I shared a dim sum Platter, the fried dim sum platter, the Hiramasa Kingfish ceviche, sea scallops, mango pudding, and fried ice-cream. Mr Wong is certainly good as far as fashionable Cantonese food in Sydney goes, although I would've liked more selections to chose from for dinner (still salty about not having tried the wagyu puff).


Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

ESTABLISHMENT

After dinner at Mr Wong, Luxy and I popped next door for drinks at the main bar of Establishment. The former George Patterson House boasts of preserving its heritage features - classical columns, soaring ceilings - and bringing this historic venue in the 21st century. With a 42-metre long marble bar centrepiece just made for seeing and being seen, and the airy 'conservatory style' garden adjacent this multi-award winning bar is certainly designed for socialising. For me, I was getting serious deja vu - the long bar, neo-classical features, and garden bar was giving me London vibes, making me think of The Sanderson and London Edition. Given my high opinion of both that's a compliment, making Establishment the bar to be on a Friday night.





Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.
Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

BLACKSMITH

Did you think I'd leave Sydney before having a hearty brunch? Not a chance. To the tourist sticking to the path well-tread; the gentrified, former rag trade-wholesale suburb Surry Hills Southeast of the Sydney CBD may not seem like an obvious destination but it is home to Sydney's prettiest parkside pool in Prince Alfred Park and now, the inner-city outpost of the popular Mona Vale cafe of the same name.

At Blacksmith, everything and anything vaguely brunch-like is covered: toasties, house-baked granola, burgers (duck confit and soft shell crab, anyone?), pomegranate and black forest cakes, and coffee (Toby’s Estate, offering cold drip and pour-over options). For our last meal together in Sydney, Luxy and I had The Big Blacksmith: a griddle stacked with the works - eggs, bacon, grilled chorizo, mushrooms, roast tomato, house baked beans, hash brown & sourdough toast (me), and I think she had The Stack. Either way, Blacksmith is all about hearty, feel-good all-day breakfast food that Australia's brunch culture is so famous for.

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

...stay tuned for my final post from this trip: 10 Things I did in Sydney.

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